Last week, I led a workshop that introduced women to the concept of How To Build a Blog You Truly Love.   Believe me: they did NOT want to be there. During our time together, most of the women shared how much they dreaded the thought of starting a blog. One attendee said it felt like she was being dragged into the session kicking and screaming. Just what a speaker wants to hear! {wink}
Actually, I wasn’t surprised to hear their angst. It’s so common. Some of the women in that room were in charge of sales & marketing for their employers, while others were looking for ways to build their own businesses, books and projects. In every case, these women had been repeatedly told that a blog is a MUST-HAVE for success ~ and to get started pronto! But the thought of actually creating and sustaining an online presence overwhelmed them. They wondered what they’d write about, how they’d fit it into their already crazy schedules and why in the world anyone out there would care what they post. But they were going to do it anyway because somebody said they SHOULD.
This is the very reason the web is littered with MILLIONS of abandoned blogs. People jump into blogging hoping it’s a magic bullet that will bring them or their company a huge boost in exposure, credibility and sales. In the rush to establish an online presence, most forget to include the most important planning elements: heart & soul. 
Imagine buying a new house or renting a new office. You’d be so proud of your new space, wanting to make it a comfortable spot that feels inviting to others and wonderfully reflective of who you are and what you do. I love when someone walks into my house and remarks on how much it feels like me. Why not create your blog the same way? I want to share three steps to get you started as you create or renovate your own blog:  
1. Develop YOUR vision. When I decorate a room, I love browsing stores and magazines to find ideas. I love finding the perfect blend of colors or that just-right accessory that pulls the room together. And I love that months or years later I can move things around a bit or add a new piece to give a room new energy without changing the overall look. You can do the same with your blog. 
Rather than just add random musings to a blank canvas/screen, take some time to think about what you want to – and can – put out into the world. What’s the primary focus of your blog? Is it about life as an artist? Muddling through mamahood? The trials and tribulations of working in your industry? That’s one of the critical questions you should let bounce around in your head and heart before you finalize the look, feel and purpose of your blog. 
2. Let the true you come out to play ~ and trust people want to read what you have to say. Every month, 70 million Americans read blogs; there are bound to be a whole bunch in there who’d be interested in your views on life as you know it. As you create or renovate your blog, this is no time to shy away from who you are and where you’ve been. But it is a great opportunity to consider how you’re unique, what you have to offer that others may not, and what kinds of topics pump you up. Bloggers who write for others first – writing what they think people want to hear instead of what comes straight from the heart – wind up getting disillusioned and bored with the process.
3. Give yourself room to grow. Finding your niche is good, but many new bloggers pigeonhole themselves by focusing too narrowly on a specific subject. Want an example? As a radio host who needs to research guests and review pitches frequently and efficiently, I find it completely frustrating when an author has a different blog for each book he or she has published. It happens frequently – perhaps because they’re not always with the same publisher or because one title is vastly different from another. Sadly, it usually drives me {and, I suspect, others} away. 
Whether you’re an author or a scientist or a busy mom, we’re all evolving and juggling on any given day. Find the common denominator in all of that commotion to be the inspiration and focus for your blog. For an author, the common denominator may be YOU, as a writer.  Readers want an inside peek at what it’s like to be you, see the world through your eyes and feel invested in the projects you’re facing. Write about the creation and launch of each book, tales from the trenches of a book tour, learnings from writing conferences, conversations with fellow writers. Find a theme that ties your wide range of experiences together and suddenly your blog grows wings, your journey takes shape for readers and the possibilities of what you’ll write in the future become limitless. Most importantly, your blog will feel like play more than work. 
Happily, that room full of potential bloggers I spoke to last week left our session feeling energized and inspired. You could just feel the energy in the room shift as they realized all the possibilities and how enriching and engaging this crazy thing called blogging can actually be. After the presentation, one woman walked up and told me, “I was sure blogging for my business would totally suck. Now I think it’s gonna suck a lot less.” Hey, it’s a start.  

Last week threw me for a loop with a packed schedule and the death of my grandma, which kept me from fully promoting my new e-course: How To Build a Blog You Truly Love. So, I’m extending the early bird discount through this Wednesday, May 11th – good for 20% off the registration fee. Get the full scoop on the e-course here. I’d love to have you join us!