Your Blog's Uniqueness Rests With Your Story

What makes your blog (or Facebook page for those who don’t blog) unique, and therefore something someone else might want to read, learn from, or connect with on a personal level?

I’m always looking for ways to make my blog more “authentic” more “unique” for lack of a better phrase. If you blog for any length of time at all you will start to develop your own style and patterns, but you also start to put up barriers to your own writing without even knowing it. Those barriers for me end up being mechanical and personal.

Barriers To Writing, Blogging, or Social Networking

Mechanically, it has to look perfect, be grammatically correct, have a photo sized properly, with a searchable title, tags, and links. This just comes from blogging for almost 10 years, I do this almost without thinking, but it takes time, and it limits what I end up posting. If I just posted whatever I wanted without worrying about the mechanical functionality of the site I would probably post twice as much. Maybe that is a good thing after all.

Personally, I struggle with how much I say or don’t say with each post. It’s strange because Deborah who is far less personal in real life is sometimes more personal on her own blog and its vice-versa for me. I split up my own blog into basically four sections, one of those sections, called the Journal Category where I try to put my ongoing story or walk. Sometimes this works sometimes it doesn’t.

You are What’s Unique About Your Story

All that to say what makes blog articles or even posts to Facebook and Twitter unique is you, your story. It’s like no other. There is only one you and your experiences are different from everyone else. When I write an article about a new piece of technology or a review about a book I read, someone has inevitably already done that. It’s unique in my own way because my experience with that computer or book is different from someone else, but there is something different about posts from the heart about important issues that go on in their life. I love that. It’s authentic, it’s genuine, and it’s somewhat less filtered than anything I write.

I hope those bloggers below take this as a compliment and not a cut down but I have a very short, small list of blogs on my rss feed reader in a group that that I call my “a-list” (which purposely doesn’t include anyone I work with). These bloggers write straight from their hearts to the page. No fancy photos much of the time, no special SEO keywords for titles or content, traffic or stats to them seem basically unimportant, and for the most part design and platform are secondary concerns (although I will say the guys for some reason are far more concerned about design than the woman). I haven’t asked any of them this of course, it’s just a guess.

Somehow they have each individually captured my attention with the genuine manner in which they talk about their life. Funny most of them are woman. Seems that most men don’t want to talk about their personal life too much. The majority of my rss feeds are from the guys, but when it comes to being genuine and personal, the ladies do a far better job than we do.

So each time they do a blog post, I get to learn from them how to be a better blogger and writer, and hopefully how to better connect with other people. A great example of this is a post today that looks at the struggles of deep we get involved in the social networking of today instead of getting involved in people face to face. It’s a great look at why we blog, post on Facebook, and everything else that goes with being alive today, but it’s real.

So I say thanks to them here for helping me to continue to develop my blog and writing in a way that is real, genuine, and hopefully in a way that will connect with other people in a real way. I hope you might take a few minutes to scan through their blogs as well. The list below is their main blog address and their latest post.

Linchpin and the Art of Photography

This is the final followup from my previous posts, Are You a Linchpin, Assignment and an upcoming post Are You a Linchpin, Answer.  I took the above photo of Seth Godin back in 2009, see Tribes, We Need You To Lead Us by Seth Godin // Review, and shortly after I took that photo shoot, I gave up my art for dead.  I had spent the better part of 15-17 years chiseling away at my art of photography and had felt like I was rarely valued for that art (monetarily speaking). In fact, in over 15 years of actively shooting, I probably made less than $1,200 total ($1,000 of that coming within the last 6 months of that 15 years), on an investment of probably close to $30,000 or more in equipment.  With a degree in Accounting, schooled in the ways of business, that didn’t compute.  Expenses always have to be less than revenue, but I was looking at it totally wrong.

Rarely does a book motivate me to make an actual change. Many books motivate me, but not enough to do anything about it.  Linchpin on the other hand was one of those that just happen to light a fire under my feet and get me to look at my art in another way. Mainly, that an art is done for the sake of the artist, and those who receive his gift.  I knew this from the moment I picked up a camera, but over time and many other circumstances, I had forgotten that.

Profit, something which I was always taught was a simple mathematical formula; “revenue minus expenses equals profit”, was totally rearranged in Linchpin.  Godin explains profit, from the business side, as the value you, the artist, add or contribute minus the amount you are paid.  Same thing really as the MBA version, but when you look at the work, as “value” it adds something more than just money, it changes everything.

A fast food worker at McDonald’s can add a wide range of value to the company, yet they are pretty much all paid the same thing, minimum wage, so there is no reason to create or add value above a certain level, but that doesn’t mean some don’t create and add value where it is not needed or appreciated.  Brother Lawrence was one such person. A 17th century monk, and someone who had enormous value to add to all of society in his book of letters, spent much of his life doing dishes, as a cook.  His conversations with God and letters to his friends make an incredible book, and it is free, you can read it right now, doesn’t cost you a dime.

My art of photography had created value for years.  I gave it away to the wrong people, businesses and companies, and tried to charge those in my close circle.  So thanks Seth, I am going to get back to the business of creating my own unique art.  I don’t know how I am going to accomplish that, I have no equipment, no resources to buy any equipment, and at the moment, no clients to shoot for, but those are just details.  I have going on 2 decades of knowledge in my own art, the equipment is just a tool.