Breaking the Blogging Mold

I always struggle with introducing my blog because there’s not quite a category I fit into.  I don’t know the first thing about fashion or makeup, my DIY’s aren’t anything anyone would want to duplicate, I can’t cook much more than mac n’ cheese and bang bang cauliflower, and HTML is a foreign language I don’t even know how to say “hello” in.  So when I read that we’re supposed to have an elevator pitch for our blog – what we’re about and why – I struggle.

Generally speaking, I guess you’d call me a lifestyle blogger, but  I try not to write too much about my life just for the sake of writing about it.  You’ll probably never find an “if we had coffee” post here, but what you will find are feminist articles, personal essays, creative writing, and thoughtful discussions about inspiration and current events.  And if this mixed bunch of writing that I don’t know how to classify says anything about blogging, it’s that there’s room for everyone in the blogging world.

blogging mold

Be Yourself

This is advice you hear a lot in the blogging community, but that’s because it’s important.  Most of us ended up here, writing a blog, because it’s something we wanted to do; whether because we love writing, want to connect with other people, or because we feel we have something to share.  Don’t forget about that once you’ve been blogging for a while and have found a ton of really successful blogs out there.  Don’t let your reasons for being here change because someone else’s reasons have gotten results.

Blog What You Know

If you aren’t into fashion, and cooking a delicious three-course meal is the last thing on your mind, don’t blog about those things just because other bloggers do.  Blog about what makes sense to you, and what you enjoy talking about – I bet there are other people out there who like the same things, and would love to read a blog post about them.

If what you know is how to take care of birds, then that’s what you should blog about.  Or if you’re more well-versed in politics, then there are plenty of uninformed voters out there who would love to hear what you have to say about the candidates.  Maybe what you know the most about is something we’ve never even heard of, and that’s all the more reason you should write about it.

We Don’t All Fit Into a Mold

There are all kinds of blogs out there: fashion, design, travel, marriage, gourmet cooking… But we don’t all fit into those specific categories.  Even “lifestyle” can be restrictive if what you have to offer isn’t funny stories about your day-to-day life.

But the great thing about blogging is that you don’t have to fit into a mold.  There’s space for everyone, and if what you have to say doesn’t fit into a category, then make your own and figure out what you want to say and how you want to say it!

Get Good at Knowing What You Write

If you don’t fit into a category that most people know, that makes it harder to tell potential new readers why they should stop by.  Know what it is that you love talking about, and get good at telling people about that!  If you were talking to your best friend or your mom, what would you tell them your blog is about?  How would you describe it?  Figure that out and remember it for the next time you get asked what your blog is about.

This post first appeared as a guest post on The Charming.
  • Jae

    Thank you, dear Kiersten. You kind of let it all out on my behalf. I was able to absolutely relate with you on the first paragraph of this post. Regardless, I consider my little speck of space in the Internet a lifestyle blog, too.

    • Kiersten McMonagle

      I’m so glad to hear that! And I do as well, consider my blog a lifestyle, but I definitely don’t fit into the traditional “definition” of what that entails.

  • Ellie Rockhill

    I realized when I created my blog that I was so bored with people telling me that my blog had to be about just one thing. “You’ll confuse your audience,” “You’ll lose followers,” “People won’t know what to expect from you,” you know what’s funny? Of all that advice, none of it reflected on, oh I don’t know, ME. What if my blog is for myself? Not for my readers? Readers are great, but that kind of invalidates my work if I’m only producing for others. I think of the classic poetry and novels that were considered trash in their time, or were hidden in trunks and closets for decades until later on they became appreciated. Their original purpose was in and of themselves, not about fame or followers.

    I commend you, and say, ME TOO. I write about a million things and they’re not one thing that can be summed up in one or two adjectives. Feel free to write whatever you want—we’re reading, and you’re writing, and that’s what matters. :)

    • Kiersten McMonagle

      Oh my gosh I HATE tips like that! Like, if you don’t like what I blog about you don’t have to read it. But the idea that anybody has only this one thing they enjoy and are good at…it’s bizarre! If there are blog readers out there expecting that I only have this one interest then I think they’re delusional, and I’m not here to cater to that.

      I definitely blog for more than just me. I know that. I blog partially for me, but also for the community, for the audience, for getting my writing out there. But I’m not going to compromise who I am and what I enjoy writing about because it might get me more readers.

  • Chelsea

    I think realizing that you don’t have to fit into a mold is the first step in your blog becoming what you really want it to be!

    • Kiersten McMonagle

      I definitely agree!

  • Sheryl @ How to Make a Life

    Thanks for a great post and reminder. Over the past few weeks I feel like I got off track in regards to being true to me in order to pull in more readers. I’m now revamping and refocusing on what I love and believe it. After all, that is why I began to blog in the first place.

    • Kiersten McMonagle

      Thank you for reading it and commenting, Sheryl! It’s so easy to get caught up in what other bloggers are doing/writing. I find that it helps me to think “what’s EASY for me to get interested in and want to write about?” That’s usually what you should be writing.

  • Delia

    Thank you so much for writing this. I often struggle with defining my blog, and balancing running it for myself and attempting to attract and please my readers. Your blog really inspires me because you manage covering such a variety of topics in a successful way, and clearly you’re writing about what interests you!

    • Kiersten McMonagle

      Thank you for reading it, Delia! It’s definitely a difficult balance to find, and I think I’m still working on it. But it helps to know that just because there are bloggers out there who say you need to pick a topic and stick to it and be just really rigid…you don’t have to. At all. And you won’t be sacrificing readers or anything by pretending to be someone you’re not.

  • Sarah Christine

    I struggle with this all the time. I write about fashion about once a week and I write a beauty once in a blue moon, but past that I like to write about what is going on in my life, but not in your normal lifestyle blog sort of way instead I try to write to inspire others, share about my journey and hope that it will push others to start or continue on theirs.

    • Kiersten McMonagle

      I’m so glad I’m not the only one! And exactly – I’ll sometimes talk about my life and what’s going on, but I try not to do it in the “so this is what I did this weekend and here are some photos” kind of way.

  • Marielle

    Haha, I always struggle when I’m sponsoring other bloggers, and have to write an introduction for my feature post. I’m fine with not fitting the mold – my blog is just my blog, a peek inside my head instead of my life. I wish there were some umbrella term for bloggers like us, the lifestyle ones who don’t focus on daily life updates.

    • Kiersten McMonagle

      hahaha oh my gosh I’m AWFUL at that, although I think I’m finally starting to come up with something semi-decent. But I agree – I’d call myself a lifestyle blogger, but honestly if you look at what other bloggers define that as, I don’t “fit in.”

  • Lulu

    My blog doesn’t really fit neatly into any certain niche. I write about feminism pretty frequently, but other than that it feels like such a mixed bag! I don’t know if I could slap a label on it if I had to.

    • Kiersten McMonagle

      I’m exactly the same! I definitely have a couple topics I gravitate towards, but I also write other stuff too. And while I realize I do have certain topics that you can generally expect from me, none of it fits me into a certain category. I definitely couldn’t label myself either!

  • Trish

    I know what you mean. I would call myself a lifestyle blog as I like to incorporate actual life events as well. We share many topics between our blogs, so I definitely get it. Sometimes I feel like I am drowning in a sea of fashion/DIY/craft/food blogs. As I have searched for blogs like mine (to sponsor, or work together with) I have realized how few blogs there are like yours or mine. Which is kind of hard in the general sense (lack of community and because things like pinterest don’t work so well for me like they would a cupcake blog) BUT it’s also a huge plus because my (and your) blog doesn’t fit the mold…. something new :)

    • Kiersten McMonagle

      Absolutely! So much of the lifestyle blog community is SO similar – DIY, Food, here’s-what-I-did-this-weekend…. I just don’t fit into that. But like you said, I like to include some of my life, without getting too boring about it? I guess. It’s definitely hard to find other blogs like ours, but I think I love that when I do find one!

  • Alissa

    I don’t have a specific category for my blog but I consider mine lifestyle or personal I guess and it’s okay :)

    • Kiersten McMonagle

      I’m the same! I have a few topics that I love writing about, and I think that’s enough. I consider myself a lifestyle blog, but I definitely don’t fit into what that’s normally thought of as.

  • Brita Long

    Mine is a Christian feminist libertarian lifestyle blog. ;) I enjoy writing the lifestyle stuff, but with my own spin on it. And then I add in religious, feminist, and political posts! So much fun.

    • Kiersten McMonagle

      I love that mixture, because it’s not something I see anywhere else! And I love the way you write about those topics!
      I think that’s the best part of blogging – we all have something different to bring to the “table.” I just think that instead of seeing that, a lot of bloggers try to do what’s going to be popular or Pinterest friendly.

  • Melissa @ Freeing Imperfection

    This is such great advice for so many bloggers. At first, my blog really had no mold either. I started my blog to write about the struggles of being a perfectionist. That soon became too hard to write about daily so I started sharing recipes, workouts, and daily life posts. While I am really passionate about cooking and working out, I don’t like to deem my blog as a food blog or running blog, because it seems limiting. Rather, I just blog about everything I like!

    • Kiersten McMonagle

      I’m the same! I have topics I generally stick to, because those are the things I know and love writing about. But there’s not any one thing I stick to, and I definitely don’t fit into any typically understood “mold” like lifestyle, fashion, cooking…