An old friend once said that your area of expertise should be an inch wide and a mile deep. Basically, one should have a very narrow specialty and be the most knowledgeable person in the world on the topic. It makes sense unless, like me, you are interested in dozens of different distinct things.
In the blogging world, many people dive in head first knowing exactly what their thing is. Fitness routines for Star Wars nerds, credit card point optimization for frequent fliers, pun-laden reviews of terrible movies, homeschooling for vegan families living out of a Sprinter van, etc. Others start writing and eventually find their grove and carve out their niche. Finally, there are people like myself, who have been blogging with passionate aimlessness for, oh, 13-some-odd years.
It’s funny because I have probably
spent wasted hundreds of hours and a few trees brainstorming what unique perspective I can offer and, at the end of the day, I just can’t commit. The shelves of my archives are stocked with book reviews, sewing projects, a recipe or two, short stories, commentary on social issues, documentation of my health journey, things I’ve learned, poetry, compilations of interesting things, and critical thoughts one might benefit from considering. It’s the written equivalent of everything-but-the-kitchen-sink soup, where you toss all the leftover produce into a dish at the end of the week and say a prayer. It’s a mishmash but, somehow, it works.
Every now and then, I look at my site stats and I laugh. Based on my top posts, I couldn’t tie together a theme if my life depended on it. Top posts include: 1) an overview of the Smith-Mundt Act, which allows propaganda by American entities on American soil, 2) lessons on love at my 5-year anniversary, and 3) an anecdote about my weird hiccups (and accompanying audio which has been downloaded a disturbing number of times). I have dozens of more thoughtful and interesting posts, in my option, many of which took hours of research and refinement, and which are collecting dust.
Apparently, people would rather to listen to backwards hiccups, find romantic inspiration, and get a civics lesson from some internet rando who got into a tizzy over the misrepresentation of the Rittenhouse trial by mainstream media. Now that I think about it, I suspect, those are three unique types of visitors. Likely, each subcategory of nonsense attracts its own reader–the sewist, the avid reader, the libertarian, the creative writer, and the chronic health sufferer. I’ve invited everyone to sit around my table, where they may strive, fruitlessly, to find anything in common.
To become the expert in one topic, I know what would be required. I would need to view the entire world through a singular lens. I could frame civics through a sewing lens, and likely be the only person in the world who would take interest. I could write fiction on chronic illness, but the target audience would not likely have the energy to ever discover it.
Most of my favorite blogs have adopted the inch-wide-mile-deep model, and it’s great because you know exactly what to expect. Yet, when it really comes down to it, I can’t see my ideas ever fitting into a tidy little box, and I certainly don’t have the energy to maintain a dozen separate, specialized landing strips. So, here I am: the nicheless wonder! And I kind of love my little slab of internet real estate, and its dozens of inch-wide-mile-deep cracks.
I’m sure the desire to tie things up with a lovely ribbon will persist, but today I’m happy humoring myself with this ridiculous little hodgepodge of a home.
Do you write on a narrow topic and limit you blog to that, or do you shameless share everything that catches your fancy? Either way, blogging is wonderful, so keep it up!