How to Discover Your Blogging Talents
By: Jennine Jacob

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Many years ago, I was meeting with a career coach, and he asked the dreaded question, “What are your strengths?” I froze, searching for answers and all I could come up with were the canned answers they tell you to say in interviews, like “I’m a hard worker.”  But to answer what I was really good at, what no one else could do, that was something I really couldn’t say with any amount of certainty. How could I find a new career without knowing what I was good at, much less what my strengths were?

When it comes to blogging in an over-saturated market, figuring out your strengths and identifying what sets your content apart from other blogs becomes a vital part of establishing your plan for growth. All the sudden writing about fashion “from my point of view” doesn’t seem to cut it anymore. Even the A-List bloggers have honed in on their strengths: Man Repeller has her humor, Style Bubble unearths emerging designers from the far corners of the earth, Cupcakes & Cashmere marries personal style with Martha Stewart. Some may call it a strong voice, I say it’s a strong voice coupled with the ability to identify their own personal talents.

So how do you figure out where your talents lie? Start by sitting down with a piece of paper and a pen (yes, the old fashioned way) and ask yourself the following questions:

 

What are you passionate about?

Are you passionate about fashion, photography, or figuring out the best ways to live on a small budget? Do you love writing and fashion is your muse? Are you fascinated by the way communication and media has changed since the advent of the internet. Are you the type who obsesses or do you just like to tinker? Write down everything you are passionate about, and look for themes.

Your passions may be your talents, but more importantly they are the seeds of your talents. If you aren’t the best photographer right now, but love taking photos, you will be more likely to practice until you are a talented photographer. I do not believe in natural born talent. While we all have seeds for talents, it takes practice to make them into anything useful. Read “Outliers: The Story of Success” by Malcom Gladwell, where he explains even the Beatles and Bill Gates had to practice and practice and practice before they achieved any sort of greatness. Having passion will propel you through the difficult sucking stage and keep you motivated honing in your talent.

 

What do people tell you are good at?

What do your readers tell you are good at? Are they your outfit posts? Your DIY posts? Your op-ed pieces? Your readers can be very vocal about your talents before you might even know you have them. You could just be trying something new out and find that you’re an ace DIYer and your crafting skills are fantastic. You might find out that you’re a whiz with your camera and take beautiful photographs. That post about hair trends might bring in tons of traffic.

In real life, people don’t gush over what’s good about you the way they might on your blog. At least in my life anyway. But there are times when people tell you what you are good at. Like organizing an event. Finding the perfect outfit for your friend’s job interview. Being a good listener in a time of need. Giving great advice. Keeping cool in an intense situation. Writing an amazing letter to a friend. Kicking ass in karaoke. Making the perfect cupcake.

People are more apt to keep doing what their peers tell them they are good at. If these are in line with your passions, you’ll have a better chance of developing them into useful talents.

 

Why should people care?

We all have talents that are somewhat useless, like tying a cherry stem in a knot with your tongue. Figuring out what your talent is that other people will find useful is another story. Usefulness can come in the form of being entertaining, funny, inspiring, educational, or just helps pass the time. Why should people care about your talents? Write it down. You might find that your talents can be useful to others, so you’ll have a better chance of creating a win-win situation where you are doing something you are good at, and your readers will benefit.

 

Practice, practice, learn, and practice more

I always loved writing, but I failed high school English twice. Thinking I would never be a writer, I gave up the dream, and went into a different professional field and continued writing as a hobby. It was unimaginable to fall into a new career where writing is the foundation (still afraid to label myself a writer) yet, here I am, a professional blogger. Because I practiced daily, I was able to overcome some horrible failures. And just about anyone can do this, especially nowadays with blog platforms, you can practice your passions until they turn into real talents.

 

Image by Natasha R. Graham via Shuttershock

 

Comments

  1. Avatar of Brooke Glasford

    This article is going to be SO helpful. For weeks I’ve been going over what I really want my blog to say, look like, sound like. So much so that I had a month long writer’s block from the lack of knowledge and just the sheer the frustration. Thanks for writing this!

  2. Fumi says:

    It is a bit overwhelming trying to start a blog with so many different people doing so many similar things. I think personality weighs heavily nowadays. Thank you for writing this.

  3. I like this article a lot!

    Growing up, I always wanted to be a storyteller in some capacity. In high school, my English teacher said I’d never make it as a writer because I’m not an “emotional thinker” (whatever that even means). As a teenager, I was determined to become the next Hitchcock. Things didn’t really turn out that way. At university, I studied English and fell in love with many writers, which led me to enrol in writing workshops. I discovered that I write terrible fiction! But, I enjoyed writing and continued it in different capacities. I started blogging in 2008 and while my blogs have come and gone, I never stopped. Today, I make a living through freelance writing. I’ll always carry my Hitchcock dreams in my heart, but I know that writing is what I’m destined to do. It just took me awhile to acknowledge that.

    I think that people become so focused on wanting to be something in particular that they don’t always realize the value in what they are already doing. Sometimes the two are connected in ways we aren’t able to see right away. I feel that many people who follow their passions have a similar journey to mine. There are always compromises. For example, my professional writing focuses on a topic I am NOT passionate about. But it allows me to write, and let’s be honest, there are worse jobs! I get to develop myself as a writer, and that trickles down to my blogs.

    It’s important to remember that every experience has value and every dream takes patience.

  4. I love the tips. Great inspiration. xo

  5. Avatar of Angelica Lainis

    Thank you so much for this! It’s so true and resounds quite loudly in myself. Practice what you love. Do what you love. Put effort into what you love and you’ll reap rewards.

  6. Laura says:

    Great article. It is such an inspiration to have these kind of people in this world. People who never give up and keep fighting till the very end till they reach their goal. I always look up to these people and I hope I will manage to reach my goals as well !

  7. bhakti says:

    this post is so awesome, it has made me think what are my strengths and actually i am still thinking, and how to use them to my advantage.
    it is true , so well put, practise and perfect it. especially what you love . cause then you will perfect it as well as practice it even better.

    xoxo
    bhakti
    http://bhakti-pinkandeverythingthatgirlswant.blogspot.in/

  8. Avatar of Kholá
    Kholá says:

    My best advice regarding my blog? Stay true to yourself. That has taken me many more places than if I had strayed.

  9. Mona says:

    Hi there,

    Nice article. I also agree with most of the comments mentioned above. The thing which intrigues me the most about blogging is that one can express themselves so freely without the pressure of deciding whether your write ups are worthy enough to be published or not by some magazine. I am trying to stick to it. So that slowly, steadily it builds up my confidence in my own work(though I don’t get much time to work on it).

    If you have time please visit my blog:
    http://deactivated-neurons.blogspot.com/

  10. Ana says:

    I am passionate about curating and showing talented people to the rest of the world.

    Am I good at it?
    Well, I’ll just have to wait for the public’s response.
    For now, I’m happy to be doing what I love.

    (And love what you said about born talent. Practice, practice, practice!)

  11. I definitely agree that listening to what other people tell you you’re good at is helpful. The other day, I ran into an aquaintance from school who said she reads my blog at work when she needs a good laugh (she meant she laughs at what I write, not at what I’m wearing). Before that comment, I wasn’t really sure if my humor was appreciated. Now that I know that at least one person thinks that my humor is a reason to come back to my blog, I know that I should try to include my sarcastic wit in every post :)

    Sarah’s Real Life

  12. Linda says:

    I thought this post was really useful, especially for the new class of bloggers just starting out now, which I guess includes myself! It’s definitely all about the details, and personality above all else.

  13. Avatar of Suna Parlak
    Suna Parlak says:

    I’m agree with you Natasha R.Graham !
    This article tells us the truth about the thing.

  14. Great advice! I’m stilling working on finding a theme for my blog. I have a lot of intersts so it’s just pulling them all together.

  15. Avatar of YOUniform
    YOUniform says:

    thanks a lot. it is really useful and it gives tips that can help to underline and understand our talents. thanks

  16. Avatar of Travelle McFarland

    Inspirational article. I feel the same way about my writing. I love to write poetry, but I have such a hard time with getting ideas out on paper.

  17. THANK YOU SO MUCH for writing this article! To how I’ve been feeling the several (possibly more) months… you nailed it exactly!! This article has been very helpful :)

    CM

  18. MissAnaMon says:

    I’m trying to officially start my blog but I haven’t decided on exactly what to blog about. Writing and travel have always been my passions, but I wonder how authentic a travel blog would be if I’m not currently globetrotting the world? I’ll try out this exercise you point out here to see if I can narrow it down. Thanks for the wonderful tips! IFB inspires me daily.

  19. Christina says:

    Thank you so much for writing this!! You have forced me to do it the old fashioned way and write things down. And now, my mind is less cluttered and I can see my ideas in a somewhat more organized way! I’m starting out my blog and it’s definitely been a problem figuring out “my perspective.” Even after reading this, I’m not 100% sure of what I’m going to put out there. Thank you, though, for giving me the boost of help I needed in venturing out into the blogging world!

  20. MAHSA says:

    great job.that was so beautiful………..

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