Figuring out what you really want out of blogging


image by Victor Bezrukov

I've always wondered if there was a way to make a living being fabulous, or in the very least being myself.

Glossing over the vast majority of blogs out there, it may seem like we all want the same thing, but if you look closer at what's really going on, there's a lot of variety in terms of opportunities. Figuring out what you want will not only help develop your blog, it will help you get the most out of your experience.

When I first started The Coveted, I had no idea what I wanted, or why start blog in particular. At the time I was seeing a career coach because I wanted to change careers, and a blog just kind of evolved out of the sessions, mostly from trying to figure out what I even liked, and what I was passionate about.

It turns out that figuring out what I want is probably one of the hardest things. My dad jokes about the first time he took me to a toy store, he asked me what I wanted, I said, “EVERYTHING!!!!!” Though I often wonder exactly how true that story is, I do know that deciding specifically  what I want has always been very difficult. I've often struggled with wanting specific things because I wasn't confident that I deserved them, much less achieve them. Overcoming that challenge is something that I deal with even today, but it doesn't stop me from getting more specific about what I want and taking steps toward achieving it. Particularly when it comes to blogging.

Here are some of the first steps I took towards figuring out what kind of blog I want….

What is a successful blog?

First thing, is I look around and see who is already doing the things I'd like to do. Who do I admire? What do they do? In blogging I have a number of blogs on my list which I admire for different reasons…

  • is it one that gets a lot of attention?
  • does it make a lot of money?
  • is it interesting?
  • does it engage the readers?

What do you want to gain from blogging?

Looking at what I admire, and what some people are able to do with their blogs, it doesn't mean that I want to achieve the same thing. Everyone has different gifts to bring to the world, and what sounds like a glamorous career, may in reality entail tasks that are completely wrong for my personality and my talents. I've had to really differentiate what I thought I wanted and what I actually wanted…

  • a job in fashion?
  • to start my own business?
  • to change careers?
  • to meet new people?
  • to market my products or skills?
  • to have a creative outlet?
  • to have fun?

There are a lot of bloggers with interesting jobs that have stemmed out of their blogs. Some are photographers, editors, writers, some work in PR, social media marketing, blogging, SEO consultants, web design, fashion design, styling, personal shoppers, consultants, web entrepreneurs. There's a lot of directions one can take.

Expand on what you like and make it useful to others

I look at the elements of blogging I like and see what possibilities can come from them. However, if it's not useful to other people, it fast becomes boring drivel that no one's interested in. A lot of times I have to ask myself, “I like this.. but how is it useful?”

I've noticed over the past few years that the things I enjoy the most out of blogging actually have been recurring themes in my life: writing, socializing, getting people together, playing dress up. For the longest time, I thought bargain shopping was completely frivolous, but talking about it is useful to other people. It saves them money. Playing dress up helps inspire other people to try new things in their wardrobe. It turns out that there are careers that can cater to all of those things, it' just a matter of finding or creating them.

Figure out what you really want, you deserve it.


How to figure out what you should really be doing with your life

How to set goals

iCiNG: Transformation Challenge

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24 Responses

  1. Ashe Mischief

    Wonderful post! It makes me think a lot about why I started my own blog, and how it really hasn’t landed there at all. It makes me want to incorporate a lot more of my original vision in to the blog… it’d be intriguing to see how it affects all of the other elements!

  2. grechen

    LOL, i just wrote a FABULOUS comment and it disappeared 🙁 so forgive me if this one is not up to par…

    this is such a simple message – it should be easier, right? i think my problem is that i’m still struggling to find my “place” – really, where i *am.* if you don’t know where you are, how can you get where you want to go? this is top on my list of priorities – then working on setting goals to get me where i want to be.

    i think my problem has been that i’m still trying to pretend that i’m just doing this for “fun.” not that i’m not, but now, my blogs are my only source of income, so while i’m having fun, i must also think about how to produce and perform to maintain and then grow my income level. my blogs are a “business” now (gasp!) and they need to be treated as such…that’s where goal setting and planning need to play a much bigger role than they have for me in the past…

    but it all really does come down to figuring out what you really want, then going after it. that is the only way to measure success in business, and in life! thanks for the reminder jennine 🙂

  3. meligrosa

    well said jennine.
    I do it for fun, and to entertain myself. also to keep track of my bike treks. people seem to enjoy it.
    Ive love your blogging since the first months! & it’s been beautiful to see the blog and you as a blogger engaging us, blossom! <3

  4. Sandra

    I have been working with a career coach off and on for about a year. I also do a lot of career book, self improvement reading. In fact, I’ve been doing this sort of thing for about 10 years now because I have never been able to figure out what exactly I want to do.

    I have done so much career research and coaching that I am actually contemplating it as a career. But I am just like you, I want it all, I want to do it all. I thought I had ADD for a while. Then I read this book called Renaissance Soul, and it basically talks about personalities that can and thrive to achieve in many disconnected areas. I coupled that with another book recommended by Jonathan Fields, (a blog I highly recommend) called is your Genius at Work?

    My conclusion, I think, is that I am trying to figure out where I can use my unique talents in a way that makes me feel alive. Easy right? LOL.

  5. tracy Porter

    Such wise advice!! I love that you are encouraging bloggers to truly look inside and see what it is they really want to achieve through blogging. sometimes you start at one point and then magically end at another not knowing it was going to take you there! I think it is incredible the ” voice” one is able to find through blogging, I follow so many blogs and love watching the evolution of blogging…i do believe it will change the way even high school graduated view the idea of going to college…or not. So many possibilities for people now…and blogging is an easy entry to many worlds!
    love yours… great to read, always appreciate your tips, thanks for sharing!!
    Tracy porter

  6. Simone S

    I love this article..I really believe that my blog will take me to new heights.. Sometimes when I hear a compliments about my site it seems so surreal.. I always ask myself..” is it really that good??” But I’ve learned to accept the compliments & continue to be the best at what i do..

    As far as it becoming a lucrative business that’s my ultimate goal… I really want to capture a great read for my audience while making $$$ all at once…

    Thanks for the insight… I’ll continue to evaluate my forthcomings..And hopefully my blog will reach the level of success as yours..

  7. lisa

    Great advice, Jennine. I’m still trying to figure out what I want from my blog, but after having blogged for so long and now writing for Stylefinds, I think I’m increasinly attracted to fashion writing and I want to pursue more opportunities in this area in 2009. Part of that is developing my blog content so that it’s the best that I can make it.

  8. Jennine

    ❤ashe… oh wow, what was your original vision? that’s interesting to think about the original vision and how things evolved. i tried doing street fashion in the beginning, and i totally suck at it. i wonder what would happen if i took it up again?
    ❤grechen… oh what a good point… things change when you’re not blogging for a hobby anymore, and bringing it up to that professional level, what you want becomes so important… being as we didn’t leave our day jobs to get caught up in something we never wanted to begin with. it’s something i struggle with a lot.
    ❤meli… your blog makes me want to come back home so bad, and get on a bike and follow you around. 🙂
    ❤sandra… you totally hit the nail on the head. i pondered that stuff for years, and i still ponder it.
    ❤tracy… thank you. yes, it’s amazing how people evolve, and the great thign about blogging, is you can see it happen right before your eyes. and if you’re looking back at yourself, you can see how far you’ve come
    ❤simone… it’s strange to hear the first compliments about your work. i know i felt strange because i didn’t really know that anything i had to say was all tthat interesting.
    ❤stylishthought… oh i agree, a lot of times, its the possiblites that are overwhelming.. but baby steps are a good plan. i did that myself mostly with IFB, and i wouldn’t change it for the world.
    ❤lisa… you can totally make it. it sounds like you have the focus. awesome.
    ❤eileen… story of my life. 🙂

  9. Diabolina

    Thanks for the great advice. Just starting to see all the roads open to me because of my blogging and having a tough time prioritizing what I want. Probably because I am like you in that toy store 🙂

    appreciate the perspective!

  10. Ashley K

    Great advice! My blog is still really new (around 3 months old), and I started it just to have fun, meet new people, and stop boring my boyfriend with my constant fashion talk. But the more I learn about blogging, the more I realize I need to streamline my vision, and create a niche for my blog. This post definitely has made me start thinking more about what I want to get out of this whole process. Thanks so much!

  11. Sarah Edwina Rose

    Great topic and so relevant to me at the moment, after Christmas I had a bit of a blogging identity crisis so to speak!

    I keep wondering what direction I am taking and which I wish to take. Outfit post blogs get a lot of hits but is that really me? I think I am forgetting the real reason I started my blog, it began as a creative writing outpouring to distract me from my boring job.

    Now I feel almost competitive and have started caring about stats which I never aimed to do! I will definitely be sitting back and thinking over the points you mention

  12. Beka

    This is fabulous advice! I often think about what the point of my blog is. And as I read your list of questions, I found myself answering “yes!” to each one. Maybe I’m a bit like little Jennine when it comes to blogging: wanting everything in the fashion blogging toy store. I think now, I’m going to sit down, and figure out my goals. Great advice!

  13. apricot tea.

    Jennine, thank you so much for writing this. I have been trying to find my individual voice in my blog, while trying to decide WHY I’m doing it. Reading this brought me some clarity. & for that I thank you. :]

  14. InstantVintage

    This is an excellent post. I think we’ll all be able to benefit from it or at least (re)think our blogs. Oddly enough, I’ve been trying to figure out what I’m trying to do with mine and this was right on time.


  15. Sweety P

    Thank you for writing this! I had to change my url because the spelling was wrong. Also, I am planning to add my blog to my resume because it’s like my portfolio of work. I’m currently trying to figure out what I should write about next. But, I just can’t think of anything. I just went back to school today so maybe I will get inspired by something in one of my art classes. I’ll see. Thank you again.

  16. Stylish Thought

    This is so relateable and real, I love how honest you are with all of us. I think a lot of times not knowing exactly what I want comes from wanting so much. They’re all so many things that I’m interested in doing that I get all worried and stressed and end up accomplishing none of them. I’m there with you on getting nervous about not knowing which direction to take.

    Lately, I’ve been taking baby steps with this and writing down the things that I want in the order of importance to me and starting there. I do this with my blog as well. I write out all the things I want to accomplish with it and start with that list as a stepping stone. It’s helping keep me focused and organized and hopefully one day I’ll come close to accomplishing some of my goals on the list. Right now, I’m on goal #1: Writing more and writing better content… true baby steps.

    Thanks so much for putting words to what I’m sure so many bloggers are thinking about.

  17. Leah

    Thanks so much for this Jennine! I also struggle in figuring out exactly what I want to achieve and I’ve felt as if I’ve been drifting lately. Right now, I’m taking a mini-break from blogging to focus on my offline life (exams come first!) but I think that the time could be useful in mulling over these things.

  18. MsUnreliable

    Great post, very thought provoking! I think I knew what I wanted to achieve when I started my blog, but I think I’m going in a very different direction! My aim was to have a blog that could one day act as my online portfolio for my dream job as a design journalist, but I have a feeling that my writing style is way too informal and possibly even a little quirky. I’m not sure that will get me published in the “real” world, but I simply can’t NOT be myself and share things I love every day. I do write for another design blog and I try to be more serious and formal there, but I don’t know how much time I can devote to writing for free anymore…times are tough people!

  19. Sondra

    This is why I like this blog so much! It has to be THE most informative blog on the web. Thank you so much for putting this out there. I blog mostly because I love fashion and beauty. If I could get a job reading glossy mags all day long, that would be great! I love to blog because it’s fun to me. It’s my creative outlet.
    This is what I needed to hear. Thank You!!