"Write what you know" is a well-worn advice to writers. Along similar lines is the advice: "write what you feel passionate about." While I do see the merit in both sentiments, I also realise that they can be very limiting.
For example, I never would've written articles on credit cards or travel insurance for Elle Magazine if I had to rely on knowledge and passion alone. I never owned a credit card or bought travel insurance before I wrote those articles. I probably wouldn't have chosen to write about them either, if not for my editor. Yet, I was glad that I received the assignments. Writing those pieces not only gave me bylines in a fancy glossy magazine (and accompanying cheques) - it also educated and enriched me. Although I started out feeling glum with the topics to begin with, I ended up happy that I was pushed to go out of my "writing comfort zone."
However, now that I've pretty much stopped writing for magazines and other publications, I no longer have editors to challenge me to go past certain boundaries that I've grown accustomed to. As I moved more and more in to the sphere of personal publishing through blogging, I felt that I had to rely only on myself more and more for ideas, for inspiration...
In the beginning, that was just liberating... exhilarating, even. The freedom to be able to write whatever I want, whenever I want, however I want... How wonderful!
But, no matter how fantastic that is, I now realise that I need something different at times. Something more.
I need to have the need to push the limits. To get past "comfort zone writing/blogging."
How do I that without deadlines, without editors?
Then, it struck me that I do have something more. Something better. Or, rather, someone.
Although I started this personal blog as a way to express myself, it has slowly evolved in to becoming a way to connect with other people. I am here not just because of me. I am here because of you too. Because you're here. Because I know that you come here and read what I have to write. So, this blog is not just about me anymore. It's about you.
And, that's just how I like to look at it the moment.
So, instead of writing just what I know and what I feel passionate about, I want to know what YOU know and what you feel passionate about.
What are you interested in? What are the things that you enjoy reading? What do you like to talk about with your friends and family? What makes you happy? What makes you mad?
What do you look for when you come to this blog? What do you want to see more of?
Tell me why you're here. What got you here? Why do you come back?
Or, if those things are too much to ask, just let me know that you've passed by. I'd love to return the favour even just to say hello.
Oh, and don't worry about just saying "nice things". I won't mind some constructive suggestions too. I'm here to learn from what you have to say.
Image by Keith M.
Shai has been managing and blogging here at ShaiCoggins.com for 17 years. Here, she writes about creativity, productivity, and how to recharge for a better, happier lifestyle. She is the author of Today: Life Journal, Colour Bliss: Kaleidoscopes, and a little known children's book. A serial entrepreneur, Shai also currently runs Vervely.com, a boutique digital media agency offering online content, community, and conversion marketing services. Her blogging experience and digital work have been featured in various media, including being listed in Fast Company's "Most Influential Women in Technology" list. Originally from Manila, Shai lived in Singapore and the USA before moving to Australia with her British husband. They have two children, a pet bunny, and a rambunctious rescue Labrador.