Curiosity Killed the Cat, but it Saved the Blogger!

As a blogger your job is to take a close look at the world and share your interpretation. Readers come to you looking for up to date information, but even more importantly, they want to hear what YOU have to say about the world around them.

Can you give your readers what they are after?

Can you do it every day? For the next year, two years, or even the rest of your life?

As Leo discussed recently, blogging isn’t always easy. Fortunately there’s something that will help you keep your blog alive and growing even after your initial excitement has died: cultivating curiosity and becoming insanely interested.

Insanely interested in your topic, and insanely interested in everything.

Here’s why:

1. It keeps you going:
For a person looking at the world with both eyes open, there is always a new post idea waiting behind the corner. Looking at your kid learning to turn around might be a lesson in perseverance.

Seeing a metro cart painted like the New York subway to advertise a local newspaper may tell you about creating word of mouth marketing. There is no shortage of ideas for someone with an insanely interested mind.

2. It gives you perspective:
People come to you looking for an opinion. It’s your thoughts they are after, so you’d better make sure they are interesting.

Base your thinking on a broad understanding on how the world operates, tie in a few thoughts from different areas of science, art or politics and you will be providing real value to your visitors.

3. It helps you find new readers:
Sometimes in your blogging you get to the point where you have to reach outside your current neighborhood to find new readers.

When you analyze your blog you might notice that your niche isn’t exactly what you originally thought it would be, and by thinking about your other interests you can find more readers to it.

For example I started my blog targeting software developers, but after a while realized that I wasn’t really writing about software at all. People interested in food and coffee would enjoy my blog just as much as software engineers.

4. It makes it easier for you to change:
The world keeps changing. It?s a cliche but it’s true: what was the newest trend in your niche yesterday will be old news tomorrow.

By having a broad range of interests you can find new ideas from other niches and be the first one to bring them to yours. This way you stay on top of the change and instead of following, you?ll be leading the troops.

5. It makes your life interesting:
I started this day by visiting my balcony to see how my Labneh cheese was doing. Then I peeked in the fridge to see that my bread starter was OK. On my way to work I used the commuting time for reading a book.

And still at night after getting to bed I spent half an hour looking for information on what happened in 1989 from Wikipedia — on my mobile phone (My wife asked me that question and I couldn’t give up on it until I knew the answer).

Six Steps to Getting Interested

When you’re interested in everything, your life is full of questions, inspiring challenges and learning opportunities, both online and offline. But how do you do it?

Here are a few tips to get you started. But most importantly, it’s a state of mind: practice, practice, practice. The more you learn, the more you’ll enjoy it!

1. Maintain a positive attitude:
First and most importantly, in order to grow a curious, insanely interested mindset you need to practice optimism. Kill cynicism. Don?t accept criticism too early. In your vocabulary, replace “I can’t” with “I can”.

2. Check things out:
When the questions what?”, “when?”, “why?”, and “how?” cross your mind, stop and think. Most of us just ignore the questions, but if you want to nurture a curious mindset, stop and find out the answer.

What special events took place in 1989? Check out the list of events in Wikipedia and you’ll see that 1989 was one of the most interesting years in modern history. (And the year I turned 9)

3. Ask questions:
The more questions you ask, the more you’ll learn. Ask questions from yourself and figure out the answers.

Ask questions from your readers and friends and they’ll tell you their stories. Don’t be afraid to ask hard questions because even if you don’t get good answers you’ll learn in the process.

4. Read:
Always have a book or few open. In my bedroom I have a pile of books I?m currently reading: one of them is fiction, one non-fiction.

In my backpack I have another non-fiction book that I read on the bus on my way to work. And in my RSS feed I keep a wide variety of blogs
from different niches.

By reading you learn new ideas that you had never thought by yourself. Then you can process them into your own unique ideas to share on your blog. And to earn money you can write book reviews with affiliate links!

5. Keep your eyes open:
The world is full of amazing things to see. Keep your eyes open, be thankful and enjoy the small things. Look at the bright colors of fall, the life in big cities. Be inspired.

6. Action:
If you have a blog, you’re already doing something (If you don’t have one, the best time to get one is today).

But it doesn’t have to end there: Use your imagination and make small gradual changes to improve your posting quality, visibility and monetization. Do interviews. Try out guest blogging. Try writing to offline publications. Try making a video or a podcast.

To keep your mind open, always keep doing something new. And every now and then you should do something completely unrelated to blogging (like cooking or bungee jumping). It will come back to improve your blogging when you least expect it.

Keeping your eyes open. Ask questions and finding answers to them. Do something.

For additional reading: Check out Problogger’s excellent The Curious Blogger and How to Be Curious

About Jarkko Lane

Dad. Micro-publisher. Home baker. Programmer. Insanely interested in everything.

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