In twenty minutes of leisurely Googling I found 66 blogs on simplicity, minimalism, and personal development. This genre has taken off in the past couple years and with Zen Habits leading the way, is becoming very popular. I'm very new to blogging and entrepreneurship, but even I know that with so much competition it can be nearly impossible to differentiate myself. How is this website any different from the hundreds of other blogs that write about the same stuff? What makes me think that I can write anything that hasn't been written before on one of these other blogs?
The short answer to that question is that I'm not sure what I'm doing here is standing out in anyway. The general advice is to usually find a niche and become the authoritative voice for your little corner of a subject. What is my niche? Twenty-something college graduates that couldn't find a job and are living at home with his parents and four little brothers? Or, maybe more optimistically, twenty-something coaches and teachers with a passion for learning and teaching? Or maybe my niche is taking aspects of simplicity and minimalism and applying a more academic or philosophical bent? Or maybe it's focusing on the experiential and personal in my own quest for simplicity?
I don't know what my niche is right now, and honestly, I'm OK with that. This blog has been an incredibly personal reflection tool for me over the past few months. It has forced me to sit down and write a little bit almost every day. It has forced me to think about these aspects of life that I find interesting. It has helped me learn how to articulate what I'm thinking and, more importantly, why I'm thinking that way. Even if my blog is lost in obscurity among the hundreds of similar ones, the personal gain I have experienced has made this effort worthwhile.
Of course, I would love to somehow find my niche and experience the popularity explosion that the most well known blogs in this genre have experienced. However, that cannot be my ultimate goal. My purpose with this blog is first and foremost to poke, prod, and challenge myself. Secondly, I want to help other people examine their own lives and thoughts through my writing.
In the past I have worried too much about doing something that someone else had already done. Instead of starting a blog, I'd spend my time thinking about how my blog would be different or better than every other blog. Instead of being an invigorating thought, I would immediately get discouraged by the thought of all these well-established blogs overshadowing my own efforts. This time, the big difference was that I just started writing every day and putting my words out there. I stopped worrying about what other blogs were doing and focused on what I could actually control, my own output. Maybe at some point I'll reach a level of success where I can spend more time thinking about how to make my blog more popular, but right now my focus is solely on content. At the very least, this blog is a great personal tool even if I never have another set of eyes look upon it.
I hope that if you've found my writing interesting in the past you will continue to do so in the future. I would love for you to drop a comment on an article, send me an email, catch me on Twitter or Google+ and start a conversation with me. I want to talk and think about this stuff with you and I hope this blog is a valuable starting point for your own exploration of your life.