Let me tell you a little secret about blogging:
You don’t have to be an ‘Expert’
on a topic to blog about it.
In fact, it seems to me that most Bloggers aren’t ‘Experts’, by definition. Sure, there’s plenty of bloggers out there who call themselves experts. And, I am sure that many of them actually are true experts.
A person with a high degree of skill in or knowledge of a certain subject. The highest grade that can be achieved in marksmanship. A person who has achieved this grade. Having, involving, or demonstrating great skill, dexterity, or knowledge as the result of experience or training.
And, then there are the bloggers who might not have started out that way, but who have truly become experts in their subject matter through the process of blogging. They’ve thrown themselves into their topic area head first, and have the knowledge and insight of a formally trained expert – sometimes more so. We look to them as opinion leaders, change makers and style-makers.
But most of us ‘other bloggers’ have simply chosen to talk about something we love. We aren’t formally trained. We don’t know every last thing there is to know about the topic we blog about. We just truly love it.
Now don’t think I’m all dissing on the experts. Experts certainly have their place. In my real job as a marketing planner, I get all giddy if an opportunity arises to talk to an expert in the field I’m researching. Why? Experts have the answers. Experts help me do my job more effectively, not to mention more efficiently.
People need experts.
They have value because they have done the research, legwork, and training that we can’t do on our own. Not only that, we rely on experts to see further down the road than we can. We cherish their insight and lean on their wisdom. Having an expert means that you can shortcut the process and achieve your goals quicker.
“Maybe it’s time you called yourself an expert.”]
So what does all this have to do with me and my little ol’ blog?
Well, over the past year since I started blogging, I’ve struggled with the whole ‘Expert thing’.
There’s been many times I thought to myself: what business do I have talking about decorating anyway? I’m not an expert by definition. I’m not even a formally trained interior decorator. I’m just a girl who loves decorating.
And, I’m an MBA for goodness sake. Wouldn’t I be better suited to blogging about marketing or advertising or branding – the profession I’ve spent close to 20 years learning? Maybe I should be putting my post-grad degree to work here instead of talking about something that has nothing to do with my profession or my academic training.
And then there are the days when I wonder (and admittedly worry) what others might think, especially those who know me… Does she think she’s an expert? What makes her think she knows so much about this stuff? She must think she knows more than me!
And, to all of that, I’d answer a big fat, emphatic “no”.
The thing I’ve discovered about blogging is that you don’t have to be an expert. You don’t have to be formally trained in your topic. You don’t have to know every last thing there is to know. (That is, as long as you don’t claim you’re an expert.) All you really need, my friends, is passion.
A state or outburst of such emotion.
Strong and barely controllable emotion.
So would I ever have chosen to start a blog about marketing, the area of my ‘expertise’? Probably not. It’s not that I don’t find joy in what I do for a living. I absolutely do. I am lucky enough to have a job that involves creativity. But I am already living out that passion every day. For me, starting a blog was a venue to live out something else I was passionate about. It was a chance to explore another talent that had gone un-nurtured all this time.
None of us are one-dimensional. We all have interests and talents and passions that aren’t nurtured. Remember when you were little and somebody asked: “What do you want to be when you grow up?” The answer usually went a little like this: “a dentist-a ballerina-a horse trainer- a movie star-and-a-soccer coach”. We wanted to be all of those things. None of us ever picked just one.
And then we went to high school with its sketchy career-matching tests, Career Days, and job shadowing. We were told to pick a career. ONE career. Hopefully, it was something that matched your DNA, but still, you could only be one thing. Talk about a lunch-bag let down.
Well, way back then, whenever I did those career matching tests, they always told me I should be one of two things: an architect or an interior designer. It didn’t surprise me. Even as a child, I was addicted to decorating and re-decorating my bedroom. Boyfriend troubles? I’d change around the furniture and the posters and re-style my bookshelf. After one break-up, I remember re-painting my white childhood dresser in green and purple fresco using “Debbie Travis’s Painted House” book as inspiration. Gotta love Debbie, but my parents were less than thrilled.
And so, I spent a day job shadowing an Architect, only to find him designing the government building that housed Driver’s Registration. Bleck. That wasn’t nearly as sexy as I thought it would be. So, for awhile, I settled on the idea of interior design. That was until I mentioned the idea to a teacher that I loved and respected.
I still remember the frown of disappointment. Apparently, she’d had much bigger dreams for me and my Straight A report card than a ‘frivilous’ career that focused on creating pretty homes and pretty things. She felt I was much better suited to being a doctor or a lawyer or an engineer. I believed her.
So off to university I went, and I dutifully earned my expected Straight As, my scholarships, my Dean’s List nods, my business degree and then an MBA, and landed my first real job before I was even out of school.
The whole time, though, I regretted the fact that my interior decorating passion couldn’t come along with me on my career journey. After all, there were marketing textbooks to study, research papers to write, exams to take,and then, later, client commitments to keep. It left little time for tinkering with pillows and paint chips.
But now and then, I’d sneak peeks in the decorating magazines in the “Current Periodicals” section of the university library when I should have been studying (shhhh). I filled the creative void with crafty diversions-de-jour that didn’t require life-altering career decisions – like cross-stitching, tole-painting (hey, don’t judge, it was the 90s, lol), pottery and sewing classes, and later scrap-booking and card-making.
My point of this (now long-winded) story is that passion counts. Sometimes passion even trumps expertise.
Blogging is a way to nurture your true passion, even if you aren’t an expert in the area (yet). A blog is a way to share that joy with the world. Your subscribers don’t expect that you know everything – unless you’ve told them you do, in which case they probably don’t believe you anyway. In my experience, the only expectations are the ones you put on yourself.
So if you’ve wondered why I blog – and why I blog about decorating – it’s because it’s my passion. I’ve been living and breathing it in since I was a child. It brings me joy. Plain and simple. I’m not an expert. I don’t claim to be. So you won’t find ‘expert advice’ here. But what you can find here, and on so many other blogs in the blogosphere, is a boundless enthusiasm for the topic I’ve chosen to share with the world.
I’ll leave you with a quote that I saw recently that resonates.
“Never give up on something
you can’t go a day without thinking about.”
For me, that ‘something’, is decorating. What’s yours?
So are you a Passion Blogger, an Expert Blogger, or both?
Have you thought about starting a blog based on your passion, but are too afraid to do it because you’re not an expert? What’s holding you back?
Have a happy bloggy day,