The oncoming cold weather of late Fall affects me in ways most bloggers don’t have to deal with. For me it means my thyroid acts up and affects everything I do, including my blogging. It means being behind on all my blog reading, not to mention my writing and the goings on in the blogosphere. It also forces me into the position of sometimes being a copycat blogger, perpetually writing about a topic others have already covered, and occasionally getting the details wrong due to poor short-term memory. But the copycat part comes from an earlier incorrect shift in thinking. Read on and hopefully you’ll see what I mean.

Blog Action Day and the Environment

I’ve missed out on some important blogosphere events lately. One is Blog Action Day (BAD), where bloggers write about the environment. It’s a very honorable cause about a subject that affects us all: the health of Earth’s ecosystem. But that is not what I’m doing in this post. Not quite.

My favorite BAD post of those I’ve read so far is Brian Clark’s The Butterfly Effect at Copyblogger, and how little changes caused by us can affect the environment. The concept is an application of of Chaos Theory and “strange attractors”.

Brian very succinctly and beautifully covers some concepts that have been dear to me for a long time. I’ve been talking about Chaos Theory, the Butterfly Effect and Quantum Mechanics since 1989, but most especially in the mid 1990s. My old monthly print magazine, Chaos Review, was an attempt to discuss Chaos Theory and the Butterfly Effect in a more accessible manner, with a sugar coating of music, film/TV and book reviews thrown in.

Recognizing Your Passion

“Chaos” was not a household word in 1993, and even my good friends and acquaintances laughed at me. As Brian pointed out, the Butterfly Effect concept essentially suggests that small actions upon the environment taken by someone in one locale could have a cumulative or amplified negative impact somewhere else in the world.

This is why I believe that we could be in for some major environmental impacts in the decades to come. I say that from a theoretical math viewpoint, not from a political viewpoint.

But I had a tough time selling this idea to my friends back then. My problem? I made the mistake of discussing it in person, and with people who weren’t really receptive in the first place. That’s something you need to understand fundamentally about blogging: you’re blogging for those who might be interested, not for the readers who think they know everything or don’t care.

While I did write about the Butterfly Effect in my Chaos Review magazine (and other regional papers), one small-circulation monthly rag was not going to make a difference – even though copies of my mag found their way to the USA, Germany, Australia and New Zealand, from Canada.

My missed opportunity was not sticking with the topic, and not recognizing the Internet for what it was: the perfect vehicle for ideas – even supposedly crackpot ones. And the irony was that I’d even been a search engine webmaster and was a web programmer/ consultant. And I still couldn’t see the opportunity, blinded by my emotional reactions and other more personal factors.

Sometimes, the answer is staring you in the face. Nevertheless, by the time I started blogging in 2002, I’d left Chaos Theory behind and gone back to my old study of personal goal achievement, writing about it for my first blog. That didn’t last long because my thought was “who wants to read this stuff online?” My mistake. I’d spent many years helping people set and achieve goals, but missed the opportunity to be an authority online. Look how well Steve Pavlina and others have done with that niche on their blogs.

Realization or Lost Opportunity?

Once again, my big mistake: not recognizing an oportunity with something I was passionate about, and thus not sticking to it.

Are you recognizing a pattern here? Do you suffer from non-stick blogging? Do you flit like a butterfly but not sting like a bee?

I let external influences affect me – other people’s personal reactions. But my passion didn’t dissipate; it went into hiding. And this is something that I very much hope that you do not allow to happen to you.

Out of these lessons, I’ve learned a few things very relevant to blogging:

  1. Your friends can disagree with you and you can still be right.
  2. Do not let their disagreement put a dent in your passion, even if they’re a good friend. (Unless of course you’re a nut intent on hurting people.)
  3. Emotion can blind you to opportunities.
  4. Reactions to the same words in print can be drastically different than reaction to those words verbally.
  5. If you’re passionate about something, your writing “voice” will reflect it, and those receptive to it will find you.

Conclusion

Those last two points are particularly important. People aren’t always receptive to dense concepts in person. The same information in writing gives them the option to choose time and place. And if you have passion and your “voice” is true, you’ll have supporters – and possibly detractors far nastier than your friends; emotional vampires bent on making others miserable like themselves.

Ignore the vampires; focus on the passion. Share your unique viewpoint on your chosen topic. In a mass of about a billion Internet users, your future supporters will find you and your passion.

Unless of course you tuck your tail, give up your passion, and start yet another blog about X, parroting what everyone is already saying – a blog sin I’ve committed many times.

So would you rather blog about something dear to you or be a copycat blogger? Your passion play is lurking within you. Find it, let it out.

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