I’m struggling, y’all!
I’ve built my website and written blogs that are intended to be inspirational, motivational and uplifting. The things I’ve written are 100% true. I believe every word. I’m disgustingly optimistic by nature. Those who tend to be naturally pessimistic become irritated by my presence. I just can’t help it. I get really excited about how amazing life is and want everyone to share in the experience.
But here’s the rub…
I have resisted to post things that are dark or gritty or somehow off-topic because every author and internet “influencer” tells me I have to pick a niche and stay within the lines. Be specific. Brand your work. Solve a problem. Strategically schedule your posts on social media. Engage with others in your field. Offer more than you ask. Provide value. Yada, yada. And I know these things are true. However…
Those of you who know me personally are probably not surprised that my inner rabble-rouser is feeling stifled by so many pesky rules.
The thing is, there are things that I want to write about that are not going to tell you how to follow your dreams or live your best life. Instead I want to tell you about my own chaotic version of motherhood and co-parenting, my resurrected relationship, my on-again off-again relationship with myself or with church and all the other things that make me want to shout, “Hey you guys, I just figured something out!” I also want to tell you stupid, raunchy stories, because real life includes the minutia, and farts.
As far as I can tell, there are at least two reasons I’ve chosen to follow the rules thus far.
First, I want to be a published author one day and to do that you have to build your following and to do that you have to follow a very specific, yet complex series of steps to build an online tribe.
Second, I’m afraid that if I just write about anything that comes to mind, I’ll just be one of those masturbatory bloggers who publishes a very personal online journal for the whole damn world to see as some form of therapy. This one is probably at least true in part, but at this time the only people who read my stuff are a few friends online and my parents. It’s not even like both of my parents read my blogs. One of them will see I’ve shared a post online and then will read it aloud to the other one. My own parents can’t both be bothered to read my shit.
Oh wait…there’s a third thing I have avoided in building my web presence. Although it sneaks in to many of my posts, I never overtly say that my blog is spiritual in nature. I have never come out and said that I walk around in complete awe, watching spirit work its magic into the folds of everyday life. Maybe this is because I still can’t call myself a Christian and don’t have any answers. I only have observations. Still, I don’t want to “brand” myself as a spiritual blogger. I’m just a blogger who is totally blown away by God all the time, or whatever.
All this adds up to one thing…in order to create honest work, I'm going to have to break some of the rules. While I wholeheartedly want to serve others and lift them up, I also want to tell my stories in a way that is true, and not always within a narrow niche. My life is not a well-merchandised boutique.
I often struggle with what it takes to call myself a ‘real’ writer. When asked what I do, it is never the first thing that I tell people. Sure, I’ve been paid for my writing for many years. From food and fashion journalism to blogging, editing and helping business owners with their marketing copy, I have written enough and been paid enough to know I’m legit. But God did not put writing on my heart so that I could tone down my words to fit into a marketable niche.
Honestly writing 'what I know' may not be a good business plan, but that’s not the plan I’m here to follow.
So, boys and girls, there you have it. From here on out I’m going to write about This Savage Life…the whole thing, including all my musing, regardless of how well they can be converted into an inspirational cat poster.
But don’t get mad if I’m in the middle of a sad story and I pop off with some positive reasoning for why life is better because of some terrible event. I'm still a silver linings kind of girl; it’s genetic!