Sometimes, I am wrong. I know that might come as a shock given the sage and thoughtful words I so often share (wink, wink), but it is time to come to terms with the truth.
Because I have chosen to be largely transparent by sharing so much of myself online, I risk looking like an idiot when I must admit that I made a mistake. But, alas, looking stupid has become almost second nature to me, so here goes.
Experience has always been my best teacher, for good or bad. Sometimes, I feel strongly about taking a particular path, only to figure out halfway down the road that it is 100% wrong for me. I often wish I could save myself the trouble and get it right the first time, but experimenting with trial and error (with an emphasis on error) is usually how I learn, however inconvenient that may be.
So here I am. Eating my words that I wrote with passion just a few months ago. Again.
I had an epiphany the other day. I was watching a webinar by Jeff Goins, who was teaching about the five blogging personalities. He encouraged those in attendance to hone in on their writing voice by writing from one (and only one) of the following perspectives:
1. The Journalist – one who is curious and builds a platform on asking (and answering) questions.
2. The Prophet – one who is not satisfied with the status-quo and creates a platform by telling the dirty, nasty truth. (“The system is broken, but we can fix it.”)
3. The Artist – one who has an eye for beauty and builds a platform by creating art that appeals to our hearts, not our minds.
4. The Professor – one who wants to know how everything works and builds a platform by researching and sharing facts and information.
5. The Star – one who is known for their charisma and likability – who builds a platform by sharing their own story to help others. (“If I can do it, you can do it.”)
I quickly recognized myself in this system as a star. I don’t love the spotlight, but I openly share my experiences because I want to help others. More than anything else, I want to be a voice of light and hope in a darkening world. Most of the time, I do that by sharing my story and what I am learning along the way.
Why, then, did I spend hours, days, and weeks creating a free email course to teach people how to raise independent kids? I was hoping to attract new readers but, in retrospect, it doesn’t seem to fit my writing style at all.
The truth is that I AM passionate about preparing my kids to stand on their own two feet. Consequently, I thought I could build a platform on that idea. I wanted to be a teacher, showing others what has worked for my family in the realm of parenting. I had dreams of creating and selling online parenting courses and helping other moms raise responsible kids who were prepared to leave their mark on the world.
Trying to fit into that mold with my writing, however, feels extremely forced. The more I attempt it, the more I realize that teaching others how to raise independent kids is not my core message for the world, as much as I wanted it to be.
To be honest, I believe that some current parenting trends are doing more harm than good. I can (and do) tackle that beast in my home by raising my kids a little against the grain. But I am not comfortable or happy when attempting to tell other people how they should parent. It’s just not in my nature to do so.
Like I said; I tried it and got it wrong. Trial and error at work.
So where does that leave me?
Basically, it leaves me in the same place I have always been, sharing my thoughts with the world in a way that feels natural. It leaves me with my silly, sassy, sarcastic self, writing words that feel authentic and make me (and maybe you) smile. (Humorous essays about family life are, hands down, my favorite pieces to write!)
It leaves me with the freedom to tell my story in a way that needn’t fit into a box defined by a niche. I have never been good at fitting into boxes.
It leaves me room to grow. To be me. To embrace my strengths and creativity, allowing myself to evolve as a writer and a person.
It allows me to find my people – the ones who care about what I have to say when I drop the shoulds and supposed tos and show up in a real, raw, and vulnerable way.
At the end of the day, not much will change with my writing. I will still write about motherhood, family life, and faith, along with whatever else I feel inspired to say. I will still write with this purpose in mind.
I will tweak a few things here and there to strengthen my message and attract the right readers. But mostly, I will stop fighting my voice and let it shine more clearly for what it is.
Words have power. My dream as a writer is to inspire others to live their best stories by sharing bits and pieces of mine.
Thank you, as always, for joining me on this journey. I appreciate it more than you could ever know.