“What’s your blog going to be about?”
That’s the first question people would ask when I shared with them that I was starting a blog. Naturally so. What I didn’t expect was how daunting it would be to answer that question while I was still in the planning stages. It’s like being a musician who hasn’t written a song yet and everyone is asking you what your album will sound like. Truth was, I hadn’t quite figured it out.
It’s not that I hadn’t given it any thought. I spent many hours thinking about my content, direction, and voice for the website. I scoured over different blogs and articles, trying to narrow down my focus so as not to spread myself too thin or end up committing to blogging about something that I would eventually lose interest in.
If you’re thinking about writing or starting a blog, here’s a little tip on what not to do; do not get caught up in what everyone else is doing. It is wildly intimidating and entirely disheartening to comb through Instagram and compare yourself to successful bloggers when you haven’t even decided on a font for your logo. Doing this may result in quitting before you start, finding yourself needing more white marble in your kitchen, or longing to be a mommy-blogger when you don’t even have a child. Or a husband. Back away from comparison.
It’s also not fair to measure your day 1 to someone else’s year 5. Yes, that fashion blogger now has her own clothing line in Nordstrom, but scroll back to her first post and you’ll see she’s wearing Forever 21. We all start somewhere and that in and of itself is relatable. The most helpful thing I found about researching other blogs was that it allowed me to clarify what I hoped to accomplish while doing mine; to stay in my own lane and be my best self.
That said, it does help to pay attention to the content you like to read and figure out why. What speaks to you? Though my reading list is long, there’s one publication that’s always at the very top. Years ago, my dear friend Leah introduced me to Darling magazine with such excitement that her entire face lit up. As she flipped through the thick quarterly, which looked more like a coffee table book, she gushed over the stunning imagery and empowering articles that comprised all 150+ pages.
As I browsed through it for myself, I got why she loved it so much. I found myself more inspired with every page turned. This spoke to me. It resonated. Something about the way it was written, the reason it was written, made my heart sing. I saw myself in it. I saw my potential in it. I could do this, I thought, I could write like this. I could be original, articulate, interesting, thought-provoking and dare I say witty. I could hold myself to the highest standard of being a woman while writing about the imperfect journey upwards.
This blog is my attempt at that. Not to do what they are doing, although, I do wish I met Sarah Dubbeldam in her Darling mock-up phase as much as I’m sure most tech-junkies would have liked to have met Steve Jobs in his garage in 1984. No, this blog is my attempt to find my voice and use it; to think about, get familiar with, challenge myself, better understand, and attempt to put into words what matters to me in hopes that it will matter to someone else.
After all, the things I read that I most identify with are those pieces of writing that inspire me, make me think, make me laugh, make me ask questions, evoke emotions, spark compassion, encourage empathy or leave me wondering why I didn’t write them in the first place. My voice is somewhere, in the midst of all of that, just trying to hang on and be heard.
The truth is, we all have a unique voice. And while it is shaped and refined by time, experiences, conversations and interactions, it starts innately. Once you put the blinders on, you can start paying attention to the things that matter to you and start diving into them a little deeper. Therein lies your voice.
That’s what I find most interesting, not just in writing, but in life. The art of living. The art of being human and existing with others in what can often be a very messy and complicated society. That’s what I want to explore; how to live well, love well, thrive, learn, lift people up, be authentic, have faith, grow, change, give freely and generously. I want to seek to understand as much as to be understood. These are topics that for me will never grow old or tired, subjects I will very well never figure out, but that’s okay. The success will be in the journey, the conversation, the debate, the walk — not the destination.