It’s amazing that my job and my blog run so closely to each other and even more amazing that they rarely overlap. I spend the majority of my time at work talking about living and telling great stories—pulling anecdotes from my life as a writer. But I rarely draw inspiration back the other direction—something I’m hoping to change in the coming months.
On a regular basis I find myself in front of large groups of people, teaching them how to be better storytellers in a variety of mediums.
And my favorite tip for bloggers is this:
I want my blog to _______________________.
At Adventures in Missions we have storytellers scattered across the world, living and re-telling the real-life miracles of God. And members of my team spend hours reading their stories—keeping up with the day-to-day of their lives on the field.
One thing we’ve noticed as we read their blogs is that storytellers often have a hard time narrowing down their purpose for writing.
In a world that’s so saturated with content, we feel pressured to be the “every-blogger.”
On the field it comes in the form of a daily record of every food item consumed, or the ever-popular photo essay on the Toilets of the World (I wish I was kidding). Sometimes we end up the accidental recipients of long-winded diary entries, or frantic assurances to mom back home that they’re still alive and well.
In our teachings, we encourage our storytellers to pick a reason for their writing—to decide who they’re writing for and why—and what they want their audience to walk away with.
Writer extraordinaire, Jeff Goins, taught us that if you’re trying to please everybody, you wont please anybody.
But as hard as it is on the mission field to narrow down your reason for writing, it’s even harder in the states.
I recently had coffee with my sweet friend Anne, and we whined into our coffee that we feel such pressure to be great at everything—all at the same time.
We try to be expertly designed, business savvy social media whizzes, with expert clothing combinations as we DIY our perfect homes and host dinner parties for hundreds, all while taking perfect photos that make your Pinterest green with envy. And in our spare time we try to write bits and pieces of our hearts that make this sad, worn out world a better place—in a popular series of eBooks of course.
And we’re exhausted—and tired of always falling short.
But as Anne and I talked (and bemoaned our inadequacies) we began to realize something we’d known all along. Just like the advice I give our storytellers, just like the advice Jeff gave us, we were going to have to decide what our blogs are really about.
I’m not a baker or a mommy blogger. I’m not a graphic designer or a fashionista. I don’t DIY and I don’t have a home of my own that’s glowing in its newly renovated perfection. Although I do travel, I’m not a travel blogger and I cannot (and should not) try to teach you how to be a domestic goddess.
I’m none of those things.
What I am is a writer. I’m a storyteller and a liver of great stories. I’m a woman who does her very best to live each day for all of the wiggly beauty it contains, and I believe that in sharing those miraculous moments, I can add a bit more beauty back into the world, inspiring others to live that way too.
My goal in life is not to create the perfect handwritten font (although I wish I could do that), but to inspire a generation of women to dream.
I want to create a community of women who love themselves and the people in their lives with vulnerable and authentic courage. I want to be part of a generation that celebrates the tiniest sparks of beauty—that wears out their everyday like a favorite pen or an old cozy sweater.
The legacy I want to leave is one of love and inspiration and joy and beauty—giving everyone I come in contact with a small window into who God really is.
But taking hold of this dream means letting go of others.
And it’s the same in life. By deciding what we want our lives to be about, we clear space for the things that are truly important to us.
By choosing to be a writer and a storyteller, I’m doing the work that is mine to do—leaving time and room to appreciate (and pin) the beautiful genius of others.
What is your life about? What are you willing to let go of to make that happen?
(Photos in this post taken by Stephanie May – Thanks iPhone!)