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The Blogging Advice I Forgot To Take

The Lipstick Gospel

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.

The Blogging Advice I Forgot To Take - The Lipstick Gospel

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.

The Blogging Advice I Forgot To Take - The Lipstick Gospel

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 Blogging Advice I Forgot To Take - The Lipstick Gospel

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!)

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Add a Comment
  1. Catherine says:

    This is so true! I realized that I am not any of those things: fashionista, homemaker, mommy-wonderful, funny-talker (although I like to think I write with a sense of humor sometimes). Being okay with being a story-teller is hard for me, I think because part of me feels if there isn’t a DIY component, what’s the point? The point – I am coming to see – is the sharing of stories to connect with people. To live the life God calls me to live, and to write what I can’t seem to help writing.

  2. sethbarnes says:

    Love the focus and the calling out of others, Stephanie. Well done.

    seth

    From: The Lipstick Gospel Reply-To: The Lipstick Gospel Date: Wed, 10 Jul 2013 11:01:22 +0000 To: Seth Barnes Subject: [New post] The Blogging Advice I Forgot To Take

    WordPress.com Stephanie posted: “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¡ªpulling anecdotes from my life as a writer. But I rare”

  3. Britt baker says:

    Hey stephanie, when I arrived at the Hylton house for CGA, a note was waiting for me in my room.

    “I get ‘protect and cherish’ for you. You need to protect and cherish what is important and defines you because I believe God has big plans for you but wants to build foundation and understanding of yourself first.”

    This blog reminded me of that precious word. Hope it encourages you or someone along the way 🙂

  4. Rebecca Lester says:

    MMMM Love this sentence, “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.” I really loved this entry- defining your voice and staying true to it. Miss you, Steph!

  5. Teresa Williamson says:

    I walk away blest by what blesses you. Love your honesty in grappling with unrealistically high expectations of yourself. So glad you have a friend to laugh about this over coffee with. I walk away from your blog inspired by your ability to describe the vast spectrum of your enjoyment of simple pleasures in your life, to once in a lifetime surprise birthday parties! It’s a joy to journey with you Stephanie on a life well lived, loved and purposed. Aloha, Teresa

  6. Mmm love it Steph! So excited to work with you in Georgia!

  7. Lauren Haney says:

    You know what is the worst for me? The reality that you can’t take hold of one dream without letting go of others – I just want to grasp them all! I love the honest reminder that no one can grasp them all and that the letting go isn’t the focus but the taking hold. Blessed by your words yet again. Thanks Stephanie!

  8. Anna says:

    As an amateur storyteller with a baby blog, these thoughts are so helpful. I’m realizing that I write to share the beauty and significance that I find in the everyday, to show that meaning comes from both the ordinary and the extra-special. I don’t have to be a crafty/cute girl/workout blogger for that to happen. Thank you for sharing your gift – in this post and in all of the others I’ve enjoyed.

  9. Erika says:

    Hmm, I had a similar “epiphany” recently (as in yesterday/the day before) but not quite in the same way. Anyway, I am not so much of an “intentional” blogger who has to know my reasoning, but I think I just need to make sure I stay true to who I am and don’t try too hard to try to be everyone else (which is a similar sentiment). I may not always know why I’m doing what I am doing or how I intend to have it impact the reader and for me, that’s okay. But as long as I am “doing me,” then I’m okay with that.

    There are some people who are generalists, who can do it all and make it look so good. And then there are others that need that “niche” or are specialists. And figuring out this distinction can really make life a lot easier. 🙂 Thanks for sharing!

  10. Always love and appreciate your posts, Stephanie! I think the main purpose of my blog is to INSPIRE. I only recently tweaked my tagline to be “living an inspired life of possibility,” and I think that is truly the heart and soul of my blog (and who God created me to be!). I write and create artwork that I hope will bless others’ hearts and help them to see the beauty, inspiration, and possibilities in their own lives. Narrowing focus can be hard (I’m someone who has a LOT of hobbies, and I enjoy challenging myself to learn and try and do new things. I think it makes me better as an artist and a creative, but I think it’s always so important to come back to the core, to the heart of who you are and what God is calling you to do. Thanks for writing and sharing this post!

  11. marissadale says:

    This is so good, Steph. 🙂

  12. Angelica says:

    This is beautiful and always a much needed reminder. Thank you!

  13. misscaramichele says:

    This is so true.
    This year, I really honed in on what I wanted my blog to do. I’ve been surprised by how positive the response has been, but I guess I shouldn’t be. Having a structure makes for happier readers, and it makes me happy too, I’m looking for “wiggly beauty” (love that) which fits into what I want my blog to be about.
    Another thing I always say about my writing: I am the only person inside whose head I’ve been. I need to write from that place, not from the perspective of a Christian woman, or a 20-something or anything, but as me. If it resonates, great, but if not, perhaps it can still be useful.

  14. “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.”

    Yes to this!

  15. Dawn Muench says:

    Steph I love this and it’s so true! What I think so many bloggers/writers get discouraged about is when people don’t subscribe or un-subscribe from their writing but the truth is, not everyone resonates with me. I don’t want or need to read a mommy or a domestic goddess blog, although I have friends who do. I love to read running and encouragement blogs (like yours) but others don’t. And that’s ok! We all have a voice and a gift and some will resonate with different people more than others…again. OK! Thanks for this reminder and perspective…I’m off to do some writing someone requested 🙂

  16. Julia says:

    I love this

  17. […] Thus, I began to really think about what this blog was meant to be. And then I read an interesting blog post by a girl named Stephanie. She had posed somewhat of the same question to herself. What was the […]

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