This post makes up for three weeks of not blogging. Hopefully. Okay, not really.
I haven’t been able to write. Here’s why. My brain is constipated. I’ve so many thoughts shoved in there that I’ve created a blockage. Nothing is flowing smoothly, which makes sense actually because the same can be said for my body.
I start writing about one subject, and my mind hops over to another seemingly unrelated trail like a bunny on crack. This post will be no different, except for the fact I refuse to delete it before publishing. I NEED to purge so I can write again, so forgive me in advance for taking you on this ride. I will try very hard not to bore or disgust you, which is why I’m not waxing poetic about green smoothies recipes or expanding on the differences between omnivores and vegetarians/vegans on the bristol stool scale (though it is interesting, to me).
What I’ve been battling is the extent bloggers should be transparent when telling our stories. I’ve decided as transparent as possible because I’m not very adept at faking the funk and not only that, it’s exhausting.
I am both excited and intimidated to leave web design to write about homeschooling. The decision did not come easily – it took a few years, a good deal of prayer, a personality assessment, and a revealing session with noted career coach Penelope Trunk before I made the decision.
In my coaching session, the very first hurdle was to understand what I really wanted. You might be surprised at how difficult this question is to answer, given that we can’t have everything we want all at once, so we are forced to make decisions. In an earlier email, I stated that I wanted to pursue writing about homeschooling instead of designing websites. However, when asked on the phone call, I answered honestly that I wanted to make more money. I did. I do. So, Penelope told me if I wanted to make good money right away I needed to be a web designer. That made me angry, because I knew I wanted to expand on the 5-6 years I had invested as a homeschool writer, and that I did not want to be a web designer anymore.
This is when she pointed out that making more money obviously wasn’t what was most important to me, and then she started digging again. It became clear that my desire for more money is linked to security; money pays the bills, so it offers stability, but that’s about it. We stopped to determine how much money I really needed, and then put that subject on hold to move through more questions.
About 20 minutes into the call, Penelope said, “Okay, so what you want is to get paid for being admired.”
At first, I was horrified and uncomfortable. Her description of me was embarrassing, yet undeniable and matched my ESFJ personality assessment perfectly.
While I tried to control my nervous laughter, Penelope cut to the chase and told me that I needed to OWN that truth in order to grow it into a viable career path, and then she offered ideas for my next few steps.
At 40 years of age, I thought the need for approval was part of my distant past, but apparently not. In just a few minutes, a complete stranger was able to tell me what I’ve known all along – that writing is just as important a relationship as anything else in my life, and when people add to the conversation I start, IT FEELS GOOD. That feeling compels me to write again, and again, and again.
After thinking about it, I felt less disgusted with myself because I realized my drive to write about homeschooling shows that I care about more than just myself, I also care about the people who invest the time to read what I write, or those who write and call me with questions. This is my cause because I genuinely believe homeschooling is one of the greatest blessings, not to mention one of the biggest challenges, a family can choose for itself.
Writing is a bit of an emotional rollercoaster for a person like me. I want what I write to help readers, but I also want the positive feedback. When I speak with editors about writing for them, and they take several days to respond, I find myself thinking, “Did I say something wrong? Do they not like my writing?”, and if I am not careful I begin spiraling into thoughts like, “I made a mistake, at least with web design I can help support my family.”
Then, when they respond they have been out of town, or that they are excited about the idea of me writing for them, I get the affirmation that I need/want and confidently bounce around for days while pitching writing ideas until the inevitable question of pay arises. Once again, I fight doubt when their delayed response makes me question a rate I’ve been paid for years.
So, where is this going? Nowhere really. I just needed to be transparent and to let you know that I’m not a blogger who just writes what she thinks. I’m more calculated than that. I think through what I write, especially about homeschooling. I want to be honest, but not offensive, palatable, but not sugar-coated.
I think of you when I write, because I’m not just writing for me, I’m writing for you too.