Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Honest Thoughts: Blogging - The struggle is real


Can I get an amen? 

Here at Thinking Thoughts I celebrate all the good things like books, reading, coffee (ok, tea too), awesome authors, and writing. As I've been thinking about the purpose behind...well, lots of things but especially things like this blog and my writing, I've come to some interesting conclusions. Um, maybe conclusions is too much of a word. I've started to think about things. Ironic, I know, due to the title of the blog.

One thing that got me thinking about this is the fact that, per a conversation I had with an industry professional back at the ACFW conference last year, the title Thinking Thoughts isn't a "good" title. My younger, start-up blogger self from 2009 cried a little at this thinking, "But...but...it's my blog! My baby!" Though the slightly-more-marketing-savvy-blogger-self half halfheartedly agreed with the sentiment.

I've come a long way since my first blog post not only in word count but in understanding of what a blog is and should be. I am by no means an expert, but I've come into a rhythm with myself on what it looks like to write Thinking Thoughts. I've devoted it to readers, writers, and Jesus followers (as I like to say) but is that enough?

Following my super fun and productive weekend in Florida with fellow writer friend Natalie (this is her modeling the "Dream. Write. Inspire." bag from my Society6 shop), I walked away with one major thought that she so graciously pointed out.

...PASSION...

Did you just think: Um, what? Well, that's understandable but let me explain. As we talked about marketing, the publishing industry, our books, other people's books, and sooo much more, we started to narrow down the focus for each of us. It's easy to say you want to make an impact on others, but it's another thing to figure out what that impact will bring.

We each started to think through this question: What do I bring to the table?

It's one thing to answer that question for yourself but another to see what other people say about that for you. I so value Natalie's opinions because she nailed down something that had been lightly hidden beneath the surface of all the things I like to do or participate in. It's passion. I'm likely going to butcher the way she explained it to me, but I needed to put it in my own words so that I could grasp it.

I thrive on the passion. I've blogged about it often (like here, and here) but the thing I keep coming back to is how much my own passions--as well as that of others--inspire me. It pushes me to create, to explore, to understand. If I meet you in person I will likely ask you what you do. Here in DC that is a common thing because a lot of people place importance on their day jobs. I don't ask because of that, but because I want to see how people describe what they do. There is a stark contrast between people who describe what they do in a monotone and those who launch into an all-inclusive depiction of their jobs because they love them. Those are the people I love to listen to.

In thinking about this blog (and the numerous attempts I've made to hone in on something specific) I see why I have trouble. I'm not a person who is only passionate about writing. I'm not just passionate about reading. I'm not only interested in photography. It's just...not possible for me. Not in my DNA. I'm not sure, but I do know that I am consumed by more than that. (This is likely why it's hard for me to pick one genre to write in...but that's a whole different blog post).

This passion shows itself in my writing, in my photos, in my social media posts, you name it. It's all inclusive. That passion is the thread that binds me together. That makes up who Emilie Hendryx is.

Ah, wonderful, I think. Now what?

Honestly? I'm not sure. I know (mentally) about the smart steps to branding yourself. I understand the concept of growing an audience and...blah blah blah (um, can I say that?). But I get frustrated with convention. Yes, Thinking Thoughts isn't the most descriptive name and it will likely change at one point, but there are a few things that I realize I'm committed to and passionate about:
  • I'm passionate about sharing about great books and authors here on the blog and through my reviews.
  • I'm passionate about books with great story lines--no matter the genre. 
  • I'm passionate about sharing what I'm learning about writerly things like marketing, design, writing, and the like.
  • I'm passionate about reading (oh soooo much reading).
  • I'm passionate about Jesus and how He is at the center of my life. 
  • I'm passionate about being REAL with everyone. 
There isn't a conclusion to this post. It's a lot of thoughts (again, likely a no-no) meandering throughout, but it's refreshing to admit that I enjoy a lot of creative things. I'll leave you with this: Hello, my name is Emilie and I struggle with being too passionate about creativity. ;-)

What about you? What are YOU passionate about? I would love to hear from you in the comments below!