My writing has always moved in cycles, propelled by the girls’ milestones, time’s passage, working through then and now, or by the seasons in marriage. Lately, it’s been a slow cycle, in part because the girls are getting older and where before it felt like one shared story, now it is many interlaced. Even my own story, whether about aging or marriage feels like it could intrude on the girls’ life. I come to the keyboard with a new mix of awareness, there is such power in what we share and what we reveal. I genuinely believe we each get to choose our path.
I’ve been blogging for close to fifteen years, many of those years in near total anonymity. I’ve watched people I know publish books and earn powerful brand partnerships. I celebrate each one because it’s hard work. I watched them build personal brands before it was a thing, whether the insults hurled at “mommy bloggers,” and move through the public process of honing a craft. And now here we are, with words like influencer and brand ambassador. The thing I love is the people, the distinct way each writer view the world, how they serve up something in a way that no one else can; it’s powerful and breathtaking.
Jennifer Kindhouse has beautifully moved from a writing name she used for years to her own name and has declared how she’ll do it for herself, not because she begrudges anyone their style, rather it’s time for her to be comfortable with her own. I love that, just as I admire Jill Krauss for ditching one way of life for another and doing the work to build a following without tricks and shortcuts.
Last year at Mom2 I connected with Christine Koh, Melissa Ford, and Morra Aarons Mele. It was a turning point for me as I decided that I wanted to write about things I loved. Yes, I would write about parenting and marriage, but I also wanted to write about the things, places, and people who have helped me become who I am today. When the opportunity to write about what Planned Parenthood has meant to me came along, I lunged for it.
I had in the back of my head the understanding that the fight over women’s health care can be a scary place. Certainly, in the last several years the approach to online discourse about politics has become borderline violent; it’s easy to stay out of it. I worried a bit about how the way I would write about it would be different than how others might. I don’t always feel equipped to debate about policy. I decided to stack those concerns off to the side and trust that I had something of value to add to the conversation.
Just write what you know, Manda. Write it your way and you’ll be ok.
A few days ago I found out that the post I wrote has been nominated for an Iris Award. It’s hard to explain how much this means to me. I wrote the post for a few reasons—I wanted to give back to Planned Parenthood for the years of care they gave me, I wanted to make the women who gave me the opportunity to write the post glad that they chose me, and lastly I wanted my daughters to know that it’s ok to speak up and to use your voice.
You can read the post here.
Have you made a change in how you write or how you engage? Are you making a scary change? Point me in your direction because what you are doing matters.