A Journey To Authentic Writing
So it’s now September. A new month, a new term, a new season. A time of new beginnings for many of us. There’s always something beautiful about Autumn, almost as if the old is passing and the new is beginning.
And appropriately enough, today is a new beginning on this blog. Going deeper, more focussed, more authentic and vulnerable than I’ve ever been before. And my hope is as I explore this I can help you in a more powerful way than ever before.
Because that’s why I publish this blog. To help you, my readers. The great people who show up every week to read my work, many of whom have been so encouraging with their feedback, and others I have never interacted with. But I’m grateful to you all.
So why the new beginning? And what’s to come in this next turn of the page?
For that, I need to tell you a story.
I’ve been blogging for about 8 years now. I began as an amateur blogger, with a wordpress blog and no subscribers, no books, and no writer friends. Blogging was simply an outlet for my thoughts, and occasionally in my mind I would fantasise about me becoming a world famous writer and speaker, but never really considered it.
Then I got writing coaching, and following this did the Tribe Writers course. I became more professional, got a self-hosted blog and a professional designed banner, I invested money in my blog, and wrote a couple of e-books. My subscriber list grew.
Blogging was fun at first. I was ultimately doing it for myself, with no clear direction or focus, just writing about what grabbed my attention.
But this soon began to change.
Once I embraced professionalism, the fantasies I had, the ego behind the writer (and believe me, many of us writers have egos, if not all of us, on some level) was awakened. I began to write to impress others, my blog became a public voice. And what happened was my writing became less and less authentic, and more and more about building up numbers.
I deceived myself this was simply me being professional, but it was in reality my own fantasies about success, status and importance seemingly on the verge of becoming reality, and me desperately reaching out to gain them.
I wasn’t writing to help others, I was writing to impress them.
And over time, I began to fall out of love with blogging.
Time For A Change
I’ve always liked the concept behind blogging. The opportunity to share ideas with people in a free online space, and to build community and relationship with my readers up close.
But what I love about blogging – and what I and many others have forgotten at times – is it gives us the opportunity to be brutally honest and authentic with our readers. At it’s best, it should be a space we can develop and share ideas honestly, even with their sharp edges. A place to explore and refine ideas.
This is how blogging began. And despite all the platform building voices we hear nowadays, the best blogs are ones where this still happens.
If you did want to look at it from the purely platform building perspective, I always believe when it comes down to it, people value authenticity. They want honesty, people who won’t sugarcoat things, and understand in reality, life isn’t perfect and there isn’t always a happy ever after, and are willing to be honest about this.
And although most writers want to grow their following, so they can get their work to as many as possible, I think the best writers are the ones more concerned with being authentic.
I lost that for a while. I was more concerned with impressing than serving, more interested in image than authenticity. And the realisation of this – which I’ll share in a future blog post – led me to quit public blogging. And that break, and much reflection since I came back, has led me to this point, and to this decision.
So from today, I’m going to be more authentic in my blogging, and my writing.
I’m going to blog about issues I’m passionate about. This begins with writing, creativity, and being authentic in our work and our life.
I care deeply about groups of people who have had parts of or even their entire identity suppressed or denied them in some way. So I’ll be writing about how we can discover our true identity and topics linked to it. This passion is why I’m so passionate about empowering women and issues around LGBT and faith. I may well explore those too.
And anything else which stirs my heart. Any part of my story which I believe can encourage and benefit you.
It’s all going to be here.
I’ve got a book out next Easter on grace, which you can find out more about here – and I’ll be writing about that too. And I’m working on another book too, on writing – and another project, which you’ll all find out more about in due course, again, here.
I’m not going to be afraid to bear my heart. If it’s unpopular or I lose readers as a result then so be it. I have to be true to my writers spirit, to what my heart is saying. I will unfurl my energies here, reach deep inside myself and strip my heart bare – and my hope is it inspires you, challenges you and helps you grow.
That’s why I write publicly now. Not for money, fame or status. But to help you.
Because it’s the right thing to do. It’s why I was given the gift of writing. It’s what all gifts are given for.
Using our gifts to serve others is what we’re all called to do. (you can tweet that)
I’ve experienced so many words of encouragement, so many great comments, about my writing and it’s impact on others. And the feeling I get deep in my soul when reading these words, has meant more to me than any amount of money ever could.
All I can say in response is thank you. And my hope is what is to come here can be as much, if not more, of an encouragement and help to you as what I’ve already shared.
It’s time for me, and for us all, to write a new story with our lives. A story where we grow and flourish, but only to empower others to do the same.
So let’s begin. Are you with me?
Question for Reflection:
Are you using your gifts to serve others…or yourself?
Discuss this in the comments below!
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Picture Sources: Online Source & Wordswag/James Prescott