You must be the change you wish to see in the world. ~ Mahatma Gandhi
I’m not sure that quote is the right one for this topic, but it’s always been one that speaks deeply to me. I searched this entire site for the perfect “Change” quote, but there were just too many good ones, so that’s how I ended up with the Gandhi one.
I wanted to take a quick second and talk about some changes that are underway here at thesurvivalmama.com and jengreyson.com and on my social media sites. While I’ve always been passionate about survival and making that fit into busy mom lives, the underlying current has always been about writing–whether writing to bring valuable content to you, or writing my novels . . . but it was never the perfect fit.
Which is a lot of the reason why my blogging has fallen off as of late.
But that’s bugged me.
I don’t like leaving stuff hanging. I’ve felt like I let the lot of you down and I’ve wanted to get back to blogging and connecting, because I miss it. But I also wanted to make sure I wasn’t just jawwing about stupid stuff just to hear myself talk.
So I didn’t blog.
Over the last few months, a few things have happened.
1. I turned 40. Nothing like a killer milestone to make you reevaluate your life. Ugh. I was so not where I thought I was going to be when I turned ancient. But I’m also not where I thought I would be . . . and that’s a good thing. Turning 40 is one of those awesome moments that let me really soul-search what I’m doing with my life, which parts I love, which parts I could do without. I love writing. Love. It. I love being a mom (those are probably in the wrong order). Love being a wife (yep, definitely in the wrong order on these.) I do not love taking care of a giant house that no one comes to see. I love camping. I’m over yardwork, and mortgages, and working a job just to pay for this effed up American Dream. O.V.E.R. it.
2. I spent the summer ghostwriting novels. Work slowed waaaaaay down all summer, so I picked up ghostwriting jobs to supplement my income. There’s an insane freedom that comes from ghosting. I’m invisible and able to just let go of everything and enjoy the simple purity of the story. It was surprisingly enjoyable.
3. I got laid off. For the last 3 years, I spent my working time writing curriculum at one of the most wonderful places on earth–my backyard office, or my downstairs office, or my Beans & Brews office, or my camping office. It. Was. Bliss. But, (after a super slow summer that I spent ghostwriting, see above) we lost all our curriculum clients and I had to go back to Corporate America. And pantyhose. <insert pantyhose above in things I despise> And time clocks. Getting up early to waste a ton of time getting ready for a job I didn’t love gave me lots of time to think…kind of like prisoners during exercise breaks. I still kind of get to write at my Corporate America job, but certainly not 40 hours a week like I used to…and did I mention the pantyhose?
4. Tom Clancy died. I was never a big fan of his work…but I respected it. I still don’t read military fiction, but I followed his career and remember thinking that he was just a “regular” guy who worked his ass off to learn his craft and genre. Incredibly well. When he passed away at the young age of 66, my first thought was “what if he died with a story still in him.” That thought troubled me for weeks, but I wasn’t sure what to do with it.
5. I met Jen Armitstead. She. Is. Amazing. I attended one of her career management seminars because we’re going to need speakers and facilitators in the future and she’s a total rockstar. I honestly went to treat it like a mini-secret-interview. I learned lots of great stuff from her, but the biggest came while we discussed the misalignment between my 8-5 writing and my “other” writing. The conversation went a little like this:
Jen: “Why do you write?”
Me: “Because I have to.”
Jen: “Yes, but why?”
She went on to tell me about a friend who writes to “give voice to the voiceless.” That looks like work for non-profits, press releases, etc., and suggested I dig into that.
6. I bought a shovel. And started digging. My tagline has always been, Mama Writer, unleashing stories, but as I started to unearth the Why? behind that tagline, some very interesting things emerged. As more dirt fell away, I realized my platform (and my blog) would need to undergo a major facelift.
7. I started training with a woman who I thought was a Social Media specialist, Sandi Krakowski. She is actually an angel in disguise. As a part of my first week on copywriting, she “made me” start journaling. Now, I’ve never been able to stick with journaling…it’s why I own 4,239 journals and notebooks. I always want to start a fresh one when I’m certain I’m going to stick with it this time (more about that on another day). So, in a fresh journal I started exploring this Why? and expressed the overwhelming gratitude for my gift, my ability to write, and how in the world I’m supposed to be using it to serve others, to bless others, to financially support my family.
Want to know what I learned?
It was never about telling my stories.
It was always about telling everyone else’s.
My gift is to be invisible. To be a ghost. To ensure no one else dies with a story still in them.
I know that was long and rambling . . . and if you’re still here, I hope you’ll stay a little longer and stick out the changes with me. If nothing else, it promises to be entertaining.
If not, I completely understand and wish you only the best.