Articles / My work

Why I Refuse to Brand Myself (or My Blog)

A couple of months ago, I was told that, if I wanted to gain an audience for this blog, I’d have to pick one thing to write about and stick to it. I’d have to narrow my focus, and I’d probably have to write about writing if I wanted to be taken seriously as a writer.

Here’s the thing – I’m not gonna do that.

People don’t always go to coffee shops just for a cup of coffee. They might go because they want a piece of cake and a cup of tea, or they might opt for a sandwich and a bottle of juice instead. And that variety is what makes coffee shops so great.

That’s how I feel about my blog. It’s a ‘coffee shop’ offering several different things – pieces about beauty, travel, games, poetry, my cat, etc. Whatever strikes my fancy to write about at the time is what I write about and post.

That sounds like a radical idea in a society that’s used to packaging everything in neat little cake box categories. But guess what? Sometimes I get tired of talking about writing! (Gasp.)

It’s true. Don’t get me wrong – I love my craft. I’ve been writing creatively since I was able to hold a pencil, and before that I was telling stories to my family. This is in my blood; it’s my ultimate passion.

But I talk about writing a lot. I’m currently completing a Master’s in Creative & Critical Writing, which takes place three days a week, so that’s always spent talking about writing. In the mornings when I wake up, I’m working on my novel, my blog posts, or my assignments, often for several hours at a time. I’m constantly on Twitter talking to people about the process, tweeting my progress on my #WIP, reading other people’s work. Throughout the day, I pull out my planning papers and tweak things, map characters, map plot, plan chapters. I write flash fiction on the train to school; I write poetry in class.

Quite frankly, sometimes I want to do something else, because I don’t have a one-track mind. No one does, and when you tell me to narrow my focus because I won’t be taken seriously, you’re selling me short. You’re putting me into a neat little cake box, when I should be in the display case with all the other cakes, croissants, brownies, and cookies.

Can we stop pretending that writers aren’t dynamic people with other interests outside of writing? I don’t just write – I sing, I draw, I play videogames, I play with my cat, I take walks, I travel, I cook, I do my makeup. And I want to write about those things, too! What’s so wrong with having one tiny corner of the Internet where I can write about that stuff?

The answer is simple – nothing. So if you’re a writer who feels that same pressure, I have a simple piece of advice for you: just do you. Don’t feel like you have to give into the cake box mentality.

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2 thoughts on “Why I Refuse to Brand Myself (or My Blog)

  1. I’ve come to this post late, but wanted to say how much I agree with your take on blogging. I began my own blog to practice my writing, communicate with other writers and, if I was lucky, make some friends who found something in my writing that they liked.

    I’ve written about whatever struck my fancy, scared me, or piqued my curiosity. Once, the thing that struck me was experiencing an evening’s fresh fallen snow as I walked home from the bus stop after grocery shopping. My “Thoughts About Snow Falling Into Tomorrow” got nice responses for both the subject and the writing. They meant a lot to me.

    We’re writers and if the site is ours, we get to choose what we write about. That’s what I got from this post. I believe that, too.

    Like

    • Good, because that’s exactly what I was trying to say. I’m glad you found this post and got something out of it. With today’s attitude of branding oneself around one specific thing, I think it’s good to be diverse. Some readers may not like it, but that’s their choice. There are millions of blogs solely dedicated to writing, and if that’s what they want, they should seek that out. They’re definitely not in short supply.

      Like

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