This post is one in a series of Anniversary posts for Wordsmith Studio (WSS). Last year we joined Robert Lee Brewer’s April Platform Challenge on his blog and united to create a community of writers who support each other.
I have a confession to make. I’m doing it again, one bit at a time.
I blogged on and off since 2007. My website started as a book reviewing blog (Quirky Reading Room). When I moved cross-country, I created a 2nd blog about Vancouver (My Quirky City). In 2011, I merged the 2 together under MQC, and created a professional blog (Circadian Design) dedicated to architectural and health, wanting to continue the threads of my Masters Thesis. I continued blogging on and off in these 2 blogs, without engaging any real audience.
At the same time, I tried the first drafts of several stories demanding to get out. I worked on my license, writing 7 professional designation exams, plus LEED, and working overtime on several projects.
I started following Robert Lee Brewer because of the writing advice he gave. One day last year, I saw his April Platform Challenge. I confess I signed up because I wanted to win the Writers Market 2012 guide he promised to one lucky person who completed his challenge.
I wasn’t sure how far I’d make it in the challenge. I was doing an online course, and I wasn’t sure how detailed Robert would get. I was also doing 4 weeks straight of deficiency reviews for a hospital, and the physical efforts of walking around and pointing out every single detail wore me out. Yet, the challenge gave me something to look forward to every day. I embraced the list of twitter handles and Google+ accounts, connecting with more people in ways I didn’t expect.
I learned a lot from it, from embracing myself as a brand and putting my name into my social media profiles, to scheduling my posts and trying to ask to guest post. I’m embarrassed to say I had an idea, it got approved but I never followed through. Some challenges worked better for Circadian Design, and some worked better for My Quirky City. The post I suggested, never came through because it combined my worlds in a way I wasn’t ready for, and I didn’t know which platform to put it under. In the end, I just wasn’t committed.
I joined various groups, from the fiction mystery gals, to multimedia. I joined in on twitter chats. I befriended fellow challenge members in LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Goodreads. I also joined other networking sites, like Architizer, specifically geared towards the architectural community.
As our group formed the Wordsmith Studio, I found myself in an awkward situation. I loved my job, I loved my writing and platform community, but I felt like I was walking a tightrope in between the two. My worlds didn’t mingle, and I felt guilty if I spent too much time in either one. Experts I read on the branding subject, like Michael Hyatt and Joanna Penn advocated making sure your platform was specific to your brand. The problem was, I had two brands: Heather the Writer, and Heather the Intern Architect. So I turned to my community, asking them what they thought of multiple sites and brands, and they turned me to Kristen Lamb’s blog post on building only one platform. Her post resonated with me, but it would still take months to believe that my writing and architecture could be part of the same platform.
Early this year, fellow WSS-er Khara House held her 1<3 my blog challenge. I wondered if it was something I could tackle, and I started the process uniting my blogs. I also turned back to Robert’s initial challenge, paying close attention to those first 2 days of the challenge, and identifying who I am, and what my goals are. The rest of the challenge is cake if you can solidify those first. What came out of the process was Write. Design. Create. a blog about my passions and what inspires me to create. It celebrates the fact that I am a writer and an Intern Architect, and that’s okay. It’s what sets me apart from other designers, and other writers.
I’m not done with my site’s redesign, and I pick one of Robert’s tasks per week to focus on, making sure that both sides of me are reflected in the site. But now, I <3 my blog, and feel open about where I’m going.
So thank you Robert, for teaching me how to put myself out there. And thank you WSS group, for being helpful and supportive as I redefine who I am.