Who Knew? I’m A Teacher!

Ever since I started this blog, I’ve been freaked out. I’m not freaked out now about the same kind of stuff I was when I started, but because I haven’t felt equipped to explain in a crisp elevator speech what my blog is about.

Every time I’ve tried, I’ve felt like the damn elevator cable broke and I was plummeting fifty stories, turning my undies fifty shades of brown.

Everything I’ve read online about blogging screams “specialize,” “find your niche,” “don’t be a generalist,” “home in, home in!”

Here’s the problem with that: I’m a writer, but my blog is not about giving writerly advice. So what do I write about then?

Well, for starters and like all good writers, or at least writers who want people to read what they’ve written, I need to keep in mind the importance of developing my “platform.”

Does anyone else read that word and think of diving headfirst into a teacup?

Photo Credit: dliban via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: dliban via Compfight cc

Platform building is a confusing concept for me. It makes me think of Minecraft, which also confuses me, no matter how many times my daughter explains it. And it doesn’t help that there are like a thousand explanations online of what platform building means. Luckily I got off on a well-pedicured, non-hairy-toed foot by reading Kristen Lamb’s Rise of the Machines.

What I know is that an essential part of developing my “platform” involves fostering relationships with people so I have a potential reader base when my books are published. Basically, I’m hoping people will like me. Then they might also like reading my books.

So I’m doing the only thing I know how to do to develop relationships and get people to like me: I’m being myself. I think that’s pretty good advice, and I damn well better because it’s what I told my daughter and all the other girls in her Coming of Age program at our church.

After all that undie soiling over trying to explain what my blog is about, I read this slideshare from Copyblogger that talks about the ways in which digital media is more powerful than marketing.

I was picking up what they were laying down…until I hit slide fifty-eight, “Educating to influence.”

My first reaction when I read it was “Don’t bother reading any further—you have nothing to teach anyone and certainly not to the level where you could influence them.”

And then came slides fifty-nine and sixty:

#59: When you think about it, teachers are actually some of the most influential people in the world.

#60: Anyone who teaches you something by creating understanding and knowledge has changed the way you think…forever.

Pow!

That is the sound of my brain exploding.

The heretofore seemingly discombobulated point of my blog became clear:

  1. To alter my readers’ perception or judgment (aka understanding) of a situation in some way, AND
  2. To make sure my readers gain awareness, familiarity or information (aka knowledge).

Without even trying and with no intention of doing that, it’s what I’ve been doing all along.

And I’m making connections. People are reading, and it looks like I’m creating understanding and knowledge. The comments they’re leaving support that—as I’ve said before, I’ve got the facts to back that shit up.

Phew! What a relief.

I DO have direction.

I DO have purpose.

And slowly but Shirley, I’m drawing in readers.

Now, if I only had a car that wasn’t on the verge of packing it in for the scrap heap I’d be golden.

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So what about you? When in your life have you felt purposeless or directionless? What did you do to get out of that death spiral? What’s your elevator speech, either for your blog (if you blog) or your life? Anybody else not relish the idea of platform diving or plummeting elevators?

10 thoughts on “Who Knew? I’m A Teacher!

  1. Classic, Kel. “Fifty shades of brown.” LOL! This was high-larious. Thanks for the giggles. I needed them tonight. Now on to the business of serious purpose.

    Also, thank you for correctly using the word “home.” My heart sang when I saw that. It’s the little things.

    Your blog is brilliant, Kel, and I’m glad you had a bit of an epiphany with regard to its porpoise, but Shirley you would have come to that at some point, simply by revisiting some of your posts. You have a wonderful, funny, and unique voice and so much to share. It’s terrific you’ve been teaching all along without “knowing” it – that’s your voice. That’s your thing, and I believe it’s mine as well (when I get back to it). You rock it hard core, woman!

    I’m off to read that copyblogger post (yes, more damn distraction!), but I just want to say, I’ll be first in line when your book comes out. In fact, do you have beta readers lined up yet?

    You may not be able to see it, but I’m over here raising my hand and jumping around my living room like I’ve gotta pee. I’d love to volunteer for the job. Just puttin’ that out there. 🙂

    1. You’re hired, oh beta reader!! The pay is shit, but the rewards are…probably shit too. Oh well.

      Thanks as always for your kind (and spot on 🙂 ) thoughts, kick-ass comments, and giggle-inducing visuals. Now I have to pee. Wait……..never mind. Just need to change my undies instead.

  2. I have the same problem trying to describe what my blog is about. “Stuff” is the most conscise and accurate description so far, but it doesn’t seem to impress people much. When I’m being more erudite, I think it’s about growth. Most of my posts deal with either lessons I’ve learned or my attempts to improve myself. Looking forward to checking out that slideshare… Thanks!

    1. Thanks Kit! I hate to tell you though, I have a copyright on “stuff” so you’re going to have to come up with another topic. Like you said it’s not very impressive so you wouldn’t want to be down here in the unimpressive with me anyway. 😉

      I’ll tell you what, I was reading a post over on Fabulous Blogging about identifying what kind of blog you have, and it scared me because a) the ones I readily identified with seemed to be the hardest to break into/gain any following and b) Julie Deneen is just so frickin awesome I can’t stand it. But it did help put a slightly finer point on it for me, which was good.

      I still stand by my post and say that most blogs are really, at their core, about educating to influence…even yours and mine, about stuff.

      1. Sh!t! I broke ANOTHER copyright law? I am so screwed. 🙂

        I’ll have to check out Fabulous Blogging. I do get that building a following when you are all over the topic map is tough, but I can’t help it. This is who I am and what I want to write about. So unless something comes along to make me narrow my focus, I will keep to the Kristen Lamb Method and blog about what interests me while trying to open my arms to as wide an audience as I can.

        Good luck with your attempts to educate; education underlies what I write about because in the end I’m trying to tell people about something I’ve learned, in the hopes that they will also learn from my experience.

        Since you’ve got stuff cornered, I will focus on “junk” for now. 🙂

  3. A great post Kelly as always. I think one piece of magic in your blogs is that you always question “us” the readers at the end. It fairly invites engagement. Without that special you piece, you may well make a wonderful statement in your writing that may or may not draw your reader into the relationship.

    As for me and the death spiral, I regain my focus on one intention only: Each day, make someone think, make someone smile. They are free gifts. If they engage with me – so much the better.

    1. Hey there! Thanks so much for reading/commenting!

      I can’t take the credit for my questions at the end—I learned it via Kristen Lamb. But you’re exactly right—the blogs I’ve read where there isn’t that little piece of “what do you think,” no matter how finely crafted they are, leave me feeling like “what more could I possibly add.” It reminds me of the lectures I got from grownups when I was a kind (the good and bad, those meant to inspire or incense): don’t talk at me, talk with me…and listen sometimes too.

      I LOVE your daily intention, and man is it ever a gift…one a lot of people would pay good money for.

      Thanks again!

  4. I pretty much felt since I didn’t go to college that I didn’t have much to offer.. but I think my biggest confidence booster for me was (and I seem to do this a lot in my life) falling into something I was really good at and didn’t know! My youngest started figure skating at age 5 and was so tiny, I couldn’t find anything to fit her. I cut my own patterns and made her some cute skating outfits.. little did I know that it would turn into a full time business over 7 yrs. with 2 stores carrying my creations, and yes, I even made an outfit for Michelle Kwan (my claim to some fame)! But got bored with it and dealing with the skating mothers who thought all their kids were going to be the next Olympic champs! I find when I’m passionate about anything in my life, I share and people listen and ask questions. Don’t get me going on my successful weight loss and the fabulous recipes I’ve created.or how puppy mills disgust me and our government does nothing about it… guess after all these years I find I’m passionate about quite a few things!! Your blog makes think, laugh and I find myself shaking my head in agreement a lot!!

    1. Wow Joy, that’s amazing and pretty impressive! That kind of passion carries us far, no matter what it’s directed toward. I can only imagine what those skating moms were like—probably pretty similar to certain dance moms 🙂

      Thanks for reading and commenting—I really appreciate it!

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