Recently I got a really interesting (yet exciting) message from a reader. It took me by surprise a little because...
1. I don't post often...And 2. Sometimes when you blog it feels like your sharing your thoughts with a brickwall. You don't always get comments or feedback even though people are still listening and reading.
Regardless, I am happy to share her question and my answer/feelings towards it.
(Thank you to this sweet person for asking this question. I feel like it gives me an opportunity to express more about my faith and belief and motivates me to keep sharing. It's reminds me why I do this and that blogging is still so important in sharing my faith.)
So the message read: "I am trying to figure out how to mix God and design in my blog categories. My boyfriend said I could scare people away. I see that you do this and I inspire to do the same."
First of all, "How do you do this.."questions usually get a "how-to" answer, but this one is different. It's much deeper and more complex than a simple "do this and this will follow." It's more about soul searching what matters to you, your business and chasing a dream on your own, with out stopping to see how others are doing it.
Just a little background: When I started my paper shop, it was a hobby. Something fun to do, sure I had dreams of it making money but I also know that was kind of a long shot. When I opened up shop, I was in a new stage of life - newly married, finding peace in my life and reclaiming my faith. As I created art prints I was drawn to bible verses. They seemed to hold so much more meaning to me and the way my shop's reputation was unfolding. It all just kinda of took that direction without me deliberately choosing it. I felt like it chose me - God chose it for me. But even then, it made me nervous to be so "spiritual". Some of the people I told my shop about to were like "bible verses... Whattt?!" I don't blame them. I kinda thought it was strange too (and a little out of my character to be all JESUS this and JESUS that!) but it just felt like that's what God wanted me to do with this exciting new venture and life path with my faith taking a louder role in my day to day life. So in an effort to let him take the reins, I let go and let God lead me.
To answer this readers question as it pertains to my journey, I feel like it just kind of happened - mixing God and design. I have tried to blog about things that I think people will be interested in reading before, like: fashion, inspiration, personal goals, trends, business advice (HA! what a joke!) and other random topics. But eventually I had to be like "Ok Jill, Let's be real. You have no business is writing about some of those things, because they only half interest you and you only write those posts to fill the silence anyway." Yep. I took it there. I think when you start a business blog or even start a personal blog there is so much pressure to keep up with what people want to read that you forget why you are doing it. For me, this business is a way to hold me accountable in my faith, challenge my heart, grow my design skills and design things that matter to me and this blog goes right along with that.
I went to school for design and it is a huge part of my daily life and a part of how I make a living. I love being able to share my work with people because to me, being a graphic designer is my way of sharing my talents to glorify God and is a high calling. I take pride in living alongside the Master Designer Manifesto. I also feel a strong pull to minister to others by the way I treat my clients and through sharing my life experiences. My life is messy (who's isn't?!) and if I walked around acting like I was put together it would be the biggest joke, so I don't even attempt to pull that off. Instead I try to be honest and transparent about my struggles and what I believe in - and then I blog about it. Because of that - It lead me to create the Humbled Hearts Daybook which has blessed so many people and continues to gain success. See how it all unfolds? God works in our hearts/stories so personally and I am more than proud to shout it on the rooftops how he captured my heart and moved it to pursue this path with more confidence than if I were doing it alone.
Right now my life and business revolve around design and God, so naturally blogging about those things makes sense to me. Now, when I have my baby and I am completely consumed with his adorable-ness, things may shift to faith and motherhood (and possibly an overload of baby photos and stories). Does everyone want to read that stuff, probably not, but that is what matters to me, so I am sticking by it. That is how I feel about the "all these God posts might scare away my readers" topic. It's so easy to second guess your posts before your post them. Especially when they involve opinions and real life situations.
SO I question my self. We all do.
Will people want to read my personal thoughts on a business blog?
Will it turn people away that I just got all spiritual on them?
Will I lose followers/readers because my topics are all over the place?
If you answer them honestly - YES, some people will want to read your personal thoughts, and some won't care. YES, you might turn people away who come looking for a design post and come to find one about your latest revelation, but there will be some people will stay and gain more of an understanding of who you are and grow to appreciate you and your blog more! YES, you may lose followers/readers because the variety of topics may not appeal to them, but you know what? THATS OK. I've learned that if I am not writing about what I am truly passionate about (and what I enjoy) then I am basically doing nothing and wasting my time.
That's not to say though that this particular way is the way your should or should not take. If I were blogging solely for my business then I probably would be posting more frequent and I'd probably a little more organized in the category dept. But I honestly try not to worry about all of that too much. (If you are looking to grow your business through blogging then I suggest you check out my friend Lauren's posts!) Blogging to me is more of an outlet of expression than anything and a place for me to share about what matters to me.
It takes true commitment and faith to share your heart. Some days I still wonder "oh should I post that? Is that to personal!" But again, I try to focus my eyes on what I think God wants me to do with this business. So at the end of the day, I am proud to post about my faith as well as my design projects because they both take up a lot of space in my heart. So, I embrace the calling.
If you struggle with this topic too, I would love your feedback and I am sure the reader would love to hear it also!