I'm about to launch into a few new "initiatives" here at FIMBY and I feel these need a bit of an introduction and a back story, because... I'm a back story gal.
Today is the back story, the next post will be the initiatives.
Firstly, here's the point of this all. I'm seeking to earn money through my writing. But not just "any money" and not "any writing". I know I could join an ad network but that doesn't jive with my values. I know I could write technical pieces and how-to articles for sites that pay for that content. But that doesn't bring me joy.
I'm kind of choosy (and idealistic) because what I want is to help support my family financially while fulfilling my mission and living my values.
Which begs the question, "What's your mission Renee?"
Telling the story of how I defined my mission is its own post, currently in the works and part of my who am I series that I'm slowly, slowly working my way through. But here's the gist of my mission, as you will find on my About page.
My personal mission is to nourish, encourage and teach; build relationship and create beauty. Investing first in my family and then others.
My mission for FIMBY is to encourage others to live their own healthy, adventurous and creative life - with beauty and intention. Especially mothers, homemakers and homeschoolers.
I'm a teacher and I have the heart of an encourager. I love nothing more than to receive feedback along the lines of, "you encouraged me to be outdoors more with my family and our relationship is the better for it... you have helped me in our homeschooling journey and I am full of enthusiasm and there is joy in our home from what you've shared, etc." Or the heart felt responses to this post.
When I hear these words from you I am blessed head to toe with that "I am doing the work I am meant to do" feeling. There is nothing in the world like it, except of course for giving birth, breastfeeding my children, raising them, loving my husband - you get the idea. I get a high from encouraging you.
(By the way, I'm not perfect and I blunder in the whole encouraging department when I write or speak before I think. But encouraging is part of what I was created to do, even if I mess up sometimes.)
I have something to offer. Something born out of my own story (& struggles), my years of experience as a mother and homemaker. What I offer comes from my heart. You benefit from what I offer and (seriously) my joy is made complete. The sharing and receiving.
How do you monetize something like this? How do monetize being an encourager? It seems crass to even mention the word money in an exchange like this.
Owning My Value
I'm trying to get over the whole "earning hurdle" of being an income earning creative. To that end I've been reading The Art of Earning by Tara Gentile.
In it, Tara asks:
What title would you give yourself if you ignored the butterflies in your stomach?
What service would you offer if you couldn’t fail?
And then she tells us to go and do that thing.
I don't know about a title but here's how I'd introduce myself if I could ignore the butterflies.
Hi, I'm Renee. I'm a mother and a lover, a creator of beauty and writer of words. I am an adventurer on the edges of the map in the land marked "here be dragons". I am an encourager, story teller, nourisher, teacher.
What service would I offer if I couldn't fail?
I'd be who I am to help you live a life of health, joy, adventure, creativity, beauty and intention.
In the last six months I have found my writing voice. I've been blogging for years and never felt I wasn't true to my voice but recently I have found that place of "ah... this is it".
The writing I want to do, the writing I'm called to do. The writing I love to do. The writing I wake up early each morning to do. The writing I go to bed looking forward to returning to the next day.
There is no formula. No word count, no style guidelines (though I like to experiment with formatting and "readability" structuring). Sometimes it's wordy, sometimes it's not. But it's wholehearted and writing this way I am experiencing freedom and a responsibility I have not encountered before.
The freedom to be me and to share my wisdom, experience and beauty. To be vulnerable as well as honest. A responsibility to listen to the Spirit and obey. To stay true to my values and to think about other's needs as well as my own.
In the context of all of this - my mission, finding my writing voice, the freedom and responsibility of being a writer - I am desiring more than ever to start earning money from this work.
Because money makes me happy? No. Because money makes me feel successful? No. Because I have something to prove? No.
I want to start earning money from this because I honestly feel people gain something of value in their personal lives from reading what I write.
I have finally reached the point where I can say that without looking for the nearest tree to hide behind after volleying that statement.
I see my value as a writer, encourager, nourisher, teacher, creator of beauty. Not just to my family (I've known my value here since the very beginning. I am the heart of this family and there is no value that can be placed on that) but to the world-at-large.
I have something to offer - experience, insight, beauty, honesty, encouragement. And what I offer changes people's lives, for the better. That is worth something. It might be a small change. It might be a touch of beauty in an otherwise dreary day. It might be bigger, like a new habit that brings joy to someone's life. But what I share changes people and I'm not afraid anymore to own that.
It took me a while to come to this point of acceptance and realization that my writing is worth something - monetarily. But now that I'm here I'm not afraid to speak it.
My next post this week (which really is coming next and not in two weeks or two months like many of my follow up posts) will dive into the monetary value of my writing, that touchy topic of advertising, and how I'm finding my own way becoming an income earning creative.
So now I ask you - What title would you give yourself if you ignored the butterflies in your stomach? What service would you offer if you couldn’t fail?