A Circular Approach
There is nothing more I dread than the elevator pitch. You know, the explain yourself in 60 seconds so everyone understands who you are and what you do?
I am a great writer, but when it comes to communicating ideas about what I make, I get stuck. I regularly attempt to summarize my novel-in-progress but I have yet to find a sentence that truly encapsulates the entirety of what it is.
The same goes with blogging. It seems every couple of months I hit a sort of wall. I suppose some people’s journeys are progressions up a mountain slope. Mine is a series of short plateaus and sheer cliffs resembling a giant staircase.
At the same time, it feels circular, not like a deja vu, but the reappearance of something familiar, like a plane circling in a spiral in preparation for landing. I see the same patterns of frustration and creative itches. (Or maybe I should save you the conflicting metaphors and describe my creative process like climbing up a giant, narrowing, spiraling staircase.)
Last week my photo shoots changed a little. I stopped treating them only as outfit photos and began to incorporate creative shots. In high school I prided myself for bypassing the MySpace selfie and doing creative portraits. I can see plenty of them are terrible now, but they became the basis for what I would later do in college, which had a wide audience and strong reception.
What surprised me what how much I missed that type of photography. My creative muscles are very sluggish because I haven’t done much of it for the last six years, but I sensed the same creative itch.
A Narrow Vision
I was researching posing ideas (because I’m neither exaggerated model or a peace sign kind of girl) when I came across a video by Sorelle Amore. The video was fantastic, and I checked out the rest of her channel. Per default, her latest video began to play. She was thinking out loud about her nature as a creator. In the beginning she tried to fit a mold by making content specifically for women. At one point she realized she wasn’t making what she wanted to make, and created more freely. Once she changed she found that her work became inspiring to both women and men.
My heart jumped in my chest and I’m pretty sure I did a fist pump. It was like someone had picked my brain and made sense of some conflict I couldn’t place my finger on. All my life I have never viewed my art exclusively for women. My heart has always focused on humanity as a whole, which comes out in my writing and other creative work.
I visited my facebook and browsed through my old photography. Scrolling back through my old work made me realize how differently I was creating. Fashion was a huge part of my images, but it was not a focal point. Back when I took pictures I had both men and women commenting on my work. Even now I regularly engage and read pieces in art and creative communities occupied by both men and women, but never thought that I might have framed my blog wrong.
On more than one occasion I’ve felt sad that my work wouldn’t interest men even though I was increasingly talking about creative topics and making interesting art. I’ve done all the typical define your audience branding because I was told I was supposed to get specific. I thought this was the way to succeed. The truth is my audience has always been anyone who loves imagination and is willing to daydream a little
The result has been a flurry of realizations. Over the last week I experienced other videos and conversations that all affirmed my suspicions.
I had set my audience wrong.
A Fresh Perspective
In the beginning I blogged strictly about fashion and women were my primary audience. As my vision expanded and I settled onto what I actually wanted to create I never adjusted my audience. I’ve procrastinated writing up my about pages because whatever I wrote felt fake. Now I know why.
I’m a writer, a storyteller, and an artist. I create for people, any people who will stop to listen, to dream, to converse, to grow. That includes both men and women.
That means a few changes are coming. Maybe a lot of changes, I have no clue. This was the missing puzzle piece of a larger picture, and I feel like I finally have what I need to go forward.
One change I’ve already made is taking out affiliate links for clothing. It was something I thought was necessary, but came to realize was nothing I cared about, nor something relevant to my vision.
Wind & Spindle is officially shifting into an art and lifestyle blog. Style will be very present, but not the focus. Expect some excellent writing, interesting photography, and conversations about creativity. You can get an idea of the shift in focus by perusing the updated menu.
There will be stumbles and hiccups, but I’m setting off a bit bolder and braver than before.
Thank you for sharing in this journey with me.
And, as always, thank you for reading.