It has been 3 months since I began the Journey to a Trauma-Informed Life website and Monsters Beneath My Bed blog. I’ve posted at least once a week, usually on Sundays. Being vulnerable—putting my thoughts, my writing, myself out into the digital world beyond my control—has been immensely rewarding. It has also been an exercise in humility and self-awareness.
Last week, I began to reflect on how my “social media platform” has been developing. What began as a reluctant step in self-promotion has become, in itself, part of my quest to find hope and healing not only for myself but others like me. I am humbled by the hundreds of people who have tuned in at least once over the past 3 months. I am thrilled to have heard from several of you how my words have provided some insight, given a glimmer of hope, or helped you along your own healing journey.
In an effort to continue to learn and grow, I have asked several trusted sources for feedback on my platform. I’ve approached professionals for an evaluation of my platform. I have consulted with other successful people, asking them how I can make things better. It should come as no surprise to hear I've received LOTS of advice and how some of it is conflicting.
Yes, I could stand to learn more about SEO (which apparently stands for Search Engine Optimization, whatever that means) and how to hashtag more effectively (#IDontKnowWhyIDoThisAnyway). True, I could adopt a managing plugin to synchronize my Facebook posts with my Tweets, Snaps, and Instagram, and YouTube accounts (Also, I don't get Snapchat either). I should add “free” content to my website to increase the number of subscribers to my blog (Will an essay about "5 ways to pet a dog" get me 1,000 more followers?).
I could, should, and probably will do all these things, but… why? I realized the answer to this question cannot be found in the answer to the “How do I grow my social media platform?” question. Why am I doing this?
I came across the answer to this question when my literary agent asked me to revise the proposal for my memoir this week. I wrote it over a year ago. Dusting it off to revise it revealed where my brain was when I originally began this whole Journey in the first place. Of course, there are many other reasons—some selfish, some unrealistic, some simply silly—I’m doing this, but a couple of paragraphs in my proposal reminded me of my original reason:
"I am writing for the person who knows they have been through some terrible circumstances and it has tripped them up repeatedly. The person who is suffering from debilitating depression and anxiety and is sick of it. The person who has jumped around looking for a therapist to help them but doesn’t seem to find a good match. The person whose long-term relationship just ended, who lost their job, or who woke up in a life they hate…
…I write for the thousands of people like those whose time with me is about their story. I see the narrow opening of freedom’s path just beyond their sight. A step of faith into the fog of the unknown and they would be on their way."
I write to show them I am here, holding my hand out to them, to show them I have walked my own dark path and I now have hope that they can join me on the other side of theirs.
So this week, as I sift through all of the sometimes contradicting advice about how to build an amazing blog that everyone in the known universe will love, I will focus in on how each piece of advice helps me achieve my purpose for doing this.
If you’ve read this far and have found any help or hope from following me in the past several months, please reach out and let me know what has fallen flat and what has resonated with your own journey. I appreciate you.