Last month I found myself in a yarn store in Bath, surrounded by women looking for insight into how to best tell their story online. They were a mix of creative business owners, freelancers and entrepreneurs. Somewhere in the discussion, Jen, a highly successful blogger asked:
"At what point does it all become fake though? My life doesn't look very aspirational. It's actually a bit messy but I don't really feel like I should show that."
Without hesitation I replied, "It's your story to tell and only you have the right to edit that. If you don't want the mess there, it doesn't have to be in order to make you any more authentic." In a room surrounded by women I couldn't help but point out that this was our opportunity to be in complete control of our story. Social media and blogging give us a direct way of communicating with the world on a scale that previous generations simply wouldn't have been able to. We all have a right to present our story in the best way we can. It doesn't need to be all painstakingly styled mantelpieces and perfectly clean children, however. For me as a professional and as a person, it's about balance.
Mess under scrutiny is something I have battled with a lot these past few years. Knowing I was looking at a future of solo parenting, I began to make changes as far back as 2 years ago that would pave the way to making today a far easier journey. Mentions of family were carefully erased. I didn't focus on our location, house or home. I simply let corners of my life grow dim. I thought that by not drawing attention to a lack of collective nouns I could present a better version of me.
The backlash was an assumption that my life was perfect somehow: working in the creative industries, blogging and podcasting, with a healthy family and happy home. I hadn't offered a different narrative because I wouldn't have stood on the high street blasting that out to anyone who wanted to hear on a megaphone. Instead I chose to wait until I felt that my life was back in my control again.
I'm incredibly lucky to work in the industry I do and with some of the most brilliant people that this industry has to offer. I love my little girl and I am constantly grateful for the deal life has given me. It's not always easy but I am finally comfortable about how I tell that story most days. I choose the way I present myself so there's never a nag in my tummy before I hit publish that I've overshared, been negative or worse, made someone else feel negative.
All too often the word 'curated' is used negatively. I only choose to share the positive because that's my mission- a playful moment in every day. If I need it, I'm sure others must too so I work hard to bring inspiring images and stories together in every corner of the internet that I find myself.
So it makes me incredibly happy to be returning to A Yarn Story again for another workshop, Telling Your Story Online. I want to share all I've learned from 5 years of business support and telling my own story to help others find their way to shine online. The workshop will run from 10-12pm on 6th February 2016 with time set aside for a Q&A on specific social media.
During the workshop we will cover:
· Finding your voice online
· Branding vs. story telling
· How to create an engaged community
· Fine tuning what makes your story unique
· Reaching *your* audience
· Planning out content and sharing it on different social media
· Measuring the impact of your efforts
· Maintaining balance and focus
You can purchase tickets via A Yarn Story here. Hope to see you there!