Every so often the blog world–or perhaps the world in general–seems to hit this period of group existential angst. I see it in posts about blogging or quitting blogging or changing the way we blog. Maybe we just start to reassess who we are or what we can do in this world. What our relationship is to our children, and how that fits in with a love for writing or a passion for work.
I could chalk it up to September and getting back to business; to the election season; to aliens messing with our brains for sport. Who knows. But it’s there, isn’t it? Am I the only one feeling it?
This weekend so much of it was clarified for me, because had the privilege of experiencing just a small portion of Mashable’s Social Good Global Summit thanks to the wonderful people at Shot@Life. You know–the ones you helped to save 10,000 children.
While I sat there listening to Nobel Prize winners and Senators, thought leaders, CEOs, Prime Ministers and still more Nobel Prize winners right from the front row (wow) I realized this morning how many moving, motivating, incredible thoughts and words were still swimming in my head this morning. Including those from Sophie Blackall who I had the pleasure of meeting at a UNICEF luncheon. You may know her best as the illustrator of the Ivy and Bean books, but she’s also a global activist in particular via their remarkable and effective measles/rubella initiative which is saving children one shot, one dollar at a time.
It was such a great reminder that everyone has something to contribute. You don’t have to be a Nobel Prize winner to do it.
But you know, you don’t have to save the world’s children to make an impact during our short term on earth.
Which is perhaps why the one line of the entire day that may have stuck with me the most came from actress Maria Bello, who’s extremely active in global women’s issues the Haiti effort in particular and manages to have glowing skin too. You’d almost hate her if she wasn’t so amazingly awesome. She told the story of being conflicted about her pull towards acting in college, when she was so committed to other pursuits. In response, a mentor told her:
You serve best by doing the things you love most.
It struck me that this is the key, isn’t it? For all of us? Whatever it is. If you’re writing for love, writing for money, writing for fame and glory. Writing to bear witness or make change in the world, writing to understand your place in the world. Writing as an escape from your life for a few moments out of every hectic, whirlwind of a day. Writing to connect, writing to feel connected.
It’s all good.
It’s all okay.
It’s all important.
It’s how you serve.
Use them to inspire you. Don’t use them to beat yourself up.
If you love what you do, the purpose will come. Maybe it’s about changing yourself. Maybe your number one commitment is raising productive, wonderful children. Maybe you look beyond your backyard and want to help your community. Or hey, change the world. Maybe you just want to earn a little money. Either way, I don’t believe you can do any of it particularly well if you don’t find love and satisfaction in it. And through that love, the path will become clear.
Sophie contributes by painting. Maria uses her platform as an actress. Pete Cashmore puts together his love for digital and his commitment to social change and puts on a conference like this one. I do what I can with my words.
When I spoke as the Keynote at the Type A Parent conference last year, I talked about the Myth of Doing it All and gave my tips for blogging without going crazy. The number one tip was know why you blog. I said to think about that reason, give it words, say it out loud, then jot it on a sticky note and stick it at top of your laptop so you can look at it every day.
There are two points I would add to that presentation after this weekend; first, love why you blog Because if you don’t love it, then there is no point. If you don’t love what you write about, then there is no point.
The next point I would add is, it can change.
You can be here for one reason today and a completely different reason tomorrow.
You can move from mom blogging to activism. You can move from activism to mom blogging. You can move between activism and food blogging and fashion reviews and stories about your kids.
You can just write about what you had lunch every day. (With apologies to Maggie.)
But I think the key is, you have to love it.
Ask yourself: Do you love this? Could you love it more? What would have to change?