when you don't fit into a box
If you know me personally, and possibly even just through the internet, you know that I can be a little bit all over the place.
I'm known for starting goodness knows how many projects, sticking with some of them, dropping others, and constantly evaluating if the latest "oooh, shiny!" idea is something I should actually pursue or just leave be.
In an age of specialists and "finding your niche" and being told to pick one thing, focus on it, and become an expert at it, I've never quite felt like I fit in because the idea of specializing, picking just one thing, and choosing a niche sounds terribly boring to me.
Whenever I heard someone talk about a "niche," it felt like a fancy word for a box. As in one that you put something in because it's easier to deal with topics and people and projects and platforms when they're nice and simple and easy to categorize. Now I know that no human being truly fits into a box, but since I live inside my own brain and that's the only one I know intimately, I know that I especially do not fit into a box.
Two and a half years ago, I became a minimalist, and last month I launched a new blog specifically aimed at recording my simple living journey and encouraging and inspiring others along the way. It was a project that, in theory, fit nice and neatly into a little box. Many of you are reading this now because you subscribed to that blog.
Well, things are going to change a little bit from here on out and I want to explain why.
When I was still mulling over the idea of launching said minimalism blog, I was trying to decide on a few things — specifically a name and a platform. I didn't want it to be under my own name (ie. I wanted it to be its own brand) and I kept going back and forth between a blog or a YouTube channel, seeing pros and cons to both.
One day, I was discussing it all with my friend Emily and she asked why I couldn't just start writing about minimalism and simple living on my current blog — this one.
I said something to the effect of simple living didn't fit in with what I currently wrote about and no one would want to read my blog if I went from talking about decluttering your closet to how singleness is really hard sometimes. She asked me why not. After all, it's all my life.
I spouted back something about how it would feel too all over the place and that's not conducive to building an audience. Basically, I argued that I needed to fit into a "niche" even though I've always rebelled against the idea and honestly think they're kind of ridiculous. That's not to say they don't have their place, but for me, a niche simple does not work because it's not who I am.
Some people are really great at compartmentalizing their lives. I am not one of those people. So I'm not really sure why I ever thought it would be a good idea to compartmentalize my writing.
This blog has always been the place where I write about my life, but along the way, I think I started subconsciously buying into the idea that I could only write about certain topics in the same space because that's what you're "supposed" to do. And maybe that's true. Maybe this blog really will seem all over the place to people and no one will read it.
But if I'm honest, with the rare exception, the bloggers I follow the closest, whose posts I never miss, are the ones who are a little bit all over the place. They don't write about something specific. They write about their life — whether that's things they're learning about faith, new habits they're forming, advice based on a lesson they've learned, or the results of their hunt for the perfect planner. I follow them because of who they are, not because they fit into a niche.
The truth is, I love a lot of things. I'm a writer and a bibliophile who also designs and has a gajillion Pinterest boards dedicated to home decor. I'm a follower of Christ and a minimalist who also sings and acts and plays piano and the harp. My life has always been a little bit all over the place and it always will be, because that's how God made me. And since this is a blog about my life, that's how things are gonna be around here.
The truth is, when paired with some of my other creative projects, starting a new blog went completely against what that blog was about. Writing about simplifying my life had made things more complicated and stressful. So I'm going to practice what I preach and simplify.
For those of you who subscribed specifically to learn about minimalism and simple living, I will still be writing about that. It's a pretty integral part of who I am now. But I will also write about my faith and relationships and community and whatever else you guys want me to write about. (Seriously, if you want me to write about something, just ask!) I certainly hope you'll stick around, but I also won't be offended if you don't.
Life is a crazy adventure and a beautiful mess. It will never fit into a niche or a box and I don't think it was ever meant to. And I'm about life here — a life of faith, a life of simplicity, a life of beauty, a life of passion, a life of adventure — so we're throwing the boxes and niches out the window and following wherever the Lord leads.
However long you've been here and however long you stick around, thanks for joining me on this lovely journey called life.