…and other exciting things!
First of all, if you’re not following my Facebook page, you’re missing out! I’ve been updating it a lot more often, and I do a mental health check-in every day, and I give a writing update when that’s relevant. I aim for 2pm EST. I’d love to hear from you there!
I’m also going to be utilizing my YouTube channel on a regular basis pretty soon here. More on that in just a bit here. But on top of my writing and depression-related stuff, I’ll also be uploading videos of my husband sleep talking when I can catch him doing it. It’s pretty dang hilarious.
I’ve been putting a lot of effort into figuring out who and what I want to be, exactly, as an author and other than an author. I’ve realized I also want to be a social media influencer and mental health advocate. I’ve kind of been doing some of the necessary stuff on and off for a while, but I really didn’t know what I was doing. Not the full extent, anyway. I’ve made a lot of progress lately. In the last week I realized I have to stop purposefully avoiding talking about my spirituality, because I do a lot of that. I’ve been openly religious on my personal Facebook page and lost friends because of it, albeit I was a prideful oblivious little turd back then. I’ve since learned tact, respect, and the incredible value of variety among beliefs (and lack of). And really, I’m not saying I’m going to talk more about religion on my business platforms. Where this really comes into play is that a) I won’t be afraid to mention that I’m a Christian and b) I won’t pretend that things were my idea when I know they were inspired by the Holy Ghost.
That’s the first point I wanted to cover tonight.
The second is something I’m even more excited about.
I have been struggling so much for so long to figure out what I have to offer. Even before I realized I wanted to offer more than my books. I do love my books. I love writing. I want to make a career out of being an author. But… I want to offer more. Not only that, I want to have engaging content to draw people in to my circle in the first place. And I just have not been able to figure out how to do that.
Well, tonight I asked my husband to come pray with me to see if we couldn’t speed up that answer.
Within an hour a brand new idea popped into my head. I did a Facebook Live to talk about it, but it’s probably safe to assume that you guys here haven’t watched it, so I’ll do a recap. While trying to cope with anxiety and depression and gain a feeling of productivity, I have dived into dozens of hobbies over the years. I’m going to do a YouTube series teaching basic How-To’s of these hobbies as I talk about mental health subjects and coping mechanisms!
I am so, so excited.
Plus, this is an excuse for me to restock all the supplies I got rid of before I moved across the U.S. last fall (and count them as a business expense), and an excuse to learn more hobbies, and doing these videos is going to be a dang good coping mechanism for me. It turns out I love doing livestreams. They do great things for my mental health. And I’m way better at doing productive things when I do them as I stream. So, I will be streaming these How-To videos, and I would absolutely love for people to come watch and chat with me as I do this! (Assuming I’m able to read the comments live. It depends on which hobby I’m teaching.)
After I was inspired with this idea I was working on homework for my Social Media Marketing class and saw a classmate’s post on content marketing ideas for me. She listed classic mental health topics such as blogs on coping mechanisms and podcasts with mental health experts. That’s when I realized: those kinds of things bore me. I’m not saying her ideas were bad, because they aren’t. Not at all. But I had never realized before that I personally never benefit from reading or listening to those myself. It’s always seemed to me that these people who do these kinds of things, if they actually experienced mental illness, have replaced their memories of how impossible it was to get through with this idea of “this is what would have helped me.” They don’t help me and I dread watching and reading on these topics. Alas, I digress. What I’m getting to is that the idea of writing and recording those kinds of subjects bore me even more than the idea of listening to them. (Really, it’s not that those things are boring. It’s just that it’s really hard to find ones I like, and I know I would be bad at creating that content for the same reason I think others are.) If there’s one thing I’ve learned lately, it’s that I absolutely do not have to compromise who I am, what I’m comfortable with, and what my passions are in order to build a platform. In fact, I’m slowly finding by my success by cashing in on those exact things and being my most authentic self!
Not only am I trying to be my most authentic self, but I’m trying to be careful with my mental health as I make commitments and marketing plans. I can’t push myself too hard because I’m still struggling with bad anxiety and depression.
When I am depressed, I don’t want to read depressing things that remind me of how stuck I am in my depression and how no one actually has guaranteed answers that will help me. I want to be engaged. I want to feel like I belong, that I’m cared about.
I already knew I wanted to do the latter two as an author/influencer. The first one is what I’m working on now.
As I was thinking about all of this earlier, I realized something really cool. Let me get to that in just a second. I have another story to tell. This one could be a lot longer, so I’ll try to sum it up really quick.
Last June my husband lost his job. We prayed about it and got the answer to move, and in the meantime, to not work full-time–but also that I should write and publish a book. I felt prompted to work on the Recovering Happily Ever After series. What it ended up as is not something I ever envisioned. I don’t think I was ever planning on being a mental health advocate as an author. Now my book series is about teens struggling with depression and finding hope, and that is not what it was going to be. The main thing I love about it, though, is that it’s fun. It’s something anyone can read and enjoy. It makes people laugh. But it’s still about depression and touches on some deep subjects. It draws readers in to the subject of depression, possibly without them even realizing it, and most importantly, without depressing them even more.
I didn’t know that’s what I was doing when I wrote that series.
I’m still learning to think of these books in the terms of what they are and what they have the power to do.
And tonight I realized that this new prompting on the kind of YouTube content to share goes along exactly the same lines as what these books are doing.
I love the idea of what this YouTube series can do.
I love what these books can do.
I never would have thought of these on my own. At least, not at 22-23 years old. The promptings to do these things have already changed my life, and with them (and future promptings), I’m going to change even more lives.
Heavenly Father has been preparing me to live exactly the kind of life I want to live by having me do exactly the kind of things I want to do long before I even realize I want to do them.
There have been times where I have felt so, so alone. Even since getting that first prompting to write and publish a book. And especially recently, there have been a lot of times where I haven’t seen the point. I haven’t been able to see how anything I’m doing would work out. How anything would come together. Why I should bother writing the next book. I worry all the time about the engagement I’m getting and the money that’s coming in. (More like the money that’s going out, because there’s way more of that. )But it is coming together. It will continue to come together. Things have seemed slow to me, but I have been doing exactly what Heavenly Father has wanted me to this entire time. He’s been helping me to pave the road I didn’t know I was walking on. And at this rate, I probably won’t even realize that I’ve reached the place I want to be until long after I’ve arrived. I just have to keep having faith.
I’m finally getting my answers, and this is a rare occasion where I feel excited about my future.
(Cue tomorrow’s utter despair and suicidal ideation, because the worst days always seem to follow the best. Haha.)
(***knock on wood***)