A line in the sand
“You totally disappeared!”
“This blog looks different.”
“You changed your Instagram – who is “Kate Cook Digital?”
Good question, and you’re right to ask. I do have a little explaining to do. For those of you who may have previously known me as the author of Small Paper Things, Brisbane Digital Marketing enthusiast, no, your eyes aren’t deceiving you.
I did a Taylor Swift circa August 2017 and deleted (well, archived) most of what once existed on these pages and well, in the words of Charlotte York from Sex and the City when she was in the bookshop looking for a post-divorce self-help book, I’m “Starting over, yet again.”.
To say I wanted a “fresh start” wouldn’t really begin to cover it. I did, but the decision to keep my beloved SPT domain and brand was one I wrestled with. I even purchased another domain and began the process of backlogging content on it.
So why keep blogging on the same domain? Wiping the slate clean is just the same as starting over, so I can honesty say it wasn’t about a lack of motivation to populate content all over again. Instead, it was wrestling with my inner voice; recognising and accepting that it was okay to take a blogging break, owning the decision to come back and getting very clear about my purpose for doing so.
The old version of SPT wasn’t something I was proud of, so it became something that the today version of Kate, felt strongly about distancing herself from. I grew up – as we all do. My values changed and the focus for my career and personal brand did too. I felt that the dichotomy between the person I am now, and the girl that I was before, was one that the wider public and the followers of SPT wouldn’t be able to reconcile. I realise now that I wasn’t giving myself or my readers enough credit.
The truth is, I was never blogging for me, nor was I really blogging for anyone else. I was blogging for validation, quick win popularity and feeding my instant gratification monkey. I wasn’t proud of the content I was publishing and I wasn’t excited about writing it. I was writing it to jump on the bandwagon so that I could call myself a “blogger in the #girlboss era”. Worst of all, from time to time, I preached authenticity and purpose yet spent time carefully curating a life that would look as close to perfect as I could muster. A digital time capsule for my older self.
I also didn’t give my readers enough credit. I wrote content that was very easily palatable with the belief that it would only be listicles and articles with pretty pink headlines that would attract readership and attention. I blogged for the masses of people who skimmed content in a world of bloggers who pretended to be readers (not you dear reader, but the bloggers who simply wanted a comment on their own platform) so that we would leave comments on one another’s blog articles and feed our appetite for validation to satiate our own self-esteem gap, even if only for a mere moment.
Needless to say, I feel differently now.
I’ve grown and I’ve learned. I’m clear on my value and my contribution to the world and will no longer use a platform for the sole purpose of deriving my self-worth or self-esteem.
So here’s the new SPT manifesto.
My promise to myself and my promise to you, dear reader, who may stumble onto these new pages.
This is for me and it’s for you, but our relationship will always run deep and be meaningful.
I will share only when I have something worth sharing. I won’t make promises I can’t keep. I’ll write when I have something that I believe is genuinely worth your time and I’ll email it to those who have told me you want to hear it (subscribe if that’s you).
NB: There’s also nothing wrong with pretty pink headlines if I find them attractive and representative of my personal aesthetic. It doesn’t lump me in a category of those who are playing the game I used to play.
The thinking doesn’t have to be finished.
Writing and sharing our thinking can not only be cathartic, but it often helps to identify patterns and make sense of the world through the process. It is often in writing and sharing my unfinished thinking that I’ll arrive to a conclusion myself, or others will help to provide me with a perspective I wouldn’t have otherwise identified.
I will stop believing that all thinking must be “finished” before sharing it. Crowdsourcing problem solving can identify patterns that one on their lonesome may struggle to see, saving time and building connections.
I will endeavour not to become stuck in this loop again (as I so often to do):
In the past, I’ve found myself stuck in this loop because I refuse to share content that I’m not proud of, yet I’m almost never proud of any of my output anyway. I’m an extreme idealist. I expect to always push the boundaries on what “good” looks like because I know it’s possible and as a result, I find myself never being happy with anything I’ve created. It can always be better. The positive? I’ll never stop striving for excellence. The negative? It’s not productive and hamstrings growth.
Taking a new perspective: Get the thoughts down, identify patterns, reflect, edit, upload. Allow beauty to be found in imperfection and trust in the willingness of others to contribute to the conversation.
This blog will change. Stop trying to fit a square into a circle and stop with the comparison.
We grow. It’s what those of us who are self-aware and who have an insatiable appetite for growth do. Share the journey and stop trying to control the destination (#cheese *eyeroll* I HEARD IT).
So here’s to a new journey, drawing a line in the sand. To living my values and not just talking about them. To living an honest and candid life, to new experiences, journaling and small paper things.