I've recently joined a small group of fellow authors that is interested in better understanding who we are and who we write for. If you've been reading my blog for a while you know that I've touched on this topic before--most notably when I signed a new book contract with Simon & Schuster and had to give some serious thought to the concept of branding. I'm no expert, but I'm slowly learning... And I'm starting to realize that the better I grasp this, the more meaningful my work will be.
Believe it or not, it's not just about selling books (at least, for me it's not). Of course, that would be a nice side effect, but I am convinced, heart and soul, that we all want to be a part of something that matters. According to Seth Godin in his book Tribes: "People want connection and growth and something new. They want change... We [all] want to belong." Yes! I do! I want my life to make a difference and I want that passion to translate into every area of my being, not just my spirituality or my understanding of good and bad or right and wrong.
This desire for positive change impacts so many areas of my life that sometimes it's hard to pinpoint what I am most passionate about. Some of my most engaging interests are:
- Writing. My books are much more than a paycheck for me. They're a way to engage the world around me, to point to beauty in brokenness, and to explore things that I don't fully understand. When I write, I long to engage people in a conversation.
- Philanthropy. Our non-profit (One Body One Hope) consumes me. I can totally see the Baart family ending up in Liberia someday, for a much more extended stay than a two week mission trip. I would love to do life with our friends in West Africa.
- Motherhood. Before I had kids, I never considered myself the motherly type. But now that I'm a mom to a six-year-old, a three-year-old, and a soon-to-be newborn, I take bringing up children very seriously. My job as a mom takes first place above any of my other pursuits.
- Adoption. I've always been drawn to adoption, but now that I'm a bona-fide adoptive mother I'm downright rabid about it. I take seriously the biblical mandate to care for widows and orphans, and I love advocating for the least of these.
- Simplicity. With the current recession forcing the entire country to reassess our finances and the extravagant way we live, this doesn't seem like such a unique passion. But living a simple, un-busy life is something I've always longed for. From re-examining the concept of frugality, to getting rid of processed foods in my home and buying local, I believe that contentment can be found in refusing to give in to the lies of our materialistic culture. I hope to continue to explore this idea in the coming months and years.
Okay, these are just a few of my interests and passions. But right now I'm trying to condense all of this information and apply it to my career as an author. I'm trying to answer the following questions: Who reads my books (or would love to read my books if they only knew about them)? And, even more importantly, what can I offer these people? What do we have in common, and what has the potential to draw us closer so that we want to continue journeying together?
I have a couple of questions for you today and I would be so grateful if you would take a moment to answer them!
Question #1: Who are you? Tell me a bit about yourself... Include as much or as little as you want!
Question #2: What are you passionate about? I mentioned five of my pursuits, now what captures your imagination?
*As an added bonus, I'll tie a giveaway into this little exercise. I have a lovely, signed book up for grabs. All you have to do is leave a comment and I'll pick one winner from the bunch. Thanks for reading!