It’s Time to Stop Apologizing.

At the Mom 2.0 Summit last week, in one of the sessions I attended we were asked to write our elevator pitch — basically introducing our blog to someone in 30 seconds or less (the time you might have with a stranger in an elevator) and the challenge was to explain what makes ours different than other blogs.

This stumped me, frankly. I do have an elevator pitch, a few lines that I use to describe my blog to people that don’t have a clue what I do. It goes something like this, “Oh, it’s just your typical lifestyle blog… you know, food, fashion, recipes, um… sometimes fitness….”

But there’s nothing in there that tells people why blog is different from the rest. And even worse, I have this awful habit of apologizing.

“Oh it’s just your typical lifestyle blog . . . “

I found myself doing that over and over again throughout the conference.

This session and the exercise on writing my elevator pitch helped me realize two things:

1) I need to stop apologizing for my blog. Just because I’m not finding the cure for cancer or waxing eloquent about the latest theological debate in the evangelical church doesn’t mean that what I do has no value.

2) I need to determine what DOES set my blog apart from the sea of other lifestyle blogs on the Internet and then learn to articulate that so that the next time someone asks me what my blog is about, I have an intelligent answer.

Over and over throughout the conference, I kept hearing the same two mantras and they really sunk in.

  1. Do what you’re passionate about.
  2. Figure out what makes you different.

I know this. I am always telling people to write about what they’re passionate about. But it helps to hear it again and again, especially when I’m in the process of re-evaluating my commitments. But the part about determining what sets you apart from the rest — while it doesn’t seem like it should be an epiphany, I think I really started giving this some thought for the first time.

The first thing I decided to do is eliminate the word “just” from my vocabulary. I don’t write “just a lifestyle blog” and I am not “just a mom” — and neither are you, by the way. Own who you are and what you do and say it proudly.

The next thing I did was think about my blog and what makes my fashion, my food, my fitness different than everyone else’s. Why do you come here instead of another blog that writes about similar topics?? In fact, maybe I should stop this post right here and see what you say. Cuz I’m curious.

But of course I have to tell you my big epiphany!

To say I write about “food and fashion and fitness” is way too general. So do umpteen other bloggers. What is it about my food posts, recipes and meal plans that keep people coming back for more? What is it about my fitness and fashion posts that are engaging? I thought about it for a few minutes, and this is what I came up with.

My food is not just food. It is not comfort food or homestyle food (that insinuates cream of chemical soup and desserts with sweetened condensed milk.) But my food is certainly not raw or vegan — nor is it all grown in my backyard and fermented and soaked. So what is it? I hope it is wholesome and nutritious, and of course it’s usually gluten-free. So why don’t I say that?

Fitness implies I’m a health nut or an athlete. But I’m neither. I’m a late bloomer in the exercise department, but I’m committed to running and working out to stay healthy and active and fit into my old age. Why don’t I say that?

My style is not high style, it is not runway style, it is not even metropolitan mom style. It’s more like . . . suburban mom style. I mean, sometimes I feel like a dope posting week after week of skinny jeans and tops with ballet flats and the same few pieces of jewelry. But let’s face it. We suburban housewives don’t exactly need to dress to the nines every day. And we only have so much room for clothes in our closets. So my goal is to share how I keep my look current and appropriate for my age, as well as practical for my suburban life. So why don’t I say that?

The next day I sat down next to a stranger at lunch, and naturally she asked me about my blog, so I started to try out my new elevator pitch. It went something like this:

“I write a lifestyle blog about cooking with nutritious whole foods, my newfound passion for fitness and running, and wearable fashion for the typical suburban housewife.”

And you know what? That sparked a really interesting conversation that, in turn, sparked the Fashion Friday post I am planning for tomorrow!

I actually set out to write my Fashion Friday feature when I started this post, but I realized along the way that it’s far to long for an intro to a fashion post (duh.) And also, I don’t want the message to get lost.

Because we women, we do this. We apologize. Whether it’s for what we do or how we look or not getting to the bus stop on time or for the overflowing laundry baskets or for not getting around to making a home-cooked meal. We need to stop it.

I’m willing to bet that the dads who stay at home with their kids don’t say, “Oh, I’m just a stay-at-home dad.”

So let’s make a pact to stop apologizing. And maybe it’s time to look at what you’re apologizing for and figure out how to make it something you’re proud of.

Who’s with me?

Comments

  1. says

    I’m with you on this! Thank you for sharing your thinking process. It helps me! And your final point that stay at home dads would probably not say “just” really brought it home. Had to laugh….at first.
    Thank you.
    Resa ~ Pitcher and Plate

  2. says

    You once read me an article and said you wish you could write like that. JoLynne hey guess what you just did. Loved it thanks for continue to inspire me.

  3. says

    I love this post. I apologize or talk myself down so many times. I do it a lot when I write about my running achievements. I “just” ran 5 miles or I “only” ran 10 miles in whatever amount of time that may not be as fast as some of my fellow running friends. The fact that we’ve DONE these things is a great accomplishment.

  4. Jen D says

    I’m “just a mom” (couldn’t resist) and I read your your blog for a number of reasons, but I guess mostly because you’re relatable. I can wear something like that. I just wouldn’t have thought of it myself. I can cook something like that, but never before considered some of the ingredients. And my fitness routine also has to fit into my daily life. I don’t have a couple hours a day to devote to exercise. You give us ways to step up our game a bit, to improve and feel better about ourselves, but it’s not overwhelming. You’re real and honest and I very much enjoy reading your blog. You do make a difference. I suspect much more than you think. Keep up the good work!

  5. says

    I had a reader email this week asking me to quit apologizing so much. I’d known this in my head but I did it anyway, even if it was round-about. This just drives home the point. Your elevator pitch was awesome and got me excited to read your blog .Hm, wonder why. Thanks for sharing with us!

  6. says

    I’m so guilty of this and I’m off to re-write my elevator pitch. I’ve got my first overnight conference (Savvy Blogging) next month and I don’t want to apologize for anything!

    Great post!

  7. says

    I’m sorry, but this is a great post.

    (see what I did there?)

    You are absolutely correct. Women do this and many of us women that write online do this. I find myself being weirdly apologetic for not being a typical “mom blog” – but I am realizing more and more that I am just fine because I have yet to meet a typical mom.

    Also? Your writing is just aces in this post, lady!

  8. says

    I love this post! It is DEAD ON. This is what I tell my friends all the time. Because when you believe in yourself, more people believe you!! You come across “eh, ya know..” they will glaze over. But be excited, specific, and proud of it? You got yourself a fan.

    I love this blog for inspiration too. :)

  9. says

    JL, I’d agree with you that you have a SANE blog — not leaping off into extremes on either end. You do food, fashion, and fitness for the sane woman who wants a normal life too. That’s a big part of it. You’re moderate. (But that’s kind of a boring word.) Is there something trendier than “Hi, I’m a moderate blogger”?

    You may not have thought of this, and it might not occur to you, but I imagine LOTS of your readers keep coming back here b/c of WHO YOU COME ACROSS AS, on the screen. Many bloggers don’t really have much to say. You’re delightfully chatty. Many bloggers are BORING. You’re funny. In the bitter end, I think it’s the person on the other side of the screen that makes readers come back. I don’t know how you “sell” that in an elevator, but I think it’s the truth.

  10. says

    I love your new elevator pitch!

    This is really something I need to think about and incorporate in my own blog and the way I talk. I definitely need a new byline. I know that. I also need to be as passionate about my blog in “real life” speaking as I am in writing.

    I really needed this. In fact, I’m going to come back later and re-read it when I have more time to sit and take it all in. Thank you for helping us be better bloggers.

    ~FringeGirl

  11. says

    Love this!

    While I am “just a homeschooling mama of 12 children”, that is not really what my blog is about. I occasionally talk about the joys and trials of an extra larger family, and the topic of homeschooling come up now and then . . . but what I really blog about is the joys and trials of walking in faith each and every day (and my blog has become a “diet blog” as I have lost 65 pounds in the past 10 months).

    I definitely need to figure out my “elevator pitch” because I am definitely NOT the typical “homeschooling mother of a dozen children”.

    :) :) :)

  12. DonnaS says

    Your blog is relatable and that’s what keeps me reading. I also enjoy your sense of humor. I think you are a terrific writer!

  13. says

    I keep coming back because your writing is entertaining, enlightening, inspiring and real. You are very down to earth – authentic and so relatable to us moms. You are passionate but not pushy about what you write about and that shines through! Keep up the great work!

  14. Emily G says

    As a twentysomething who has struggled with self-esteem … I like the “own what you do” line in this post. I am a retail clerk and a student. No it doesn’t sound glamorous, and I usually gloss over this in conversations. But I like the idea of not always poo-pooing compliments or diluting your worth with other people. Even though I’m not a mom, I love this blog and get lots of inspiration in the recipe, fashion, and fitness posts. Keep it coming!

  15. says

    Oh wow, Jo-Lynne! Such a great post that I KNOW will help many of us bloggers to get that elevator pitch spruced up. I started thinking about this a lot at Blissdom because I want to be able to set my lifestyle blog apart as well. And I love that you reevaluated yours and made it more specific to your wonderful blog. And yes, no more apologizing! :-)

  16. Susan says

    You write a fun blog for the mom who is sometimes too enmeshed in the trenches to keep them up to date on fashion, new trends and healthy eating and living and you throw in a personal Mom touch every now and then and are unashamed of your Christianity.

    How’s that ?

  17. says

    I agree! You said it perfectly!!! I love the examples and inspiration you give here. I’m definitely going to be more “aware” of apologizing for being me!

  18. says

    Jo-Lynne.. what you are saying goes way beyond just describing your elevator pitch… it goes to describing who you are and what you are passionate about. So many of us call ourselves “just a Mom”…. and wow- we are so much more than that!

    Thanks for this awesome post…

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