Danielle Dorky reflects on the first six months of her blogging journey, and reveals some major changes readers can look forward to.
You may or may not have noticed that it’s been a while (over six months) since my last personal blog. 2014: All Systems Go was such an uplifting and motivating post, and I received a lot of positive feedback from my readers about how they also planned to adopt systems for the new year. I kept waiting for some similarly moving inspiration to strike before I was slowly reminded that inspiration doesn’t always come so neatly packaged, nor is it always conceived in ideal circumstances. Sometimes, it’s when we’re at our most bereft or downtrodden that inspiration reveals itself as a dim, flickering light at the end of the proverbial tunnel.
An unanticipated road block occurred early in the year – on my birthday in fact – when my best friend passed away after an almost five-year struggle with cancer. DanielleDorky.com had only just launched and to distract myself from my grief, I threw all of my energy into organizing the website launch party, which went off without a hitch exactly two weeks later. After that, I remained focused on maintaining the website and attracting a wider audience. For a while, things were going well.
When I got a new full-time job in April, I knew it would be an adjustment. I’ve never worked a formal Monday-Friday 9-5 job before, and I didn’t expect to feel so exhausted and brain dead by the end of every work day. Around this same time, the reality of losing my best friend began to sink in. I lost motivation and it was all I could do to churn out semi-regular album reviews. I comforted myself with the assumption that creativity can’t be forced; thereby, I couldn’t help being useless and stuck in front of the TV.
Almost two months later, I was hoping to reignite the creative flame by attending a women’s networking brunch, when I found myself struck by something one of the featured speakers said. As Melody Ehsani charted her progression from idealistic pre-law student to CEO of her own jewelry and apparel lines, she emphasized the importance of recognizing when you need to evolve or abandon certain elements of your work because they no longer inspire or move you in the same way.
“Stop waiting to be who you are,” she encouraged, seeming to encompass the entire room in her gaze.
I thought about how I would procrastinate over reviews until the last moment, and how much I missed looser, less formatted writing. I remembered how much I enjoyed creating my list of 10 Authors Who Inspired Dr. Maya Angelou or my Women’s History Crush Wednesday series during Women’s History Month. I realized how much of a disservice I was doing my readers by churning out predictable content I wasn’t invested in.
Since that brunch, something has been simmering in me, eager to put that idea to the test and truly embrace the potential of DanielleDorky.com, and by proxy, myself.
From now on, this website won’t just be maintained, it will thrive. It will contain interviews, op-eds, and literary submissions that don’t just report, but truly embrace the cultures of literature and music.
This is not to say that I will stop posting reviews entirely, only that when I do, it will be because I feel compelled, not obligated to.
I suppose the message of this letter is to acknowledge that I, and everyone of you, have the executive authority to alter our lives when aspects no longer work for us, no matter how “set in stone” they may seem, or how complacent we’ve become. We owe it to ourselves to realize our dreams however we envision them, and to adapt them accordingly along the way.