I’m a writer. Oh sure, I’ve tried other things and scouted out alternative avenues (little known fact: I once owned a yoga and Pilates studio), but the fact of the matter is, I’m a writer.
I’ve always been a writer. My husband delights in the ever-so-embarrassing book of haikus that I wrote when I was 9. The highlight (or lowlight) of that collection, meticulously pecked out on my parents’ Smith Corona typewriter: “A lama’s a priest/who turns into a beast just/by adding an ‘L.'” Clearly, it’s always been in my blood, for better or for worse.
I’ve had a good career. But ever since my working days began in my late teens, I’ve always been writing for others. My full-time employers or freelance clients have chosen the topics, and I’ve crafted the phrases that best speak to their customers, best educate their sales teams, or best define their products. In the end, I’m speaking for them. For nearly two decades, my own voice was irrelevant.
I was ok with that for a long time. And then, one day, I wasn’t.
In 2010, I began my own blog, What Would Betty Do?, the project that I write exclusively for myself. The inspiration was my grandmother, Betty, and the way she lived a strong, active, balanced life as a working mother long before that sort of thing was common. But in truth, my own mother was the driving force behind it, the reason for its philosophy of incremental change.
My mother died of heart disease at age 55. Heart disease is manageable, of course, with proper diet, exercise, and medical care. It does not, however, respond to trends like low-carb, low-fat or deprivation.
I watched my mother try every fad diet that came along. Every one failed because all-or-nothing changes ultimately lead to nothing. I can’t help but believe that incremental changes, implemented gradually, over time, would have given her better results, helped her manage her condition, and maybe even resulted in her living to see the birth of her grandson.
Through my blog, I share recipes that are easy to make at home, even if you’re pressed for time and have a Tiny Kitchen Assistant “helping” you cook. I discuss fitness, health, and even some fluffier topics like finding a swimsuit that won’t ride up your butt. There’s no guilt about what you haven’t done yet, just ideas for how you can make gradual changes going forward. It’s all about making people feel ok about themselves and what they’re capable of achieving.
This is the year that I want to give Betty and her fans more of my attention.
Can I save the world? No. But maybe if I write persuasively, if I communicate effectively, if I speak from the heart… maybe I can change one person’s life. Maybe Damn Fine Words will help me to do that. It’s certainly worth a try.