Anthony Moore asked me an amazing question the other day.
“What’s your message, Tom?”
His question took me back. I didn’t know what to say at first. I started panicking just a little (but not too much because Anthony is awesome).
First, we need context as to why.
In case you’re wondering, here’s my process as a blogger..
- Sit down in chair.
- Think about what’s making me emotional.
- Write about that.
Whatever is making me excited, angry, happy, sad, IN THAT MOMENT is good material. I always try to base my content off the here-and-now because if I didn’t, there would be no heart in it.
And blog posts with no heart aren’t that fun to read.
So it comes as no surprise to hear that I don’t exactly have a “message.”
..or do I?
Not Knowing Our Message Doesn’t Mean We Don’t Have One
Our message is sort of like a shadow — we can’t really grab it and say “Ah-Ha! Here it is!”
Every time we try to shine a light on it, too, it moves.
It’s this abstract thing that constantly changes along with us as we grow and create more content.
As I talked with Anthony on our call, I stumbled around talking about purpose and inspiration and trying to help people see possibilities that they’ve never seen before.
Then I landed on something really profound.
Something that I felt like came from the core of myself..
“I just want to be brutally honest. I want to put myself out there in a warts-and-all style to hopefully inspire others to be more honest as well. I think deception and dishonesty is a big part of what’s wrong with the world today.”
And just like that I exposed my message.
Then I realized I’d been sharing my message with people for a while now.
In fact, I’d been doing it in every single blog post I’d ever written up until now — I just never knew it.
You’ve Been Spreading Your Message All Along
We all have a message. We wouldn’t be bloggers if we didn’t have something we thought the world needed to hear.
I was watching a documentary on Netflix about a rapper named Logic the other day. Someone asked him why he went into rap and why he wanted to get on a stage and perform for people.
He said something like — and I’m paraphrasing:
“Because I have a message the world needs to hear.”
That puts things in a much different light.
A lot of us (me included) might think rappers want to blow up because of the money and the fame and the lifestyle. But I think the rappers/artists that really transcend everyone else are the ones who have a message.
Everyone who creates has a message. We have an excited voice inside urging us to create and tell the world about our latest revelation.
Because we don’t see this message out there enough right now.
If you’re reading this and call yourself a blogger/vlogger/artist/creative in any sense of the word — you best believe that you have a message.
And you’ve probably been putting it in all your articles so far.
So how do you pinpoint it?
How To Find Your Message
I think the best way to find your message is to show you how I found mine..
I hated college. I went to a Christian school that had a lot of rules and I didn’t like rules. I’ve never liked authority.
Then I graduated college and couldn’t find a job anywhere. I realized I didn’t want to sit in a cubicle the rest of my life, either. Because I don’t like authority.
So I started freelancing. This gave me control. I like calling the shots.
Then I realized that there’s another way. That you don’t need to put the next 40 years of your life on auto-pilot. That you can ACTUALLY call your own shots.
Then I went on a 5-month road trip across the country. I saw friends. I worked from my laptop. I quite honestly lived a dream.
Then I got home and needed to write about it. I don’t know why I did, but I did.
Let’s stop it right there.
I had no message after college. I had nothing my heart needed to say. Then I quit my job and made one small decision to start freelancing and that changed everything for me. I realized that decision was an aberration, and that very few people do what I did.
Well, because the digital nomad trend hasn’t reached fever pitch yet, but also because nobody thinks living a dream is possible — ESPECIALLY as a recent graduate.
I found my message.
And look at me. Three years later I hope to continue sharing my message in over on YouTube while I go to Southeast Asia for three months.
Whatever life you want to live is possible. And I know it is, because I saw it for myself.
I wrote about hope, purpose, and encouragement through the lens of a 23-year-old who just traveled the country for 5 months.
How do you find your message, you might ask?
In short, your message is your worldview.
How do you see the world?
Do you see hope? Do you see opportunity?
Or do you see a bunch of people that are only out for themselves?
Do you see a political landscape decimated by liars, cheaters, and those who say they’re for the people but actually aren’t?
Does this piss you off?
Good, that’s your message.
How do you find your message?
Well, look at the world and tell us what you see.
What’s the most profound thing you’ve ever learned as a human being? What’s the most profound thing that’s ever happened to you?
You’ll find the answers to those questions are more related than you know.
Our message is our thesis statement. If we were going to write a paper about the human condition, what would your main point be?
It’s a hard question to answer, but you better bet it CAN be answered.
Look at what’s happened to you. Look at the events that have taken place in your life. What event made you the saddest? What event made you the happiest? What made you feel the most excited?
What event changed you the most?
Think about this, and think about it hard.
Then you’ll know what your message is.
You need to know it, too.
When you get done writing, ask yourself:
“Did this article help spread my message?”
If the answer is yes, every single second spent creating what you just created was worth it. Rest easy, then do it again tomorrow.
Want to build an audience of your own on Medium? I have a free 5-day email course called “Your First 1,000 Followers” that will teach you how I did it! Sign up for it right here.
What’s Your Message As A Writer? You Need To Think About It was originally published in The Ascent on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.