Future Bloggers of The World: Here’s Some Advice For Those Of You About To Write
From The Loud Mouth Brown Girl to The Rest of the World, Here’s Some Things To Remember About The Blogger Lifestyle
I didn’t fully prepare myself for the public living part, of being the Loud Mouth Brown Girl. Honestly, I’m surprised that one person cared, but as it turns out WordPress.com informed me the other day that I had been using the platform for a variety of blogs for the last 16 years.
To someone as famous as Oprah or Beyonce or Rihanna, that’s not that big a deal, to the average person who doesn’t really care about turning their blog into a business, it isn’t that big a deal, but to me it’s huge.
It tells me that over the last 16 years I’ve changed a lot, and even though I never want to see those old pages again, (omg could you imagine?) it’s still cool to know that I’ve had a digital presence that long.
Over those years I’ve changed and evolved and learned a few things, so today I thought I’d share with you some more things to think about when starting a blog.
Are you starting a blog, a brand, or a company? Which is it?
It is vitally important for you to know if you’re starting a blog, a brand, or a company. Loud Mouth Brown Girl is a brand, it’s not a company. The only money I earn comes from donations and from book sales, as well as other areas of my life which I’ve already discussed.
Loud Mouth Brown Girl is a brand, and there are clothing options as well as a book that goes with that brand, and another one coming soon I think. Either way, it’s a brand, it’s not a “lifestyle,” brand, but it is a “mental health, and cannabis brand”, designed to educate other folks around the globe, about the shit that I went through, and how I am finding new ways to me, to heal.
To be fair I had 0 plans for the future of the site, I just knew it sounded cool, and it was in the rebellion of all the racism I’d ever felt and all the times I’d been told to shut up or be quiet.
I literally started the first year with the words “okay, let’s see what happens!” And a few years later continued that thought with, “I guess we’ll see where we’re going when we get wherever we get.”
It’s only these years later that I realize what it means for my website to be a “brand,” that other folks look up to.
Do you plan to be the face of your blog/brand/company, or are you going to remain anonymous?
There are benefits to both. If you choose to be a part of the public side of things, then when you go to events to promote yourself people will know who you are, and your blog or website can stand as your portfolio to the world.
I’ve chosen to remain as authentic as possible on Loud Mouth Brown Girl, because I want people to believe in the brand, as much as I want them to believe in me, the creator, founder, and writer of the brand.
I want people to trust the brand, and thus I have to make sure that I am as honest as possible, even when it’s uncomfortable for me or other people.
You may not want to be the face of your blog, but once you decide that you want people to know who you are — once you start to decide that your story matters enough to use your face to promote your blog brand, then the game changes. You are no longer a private person. Everything is on the table and there’s nothing you can do about it.
People who knew the person that you were before you started writing will all have something to say and while it may not be true to you it will absolutely be true to them. Are you ready for that? I sure as hell wasn’t.
If you choose to remain anonymous, you can say whatever you want and you won’t have to care what people think about you or what it is you have to say, sure you’ll face some blowback, but who cares, no one knows who you are right?
Until they figure out who you are and decide to destroy everything about your life because they don’t have anything to risk by “taking you down.”
Choose your path wisely because both have serious consequences. Especially in today’s age of “continual never-ending reasons to be traumatized and enraged.”
Are You Prepared To Introduce Yourself In Public Spaces?
Last year I was asked to do some public speaking engagements that paid not too badly for a first-timer. I was really excited about it, but I didn’t — deliberately — pursue other opportunities, because in my heart I’m a writer, not a speaker.
I’ve never been great at public speaking, I’ve always thought I would be, but honestly, I choke every single time without fail. I’m horrible at it.
However, when in public as I learned yesterday, some people want to talk to me — or rather they want to talk to The Loud Mouth Brown Girl, and that is someone who is entirely different than myself, Devon J Hall.
I am the LMBG, but I’m also a human who in private uses pronouns that are not the one's society is conditioned to accept. That’s something I struggle with because my identity is evolving faster than I can write about it, and because of that I am struggling emotionally with learning how to be myself, and simultaneously, learning what the rest of the world is still not fully ready for to accept.
As Allison Gaines, Arturo Dominguez, and Dr. Mary Marshall (just to name a few of #WEOC can all understand, putting our faces out there comes with consequences. We face a lot of hatred from white supremacist groups, from people who don’t understand that we speak from marginalized lenses, and from people who don’t care to understand the struggles that we face.
When we’re in public, sometimes people make comments — luckily for me I’ve been blessed in that all the public comments I have received have been generously kind, but I am fully aware that’s not always the case for some public writers and bloggers.
The Person You Were, Will Change, The Moment You Write You’re “About Me,” Page, With A Photo of Your Face and Body
Each of us cultivates the digital identity that makes us feel most safe. Regardless of who we are in the physical world that we individually live in, our online persona’s are either “exactly who we are in public,” or “completely different than we are in public.”
There are people who would never say the things they say in an online space, in a public space with other humans around. For whatever their reasons are, will choose whichever path makes them feel safest and most comfortable.
Which one are you going to be?
I tend to lean toward the “this is me, my mess, and it sucks but I’m trying the best I can,” approach, because that’s what feels most honest to me, and whether others like it or not, it’s what feels safest to me.
That being said, when I first started Loud Mouth Brown Girl, I was completely broken and mentally disabled from years of undealt with trauma. I was hurting and I lashed out naming victims as abusers because my brain was completely broken and the people who should have helped me didn’t really do much.
It was the Cannabis Community that helped to save my life, that brought me back to the idea of connecting with my roots again, literally and figuratively, through the cannabis that I was using to help heal my heart.
Now that being said, a lot of people from my old life, are people who are still in the poverty, drug addiction, and mental health, advocacy community, and while I will always be an advocate (at this point I’m just giving into the role,), the kind of advocacy I do now changes.
Now it’s more specific:
- Mental health
- Life after trauma
- Education from a patient’s perspective
- Cannabis and mental health
- Women’s rights
- Black Women’s needs and rights
These are not easy topics to discuss, and they are certainly not easy to share in a public space with other humans. I honestly thought I had the “hi, I’m the Loud Mouth Brown Girl,” speel down pat, but at Surrey’s Pride, I realized I was incredibly nervous because I’d been out of practice with talking to other humans.
Understanding that as you grow as a writer, online advocate and protector of various communities, you will change, and spend a lot more time learning about what you want to educate others about, than actually educating others, is a huge part of whether or not the brand/blog/company you are building, will be successful or not.
How Can You Say That When You Haven’t Made the “I Just Got Paid A Million Dollars,” Post Yet?
I don’t base my success on how much money I get paid each year. I base my success on whether or not I have accomplished the following:
- I took the time to learn something new
- I did better today than I did yesterday
- I’m still healing
- I’m still functioning as best I can
- I’m prioritizing my personal health over the things that other people say I should prioritize.
I’m not ready to be paid a million dollars to write a post. I don’t have a large enough audience, and as I recently learned from an online friend who stepped down from a platform of over 140 thousand people in their audience, sometimes having huge platforms before you are ready isn’t healthy.
This is a person who faced untold amounts of abuse, who once had to have the FBI protecting their family, because of the abuse they suffered, and who had to hide in places that no one should have to hide because their entire family was put at risk because of hatred received online.
When we’re working to build a plan to take over the world, build a brand and follow our dreams, there are shadows out there that are constantly trying to destroy all of the things that make us happy.
Not Everyone Is Going To Be Happy That You’re Making A Name For Yourself
Maybe they claim our work, or maybe they makeup lies about us, or maybe even when we come forward and say “yup I did that horrible thing in a past life,” we are still not forgiven.
Maybe they think that the person they knew when they saw us at parties or at clubs, still exists, but maybe they don’t realize that the reason they are in the past part of your life, is because your current life doesn’t need or want their bullshit anymore.
Whatever their reason, people will say all kinds of shit about you just because it makes them feel good to do so.
There are people I will never forget because of the deplorable way they have behaved and the things they have done because of their lies and the pain they caused that will never go away.
So — in short, please be aware that when you put yourself out there, regardless of your age, creed, nationality, size, orientation, colour, or any other label that is literally only in existence to further divide humanity from its core collective spirit, there will be people who hate everything about you and will turn away because YOUR truth is too hard for THEM to hear.
We’ve Been Hearing This Shit For Decades, What’s The Difference Now?
In 2015 Ananta Bijoy Dash was killed by four men in Bangladesh because his blog promoted secularism. — Google
Gabby Petito was killed in 2021 by her boyfriend because he was a fucking asshole and a stupid piece of crap (personal opinion not fact,) either way she’s gone. — CNN
An influencer on Instagram with 44000 followers, Ritika Singh died after she was thrown off the fourth floor of her rented flat in Agra’s Tajganj area with her hands tied. — Yesterday — by her estranged husband and possibly 3 others. — The Quint
So my point is that around the world it’s happening that more and more people who are speaking out on a variety of topics are being jailed in some cases, and literally murdered in others.
When you put yourself and your story online, the people in the living three-dimensional world have a right to react — unfortunately some of them are choosing to react in increasingly violent ways ending often times in death for a Blogger or writer who had the guts to say the things they were told not to say.
I want as many people — of all races and all the labels — out there sharing their stories as possible, but I ALSO want you to know there are a variety of websites that will teach you how to remain safe online so that your identity and address can be protected by the proper authorities if in deed something terrible should happen.
Yes share your stories, YES take the risk, but also be careful. I wasn’t so careful and found myself with more than one abusive personality attacking everything about me.
I can handle it because I have an AMAZING support team, but not everyone is as lucky and blessed as I am. (Thanks BNON, Effexor and the many others,) it takes time to build a digital community that can help protect you if something goes wrong.
So be safe. Be careful, and mind that whatever you say no matter how polite and comfortable you try to be, someone is STILL going to find some bullshit to be angry about. It just is the way that it is, unfortunately.
Sending all my love,
Devon J Hall