Monday, February 25, 2013

Unqualified Expert

“I don’t have an expertise to write about,” I told her, while startled rabbits scampered into the brush and the sound of gravel under foot serenaded our morning walk.
“Everyone has an expertise,” she encouraged, “you just need to identify it.”
I am a writer. It’s a new revelation and I adore the identity.  Finally I understand why I love to write—because I’m a writer.  See?  I didn’t say I’m logical, though—don’t confuse the two.
The authorities I’ve been reading say that a writer needs to discern who her audience is and then write to them.  The problem is, I don’t know who my audience is. I don’t really want to focus on one aspect of the writing I do for my blog, because I’m having too much fun putting down whatever random thought nests in my head.  But if I want to reach more readers, apparently I need to figure out what they want from me.
So I decided to make a list of my qualifications, hoping it would reveal my expertise. A list usually simplifies things for me.  But in this case, it was complicated—and a little depressing.
The list in my head began with empty blanks.
1.      I didn’t go to college for four or even two years; therefore, I have no degree.

2.      I haven't held a job for a while; therefore, I am not marketable.

3.      I can type 160+ words a minute but I don’t know how to use Excel; therefore, I have weak computer skills and am not a geek. I am a dork, but a geek is in greater demand than a dork with mad typing skills.

4.      I know shorthand but no one needs it anymore; therefore, my ability is as extinct as the Great Toothed Diver Bird.  And as sought after.

5.      I worked in a law office for two years but just as a secretary; therefore, I am not a lawyer.

6.      I worked in schools for two years but only as a secretary; therefore, I am not a teacher.

7.      I worked in churches for three years but only as a secretary; therefore, I am not . . . no.  I am a Christian.  That came first.

8.      I speak only English fluently with a faded smattering of college French; therefore, I am not bilingual. Much.

9.      I stopped at two children; therefore, my hat is off to mothers with more.

10.    I’m not currently raising children; therefore, my brain is rusty and my outdated knowledge is nearly obsolete.

11.    I don’t lead women’s Bible studies; therefore, I am not a Bible scholar.

12.   After nearly 37 years of marriage times 365 days times three meals a day, I have prepared a minimum of 40,515 meals which equates to approximately 1,930 meat loaves. I no longer enjoy cooking.  Therefore, I don’t write a food blog—especially a meat loaf blog.

13.    I made my own clothes in high school, embroidered some hand towels in sixth grade, knitted a shawl ten years ago, and scrapbooked a vacation from 1994. None of these crafty items would inspire anyone on Pinterest; therefore, I do not write a crafting blog.

14.   We homeschooled one kid in kindergarten and two kids for seven years and the remaining kid for two more years for a combined total of seventeen years of homeschooling and retired permanently when the second kid graduated high school eleven years ago.  Therefore, I have forgotten most of what homeschooling taught me.
Are you convinced yet?  I’m having trouble finding my expertise, but I appear to have a lot of experience in dabbling.  And lest you think I’m feeling sorry for myself here, I'm not.  I'm just dinging around here with my love of writing. The truth is this has probably been an exercise in tongue-in-cheek narcissism. 

So what’s left for me to write about?
I dunno.  But chronicling  this has taken an hour and I’m over it now. Stay tuned for Chapter Two of this potential Book About Nothing where I reveal my lack of geographical knowledge.
It’ll be a real nail biter.

Photo courtesy of Ross Mayfield's photostream at where expert photographers loan their stuff to people like me who still use flashcubes on their cameras.
You can find Ross's original photo at


  1. You are a Jill of all trades. A renaissance woman! That used to be the goal, what people sought after. Then the tables turned and we all wanted to be experts in something. But honestly, a life full of well rounded and versatile experiences sounds way more fun than years and years of being really good at one thing.

    1. Oh, that is so sweet of you! I like it - a renaissance woman! Ta dah. Will you please be my agent? Love you so much!