Why I decided to have my existing site redone in January 2019


Reading is my first love. 

It was love at first sight when I mastered the ABC in Kindergarten — a love that has burned only brighter as the decades have passed. Writing came later.

Today, my writing and reading are braided together, intertwined, inseparable, like two lovers.

I started my blogging journey and website in January 2016.

I used daniebotha dot com as my domain name with the tagline, Yes, You Can! (What you can dream, you can achieve.) Like so many of us, I have multiple interests and am passionate about many things. The category-range of my writing was as wide as the bluest, clearest skies; it ranged from positive aging, lifelong fitness, medical ethics, workplace abuse, to writing and storytelling and fiction and the writer’s life. I know, right?

Life was good. Oh, it had its heartaches, hiccups, joys, and sorrows, but life was still good.

I attended my first writer’s conference in 2014. Before that, it had only been medical conferences. Boring? No, just different. But the dial inside my heart slowly shifted; behind the screens, changes were taking place. In August 2015, I attended Jeff Goin’s Tribe Conference. Responding to a 90-Day challenge, my, Yes, you can! site was born.

I also joined Joe Bunting’s The Write Practice and met and interacted with lovely and talented writers. It was a blast! I worked at the hospital and wrote — the latter for love. My first novel, Be Silent, was published in December 2016. The second novel, Maxime, saw the light of day, a year later, and my third novel, An Unfamiliar Kindness, was published in October 2018.

But I’m getting ahead of myself — in June 2017, life, as I knew it, changed overnight. Within ten days from each other, both my parents passed away. Even though we had emigrated eighteen years prior from Africa to Canada, the distance that had separated us did not make the loss easier. Love and loss and death are part of all of our lives. And we’re tough (we toughen up) — we have to, to survive and thrive and flourish. And yet, the loss impacted me more than I could ever have imagined, in spite of having found solace and healing in writing (short-form fiction & poetry) and intense exercise. So much so was I impacted that by January 2018, I was without my day job. Painstakingly slow, I had to rebuild my life.

I had to relearn and re-appreciate the value of trusted friends and faith. 

I found renewed joy in food, fitness, focused writing, and fine arts. (See my reflection on The 7 F’s in a recent article, The Meaning of Everything.)

Toward the end of 2017, I rediscovered the community on Medium. What a blast it has been, meeting and engaging with writers and readers alike. Thank you, one and all; who, in his and her way, has blessed me. 

Isn’t this what we do, forming a community of writers and readers who promote and support and produce remarkable prose and poetry?

During 2018 I joined a mastermind’s group who, sooner than later, zoomed in on my “apparent lack of focus.” My defense (well-argued as per my reasoning) crumbled under their logical and persistent approach and prompt: Narrow down your focus; you are trying to be everything to everybody. I countered with; I have eight interests — they are all important! Jeff Goins and Andy Traub wouldn’t budge; choose one, they insisted. I agreed to narrow my focus to four areas.

The mastermind group would have none of it — the response remained unchanged: choose one topic; become clear in your message. And thus the conviction became stronger that it was time to redo my website, narrow my focus, and clarify my message, if not rebrand myself.

Reading Donald Miller’s book, Building a Storybrand, helped me in my effort to clarify my message and boil it down to a single sentence, and then build it wider from there. Thank you, Donald!

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A year later, things are looking up again. Easy? No. Much has changed. I have changed — with more scars, but also with new insights and dreams and hopes and aspirations. Though, like life itself, it is all a work in progress.

And this is how my new website came to life; the new tagline now reads: Storytelling Changes Lives! I retained my original domain name daniebotha.com The subheading now changed to Storytelling transports, transforms, and heals. Tell your story — change a life.

And, keeping it in the family so to speak, Caroline DePalatis from yourglobalfamily.com (one of us) turned out to be an avid website builder. No longer using WordPress with Bluehost, we switched to Simvoly, who offer their own hosting service. Thank you, Caroline! The site went live at the beginning of 2019, just in time for the New Year!

I am in the process of developing an online course; yes, you’ve guessed it: Tell your story — change a life. It focuses on three (smaller) groups of people: (i) Tell a first-time story (For people who yearn to get their story or book out) (ii) Tell a stronger story (For writers who wish to take their writing to the next level), and (iii) Tell a brand new story (How to find healing through writing and fine arts.) This focus is not for everybody.

I found great value in Seth Godin’s book, This is Marketing, to better understand the concept of the smallest viable market, and to not try and please everybody. Make your product for a specific (small group) of people. Thank you, Seth!

I will continue writing and posting and reading on Medium, and so should you. I will also expand and invest time and effort to my site and grow it into a viable storytelling movement.

Reading and writing have become part of me — on many occasions; it has saved my life. 

May we bolster and support and challenge one another to up our game — to write and read work that matter, to write work that makes it into people’s hearts, touches lives, changes lives.

Together, we can do that.

Have a look and see what Storytelling Changes Lives! is all about.


© Danie Botha. 2019.


References:

1. Donald Miller. Building a Storybrand. Clarify your message so customers will listen. 2017.

2. Seth Godin. This is Marketing. You can’t be seen until you learn to see. 2018.

3. Caroline DePalatis. Your global family.

Danie Botha was born in Zambia and completed his school education and medical training in South Africa. He has called Canada home for the past 19 years. He writes modern historical and contemporary fiction and blogs about positive aging and writing as healing.Visit Danie at DanieBotha.com.
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Danie Botha was born in Zambia and completed his school education and medical training in South Africa. He has called Canada home for the past 19 years. He writes modern historical and contemporary fiction and blogs about positive aging and writing as healing.Visit Danie at DanieBotha.com.

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