(In the last interview, I hope you caught Latoya’s advice to make friends with other bloggers instead of competing with them. I enjoy meeting other bloggers and collaborating with them. Our next interview is with Emelda, a multitalented woman. I was blessed to meet Emelda on Instagram, and I have been encouraged by her support of my writing. In general, you will find Emelda leaving fabulous comments on the IG pages of other creatives. In our large blogosphere, it’s refreshing to find encouragers like her. I have also been blessed to work with Emelda on #WomenCreativesChat, a chat that began on Twitter and transitioned to Instagram. Both of us value creativity in our own lives, and we desire for other women to make time for their creative areas. Our chat serves as a community forum for women creatives to uplift each other. I’m glad to be involved in this partnership and looking forward to see how #WomenCreativesChat will grow. Please check out how Emelda combines her passion for God, social justice and creativity into her endeavors. Blessings, Monica aka afrotasticlady)
1. Monica aka afrotasticlady: I find that it’s very important to pick a name for your blog that represents you and your content. Why did you name your blog, “Live in Color?”
Emelda: The great writer Oscar Wilde said “To live is the rarest thing in the world. Most people exist, that is all.” For me, life is about celebrating beauty and light, yes there is sorrow and pain, but I believe even in the most dire circumstances, one can find joy.
Maybe it is the poet in me, the dreamer, the little girl writing songs and falling madly in love with rainbows and enticing melodies who refuses to simply exist. Who wants to grow old? When I say old, I am not referring to a chronological age, but expansiveness of the mind.
Our lives are miraculous, and I never want to loose sight of it. Within my small corner of the blogosphere I am determined to cultivate a space which uplifts and empowers us all to rise to new levels of consciousness and faith.
2. M: Labels are tricky and sometimes people would rather stay from them. Would you describe yourself as a blogger, a Christian blogger, or both?
E: Above all, I am, first and foremost, a child of God, one who is walking in relationship with Christ. Since this gift of writing comes from God, my faith and blogging are inextricably linked.
Each one of us has a ministry and some folks have several; over the past year, our family has faced numerous challenges, and I continue to grow along this path of faith.
I am coming to understand it is my calling, sharing words of hope and inspiration, while also encouraging readers to take action and question the injustices around them. So, yes, without apology or hesitation, I am a Christian blogger. 🙂
3. M: I love that you have a little bit of everything on your blog: inspiration, social justice, food recipes, etc. What do you love most about blogging?
E: Thank you! I believe a vibrant life, full of color, overflows with diverse interests.
Years ago, you needed a publisher to cement your status as a writer. Today, with blogs, e-books and various social media platforms, we have a voice, a way to not only connect with folks, but engage in the fulfilling work of building community. One of my favorite writers, Maya Angelou, urged us not to die with our story still inside of us. Live In Color blog is a large part of my voice in the world.
I write because I cannot NOT write. Creativity is oxygen for my soul. At 7 or 8 years old, I fell in love with creating poems and songs. My inner world overflows with words and thoughts; I feel bound to share them whether thousands read, or a small audience of family and friends.
The other part of blogging which I adore is the sense of community, both with bloggers and readers. It’s so lovely to connect with other writers, especially since writing can be a solitary creative act. Finding folks who share your passion is both uplifting and affirming. And there is nothing quite like the rush of seeing someone’s comment on a blog post. You feel as if your words and way of seeing the world resonate, and for me this is exhilerating!
4. M: There are so many diverse blogs on the internet. Why do you think it is important for Christians to add their voice to the blogosphere?
E: Our world is in crisis, perhaps now more than ever before. We are grappling with economic inequality, institutionalized racism and systemic oppression, the prison industrial complex (particularly in the U.S.) and many other massive problems. What I feel many folks do not understand is how God fits into all of this dysfunction. How can getting to know Him free us from being overtaken by these concerns, but also empower us to create change during our lifetime? What is our purpose? What does a life of devotion look like?
These questions, and many others, are ones which we, who have committed our lives to Christ, can walk out in our writing. Many people may not open a bible, but they will read blogs on their tablet, phone or Kindle; perhaps our words are their first introduction to Christ.
Christians absolutely should blog and raise their voices. We must begin to influence the discourse around our faith from one of constant judgment and shaming to an all encompassing love which is wide enough for the entire world. Jesus is revolutionary. He challenges the religious establishment in the New Testament, and washes his disciples feet. The world needs to meet Him through our posts.
5. M: When I look on your social media pages such as Instagram, I feel a sense of community. What are some of your social media strategies?
E: Oh, you’re sweet! Thank you. 🙂
While social media is a new communication platform, the concept of connecting with others to cultivate community is ancient. When I joined Instagram, I came with the intent of being in conversation with people from a real place of commonality, whether around my core blog topics of inspiration, motherhood, faith or social justice, or just what is happening in the world.
I am also quite interested in their lives and passions as well. I don’t know if I would consider this a concrete strategy, I suppose it is more connected to my personality. I’m a people person who thrives on building genuine relationships, and I would say this contributes greatly to the sense of community you see on my page.
In terms of strategy, I choose specific times during the day when my audience is most engaged (mid-morning & evening) and post during those periods. When it comes to hashtags, I am deliberate, primarily focusing on ones with the highest reach. And this might sound overly simple, but it works, when people like my posts, I check out their page, like and comment on their posts. I have met many fellow creatives this way. Also, when I have new followers, instead of just following back, I visit their pages, scroll their feeds, and like / comment on posts.
The other two strategies involve constantly educating myself about effectively using social media (love the podcast Sidehustle Pro and the site Coschedule), and working with apps to maximize content creation. I recently discovered Later, an app for Instagram which allows you to draft posts, set the timer for when you would like them to appear, and you receive a notification on your phone telling you to share. It’s a huge time saver!
However, in the end, I feel it all comes back to relationships. If you cultivate genuine connections consistently, your tribe will grow.
6. M: What advice or encouragement do you have for Christians who are new to blogging?
E: I believe one of the most important things we can contribute as both believers and writers is to show up with our authenticity and heart. Imagine you’re talking to a good friend as you write. This makes your work relatable, and our readers respond to us when we are unafraid to walk in our truth.
The work we’re doing is our ministry, and so its important to also pray before you create these pieces. Do not loose sight of putting God at the center of your creativity.
I would like to leave you all with some lyrics from a beautiful song by Lauren Daigle, “Salt & Light”:
“Let my eyes see Your kingdom shine all around
Let my heart overflow with passion for Your name
Let my life be a song, revealing who You are
For You are salt and light
Oh the love that set me free
You bring hope to those in need
You have written and redeemed my story…
You are salt and light
You are love’s great height
You are deep and wide
A consuming fire”
Emelda is a loving wife and mama, creative, and believer seeking God anew in each moment. She is the founder of Live In Color blog; she writes about faith, inspiration, social justice and motherhood. Emelda is a columnist for Beautifully Said Magazine, and contributing writer at Our Words Collaborative, a Christian devotional website where each writer shares their personal faith journey daily. She also blogs regularly at Positivity Warriors and Adalmar Life. Resisting all forms of oppression and actively creating affirming spaces for womyn of color is important to her, and she is a founding member of Black Womyn Rising, a radical intergenerational black womyn’s organizing collective rooted in transformative love and global sistahood. You can connect with her on her blog or on Instagram and Twitter.