I subscribe to quite a few writers and publishers blogs, so many that it’s actually a nagging item on my to-do list to weed through it and clean up the list – only keeping one’s I consistently read. But among this big list of blogs, all of them are chatting it up on marketing. The hot topic as of late is finding your target market. Not giving in to an easy, blanket statement like “I write romance, so my target market is women.” Yeah, it’s probably helpful to know what gender you’re marketing to, but they’ve been digging in deeper than that. What type of woman is she? What is she like, what does she enjoy doing, what are her typical days like? What are some of her emotional triggers? Is she an emotional reader, or an intellectual one? They’ve been peeling back the layers of the easy route, and really pushing for writers to take a true look at who, specifically, they’re writing for.
There was a time when going out for a night, the getting ready process didn't even start until 9pm. Now, that’s when I’m slipping on my jammies and sending the kids to bed; looking forward to my own bedtime too. I was that girl. My girlfriend and I would spend hours picking out just the right outfit to wear. I would spend over 45 minutes doing my hair. Makeup juuuusssttt right. Nails done. Always. I wore heels, every day. Every. Day.
Now, I spend about 5 minutes picking out what to wear. Special occasions, about 20. Hair is always up in a ponytail. Occasionally I wear it down, but there’s no way I’m going to bother curling it. Makeup on – check. Just right? Egh, it’ll do the job. I won’t scare anyone, at least. Nails done… yeah? Kinda, I mean, well there’s still some remnants of polish on there. You can see what color used to be there. But why bother when you have to wash dishes 85 times in a day, or you’re doing laundry, or cleaning, or wiping poopy butts? Heels!?! Yeah, that will go GREAT with walking through muddy mulch when I take my son to the park. Stilettos are fantastic in mud, didn't you know?
This isn't the first instance when I was slapped in the face with the realization that yes, I am in fact, getting older. Shudder. Middle age is knocking on my door, “I’m coming for you,” it whispers. My brother in law recently got married. So there was a shower to go to, bachelorette party, all those little occasions when a girl might treat herself to a new outfit. Or in my case, realizing she no longer fit any of the cute outfits she already owned. So off to the store I go! That’s where the first slap in the face came… which department am I supposed to shop in now??? Wandering through the Juniors section, sure there were TONS of cute things I would have loved to wear. But browsing through them came thoughts like, “There’s no way I could get my hips into that,” or “Why are all these so short? Who really wants their butt cheeks hanging out?” or “Okay, slim fit is NOT meant for two-kid-induced muffin top women.” I took a deep breath, glanced around the department I once loved, and realized I didn't belong there anymore. It belonged to my daughter now.
But then, where do I go? I literally stood in the middle of the isle and looked both ways. I certainly wasn’t needing the Maternity department. The Misses department, or sometimes called Women’s department, was filled with sweaters I would buy for my grandma and high wasted mom jeans with that funky front butt pouf at the stomach. I sure as hell wasn't going to wear any of that. I didn't want to admit it yet, but it was starting to hit me that I really was entering that middle aged phase. I didn't belong in the Juniors, and I didn't belong in the Misses. I was department-less. I was in that department-less phase in life.
So as I’m just zipping along through this marketing exercise yesterday, jotting down these awesome answers like the rock star that I am. Stop laughing, I’m trying to blog here if you don’t mind… As I’m reading through my answers, there’s no denying it. I can’t turn my cheek to it anymore, there is no more pretending it’s not standing right behind me – looming over my department-less self. Middle aged… I, am a middle aged woman. I’m too old to be cute, too young to be old, and definitely not ready for these “Oh you look great for your age!” comments that I’ve been getting. My age? Hey, that’s what I used to say to old people… oh, damn… bites you in the ass again.
After I ate too much ice cream for being too fat and old for my “cute” clothes anymore, and mourning the loss of being in the Juniors department, and having to admit that I’m a middle aged woman, I had to ask myself – is that really that bad? Sure, I’d still love to rock some sexy stilettos, but you know what? Those damn things are killers on your feet! You try running errands in them all day, walking through a gravel parking lot to pick up your kids from school, and continue to wear them as you finish up the (for some reason) endless errands. (Seriously, why does it seem like they never end? No matter how well you plan the day, they’re never finished. Why? Why!?!) You wear those suckers for 9+ hours and tell me how your feet feel, I bet not very sexy. Probably throbby (yes, I made up a word), maybe a lone blister, toes that are screaming for relief as you try not to hobble your way back to the car. Sure I’d love to wear those cute little outfits, but I’d probably get a lot of odd looks getting the kids from school dressed like I’m ready to hit the bar. Yeah, I’d like to have my nails looking nice more often.
But you know what I like a lot better than nice nails, is the loving satisfaction I get from making my family a nice meal, where we sit and read the days bible verse, talk about what it means, and talk about each other’s day. That’s totally worth having chipped nail polish from doing dishes all the time. And I would rather love watching the smile on my son’s face as he meets a new friend at the park, then look tall and lean in my sexy red heels. And I don’t think I even mind the hair never being “done.” Because in an odd way, to me, it means there’s something important in my life. There’s something important, something that means more to me, means it needs more time than my hair does. I have something I love to get to, and I need that time I would have spent on my hair.
So as I sit back and think, realizing that maybe, just maybe, I might be okay with this middle aged thing… I kind of like my life, my family, and where we’re headed. I wouldn’t give that up for the slimmest of hips, sexiest of heels, or prettiest of hairdos. I think I might like being in my own target market after all.
If you haven't followed yet, let me invite you to now *insert gracious curtsy here* I'd love to see you stick around. Just fill out the handy Follow Blog widget on the right sidebar there, grab some coffee, and hang out for a while!