Nick Dee is an East Coast based writer and public speaker. His "Live YOUR Life" blog went viral this past winter, and more recently his following blog titled "Fifty Shades Of DisIllusion" has generated its own share of attention.
He now spreads his message through his new writings and public speaking. His official website can be found here: https://officialnickdee.wordpress.com/
James Gonzalez (Culture Blitz): "Live Your Life" is probably the piece your most known for, you've said yourself that it jumpstarted all of this for you in many ways. Explain it. What is "Live Your Life"? What does it mean?
Nick Dee (Live YOUR Life): Basically, 'Live YOUR Life' is a movement I started, and a message I'm trying to put out there. Inspired by my experiences and everything I detailed in the original blog that got so much play. When I decided to do what I did and really take control of my own life, the way I detailed in that original piece, it was an extremely powerful change for me, and I think other people can experience the same feeling.
Culture Blitz: How did that specific phrase become the motto?
Nick Dee: I had this 3,000 word blog, and I needed a title for. And I realized there was one phrase I used in it, only once, that just sounded right: Live Your Life. That was my reminder to myself and my call to everyone else. To live the life you want to live, do the things you want to do. To question each day if you're doing because you want to do it, or because its what you think you're supposed to do. It doesn't have to mean be all and only about yourself, you can do things for other people, and make sacrifices for other people. We all have people to answer to. But do something at least that is completely your own.
Culture Blitz: It tackles a variety of subjects as you go through your personal journey. How do you find people have responded? Has anyone misinterpreted the message?
Nick Dee: By in large people get the message. It's awesome. People are free to interpret it as they please. But it bothers me that there are some people who misunderstand my message in 'Live Your Life' as: only do things that are fun. Everyone shouldn't quit their job. Everyone shouldn't drop out of college. It's not about just having fun, or doing things you really feel like doing 24/7. It's having a plan. Whether that plan is relaxing and experiencing life, studying extremely hard to get the degree you want, or working overtime to get what you want, or get where you want to be. All of those things can be equally purposeful, and equally purposeless. It's about owning your life, and owning that plan, not just running a course and picking a direction because it's "a direction", or because it makes other people happy. Do not just what makes you happy, but what will continue to make you happy as time wears on.
Culture Blitz: More recently you wrote "Fifty Shades Of Disillusion", which juxtaposed the fictionalized portrayal in 'Fifty Shades of Grey' with your real life experiences with BDSM. This might have been the most personal of all your blogs. How do you feel about the response that has received, and how some of those who have shared it have taken to calling you the "real life Christian Grey" after you seemingly spoke out so strongly against that very idea?
Nick Dee: That is kind of ironic. It was just a topic that was in the news, and I figured I'd share my real life experiences with the lifestyle, which weren't exactly positive, as far the toll it took on me, and the people it brought into my life. The blog sort of took on a life of its own with the release of the movie and everything. As far as the comparisons, it used to bother me alot, but now I just laugh it off. I don't think I'm ever going to shed it completely, so why not embrace it and talk about it?
Culture Blitz: Have You Always written?
Nick Dee: I've always written in some form or another. It's safe to say that any girl who's ever dated me has gotten some lengthy romantic letters at some point, even back in high school, maybe grade school. I had the first itch for it even back in 6th grade, but I remembers the teachers discouraged me from writing because they focused so much on the technicalities of outlines, sentence structure, punctuation, and grammar. They wiped all the fun, and creativity out of it. I hated structure. At the same time, they had no idea the world we were all heading into with word processors, and autocorrect just a few years later. I didn't get back into it until a few years later.
Culture Blitz: There is a certain swagger to your writing. Individuality. Where does that come from?
Nick Dee: Well I've read alot of things like anyone else. I read other blogs and content people would share on social media. Some were good, some were bad, but most of them were very bland with no personality to them. It was like it may as well have been written by a google robot. I don't know how to write that way. And anyone who knows me, can hear me while reading my writing. And even if they dont know me, they can probably get a sense. When your reading me, it's all things I would say. The things I write are basically like spoken word that gets typed out, refined once or twice, and then put out there. I don't like to constantly edit myself.
Culture Beat: What about reading? Would you say that you are a reader?
Nick Dee: Definitely. I always read everything I could get my hands on. I had a giant bookshelf of at least 100 books by the time I was in high school. I got rid of alot of them recently to make space. Now I have a giant iBooks library on my iPad. I'm starting to miss reading the physical books themselves though. if I had to choose a favorite book it would probably be The Great Gatsby.
Culture Blitz: How would you best define your niche? 'Motivational' is a word that gets thrown alot, but you don't seem to have totally embraced it?
Nick Dee: If I say something motivational, that's great. I love motivational things myself. But my intention isn't to motivate. Maybe self improvement is more what it is. Self-improvement is important to me. Self-improvement for me is a reason to live. It's a reason to wake up in the morning. To get out of bed and say 'I'm gonna do better than I did yesterday'. Mind, body, and soul, there's always room for improvement. At this stage in my personal life, I'm only interested in curious people who want to learn, grow, think outside the box, and aren't under some illusion they have it all figured out. So I think the audience comes from that place for the most part.
Culture Blitz: You've said before that you are not a fan of another inspirational figure on social media, Trent Shelton. Why?
Nick Dee: It's not a personal thing, obviously. That's why I said not a "fan". I admire anybody who made a living at following their passion, trying to do something uplifting. His following is huge, I mean he was a former NFL player. To be blunt, I think he's 90% cliches. I think his expertise is telling people what they want to hear, disguised as "tough talk". There's alot of that out there, telling people what they want to hear. I don't wanna target just him. I think that may make him or put him in more of a "motivational" or "inspirational" category than I am. And I'm fine with that. I'm not here to tell people what they want to hear, my goal is to speak the truth as I know it first and foremost, and to tell people what they need to hear second. And I'm not saying there are not some people who need that simplified message exactly how he puts it. But I feel like, when you are ready to go a bit deeper, you come to me. At least I hope so.
Culture Blitz: 'Simplified' means dumbed down to you in essence doesn't it?
Nick Dee: On some level, yes. But at the same time, it's completely necessary I guess. There's levels to this, to everything.
Culture Blitz: What motivates you to write, besides promoting your brand and helping people?
Nick Dee: Well, my dad was always sort of the strong, silent type. Which was totally fine in many ways as a father, I'll take that type over alot of others, I think he set a great example, but basically he was the kind of persons who left more questions than answers growing up. I don't want that to be said for me. I dont wanna leave more questions than I do answers. I want my thoughts, experiences, and story out there.