One of my favorite bloggers is Chuck Wendig of the infamous Terrible Minds blog. And, no, I will never portend to think I’ll have a site resembling even a semicolon of his. But what I’ve always admired about his site is that it is unabashedly, unapologetically, down to the very last swearword… his. His interests, his musings and his career intertwine and it works.
For a long time, I’ve tried that model and failed fantastically. But, why? One reason can be distilled into a simple four-letter f-word: FEAR.
Would writing about things that interest me, that make my fingers fly, cheapen my work on Asperger’s? Would it discredit me as a voice of the general subject of Asperger’s, the more specific matter of girls and autism? Would writing about passions or life experiences having nothing to do with autism alienate readers? Would…? Would…? Would…?
Honestly, I never really did give myself time to find out as little by little I shifted focus onto other arenas and let my blog go quiet.
This simple truth is that writing is inseparable from how I process and communicate this thing we call life. I write to help others, to help them know they are not alone in this journey. I write to sort my own thoughts out. I write to experiment with word groupings, image creation, and to explore fantastical realms. I breathe I write, whether online or sitting in incredibly boring spaces and places.
By putting my words “out here” I get feedback on what works, what doesn’t. But that little f-word creeps back in and tells me not to bother, that my professional life will suffer unless I remain true to the script.
Last year, a lot happened internally. One of the biggest takeaways was how I allowed fear to seep into too many areas. After slashing that demon and the demonettes that came along with it, I took a good hard look not just at my writing but at times I experienced success. After clearing the dross and power-washing away the embers, I discovered etched into the history of my life this one little fact:
Life is best when I go off script.
Life is best when I go off script. And after that, this subtitle:
Life drains from me when I allow others to unduly influence me.
Life drains from me when I allow others to unduly influence me. Sometimes, that influence is perceived and hardly based in fact, isn’t it? That’s where fear based writing comes into play. It’s one thing to be concerned that what we write may be problematic, but another altogether to assume the floor will drop out from under us because we dare write about how our little dog scatters his toys all over the carpeting.
Including that blue spikey thing he loves to chew on.
Lawd, that thing hurts when you step on it and it’s nasty, y’all, just nasty.
There is a lot of talk from experts about focusing your blog. They will warn (fear) you that you need focus. Others will instruct (fear) you that going off script will confuse then lose countless readers which, in turn, will cause your placement in search to tumble.
I suppose that’s all well and good if you are all about monetization, which, let’s face it, is more about the writer than the reader. But if you love to write for the sake of the sound the keypad makes as your fingers attempt to keep up with the thoughts trickling down into them, worrying about what you “should” do will always take away from what you intend to do. For me, what I intend to do is write.
What does this mean for this blog? This website, even? It means it’s gonna look a whole lot more like someone living authentically and less like the desert it’s become. And what I have up my sleeve to pour onto the page is going to be a bit different.
As with “Asperger’s in Pink,” the goal is to be real, with the aim of helping others along the path, no matter the subject. This means getting uncomfortable sometimes. Other times, it means being sufficiently comfortable in our own skin that we can laugh at ourselves. It means talking about growth and what that entails, from conversations about protecting ourselves in and from environments that overload us, to little things like finding a robin’s little blue egg along the way.
This blog is about exploration. The path may appear as dotted lines twisting all around a worn out piece of parchment, with no destination demarcated. And that is how it should be. It really is all about the journey. I’d be honored if you’d join me. I’d be flattered if you admit you know yourself well enough to take on such a reading challenge or if it’s best to leave it on the shelf for someone else to pick up.
Get specific, Julie. What does this mean for the future content of this blog?
Some aspects of this blog will be leaving, some staying, with some new content on the horizon.
What’s leaving? Although going low carb (keto) at the behest of my doctor has been a life changer, I have decided against writing endlessly about it. It just… bores me. This way of eating feels more like a prescription than a “way of “life”; I can’t cook, anyway, and have no interest in demonstrating it.
What’s staying? Asperger’s will always be a part of my work and my interests. After all, I have a daughter on the spectrum and I have sensory processing challenges, myself. I’m working to clean up the drop down menu and hope to have those corralled in one location for those of you only here for the Aspie vibe. And that’s cool.
Flash fiction is also staying. I have an interest in publishing fiction pieces so expect short stories at times as I work my way toward that form of writing. Writing tips will also come and go.
What’s on the way? I thought it would be fun to delve into my own special interests and see if any of you share the same. These include things like rocks and stars, plus a dose of planner talk here and there. (Why yes I do have a referral link for Erin Condren for $10 off first time orders. Click HERE and it will take you to her site to sign up for one! And, no, I am not sponsored by her. *brushes hands and cleanses self from the pseudo-sales pitch* Yeah, I’ve been bit by the Erin Condren planner bug.) There’s more topics on the way, too.
Ok, we’ve got Asperger’s, personal growth, yet another planner blog, odd little interests. What else?
This brings me circling back to fear based writing – and conquering it. If you’ve read this far down you’re finally getting to the “good stuff.” The dirt. The behind the curtain view of one little writer, sitting here, in a vintage office chair (seriously, we got this baby when my husband’s old workplace was clearing out stuff), wishing she had cake instead of chili for lunch.
And no, I do not want the low carb, cardboard kind. We’re talking a large slice of vanilla cake with sweet creamy vanilla frosting. *sigh* I digress. But cake, y’all…
I mean, this chili keeps talking to me and it really needs to settle itself down.
It’s no secret I’ve been a proponent of living authentically. For a long time I’ve searched high and low for work that is both fulfilling and helps support my family. Writing and speaking on Asperger’s Syndrome is incredibly fulfilling, humbling work, but the hard truth (I needed to face) is it is time to move on, into work that better supports my family.
Getting to this head space wasn’t easy; I love all the people I’ve met along the way, been touched by your stories and thrilled by the strides you’ve made, Aspie and caregivers alike. But it’s time to rekindle an old interest of mine that will also help out my own family. And saying this out loud feels selfish. But it shouldn’t be. Stepping into new spaces that allow us to better care for our families – and ourselves – should never be seen as selfish. However, for those of us who give for a living, taking can feel, well, awkward.
And taking a bit for ourselves can be… scary.
After what feels like forever, I’ve gone back to school. Ironically, the field I’m looking into has nothing to do with writing, really. It’s STEM based, manufacturing.
Quite the hard right turn, huh?
For those who know me IRL (“in real life,” ahem), this choice makes sense. And I’m excited. Of course, I’m terrified about changing careers and such, but I do have some experience in the field and am eager to go back into it.
So, yeah, the blog is changing. I’m concerned how my readers will take the news. But it’s time to move forward into a new space.
Fear no longer has space here. Freedom and forward movement surely does.
(Yeah, I know, you were waiting for some salacious confession, right?)
Thank you for reading all the way to the end!
To some, the blog will appear endlessly eclectic, like a field of wildflowers changing with the seasons, while to others this will resemble a hot, unfocused mess. To me? It will feel like home. And that’s what this space is; my home on the web. And it’s about time I quit wandering about and finally made myself at home in my own house, isn’t it?
Do come it, grab a cuppa, and join me on this journey.
All my best,
All photos sourced with permission via Pixabay