And so now we come to the million dollar question: What if I let this blog just be about me and my stories, with no rules about how the offering of my writing has to be? What if I release myself from the shackles of demanding that I be The Entertainer 24/7?
The first thing that comes to mind is that I would be more clearly stating, “this is who I am, and this is who I am not. This is what I do, and this is what I don’t do.” And I would be admitting that I am no longer trying to be all things to all people. (Not that that really worked anyway, as shown by the many empty, arid time periods of Not Writing that I’ve gone through over the past few years.)
And it means that I have to be willing for people to longer like my blog. I have to be willing to disappoint people. I have to be willing to admit that I’m narrowing the focus of what I do, and that, while my blog will most likely be enjoyed by a lot of people (or, my Right People, as Havi Brooks calls them), it will not be right for lots of other people.
And while part of me feels that I will be limiting myself and losing something, another part of me is actually excited, because I suspect that this decision will actually be really freeing and expansive for me.
Of course, the monsters love to yell at me about how if I do this, then I will lose every single one of my readers, and that I will just be hurling my words out into empty space.
But the reality is that as I’ve started to just write whatever comes up, however it comes up, and to more clearly define myself as Cranky Fibro Girl and say, “Yes, I am writing a blog about having fibromyalgia, and there will be lots of posts about what it’s like to live everyday with this illness, and lots of posts about doctors and symptoms and health care, and there will still be funny stories, but they will all be written from the perspective of someone living with a chronic illness , I’ve actually gotten more readers and more comments than I ever did before. Because now I have a clear Voice, and a clear Message, and a clear Audience.
So ha ha! Take that, monsters!
Also: I don’t really know why I have this monster who says that people without fibro or a chronic illness would not be interested in my story. I follow a lot of blogs whose writers have completely different lives than I do. But I read them because I like to hear people’s stories. So why wouldn’t that be true for me and my blog?
And another thing: I’ve read and heard Havi speak a lot about the fact that people come to read/join/buy your Thing because it is an expression of your You-ness, not necessarily because of the particular form your Thing takes. I’m pretty sure I heard her say, as an example of this idea, that if she suddenly changed her blog from helping people have a conscious relationship with themselves to a blog about her new career as a pole-dancer, people would still come to hear what she had to say because they would be coming to experience the Havi-ness of what she was doing.
(Although it’s entirely possible that I imagined that whole thing-I have been on a lot of painkillers lately.)
So perhaps the same is true for me. Perhaps people come to read what I have to say because they like experiencing the Jenny-ness in whatever I’m writing about.
I read this passage the other day on Gluten-Free Girl’s website:
Some people ask why I don’t write in every piece here about gluten-free.
I am alive. That life involves being gluten-free, but there are so many more parts to it:
funny stories, exhilarating travel, tender moments with my husband, discoveries in mouthfuls, falling down and laughing at myself, and learning how to live in the moment, every moment I am alive.
When we were in Italy for our honeymoon, we were both astonished to discover how easy it was for me to eat gluten-free. All I had to say was “Io sono celiaco.” Waiters and chefs understood. They pointed out the dishes I could eat, and then brought me plates of black-truffle risotto, or sizzling beefsteak, or a saucer of perfectly ripe heirloom tomatoes so vividly colored that I had to blink twice before looking at them. And that was it. No explanations or apologies. I simply ate gluten-free and went onto other conversations around the table.
The sweet life. Italians call it la dolce vita. And in order to remain well there, sometimes I simply said senza glutine (without gluten).
That’s what I’d like to bring here. La dolce vita, senza glutine. I want to show you a vibrant life, filled with hilarious adventures and quiet contemplation. Stories of saying yes to life.
All of it, gluten-free.
And my whole being said, “Yes! This is what I want to do, too!”
“a vibrant life, filled with hilarious adventures and quiet contemplation. Stories of saying yes to life.” All brought to you from the magical perspective of me and my “Jenny-ness.”
So come aboard, and join me for the stories of my sweet, sweet life.