When I was in Houston for my first clinical trial, I made a commitment to write as often as I could about my experiences. I came back to Dallas and read Quitter by Jon Acuff, and decided that I’d move forward with the challenge of writing blog posts five days a week. At the time, I wasn’t sure if I’d go back to school, so I thought that I’d begin the long process of creating my own career path. Step 1: become a better writer and create a platform.
The challenge was difficult. I’d often spend hours of my day thinking of something to write about or searching for inspiration. Finding five relevant, interesting topics a week was often more time consuming than writing the posts themselves. In theory, I had a lot to talk about, but looking back, I struggled a lot with expressing the truest nature of living with leukemia.
I’ll write about that more in the future, but for context I’ll just say that there’s an unbelievable temptation to develop a victim’s mentality when digesting cancer material every day. As I ran away from that, the only direction to run was to a life where leukemia doesn’t exist. The amount of hours I was putting in at work instinctively lead me in that direction. Finding a proper balance between both worlds is a challenge I have yet to master. I will explore this more in future posts.
I’m not a morning person, so the age old advice of waking up before anyone else to write is incompatible with my biorhythm. I would have had a more successful time falling asleep on my keyboard than writing anything of interest. Because I’m unable to get up at 5am, the only time I had to write was after I got off of work, which happened to coincide with the need to nurture my relationship with Katie.
Unfortunately, when I write, read, or do anything, I have to seclude myself from the world. Any sound or distraction will inevitably add an extra 20 to 30 minutes to my time, as I get sidetracked very easily. Naturally, I felt bad when I told Katie I needed to spend time writing. Although she has been nothing but supportive, I couldn’t get past feeling selfish.
The real culprit of my time, however, was work. I was working 10-12 hour days outdoors, during the hottest part of the summer. By the time I came home, I was exhausted. Keeping up with my blog became stressful, so with a great deal of disdain, I stopped writing, and enjoyed the release of pressure that I had previously placed on my shoulders. I really needed to simplify my life.
A week after pulling back, I started to feel resentment towards my job. That lead to discontent. Although I’m grateful for the living it has provided, work was taking me away from all of the things I enjoyed doing.
Prompted by discontent and unhappiness, I began researching academic majors at UTD and flirted with the idea of returning for the fourth time. I had previously enrolled as a public affairs major, but Houston was the final wind that steered me in the direction I knew I wanted to go. I wanted to write and learn how to best communicate thoughts, ideas, and brands, so that one day I can use my skills and abilities to help a company run their social media campaign.
I made an appointment with an Emerging Media and Communications advisor and talked to her about the direction I wanted to go. She said it was perfect, so I changed my major to EMAC and enrolled in school.
I wrote in my last blog post about how something as simple as graduating college inflated into a dream. Cancer has been known to make obstacles appear larger than life.
I’m writing all of this to say that I’ll be making some minor adjustments to my blog platform in the future. The most significant change will be to remove the email subscriber list. I’m truly grateful for those who have subscribed to receive my blog posts in your email inbox, but the thought of littering your server with trivial posts has often lead to me writing nothing at all. I know this sounds silly, but the less I have to think about, the better my posts will be. Being concerned with the amount of email I’m sending out shouldn’t be a mental hurdle, but let’s just say I’m sometimes thoughtful to a fault.
One of our assignments in my Writing and Research in Emerging Media class will be to maintain a blog. Since I already have this one, I’ll be using it for the class. I’ll be writing more about survivorship than anything else, so if you’d like to follow along, or be notified when I post, “like” my blog’s facebook page (a direct button on my actual blog). I’ll notify you of new blog posts via the feed and you can choose whether to digest the material or not. This will remove one element of my second-guessing and will free me up to be a lot more creative.
I’m looking forward to the new challenges before me, and I’ve been renewed in my efforts to write about my experiences. I have a lot to talk about and I hope to communicate the journey a lot more thoroughly than I have in the past. I may only write a few times a week, but I promise that every post will be purposeful.