Where does a blog end and your life begin?
Here are some follow-up questions:
How much should you share about yourself in your blog?
How do you stay on message and not let yourself go off into the twilight zone?
These are some questions I have been asking myself recently.
Staying on message
Fundamentally, this is an acupuncture and natural healthcare website.
If you look at my static website pages (not blog), you will find articles on acupuncture, cancer, business, qigong and other health related topics.
However, my blog is a bit more varied.
Usually healthcare blogs – especially acupuncture, will tend to have articles about qi, yin-yang, the seasons – basic traditional Chinese medicine stuff. Or they talk about some training they did or a certain teacher.
And this is all fine, but it’s more like an embellishment to the main site (a side dish). It’s not stuff that is going to grab an audience in its own right.
For my blog I’m going risqué
(Cue a Carry On – Kenneth William’s – ‘oohhh…’)
Or better still, here’s a YouTube clip. It will help explain the meaning behind my title: ‘Exposure: Do a Barbara Windsor’:
Carry on Camping
In case you’re never had the pleasure of watching any of the Carry on Movies, Barbara Windsor was the blonde.
This scene was listed as the fifth most famous British event in the last 2000 years. Just after the invasion of 1066, Queen Elizabeth’s defeat of the Spanish Armada, King Arthur pulling the sword from the stone and of course, the day David Beckham was born.
It’s also my life experience
In the blog, I’m writing about things from my life, my work, my experiences, anything I want. Basically, it is more typical of a blog as we know it.
I’m also self-promoting my own merch (merchandise) – my books. Well, why not? If I don’t, Santa Claus isn’t going to do it for me. Although he might give away some copies to naughty children as punishment.
We don’t all have book agents or international reputations.
The risk in writing a blog where you actually talk about your life and experiences, is that what comes out is – your life and experiences.
And life as we know it is messy and random and full of unusual events.
But it is definitely far more interesting than writing about the seasons. Or at least it would be if I was famous. Or a playboy.
Or if I treated famous people and was dumb enough to write about it…
‘Did I tell you about the time, I treated the Queen? Well… blah blah blah…’
‘Click’, the sound of my door being unlocked. Secret service goons creeping into my home. The next day, my lifeless body found slumped over my laptop with suggestive pictures of naked cats on my hard drive.
No! I never treated the Queen. Don’t even know who she is.
How much disclosure?
So the question, is how much am I willing to share. Even with this blog, I self-censor. There are things that I don’t share, just like I wouldn’t share with a stranger on the street. Or even a friend. Unless I was really wasted.
I keep anonymity for my family. I have no right to share personal information or even pictures of their life. I only have the right to talk about me. I will talk about them a bit, but only general and un-identifying things.
I also won’t share painful episodes from my own life unless it fits with a message or point I am trying to make. Some bloggers will open up completely and write some of their most painful life experiences online like a kind of catharticism. But personally, this is not something I feel comfortable with doing. I don’t see the point either.
The object is in keeping my blog focused on health related topics. This is a challenge because my interests range much further than health related topics and is always changing.
So what should I do? Should I not express that side of me?
Reigning yourself in
The problem with a blog is that it opens you up. It is a polished version of a diary. The temptation is to start adding all sorts of different things, which can take you off topic. Like pictures of your cat or some food you ate. And in fact I have done that already with some of my articles – not the cat or food photos.
I mean talking about other topics not directly related to healthcare. For example, here is an article I wrote on something that happened 50 years ago with my father. As you can see, it is a little related to acupuncture but not really about health as such.
The other thing is that life is long. I can’t imagine confining myself for ever to the same topic. I would like to talk about other things that interest me.
So ok, to keep it interesting, next week I might discuss one of the following topics:
- Having a secret love-child with my next door neighbour
- The time I wrestled an escaped monkey from the zoo
- How I created a million dollar business by posting pictures of my six-pack on Instagram.
- Believing there was an alien invasion after watching a movie on TV.
- Getting lost on a Japanese mountain.
One of the above statements is true. Can you guess which one?
Message and purpose
The other question is one of message. What am I planning to convey with this site? What road should I go down?
For example, as a complementary healthcare practitioner, it is tempting to go down the path of criticising Western Medicine.
I have first-hand knowledge and experience of its failures. On the other hand, I have also seen its successes. So it is not all black and white. I know it is not perfect and there are some highly questionable aspects of it – some even dangerous.
So, should I join that fight? Become a campaigner?
One such WordPress.com website I follow, is written by an American chiropractor – Dr Colter, who does just that.
It is called ‘All About Healthy Choices‘. He talks critically about Western pharmaceuticals and vaccinations. If you have criticisms against Western medicine, then I suggest you check his site out. It is comprehensive and engaging.
He fights with a lot of passion (and dare I say it – anger). I respect the work he has done and his passion for his subject.
I have provided a backlink to his website in this article, which will help support his work. Google likes backlinks. Although, he hasn’t published for a few months. I hope he’s fine.
The first rule of Fight club
However, I don’t feel at this time I want to do the same for my website. I want to keep my message positive overall. Fighting is messy business.
There may come a time when I do campaign for a certain cause. But not right now.
My message and purpose right now is to share and promote natural health, including Traditional Oriental Medicine. (And to sell my merch).
I also recognise the reality that Scientific medicine is so ingrained into our society. It would be like fighting against a brick wall with your fists.
If you’re going to fight, be prepared. Find others with the same mind, join a movement, get the right equipment and that wall will collapse in dust.
But as I said, this is not my motivation right now. It may change later on. This is my choice.
I also want to express my creativity – by promoting the books and articles I have worked hard to create.
And yes, selling my merch.
Another reason I don’t want to start fighting or putting out a campaigning message is because it means activating the oni (demonic) energy within me. It is a mean and intense energy.
“Oni” is the Japanese word for Demon. It’s a cool word, so I wanted to use and share it.
The oni energy does occasionally shows itself in my writing.
For example, a few months ago I wrote an article called ‘The New Religion of Gluttony’.
This was a bit of vitriol spewing on my part. And it wasn’t the original version. The original version was much harder. I actually woke up the night after publishing it with a nightmare. Then I immediately unpublished the article as I felt my nightly awakening was a bad omen.
But I hate to throw away writing work. So I deleted some sections and ended up publishing it anyway. If I don’t keep writing, my website won’t get built.
Perhaps I should just stick to cat photos. I’d probably get more followers that way.
It also shocked the commenter Botanic crow who said it was much darker than previous writings and felt like he had been “vomited over”.
So that is what I am capable of if I take on the fighting approach. It is the path to the dark side.
Yet, that article wasn’t anything particularly outstanding. It was just a moan about general stuff in life. A way of throwing off frustrations.
Like some miserable old guy in the pub after his third glass of stout who starts complaining how the country and everything in it is “going down the drain”.
Join the Dark side
The dark side (as in Star Wars) is extremely powerful and seductive. But it does also hold within it, the seeds of your own destruction.
Fighting tires out the person doing the fighting, just as much as the person getting hit on. Sometimes a fight is good to blow out the gaskets. But more as a short-term thing. Once it becomes what you are about – then it starts to take from you as much as you put in.
In Chinese medicine, anger leads to the overstimulation of the Liver. The Liver is the General of the body. You don’t want a general in a permanent state of anger and irritation.
Otherwise the country (you) is in a permanent state of agitation. Coups and rebellions can occur. The Ki goes out of balance. Things don’t run the natural way. In this way you may get hot weather in the Winter and a cold summer… Disharmony.
See, I can write about the seasons after all.
Follow the yellow brick road. La la la. Happy
For now, I think I am better taking a positive approach. But more importantly, I find it leaves me feeling energised and motivated to keep on writing.
Also, no outright exposure like Barbara Windsor. But, I will share aspects of my life if it is relevant to the message (or story) I tell.
Sadly, no cat pictures, unless it involves me sticking acupuncture needles into one.
I don’t have a cat anyway. So don’t call animal protection yet.
And no cat photos on my hard drive either.
Scenes taken from Carry on Camping.