In my writing classes, audience is the fundamental principle we keep returning to for each assignment: Are my health sciences students writing to peers in the professional realm? To a scholarly, academic audience? To the general public, or a patient (ie, lay person) audience? Such audience analysis gives way to decisions about scope of content, vocabulary and diction, and overall tone and approach.
You need to know your audience for your message to be successful,” I hear myself saying over and over.
And yet lately, when it comes to my own writing, I seem to be so hyper-aware of audience and more specifically purpose, that it leaves me wordless. (I know!)
I’ve mentioned having trouble with balance since going back to work full time with a baby, and have also said I’m trying to get back into a groove. And while part of that does mean simply carving out the time to post with regularity, to comment on the posts I read (because I still read them—it’s something I can do one-handed while nursing), and to engage more fully in this online world, that is only part of it.
I need to find my content groove again, too. So often I have concrete ideas, ideas that won’t go away and keep percolating away until they threaten to bubble over, but then I stop short of executing them.
I want to write about aspects of parenting that are enlightening and humbling, like breastfeeding.
(But this isn’t a parenting blog, so stick with issues of parenting and chronic illness, like knowing when to fire a pediatrician, says the little voice.
I want to write about being a parent after infertility, since I never expected just how much that journey would inform my worldview and my thoughts on this joyful little girl I get to wake up to every day.
(But think about the people reading this who might still be going through the infertility nightmare, cautions the little voice.
And I do want to write about finding balance, and feeling like I am falling down the rabbit hole of work again, except that while there is a lot of pressure right now with work-related stuff, there is so, so much happiness and fulfillment and joy with my daughter that I am worried I will not strike the appropriate balance, one that shows how much my heart and mind have stretched and changed and re-prioritized in the midst of the same old problem.
(But can do you that in a way that is accessible?, queries the little voice.
And as cognizant as I am of what I set out for this blog to be a few years ago, and trying to stay true to that, I am even more aware of how much of what is really at the core of where I am right now is not necessarily my story to tell.
(Just because you’re a writer doesn’t make all your material fair game, chides the little voice, a point that speaks to me more strongly than ever.
I feel myself pulling inward. I do think there are ways to discuss parenting and still relate it to chronic illness, and I want what I write to reflect the huge shift in my life, but I also want to protect my daughter’s privacy and not put too much out there about her. You won’t see her name here, or details about her health, but perhaps there is more room for a little window into our lives with her.
There have been so many changes in the lives of people close to me over the past several months, and the repercussions of those changes affect me every day. But other people’s illnesses are not my illnesses, and though we are all connected, I am drawn by the urge to protect the vulnerability I see.
And here we are. The days are getting longer. The snow banks are melting a little bit. I survived the bulk of winter without getting too sick or going to the hospital. There is a happy baby chattering away in her crib right now, thrilled to be awake and content to tell secrets to herself for a few minutes. And, I have stories to tell. I just need to get out of my own way.
(You’ll get there.)