I’ve been away. Not away in an exciting, travelling-the-world kind of sense, just away.

It’s always hard to get back to blogging when you’re out of the habit. It’s not for shortage of ideas – in fact, part of the reason I want to get back into this SmileThroughIt lark is because I’m brimming with stories, thoughts and ideas I want to share – but it’s hard because you never quite know what to say when you’re returning.

The truth is two-fold:

Firstly, I’ve not blogged because working full-time is pretty exhausting. I hugely underestimated my own capacity for continuing with other projects (like a blog) while working full-time. I love what I do, but maintaining outside interests demands a commitment and organisational level that I haven’t managed to find yet. That and having ‘flu for a week (and needing at least another week to recover from the effects of the antibiotics and Tamiflu my docs put me on) doesn’t help.

Secondly, I became very self-conscious about what I write here.

Back in the early days of SmileThroughIt, it was easy to find things to write about, easy to pour out 500 words on my life at the time and easy to hold people’s attention with the will-he, won’t-he saga of near-death experiences.

Since my transplant, that’s all changed. I’m well, I’m living a ‘normal’ life and I sometimes wonder if anyone’s interested in what I have to write about.

But the release of Smile Through It: A Year on the Transplant List [US version here] has shown me that, actually, people are still interested. The attention and reviews it has received have been hugely flattering, but also confidence-boosting, just knowing that people do want to read my words and, more than that, they have enjoyed and got something from them.

The other reason I’ve had a break (I know, I said two, but hey, it’s my blog) is that, actually, breaks from any creative endeavour can be a good thing.

When we create something over and over and we find a pattern to our work, it can be very easy to find ourselves fitting that pattern just because it’s what we’ve always done. Sometimes it’s a productive, creative habit that helps us achieve what we want to achieve, but often it can be a counter-productive creative rut that allows us to keep rolling along without every really challenging ourselves.

I want to challenge myself creatively; I want to do many things, some of which I’m sure I will, some I probably won’t, but whatever I do or don’t do I want to know that I’m really pushing myself and testing my boundaries. If what I’m doing doesn’t scare me, I kind of feel like I shouldn’t be doing it.

Living the life you want isn’t always about the brave, bold, big choices you make. Sometimes it’s as small as changing a single habit in your life or eliminating something that weighs on you. This blog weighed on me for quite a while because I let my ego take over and worry about what people thought.

In truth, if I want to create the kind of thing I want to read (which, ultimately, is what this blog was all about in the first place), I need to care less about what other’s think and start writing for me again. If you like that, stick around (you can even subscribe and get it straight to your inbox). If not, then be well, be happy and keep smiling.

Some other posts you might like: