For those of you who have followed from the start, you’ll no doubt have seen the extent of the changes that have come and gone on this blog since my transplant in 2007.

All of these changes, re-focuses and new iterations have been great, but they’ve always somehow fallen short. It’s only in the last few weeks that I’ve really been able to identify just what it is, and it comes down to two simple things:

  1. I had never clearly redefined the focus of the blog and what I wanted it to be.
  2. I had no idea who I was writing for.

Now, though, I’ve found both.

What This Blog Is

Way back in the old, dark days of 2006/7 when this blog first started, it was all about my journey to transplant and the battles I fought as I went along.

But, more than that, it was about the Smile Through It philosophy – to find one thing in every day that makes you smile, to cling to it and know that everything will be OK. A day on earth with a smile is a day never wasted and hardly a day goes by when we don’t find at least a small something to smile about.

In all of my attempts to relaunch and reposition this blog post-transplant, when it became clear that the post-tx battles don’t weigh up to the pre-tx battles in terms of spurring interesting writing, I lost my focus on the philosophy that had seen me through so many years of fighting against my health and the invisible demons in my head and in my body.

Now, though, my aim for the SmileThroughIt site is to encourage everyone who comes here to see the best in the world around them. To see the world as full of opportunity, full of hope, full of smiles, laughter and levity. Yes, there are sad times, dark times, bad times, but they will pass us by.

Who This Blog Is For

I also lost track of the “audience” I was writing for through the various sets of changes.  I’ve tried to write for writers (because I was one), I’ve tried to write for filmmakers (because I was one) and I’ve tried to write for anyone who would listen.

The reason I started the blog was simply my own happiness. My own contentedness. My own record.  Yes, I wanted other people to read the blog and I always said that if it could help one person get through a tough time (whether transplant-related or otherwise), I’d be happy with what I’ve achieved.

What’s funny is that I know I’ve achieved that aim. I’ve had emails from people that offer up tales of the hardships they’ve managed to get themselves through thanks to things they’ve read on my site and I’ve heard from people who just learned to smile more at life.  I haven’t had one of those emails in a long time.

Why? Because I stopped writing for me.  I was trying to write for an audience that didn’t exist.  I was trying – desperately – to attract people to my site, all the while not realising that in the way I was writing and the broad-brush approach I was taking, I was alienating far more readers than I could ever hope to attract.

The New SmileThroughIt

So I’m back. I’m here to write for myself, to write about the things that make me smile, the techniques I use to stay positive and the ways in which I’m going about making the very most that I can of the second chance at life I’ve been given.

More than that, though, I want to try to make SmileThroughIt a hub of inspiration and positivity. I want to open it up to feature stories of the people and adventures in life that inspire me; people who are making the most of a second chance they’ve been given, be that through surviving cancer, living through a transplant or just engineering a sweeping change in their lives.

I hope that it will serve the same purpose of positivity and inspiration to others and I’d love for you to come along for the ride with me, but if this isn’t you’re cup of tea, then you’re in the wrong place and I’m not about to start pandering to you. To pander is to fail, as I’ve now discovered.

There will be more frequent, more on-topic updates, plus I’m starting an email mailing list for things that may make you smile or feel more positive about the day(s) ahead. It’ll be totally original content and you’ll be the first to know the big changes to this site and my life as and when they happen.

I should also put a short note on here to let you know that this new version of the site is still in something of a Beta phase, so things may change, move around or disappear. If you notice any broken links, missing images or other problems, please drop me a line and let me know.

Be well, everyone, and keep smiling.

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