Saturday, February 5, 2011

Four Years as an Autism Blogger

In February of 2007, I had to create a series of blogs for a graduate school project. And so I did. Now, four years have elapsed and a few hundred people a day read a school project gone wild.

Yes, my blogs started as a requirement of a "digital composition" course. I created an "academic" blog, a "political" blog, and a "personal" blog. This is the personal blog. A fourth blog is also out there, created for a different university graduate course. I was actually "anti-blog" because as a journalism and English student, I appreciate the benefits of editing and revising a work.

It was unplanned that I would ever disclose or discuss autism beyond a single semester. Hence, I was careful to ensure my name wasn't on the blog until a year later when I had come to realize some activism, at least limited self-advocacy, is unavoidable for students with any serious disabilities.

I admit that I had no serious intention of being an advocate, spokesperson, or author within any particular autism community. If anyone appreciates what I write, that's interesting -- and comments and questions are why I continued this blog after completing the graduate class that required the blog.

To date, this blog and a handful of public appearances are the extent of my "activism." My speaking schedule this year includes only one regional autism-related event -- my other appearances concern screenwriting: mysteries and romantic comedies. That could change, but with school budget cuts I have doubts.

My planned eBook on autism and relationships is for the conference I'll be attending later this month. If it helps people, that's nice, but I'm not composing the manuscript with grand notions of publishing success. It's going to be a free book -- and free doesn't lead to fame and riches. I hadn't even thought about the text as "activism" until someone suggested that is what such a text is.

Would I consider being more active in autism advocacy? Maybe. I would accept more speaking appearances, but my finances are such that "free" is difficult -- I did just complete a doctorate and have too many student loans. While I already write a monthly technology column, I would certainly consider adding an autism or special education column for another publication.

Writing is my primary activity. This blog is quite active, and yet it isn't even a fraction of my writing output.

I'd rather be known for writing a great romantic film, a good stage play, or even a literary novel. What's wrong with wanting to be known for something other than a set of traits? I'd rather have someone say, "Wow, didn't he write that movie Lifetime shows every Valentine's Day?" Even better if TNT or TBS shows the movie three nights in a row! Yep, that would be my ideal path to fame.

I'm not a fool -- I want to sell my writings and earn a living. I am a writer. I'm content to sit at my desk, my computer cart, or on the couch with a pad of paper. Yes, even though it is slow and painful, I do still use paper for some projects. Typing is easier, yes, but sometimes I like paper.

As an "autism blogger" I am sure that I have disappointed various groups at different times.

I do not blog in support of legislation. I don't blog, at least not here, on most political matters. I'm not protesting against various advocacy groups, even the ones I do dislike. Generally, I simply write about the events in my life. And, for whatever reason, 12,000 unique viewers have read some of these words.

I thank you, and I'll try to be more interesting over the next year. It is still easiest to write when people have specific questions or topics, so always feel free to toss out ideas.

Sometimes, the responses or comments to confuse me, frustrate me, or anger me. I try to remember that readers have their own experiences and are reading my words without always knowing the full context of events. That's life.

1 comment:

  1. If you write to please others, you risk pleasing none, especially the most important person, yourself. :-)

    I'm looking forward to reading your future offerings.

    ReplyDelete

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