Balance 2.0?

So, a wannabe author/writer walks in to a writer’s conference…

Sounds like the beginning of a not very funny joke.  But, that was me earlier this month as I attended the Harvard’s Writing, Publishing and Social Media Conference for Healthcare Professionals.  Quite a busy three days. Started at 7AM and  finished after 8PM. A lot to learn and absorb: Improving writing style, understanding the publishing and self-publishing landscape, using social media effectively and with purpose.  During the three days, met some great people that I now know in IRL (in real life).

There were so many take aways but a few things did strike a chord and stand out.

  1. This blog is “static.” Once or twice a month I write something. Probably a little too long and a little too moody (more on that in a minute). Right now, it’s really a one-way communication between myself and you the reader. I would like there to be more engagement and build on what I have started. I would like to provide more content that hopefully YOU the reader find either useful and interesting or entertaining.


  1. So I am asking you, the reader, what more you would like to see? How can I  make this more of a two-way conversation? I am looking to post:


  • Shorter thoughts and musings on life and themes such as burnout.
  • Write on End of life issues / advance care planning / introduce thought leaders and game changers in this space
  • Timely topics of the day.
  • Interesting book reviews or articles in paper or journals on critical care, end of life care, burnout.
  • Guest bloggers with strong clear voices on interesting and important topics.


  1. The last part that threw me for a loop was how morose or weighty my writing must feel to most people. I often dismiss as a joke, when my long-time friends send me a text checking in to make sure I am ok after a typical post. During the conference, it was commented on that IRL I seem different than the “voice” that comes across on the blog (ie: I have a sense of humor, funny/sarcastic and quite social instead of morose, melancholy, moody or morose)

So, to be brief, my BLOG and website is a work in progress (similar to my life in general). But I hope to grow it into something more.  So maybe call it Balance Redux, or Balance 2.0

Come to think of it, lets get this conversation started.  Thoughts on a new name? Anyone….

21 thoughts on “Balance 2.0?

  • Thanks for this post. This is the question…how do we transmit our thoughts and experiences into dialog that can help or touch others? I started a blog a few years ago when I was trying to figure out my role in the physician-creative soul -wife-mother camp, and just recently revived it. But there is so much to say, and sometimes it feels like we are speaking into the void, hoping the few we want to reach will find us. I’m going to keep following you and see how you do this. The writing workshop sounds wonderful…maybe in a few years for me.

    • Ashleigh, I am struggling with wanting the blog to be just about what I want to write vs. a more dynamic process where I provide content (original and curated) on topics I am comfortable and interested in. If I want to grow this site as a platform, I have to change things a bit…We shall see how this goes. Thanks for being along for the ride!

  • I enjoy your thoughts and I understand that you really aren’t as glum as you sometimes sound! You have a hard job! But fulfilling also. I follow another woman who maybe has what you are looking for- the variety and change of pace and today she posted a good one!

  • Jeremy, sounds like you got some interesting ideas from that Harvard conference. Seems to me that concerns about a blog getting, as you put it, “static” would be common. I have concerns about my own blog in that regard. You’ve got some great new ideas that would translate to fiction as well as nonfiction. I’m a great admirer. Excited to see what you come up with!

    As far as the name, one suggestion might be ToBalance. Combines Topin and Balance. And is a toast to life, to life, to balance!

    • Bob, so hard to keep producing what I believe are quality posts/writings on a frequent enough basis to grow this site. “curating” content that is on similar themes will help keep the site more relevant and spark thought/discussion. Not sure how this will work but go to try? I like ToBalance! Adding that to the list of possibles too!

  • Jeremy I have the same exact problem. Actually I’m worse. I don’t even tell people about my blog. It’s been a zero way communication situation. I’m afraid of putting it out there and I don’t even feel like my stuff is that good. This post helps a lot!

    I don’t know if the name matters. It’s you who we care about. Stay with jtopinmd for a while and then as soon as there is a post that really takes off that you think works, then make that the name. That’s what JD Roth did with

  • Jeremy I have the same exact problem. Actually I’m worse. I don’t even tell people about my blog. It’s been a zero way communication situation. I’m afraid of putting it out there and I don’t even feel like my stuff is that good.

    I don’t know if the name matters. It’s you who we care about. Stay with jropinmd for a while and then as soon as there is a post that really takes off that you think works, then make that the name. That’s what JD Roth did with

    • Michael, I have read your blog. And your stuff is great. Just write. And when you feel like it, just take a leap and put it out there! The name thing i commented on Twitter…regardless I look forward to reading more of your stuff in the near future!

  • Interesting comment, I suspect my writings are too technical being an engineer patient with cirrhosis. I write about the doctor/patient dance at times. In the liver disease community there is a lot of dissatisfaction with the level of knowledge many in the primary fields have about advancing liver disease. There is a lot of anger to have been told for years that fatty liver no big deal lose a little weight and seemingly out of the blue to hear of cirrhosis and sorry we have no treatment. I deal with how to bridge that gap and have appreciated your thoughts from the other side of the wal.

    • Wayne, thanks for continuing to read. I have not found your writing to be too technical. And I agree with you on the variable knowledge base out their among primary MD’s on liver disease. Keep up the advocacy!

  • You’ve raised some good questions about your blog, a blog which I always read because it is thoughtful, though sometimes difficult to read because your area of interest is end of life. It is hard as writers to put aside our own perspective and think about how the reader will react to our words. It’s a cliche, I know, but writers need to consider their readers first. As best you can, think about how they will react to your subject. Then present the subject with the filters you know the readers need. As a physician, you probably see more death than your patients, and possibly many of your readers. When I joined a family with physician members, I had to get used to talking about vaginal bleeding at the dinner table.

    In this same sense, Balance as a title is your own perspective, your own struggle for balance. Your subject is, as you note, end-of-life issues, and how those issues intertwine in your life. Maybe something about really seeing, seeing through the fog, seeing what we try not to see?

    I too tend to write lengthy blog entries, but if you are dealing with complex issues, I think lengthy is almost necessary. I have tried breaking long entries up into several segments, but for me it hasn’t worked very well.

    On the other hand, not blogging regularly is a problem. There are too many lengthy gaps between my entries. But I’d rather see a big gap between entries than news flashes or fillers just to get an entry in the archives.

    • Diane, thank you! A lot to thing about there. I am trying think about my readers and what they want/expect to see and read. But also want to expand that “viewership”. I definitly do not want to sacrifice quality for quantity. But I want to figure out how to provide that without neccesarily taking a deep dive every time I write. A work in progress and “Balance” probably best wraps this all up in one word. Thanks for reading and your thoughtful comments!

      • The English teacher in me has long admired your gift for storytelling: attention to detail, narrative flow, point of view, emotional depth. Maybe it’s time to experiment with the short short story genre and craft vignettes based on your experience but now pulling yourself out of the picture. Those could be wedded with informational/inspirational pieces that the left side of my brain would welcome!

        This is an interesting juncture you have reached, Jeremy, and I’m looking forward to seeing the direction you take. Love the fact that you have reached out to your readers in this way. I’ll be keeping my eyes on you!

      • Anita, thank you for that. This blog like me is definitely a work in progress. I need to give Becky and editing break too.. She edits / fixes all my writing. Some shorter pieces may help with that. Hopefully more to come soon!

  • I think your blogs are great. I even had a retired Dr. from California sign up to receive. Regarding a new name;I will list a few, which may get a little more specific, but I think Balance is fine: 1) Life’s balance 2) Balancing Life 3)Life’s reality, 4)Real life, 5)Pragmatic life, 6)Life’s pragmatic balance, 6) Keeping a pragmatic balance. All of my suggestions are almost the same, and most have kept the word balance. This is deliberate, since I feel (Balance) should endure. Balance is what you started with, and in my opinion, really what you are trying to convey.

    • Gene, thanks for the thoughts and suggestions. Its has been really nice to hear people still like “Balance” as part of the name. That it still rings “true”. Thanks for reading and supporting. Hoping more to come soon!

  • Jeremy,
    I struggle with the same questions/challenges with my own blog (! I really enjoy your writing – both style and content – so in my humble opinion, I wouldn’t change either.

    You mention guests posts as one option. I’d love to feature your work on my blog and would be excited if you were interested in doing the same. I think a lot of the topics (end of life care, work/life balance) that we cover are similar and it might be a way to broaden each of our followings.

    Happy to talk further over email:

    Also just watched your Moth clip – so heartwrenchingly honest! Happy Father’s Day.

    • Becky, thank you so much for reading and your thoughts. Still wrestling with change in how to move forward but feel it will still be more consistent with the past than a big change for the future. I have read your work too and would love to talk about guest posting with you! Ill be reaching out to you shortly!

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