I have often wondered how I committed to writing a weekly blog when I am terrible at adulting, plus having M.E/CFS. The honest answer was I wanted to create a place full of resources for people with ME or other chronic illnesses. But I can’t deny it is really challenging sometimes. I love my blog and I love writing about the issues and challenges of living with a chronic illness and think it spreads awareness and it can be a source of comfort for those going through the same. At least, that is how I felt when I found ME/CFS bloggers.
My blog started in March 2017, I bought the domain name and by May I had bought a WordPress subscription. In amongst all of this I had a massive crash/relapse and was very unwell. All in all, it took me six months to build my website and to write enough content that I felt there was a cushion if I were to be ill I had some backups waiting. On the first of September, I made it live and it was the scariest thing I had done in such a long time. I had an amazing response and I was feeling optimistic about how the launch had gone. All my energy went into writing, editing, creating images and planning tweaks on the webpage. It gave me some structure to my week and a purpose.
A few times I have been nearly caught out when I haven’t scheduled something or I have been ill and not writing enough for me to be at my goal of about 6 weeks ahead. But also remembering public holidays and seasonal blog posts that need to be done in advance. I’m not going to sugar coat it, sometimes at my capacity, it is a true struggle. I try to be super organised and plan and plan ahead. Saying all of that, it has reminded me why I love to write and by sharing my story if I made one person feel less like an alien living on Earth because of their condition, then it’s worth it.
If you are sat reading my ramble thinking I want to blog but I’ve been discouraged or I’m not sure I can keep up with it. Then just jump in. Try, the worst that can happen is you have to take it down if you really can’t continue. I have found that most readers of chronic illness blogs or lifestyle blogs with some sort of condition, tend to be understanding because they get that sometimes you end up in a hospital for a few nights unexpectedly.
I think we should all aim to fail more than trying to be perfect. Failing is where you grow resilience and grow the most as an individual. IT’s the biggest learning curve, much more than getting it right the first time.
My top tips for blogging with an illness:
1) Give yourself far more time than you think to set up the website, even if you are a techno whizz it can still take time to write all the pages and edit the page to how you want it to be. Don’t rush it.
2) Have a ‘soft launch’ to debug and makes sure everything works. Baloo did this with me late August in time for my launch on the 1st of September. (You can make it private again until the official launch)
3) Always have backups, write as much as you can when the ideas hit and be a few weeks in advance so that if you are ill you have it all covered. Make images and try to see the overall look of your blog posts, not just the awesome written content.
4) Make the most of being able to schedule blog posts and Facebook posts on your page. It has saved my bacon plenty of times, although around when the clocks change it was a little glitchy.
5) Don’t get hung up on how many people it reaches, how many people read it or which country they are from. Write for you and that one person you are trying to reach. Everyone else is a bonus. Blogs take time to gain a reader base and followers. Don’t focus on anything but what message or advice you want to give that week.
6) Work out how private you want to be from the word go, you may notice I don’t have any photos of myself on my blog and that was my own decision to keep some private. I like to feel that because I’m anonymous that I can be more open and real with you, this may change and I might ‘introduce’ you to me one day but a great piece of advice was “it’s easier to allow people more into your life, it’s ten times harder to claw back privacy.”
7) Don’t be afraid to try collaborations or to do ‘unpopular’ blog posts. Some of my most viewed blog posts have been the ones when I talk about things most people don’t tend to tend to talk about. For example, Why I thought I was Undateable was one of my highest viewed.
8) Engage with other bloggers. I love to discover new bloggers that are in my ‘field’ and I follow them and sometimes they follow my blog back. Comment on other people’s blogs you admire, like them. Be brave.
9) Create social media accounts for your blog. You may not use the accounts but if it’s important you have the same username, then sign up for them all and then use what you want. A dedicated email helps to separate your personal to your blog emails as well.
10) As hard as it is when you are ill, try to be consistent and deliver your promise of weekly blog posts etc. I haven’t always due to circumstances or the need for a holiday but try to be consistent.
I know this isn’t my typical blog post but I wanted to talk about how I took the plunge into blogging and the advice and tips that helped me along the way. I can’t believe that in September I will have been blogging for a year. Time flies when every Tuesday at 11 am you have a blog post go live.
Comment down below and tell me your advice for starting a blog or whether you might start a blog. Or if you have a blog, leave a link so I can see what you are up to and hopefully everyone might discover something new.