Each week we are highlighting a different Chronic Illness Bloggers’ member as our ‘Blogger of the Week‘. As well as getting to know each other better, we hope that you enjoy this series and that you find the interviews with each member to be insightful and helpful.
This week our blogger of the week is Sheryl of A Chronic Voice.
1. Tell us a little about yourself.
My name is Sheryl and I’ve been living with chronic illnesses for nearly 20 years, which began when I had a mini stroke one bright sunny day (truly!) at age 14. Apart from being sick, I derive my greatest pleasures from writing and travelling (I also have a travel blog). I had to quit my job due to ill health when my red blood cell count dropped to 7, and the break did wonders. Since then I have been freelancing as a front-end web developer and, luckily for me, I enjoy working on my own. I am also grateful for the fact that it’s one of those jobs where you can work from bed with pyjamas on!
2. What is your blog called and how do you define your blog’s purpose?
A Chronic Voice and my tagline is ‘articulating lifelong illness’. I aim to raise awareness on chronic illnesses in as clear a manner as possible. While sharing my own experience is important, I also aim to share those of others, as well as general health knowledge and stories. Autoimmune disorders are so vague– and the symptoms for every one of us varies so widely– so I think sharing and bringing awareness to a wide sample of experiences is important. I also think the spoonie community is pretty strong online and I enjoy the interaction. However, I’m also trying to target the regular person out there, to lure them into our crazy world, and open ourselves up even more to them.
3. How long have you been blogging and why did you start?
About six months. I wanted to share my experiences for a number of reasons– apart from it being a cathartic experience for me– I would like to reach out to others to let them know that they are not alone. I think it encourages us both in that aspect. I also think it’s important to shed some light into our minds, so that caregivers who want to be there for us know what is it that we actually need. I also think that experience is a great teacher and I hope that medical professionals and scientists can use all this data that we’ve shared to understand these diseases better.
4. How often do you post? What made you decide to post on this schedule?
I release my own articles at least once or twice a week. On Facebook, I post articles from other sources 1- 2x per day. On Twitter, I tweet 6 – 8x a day. Facebook is a more overwhelming platform, so posting too much can be annoying for others. Twitter goes faster and is high search, high volume, so posting more is okay. I have found this social media frequency guide by Buffer to be useful.
5. Do you feel blogging has benefitted you? If so, how?
Yes! While my original intentions for setting it up are still there, I’ve gained and learned so much more from the act in itself as well. I actually wrote an article about it here, listing 12 important and wonderful things that I have learned and benefitted from blogging.
6. Why do you feel it’s important to blog about chronic illness?
Of all illnesses, chronic ones are the least visible; most of us look so healthy and ‘normal’! So I think it’s even more vital that we give them a voice, as they can be pretty damn hard to comprehend or even imagine to begin with. Just like how having a healthy body is like magic to many of us.
7. What are your top 3 blogging tips for other bloggers?
Have an opinion, but have an open mind, and most importantly, you need to enjoy it!