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 Hannah of My Fibro a New Beginning.

Hannah at My Fibro a New Beginning1. Tell us a little about yourself.
I have been blogging for just over a year and have a growing following. I have fibromyalgia and PCOS and I am currently having fertility treatment. I am a full-time teacher in a special needs school and work hard to balance this with a chronic illness.

I have suffered from anxiety and depression in the past and I am an avid supporter of mental health awareness, especially in children. I live at home with my husband and two cats, Beau and Daisy. I come from a family plagued with chronic illness so have a lot of experience in the area.

2. What is your blog called and how do you define your blog’s purpose?
My blog is called ‘My Fibro a New Beginning’. My blog should be a place where people can come for support, whether they have a chronic illness or not. A place where people can find out about different ways of coping with chronic illness, lifestyle tips, products, books and somewhere for people to find inspiration. But most of all I want my blog to be accessed and enjoyed by a wide range of people. As a teacher it has been my focus since starting university to strive for inclusion, to meet the needs of all pupils and I want my blog to be the same.

3. How long have you been blogging and why did you start?
I started my blog in January 2016 after a bad flare of my fibromyalgia symptoms which left me off work for 9 weeks. I started it as a way of bringing awareness of fibromyalgia to the people around me and support for those who have a chronic illness. But most importantly I started it for me. I wanted to share my life experiences, document how I coped on a day-to-day basis and connect with others with and without a chronic illness.

Over the last year, my posts have varied from being about my chronic illness to product reviews and going into my second year of blogging I am now more focused on what I want my blog to be. My blog has changed a little over the year. I have added a new logo, become self-hosted, added more pages and finally got the hang of categorising posts so they go where I want them to.

My following has slowly grown on WordPress, Instagram and Facebook and my Twitter followers are nearly reaching 1000. This might not sound a lot but I never expected anyone to even read my blog.

4. How often do you post? What made you decide to post on this schedule?
I try and blog at least once a week, but often, due to work commitments, I end up blogging 1-2 a month. During times I am off work sick or on school holidays my blog post schedule increases. I decided to post at least once a month as a minimum to keep a steady flow to my blog.

I am now getting the hang of scheduling so hope to have a more regularly flow of posts. I also decided on this as I really wanted to be a part of the Chronic Illness Bloggers Community and that has spurred me on to be as regular and consistent with my posts as possible.

5. Do you feel blogging has benefitted you? If so, how?
Yes definitely. I have grown in confidence and it has allowed me to inform people of my condition with the easy share of a link, rather than having to explain it over and over again. Blogging has also opened up a whole new world of social media and connecting with others.

I am finding that the blogging community can be so supportive and also informative. I have taken part in Twitter chats, connected with new people and found out lots of new information, all of which I couldn’t have done without blogging.

6. Why do you feel it’s important to blog about chronic illness?
I think it is really important to blog about chronic illness to raise awareness. Lots of chronic illnesses are invisible and often people are not believed, I have had this in the past. It can also be tiring having to explain to family, friends and work colleagues about your illness and blogs like mine can help with this.

By having a place people can go to read. It is also important as loved ones can also feel lost as they don’t know how to help or don’t understand what you are going through and having blogs that discuss these issues gives them somewhere to go also. Chronic illness blogs can help you feel less lonely and like you are the only one suffering, they can give you advice, share tricks and tips for managing conditions and offer support.

7. What are your top 3 blogging tips for other bloggers?
Blogging tip 1- blog about what you want to blog about. If you don’t enjoy the topic or if you don’t really no much about it, it will be hard to write about. I love reading blogs that you can sense the passion behind the posts. Additionally don’t worry if your focus changes, I initially was going to blog only about fibromyalgia and nothing else, but life got in the way. I found myself writing blogs that crossed over into teaching and lifestyle and I also wanted to try writing book reviews as reading is a way I cope with pain.

Blogging tip 2- share, share, share. Share your blog everywhere, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, email, wherever you can. I have found it is very hard to get followers on my blog and to begin with I was scared to share my posts. But if you are not sharing your posts, no one is going to see them.

Blogging tip 3- connect. Use social media to your advantage. Join in with Twitter chats (I got the quickest amount of Twitter followers this way), follow other bloggers and encourage them to follow back, connect with friends and ask them to share your posts, join Facebook groups, basically connect with everyone you can.

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