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 Shelley of Chronic Mom.
1. Tell us a little about yourself.
I am 31 years old and I live with my husband and two kids. I’ve always lived an active life, I love to be outside and participate in any kind of adventurous activity. I even have a degree in Parks and Recreation and have spent time developing after school recreation programs for children. Since I got sick in 2010 I’ve had to scale back on my outdoor activities. I still however enjoy hiking whenever I get the chance. I also love to combine my love of the outdoors with travel. The more of the world I can see and experience the better. I am also a book worm and can usually be found outside on my hammock reading a good book.
2. What is your blog called and how do you define your blog’s purpose?
My blog is called Chronic Mom. I gave it that title because I found a lack of advice on how to cope with being a parent and having a chronic illness at the same time. Much of the advice given to sick people just isn’t applicable to parents. However, over time my blog has developed to being about chronic illness in general and not just parenting. The purpose of my blog is to let sick people know that they are not alone, that there are other people out there like them experiencing all the same difficult choices and emotions.
3. How long have you been blogging and why did you start?
I started blogging in 2011 shortly after being diagnosed with Fibromyalgia. I was then diagnosed with Lyme Disease a few months later. My blog began as a venue for me to work out my emotions which in the past I had worked out through physical activity. As I became connected to more and more people with chronic illness I realized I wanted to do more. I wanted to express the ups and downs and the complications of being sick so that people would realize that they were not alone.
4. How often do you post? What made you decide to post on this schedule?
My goal is to post at least once a week. However, I do sometimes posts more frequently depending on how I feel and how busy my schedule is. As a blogger I feel that generating new content is important, but I also have to balance that with my children’s needs and my other projects.
5. Do you feel blogging has benefitted you? If so, how?
Blogging has connecting me to the chronic illness community in a way I don’t think I would have found otherwise. I have come to know many other people with chronic illness and they have helped me to improve my outlook on life as a sick person. I’ve also found blogging to be a great outlet for my emotions as I struggle with my illness. Putting words to my thoughts and feelings helps me to come to a place of acceptance.
6. Why do you feel it’s important to blog about chronic illness?
I feel that a significant part of my job as a blogger is to raise awareness. Many of the people I interact with on a daily basis know nothing about my conditions or what its like to live with an illness. If I can reach even one friend or family member of someone with an illness and improve their understanding then I feel successful.
7. What are your top 3 blogging tips for other bloggers?
1. Focus on the writing. It can be easy to get distracted by creating a website, developing a newsletter, getting more followers on Facebook etc. But writing new posts is the most important part of blogging.
2. Don’t be discouraged if people are responsive to you right away. It takes time and massive effort to build a big following. No matter how many people you reach, you’ve still made a difference.
3. Honor your limits. If you are in a flare and don’t feel up to writing, don’t. Your #1 job is still to take care of yourself.