Thought Point: How Do You Blog?

It has always been the intent of this blog to get into the nitty gritty of what I’ve dealt with health-wise over the past three and a half years (everything went downhill September 2014 when I first had a flu-like illness), but I find myself skirting around writing those types of posts.

The posts that have made it onto the blog so far are the easy ones: the ones where inspiration hits and I can write something based off of a situation I recently encountered. The content is fresh in my memory and I don’t have to reach very far to pull out reflections or insights. While I question the value they provide to others, they’re at least of benefit to me because they’re cathartic to publish.

On the other hand, there’s a TON to unpack in my medical history.

  • The mysterious illness that started it all.
  • The extreme fatigue and memory lapses.
  • The effect it had on my university career (and the fun of dropping out, twice, from a professional undergraduate program).
  • The (false) diagnosis with bipolar disorder.
  • The 25 lb unexplained weight gain on my otherwise slim body.
  • The visits to Plattsburgh, New York and Mountain View, California to see two eminent specialists in tickborne illness and complex chronic illness, respectively.
  • The thousands of dollars spent on some pretty cool testing largely unavailable in Canada.

Those are some sound bites that give you a glimpse into what I’ve experienced. It’s not as bad as some have gone through (not by any stretch); but I think of all those hours I’ve spent scouring the internet searching for medical answers, and how often the most helpful things were not written by faceless medical organizations but rather they were the firsthand accounts written by people like you and me.

So, here I am, wanting to catalogue what’s happened to me in an attempt to make things a little less hazy for the next person to follow this trail.

The thing is, I just don’t know where to start. The organizational side of me thinks it would be best to start from the beginning and publish things neatly and chronologically. The realistic side of me knows that that’s going to take forever, make me less excited about blogging, and restrict my freedom to write about anything present-day as it comes up. And because I haven’t committed either way, I’ve been treading on the surface of what’s happened to me rather than digging down into more meaty topics.

How have you dealt with approaching your blog? I’d be happy to hear what you guys think about the matter, so let me know in the comments below. As I type this out right now, I think to how I’ve fallen off the blogging bandwagon in the past, and how the last thing I want is for this project to die off.

spring, sunrise, thought point, blogging

I think it comes down to the following conclusions (subject to revision):

  1. I must create content. But trying to balance that with how to then organize it is holding me back from writing about meatier subjects (I’ve been sticking to the “easy” posts).
  2. I must make blogging a habit. It should become a more natural part of my week that it is right now.

Am I right? I think so? I’m having a hard time right now arguing that anything else is more important than those two conclusions (within the context of this blog). Then, once a library of content exists and I have the habit down, I can always go back and rewrite and/or reorganize parts later in order to increase the value of the information provided.

Apologies in advance if the posts over the coming months seem to jump all over the place. I’ll do my best, however, to shape things so that they come together as a coherent narrative, once all is said and done. Thanks for everyone who has stayed with me on this journey so far!

23 Comments

  1. March 22, 2018 / 9:15 pm

    When I wrote my cancer blog I started at the beginning but I was still in the earliest part of that ordeal… Telling your story in flashbacks isnt a bad idea. At least you won’t always have to write about tour illness and relive it over and over.

    Quintin Tarrantino tells stories out of order… Think abiut it .

    • March 22, 2018 / 10:13 pm

      You’re right that there’s no one way to tell a good narrative and I think I was unnecessarily boxing myself into thinking there’s one “right” way, and that every other way falls short. I appreciate the input a lot, Scott!

  2. March 24, 2018 / 2:23 am

    I just write about whatever is foremost in my mind, or is niggling me to write about it. I have an ‘About’ page that lists my health conditions, but apart from that I haven’t really tried to tell my whole story accurately from the beginning – yet…. Think I’m a bit like you really, in that my story is so long and complex that I just don’t know which part to dive into.

    • March 24, 2018 / 4:21 am

      Part of me just thinks ‘I should have started blogging sooner’ because then the present day task wouldn’t seem to daunting, hah. Can’t change the past though… as long as I keep up with writing here regularly, I figure the bits and pieces will eventually make it out of the bag.

      • March 24, 2018 / 9:23 am

        Yup, me too about starting earlier! But then I wonder whether I would have written things at the time, because my experiences were probably more raw and tricky to cope with at the time, whereas doing flashback posts now I can be a little more objective? Who knows?! But you’re totally right, as long as we keep writing we’ll connect the dots eventually. C xx

        • March 24, 2018 / 2:11 pm

          Yeah, that’s a fair point. I know some people prefer to be able to step back and have some space before they revisit something difficult. I have a habit of keeping a journal though (that started in childhood) and so I’ve learned to process things by writing them out. Regardless of the past, I’m glad to now have blogging as part of the healing process 🙂

          • March 24, 2018 / 8:07 pm

            That’s fab that you have a journalling habit! I’ve never been able to stick with writing daily, even though I’ve tried quite a few times. Blogging is definitely a great outlet though, and a place to park our thoughts and experiences.

  3. March 31, 2018 / 9:56 pm

    Thanks for the input! Blogging because it’s my passion to do so rather than because I’m “supposed” to is an attitude I’ve been leaning more into the past few days. I feel more fulfilled that way 🙂 I’m thankful that others like you have been supportive in your feedback!

  4. April 4, 2018 / 11:58 am

    Yes. This. 100%. I think I kind of feel the same.. I’m just writing stuff.. Regularly.. Making content and getting thoughts out.. Hopefully out of that will come something of substance? Or entertainment? Keep it up x

    • April 4, 2018 / 11:20 pm

      Thanks for stopping by! That’s a great place to start, as I think blogging will always be a little “rough” in the beginning. Over time we can then work on refining our voices and improving the quality of what we post 🙂

  5. April 5, 2018 / 5:33 am

    I find it helpful to just start* writing a post. I’m never critical of myself when I begin (and try not to be throughout), and if I feel less inspired I just save the draft and continue when I have a second to spare. Try not to let perfectionism give you writers block! You’re an excellent writer so try and let your ideas flow and your intuition decide how you’re going to tell this story! There isn’t one right way to do it, and we will definitely appreciate it either way 🙂

    • April 5, 2018 / 9:52 am

      I appreciate you sharing your thoughts! Just starting can be the hardest part, so removing the barrier to that (the search for “perfection”) is a good mindset from which to approach it. Thank you 🙂

  6. April 21, 2018 / 10:06 pm

    I am SO sorry I somehow missed your comments! I really appreciate you visiting my blog and reading my posts. As for what you said about writing, thank you for the reminder that there is no right or wrong way to blog. Hugs 🙂

  7. April 25, 2018 / 3:52 pm

    Regarding my own blogging habits:

    I too write when inspiration strikes — when I’ve got something on my mind that I feel I’ve just got to get out. Regardless of what it is. Which has led to more than one deleted post when I look back on what I wrote a day or two ago and say, “What was I thinking?”

    Still: blogging has been just the experience I wanted it to be; a way to express my thoughts and feelings.

    Thank you for sharing your experience as a blogger. If I had to describe your writing so far, the word I would use is “clarity” — you do a good job of expressing how and why you see yourself and the world the way that you do.

    • April 26, 2018 / 12:44 pm

      Hah, funny enough, I’ve found so far that those types of almost-deleted posts have gotten some of the best engagement on my blog. So I tend towards pushing through writing a post and pressing publish even if part way through I feel like it’s not turning out the way I thought it would or I have second thoughts about it. That said, I may sit on a post a day or two just to look at it with fresh eyes and maybe add a takeaway message to it at the end.

      I truly appreciate your feedback on my writing style! It’s really encouraging to hear, especially since I’ve had some health-related cognitive setbacks in the past few years and I’m trying to find my way back to writing as well as I know I am capable of. Words like yours help to add some extra fuel to the tank <3

  8. April 29, 2018 / 12:07 am

    By writing down your thoughts, you have already hit the nail on the head. It is exactly what is running in my mind as well.

    So I have decided that my blogs are for my own pleasure in the first instance and you are right “order” spoils the momentum. There will be a time where my passion for order will take over, but till then I want to use the momentum to write.

    • April 29, 2018 / 4:03 pm

      Happy to hear your perspective! Getting to a place where you can keep up the momentum is challenge enough, and so taking the approach of writing whatever I feel like (with low constraints) has been a good choice for me so far. I hope you keep writing!

  9. May 4, 2018 / 8:13 am

    I don’t write about health things, so my process may not be all that helpful…

    I have a running Google Doc that I jot down notes in throughout the week. In the evenings before I go to bed, I review those shorthand notes and expand upon them until they become readable paragraphs. I’ve gotten into the habit of finalizing my thoughts on Thursday nights and posting them, then deleting everything from my Google Doc and starting all over again for the next week.

    The notes I jot down about things I want/need to write about are written out as soon as I think of them. That way, when I sit down to write, I am never staring at a blank page trying to figure out where to start. If I write down a note that doesn’t end up fitting in with the post I want to create that week, I can move that note to the end of the page and save it for next time if I want to.

    Don’t feel pressured to create content of make writing a habit. I’ve read through people’s blogs where they feel like they have to create, and their writing feels really forced when I read it. Write what comes naturally to you. Don’t feel like there has to be a certain place to start or finish. This is not a novel. Think of it more like an ongoing conversation with random people online, and allow the topics to flow freely as your mind comes up with them. That might make things easier for you. 🙂

    That’s just my $0.02. Good luck!

    • May 4, 2018 / 7:47 pm

      Wow, thanks so much for taking the time to comment! It’s helpful to hear the writing process of others. So far I’ve written down snippets from thoughts here and there when they pop up, but in a pretty disorganized way haha. I’ll probably try a system like yours out as it sounds a lot more efficient.
      On the habit part – the main reason I’ve thought about it that way is because last year I tried out blogging but pretty quickly dropped off from it. This time I want to be different though. I do like your point about not making it sound forced, as that’s not something I want either. Thinking about it as a conversation is another great mindset to cultivate as well. Thanks again for your words!

  10. May 6, 2018 / 10:17 pm

    I so feel you. I considered blogging for a long time, and tried several times, but at the end of the day, I realised the best thing to do, is to write about things happening to me, important to me, and above all – real relatable experiences.

    • wherearemypillows
      Author
      May 6, 2018 / 9:44 pm

      Thanks for taking the time to leave your thoughts here! I really like what you said about making your posts about real, relatable experiences. I’m completely with you there and love reading blogs where people can speak to their own experiences. I’m less keen on blogs where people try to sound like an authority on a certain matter or strip away their personality to say what they think others want to read.

  11. May 10, 2018 / 11:40 pm

    Thanks so much for stopping by my blog. It brought me here – and i feel so happy. You write with such clarity and I really enjoyed reading this post some others. I started writing my blog as a promise to God to write for a 108 days – i know this may sound strange but it is really helping me to feel connected from within to sweetness, love and light. Even though in my mind, I had planned to write stories, somehow only poems are coming up and i just jot them down and hit publish. I am still a baby-blogger — so i don’t know if this is the right path or not….but i feel fulfillment and blessed when kind readers like you hit “like” — so thank you! Thank you for writing and sharing and raising this interesting question!

    • wherearemypillows
      Author
      May 11, 2018 / 11:54 pm

      I’m happy to hear about your blogging journey and that it has been so positive! Thank you for sharing. I think if you have an idea flowing out of you (such as your poems) it’s better to allow it to take on its own form rather than stopping it in its tracks. The more we write the more we’ll find our way and figure out what we’re happiest with 🙂

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