There should be no rules when it comes to blogging about your health
Wanna be a successful blogger? Well, if you do a cursory Google search, a bunch of pretty standard rules will pop up with some tips and techniques to help “supercharge” (ugh) your blog and get you noticed.
I’ve been writing about my life online for a number of years, and I’ve realised that a lot of those rules don’t necessarily apply to people with chronic illness. They can add a whole lot of additional pressure that we really don’t need if we’re starting to blog for catharsis or connection.
Here are some that I think can be worth breaking:
I have chronic illnesses, so I can’t really do anything in my life consistently – and this applies to my blog, too.
Thanks to constantly changing algorithms that make it hard for content to be seem, we’re encouraged to post on Instagram every day, and post a blog on the same day or days every week. Yes, it’s good for our audience to know that content is coming if they want to see it, but if you’re not well enough to write, or there’s not something you want to say – is it really worth it?
I went through a phase where I just posted because I felt like I ‘should’, and it was the weakest content I ever created. I’ve taken breaks of 6 months from blogging or sharing on Instagram, because I was living my life and didn’t really feel like I had anything I wanted to say.
Now I only post when I feel the urge and it’s something I want to share with my followers. I’m mostly sticking to Instagram because it’s like a mini blog – and my blog has been sitting neglected because I don’t have the brain space to write several thousand word rants right now.
Does it make me a bad blogger? Conventionally, maybe. Do I care? No. I’d rather share content that’s authentic and important to me rather than a half-arsed attempt to get something out that day.
Your blog is your little space of the internet – do with it what you want!
Have a niche
Yes, it is helpful for people to know what they’re coming to your blog for, but at the same time, you shouldn’t feel like you’re limited to just one thing if you don’t want to be. Maybe you want to write about your health one day, a trip you were able to do another, and a craft project you’re passionate about.
Your blog is about you. As soon as you try and make it for someone else, you can lose the joy from it.
I’m very much of the attitude that my online platforms are just about doing what I want to do – if people don’t like it, they don’t have to follow me. I lost 7000 followers on Instagram when I made a big shift once – but I’m keeping it to who I am and that’s way more important.
People will come to care about you just as much as your content – and that’s such a valuable and amazing thing.
Be an open book
There is no right or wrong way to share about your health. You can share as much or as little as you feel comfortable with.
Ultimately, I now write when it makes me feel good to write and about the issues I feel comfortable sharing.
A lot of people have asked me about how much they should disclose online – and the answer is whatever is right for you. Some people share everything. Some people share very little. And some people, like me, share a fair amount about a very specific topic which makes it seem like they share everything but have strict boundaries.
Again, you shouldn’t feel pressured to share things because other people are – you don’t even have to disclose your health condition if you don’t want to – there’s so many awesome other things to share about, too!
My one rule
The only real ‘rule’ that I try to live by is being careful about giving specific medical treatment information and not offering advice to other people. It’s so important to remember that we’re all so different – and what works for one may not work for others.
There was a time when I (misguidedly) jumped into the whole ‘wellness’ thing and wrote about it a lot under the assumption I was just ‘sharing my journey’, but I know I also inspired other people to try something that was ultimately quite damaging to many people I know.
Being respectful of our audiences and aware of our influence is super important – even when starting out. There are so many people out there looking to connect and get advice and support – that we need to recognise where our ‘expertise’ as a patient ends, and not give out information we’re not qualified to give.