Lessons For Cate So Far…

Image: FreeDigitalPhotos.net

My 50th post has snuck up on me.  Not so long ago I thought it would take forever, but now I’m enjoying blogging so much that the posts have just flown by and at the moment my mind always seems full of ideas.  It seems a good chance to talk about what I’ve learnt so far, because one thing I know is that everyone’s experience, aims and practise of blogging is different.  And that’s okay.

This is what I’ve learnt so far (in no order):

  • There are only 24 hours in a day.  This has been a surprising, but worthy lesson for me because I have great aspirations for what I want to do, only to realise I just don’t have the time.  I am slightly envious of those who post several times a day.  It looks so impressive to keep coming up with ideas and to just get the work done.  After 50 posts I’ve learnt that I don’t have the time to do that, nor is it my priority, so I’m going to stick with posting about every second day… and being content and hopefully healthy.
  • It pays to actually have something worthwhile to say.  This might seem obvious to some bloggers, but it is more important for me to offer something worthwhile rather than just be another screen you look at.  Of course it is up to you if you do look at it, but I don’t help the process if I don’t make it worth your while.
  • I love feedback.  I was a little nervous of feedback to start with.  This is my first ever blog and I wasn’t sure what to expect.  Now I know it is a fantastic opportunity to support fellow bloggers as well as opening up lines of discussion and making friends.  That said, I realise some bloggers don’t want some types of feedback.  I think that’s sad, because there are always new ways to learn and think, and I’m sure we help each other by offering differing opinions.  But that’s me, and on my blog (or my facebook page) I love the feedback.
  • I started my blog to write about recovery from mental illness.  About the same time I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia and so I’ve added that in.  Now my aim is to write about managing physical illness at the same time as recovering from mental illness.  I think it’s good too, that the aim of a blog can change with time and experience.
  • When I started I set myself some rules in what I write about.  That is, I don’t write about my family relationships.  Some of my family follow my blog but others don’t, and I’m always thinking of making sure I don’t say anything that is offensive to them.  For me, I owe them that much.  I also recognise that there are a few people I really would rather  didn’t come across my blog.  But my goal is to write as if those people were going to read what I write.  It is too easy to find a person on the internet and I am not going to kid myself into thinking I can do this completely separate from those few people I would rather stay away from.  In saying that, I know other bloggers work differently and I entirely respect their choices for them.
  • Publishing my book, Infinite Sadness, in 2009 was a big step in opening up to the world about my mental illness.  Many people have commented about how open I am, and I think it is because of already having the book out there.  My secrets (to some extent) are exposed there and so being open in my blog is a natural progression.  I also strongly believe that unless people like me talk openly, especially about mental illness, then the stigma associated will never be removed.
  • There’s little point in me writing posts that my readers can read somewhere else.  I know this isn’t how many bloggers work but I’m no professional in either mental health or chronic pain, so I’ve decided I’m not going to pretend to be.  My blog is primarily my experiences and my opinions.
  • I really dislike when other bloggers don’t attribute the work of others to the correct source.  I have noticed that in blogging, and in other social media, that there seems to be a trend towards dropping the name of the author.  I guess I had the plagiarism thing drummed into me so firmly in my years at university, as well as just believing that credit should be given where credit is due.  I can only determine how I act and so my writing will always give credit where possible, and I will be inclined to stop following blogs where I see this doesn’t happen.  Maybe my BPD traits (a bit of black and white thinking maybe?) are showing, but it’s just something I believe strongly about.
  • I didn’t realise when I started that I would spend more time reading than writing, but then I think that’s how it should be for a writer.  I love reading other blogs to the point where I take on too much and can’t keep up.  I clearly need a little discernment in this area but it is a habit I have struggled with in many different areas of my life.  I take on the world and then can’t quite keep up.  That said, I love it.  Everyone’s journey is different and worth reading.  But I haven’t learnt that I won’t follow blogs where my health and safety gets compromised by reading.

    My Blogging Mantra
    Image via I Am Somebody
  • I enjoy looking for quotes and pictures to use to back up what I am saying.  Sometimes I get quite distracted, but often I learn things I’m glad I came across.  The quote I chose for the end of this post sums up blogging for me.  It’s really weird because there are all these people who are now friends and know me well, but I have never met and probably will never come across in real life.  But somehow for someone with a mental illness it makes human interaction possible again.  And that is something I like too.

One Final Note:  Please don’t forget in reading this post that these are the lessons I have learned for me, and I am not in any way criticising anyone else or suggesting that they should learn these lessons too.  We all develop our own sense of what is right for us, and I simply thought you might be interested to read what I have learnt.

“Only on the Internet can a person be lonely and popular at the same time.”
    Allison Burnett,    Undiscovered Gyrl

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15 thoughts on “Lessons For Cate So Far…

  1. ...But She's Crazy

    Cate, contrats on your 50th!!!! I am so glad that you’re a part of this blogging community and I have the distinct privilege of reading your words and thoughts and sharing ideas with you and generally considering you a friend. You have enriched my own blogging experience in ways you could never know. I love you wit and wisdom, even when you’re confessing to symptoms and feelings that aren’t pretty or cut-and-dry. You’ve become a kindred spirit from halfway around the world, though I am often sucky about consistency when it comes to commenting on posts. That’s just my own weaknesses kicking in. I hope you keep writing, keep raising your voice, whenever you can and at your own pace. You are absolutely right that talking about these things can help to eliminate the stigmas surrounding them and give power to all of us fighting that good fight alongside you. And yours is an eloquent and sound voice, so it makes that much more of a difference. Sending much love, admiration, and continued support your way. Be proud, because you so deserve to appreciate all the good you’ve done with this blog.

    Your pal from the States,
    Eileen ❤

    1. Aww thank you Eileen. That is so nice of you to say. And I don’t think you’re sucky at all. We each do what we’re up to and hey, think about how long it takes me to read some posts. Now that’s sucky! Thank you so much. 🙂

  2. I love your title and the content of your post. You have been through a lot and I admire the fact that you are sharing your experience with others. You are one brave lady!

  3. Congratulations on your 50th post, Cate! I think it’s so wonderful how you have enjoyed and continue to enjoy blogging. I have only just recently started following your blog, but I think you are such a fabulous writer and I look forward to continuing to read your blog. I love the “Lessons” you’ve learned through blogging and the rules that you have. I respect that you are so diligent in following a certain path for your writing, and can relate to a lot of them. I second what But She’s Crazy says… you should definitely be proud of what you’ve done here.

    Congrats again! And, here’s to many more posts to come!
    Cheers! 🙂

    1. Thanks Summer. I really appreciate that. Sometimes I think my rules and lessons for myself make things restricted but I also realise it’s me, so I’ll go with it. I’ve wasted too many years denying who I am. 🙂

  4. colineagle

    Congrats on the 50th post, Cate! Unfortunately I haven’t been able to keep track on them lately, but I always enjoy reading them.

  5. Pingback: Is This Significant? | Infinite Sadness… or hope?

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