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You see, as much as I like to forget sometimes, I am in fact a spoonie. A spoonie who pushes herself, even when she doesn’t make the conscious decision to push herself. I still manage to do that, because that’s how awesome I am. (No, but really.)
As you may know, about a week ago, I made the decision to join in on the 30 day blogging challenge. If you’re not sure what that is, it was created by Sarah Arrow, author of Zero to Blogger in 30 Days (affiliate link). While I haven’t been able to stick to my original 30 day commitment, I have been slowly working my way through the book, making small changes here and there to my blog.
In the beginning, I was determined to stick to the challenge, by the book (pun intended). And so I did… until I flared. And continued to flare. Running empty on little sleep and a lot of pain, I forgot to eat (something we spoonies are often guilty of). Eventually, I found myself in the middle of a hypoglycemic episode. For those who don’t know what that is, it’s a barrage of scary symptoms (for me: shaking, a cold feeling, headache, dizziness, seeing black spots in my vision) brought on by low blood sugar. After I corrected it with snacks, I was pretty much wiped out for the rest of the day.
A few days later, we had errands that we absolutely had to attend to. There was no getting out of it. Unfortunately, during the process of said errands, I was exposed to a lot of sunlight. Sunlight is one of those things that makes me flare. After spending approximately 2-3 days recovering, I managed to crank out a blog post yesterday (yay!) but I’m still taking it easy.
So, there you go. This is my second blog post since the flare. I’m not back to one hundred percent, yet. My hands, fingers, elbows and shoulders still ache as I write this. Which brings me to the real purpose of this post.
Today I’m going to talk to you about how I resume blogging after a flare of chronic illness.
I try to be as honest as I can.
This blog post is just one example of the many ways that I try to maintain honesty with my readers. That being said, I don’t usually give away all (or sometimes, any) details of my flares. My most frequent reason for leaving details out is that sometimes my flares are so unpleasant that I don’t want to recount my experiences. The other and perhaps most important reason is for privacy purposes: sometimes I receive treatment for flares, and I typically try to avoid publicizing that kind of information.
Often, my explanations are nonspecific and generalized. They can be as simple as: Hey guys, I’m sorry I’ve disappeared off your radar, but _____ has been happening. The most important points that I try to include are that, a. I haven’t given up on them and b. I haven’t given up on my blog.
I think sometimes bloggers worry that by posting about parts of their life that are outside their niche will hurt the number of followers/readers that they have. I haven’t experienced this. I’ve actually be surprised by the number of “likes” and “repins” that my posts about chronic illness receive. Most of my blog posts about chronic illness were written while I was recovering from a flare. However, they seem to be some of my more popular blog posts here at Knittering In Appalachia.
Just post it, already.
I think every blogger frets, at some point or other during their career, about whether or not a blog post they’re working on is the right fit for their blog. It’s easy for me to psyche myself out of posting a blog entry, but I also know that the longer I wait to post a blog entry, the harder it becomes to actually do it. Sometimes I just close my eyes and hit “publish” because that’s the only way I can do it. Otherwise I just nitpick the blog post until I convince myself not to publish it at all.
What helps me to “just post it” while I’m recovering from a flare, is to take advantage of my habit of writing in batches. If you don’t know what that is, it’s pretty easy: when I’m not flaring and I’m able to work normally, I don’t limit my creativity. If a new idea for a blog post pops into my head while I’m working on another post, I write down the idea and as many points as I can think of related to that idea. Later, I flesh out the blog post by picking a title, including keywords for SEO, and editing. While some of these potential blog posts are scheduled immediately, I try to always keep 2-3 blog posts as drafts for those days when I absolutely cannot write or focus.
Still, there’s times when I do not have any drafts to turn into blog posts. Sometimes my creative well has run dry and I’m too exhausted from a flare to think of anything new to write about in my niche. On those days, I blog about ideas that are easy for me to write about; even if they don’t fall within my niche, they often inspire me to get back on topic. This blog post is a fine example of that. I’m writing about chronic illness because that’s what I’ve been dealing with over the past week. And while it is the only thing that I can think of to blog about right now, it is also my hope that it will inspire me to write more, and perhaps steer me back to the DIY/crafts that I love talking about.
I schedule a blog post, and then I take a break.
This theory seems to run contrary to everything I’ve ever read about blogging. But there’s one exception here: when I jump full-force back into work or school after a rough period, I always suffer for it later. And what I mean by that is, my health suffers. I end up dealing with more fatigue, joint pain and skin rashes. I require an emergency visit with my rheumatologist, which costs me more money. I end up taking more medication. Additionally, more time lost to flares and recovering is more time that I can’t spend blogging.
As a rule, I typically publish a blog post and then schedule one to two more blog posts. This allows me to continue recovering from a flare without pushing my body too far, while also still managing to get some work done.
I use my blogging resources.
When I read blogs that insist that we bloggers must be super men or women – that we must get up at the crack of dawn and pursue this venture of blogging as if our life depended on it – I giggle a little bit. Mostly because I’m not perfect, and while I do try my best to succeed at blogging, I know there’s going to be times when I can’t do that. My health just won’t allow it, which is why I try to keep a steady source of resources to use as blogging tools.
I tend to add my favorites to my Blogging board on Pinterest. Often when I feel stuck, I browse my board for writing inspiration, or for tutorials on how to make changes to my blog. I also try to include them in my Ultimate List of Blogging Resources.
I try to take care of myself.
I wasn’t aware of how important it is to take care of myself until my chronic illness became worse and my parents reminded me of why they were there. It’s so easy for me to assume that I have to do this and I have to do that because it really is a part of my personality. I see challenges as obstacles in my way. Unfortunately, my autoimmune illness doesn’t agree with me on this view.
Sometimes it’s all my body can manage to do to get out of bed, eat, bathe, and go back to sleep. Sometimes blogging is out of the question. That’s okay. Those are the days that I’m grateful I have family who insist that I take care of myself, even when I’ve forgotten that I’m allowed to do just that. I figure out what absolutely must be done, and ask for help with completing those tasks. I now know what my bodys’ limitations are, and I try to respect them.
My blog will still be there once I’ve fully recovered, and hopefully so will my readers. Until then, I focus on taking care of myself and getting better. No exceptions.
How do you resume blogging after a flare of chronic illness? Let me know in the comments!
DISCLAIMER: All opinions expressed in this post are personal opinions and views only. They are not intended to take the place of medical advice. If you have any questions regarding whether or not it is safe for you to use a product that I review on my blog or implement a new routine, please seek the advice of a medical doctor.