I am pleased to be part of a new free online course being developed and offered by Rebecca Hogue called, Should I blog? The course begins in March, but will be offered on an ongoing basis, re-starting every two months. My role is to be a blog mentor. I love this role and it’s one I am very happy to take on. By now you all know how I feel about the power of shared stories. There’s nothing quite like it. One of my ‘assignments’ as a mentor is to write a few posts answering some questions about blogging.
The first question is why did I start blogging?
Well…When I first decided to write a blog, I had no idea how to go about it, what exactly I would write about, who (if anyone) would read what I wrote, how long I would keep at it, how many blogs I would end up reading myself, what issues would come to matter most to me, or how important blogging would become in my life.
Yes, you could say I was pretty clueless.
On top of my cluelessness, I was in the middle of chemotherapy and losing my hair. I was no longer working and was depending on my family to take care of things more than I ever had before. My mother had recently died, of metastatic breast cancer no less. In short, I was not in a good place and had no idea how “to do” cancer. (I still don’t). I had no idea how to blog either.
But yet, there I was ready and willing to start sharing on the internet of all places about my terrifying, extremely personal and utterly life-changing experience of breast cancer. And I am a very private person I might add. An introvert even. So go figure.
Writing was how I coped with both grief and cancer.
So really, it made perfect sense that blogging was the next step for me. Blogging gave me a safe place “to do something” with my grief and my cancer. Nancy’s Point became a place to try to make sense out of the hurt and chaos that both life-changing experiences brought and still bring. And I wanted to help others who were struggling and trying to figure this stuff out too.
It didn’t take long for me to discover a few surprises: I quickly learned that this blogging community (fellow bloggers and readers too) was a welcoming and non-judgmental (though opinionated) group. I soon found myself gravitating to my laptop every morning to find out if anyone had left a comment on a post I had written and to leave a few of my own on posts others wrote. Over time, I became friends with people I would likely never meet in person. The biggest surprise of all, was how much I found myself caring about “strangers” out there in the blogosphere. Even more surprising, they cared about me.
Perhaps this was the most unexpected discovery of all about blogging, the genuine sharing and caring.
As corny as it might sound, cancer blogging really is mostly about the collective sharing of stories, information and support. It’s lovely knowing others are out there 24/7. It’s wonderful knowing you are not alone. It’s comforting knowing that more than likely somebody else is, or has experienced something similar to what you are going through and it’s a good feeling to know someone else gets it, or is at least willing to listen in a non-judgmental kind of way. Knowing others out there care; you just can’t beat that.
Still, writing a blog takes a fair amount of thought, time and energy. It’s work too.
So now over four years later, why do I keep at it?
I keep at it in order to remember my mother and my friend Rachel. I keep at it to honor others who have died from this wretched disease, some whom I have known and many more I have not. I keep at it because in some small way I want to be here for my friends presently living with metastatic disease. I don’t want to leave them behind because I am NED. I won’t. I keep at for the “newbies’ entering into this maze that is cancer, always hopeful that when they read the ramblings from someone who’s been there it might help just a bit. I keep at because I want to talk about cancer, grief and loss and my blog is a safe place for me (and for you) to do that. I keep at it because at this point in time, I need to keep at it.
Every cancer blogger speaks from a different vantage point. We are a diverse yet similar bunch. Everyone’s cancer resume is a little bit different. There is much to learn from one another and there is tremendous support ready for the taking. All you have to do is reach out for it.
So if you, or someone you know, is contemplating starting to write a blog, go for it. Tell her/him to go for it. Sign up for the free online course to learn more about how to get started. I say, why not give blogging a try?
Because everyone’s story matters, including yours.
Do you want to start writing a blog?
If so, what’s holding you back?
Do you have a blog? If so, feel free to share your link via a comment below.
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