I started working on this post a while ago and this week - when I am feeling absolutely uninspired for anything interesting or positive to write about - is the perfect time to dust it off and finish it up.
I first started blogging in 2004 on a cf forum I used to frequent. I stayed with it fairly regularly but then in 2007, I started a blog called Green Sense to write about various environmental topics. Check out my first post! However, I found that the kind of fact-based, well-researched and argued posts I wanted to create were extremely time consuming. As such, I could never find the time (or never made the time) and the blog didn't last.
A couple of years later, I started another cf-centric blog called Highly Evolved Genetic Mutant. I kept that up for about a half of a year before it fizzled out - it's an easy thing to have happen with a blog! In December of that year, I lost a very good friend to cystic fibrosis. It made me want to not write about health stuff (part of why the aforementioned blog fizzled out) so I started another blog a few months later called Catboogie's Dream to write about yoga, soap making and other things - that blog was subsequently was renamed the L Word, what you are reading right now. The L Word has, because of life circumstances, now come back to being primarily health-centered. However that may not always be so!
As much as the idea of a health-centered blog makes me cringe (trust me, I know there are a lot of bad health blogs out there) I have been determined to keep my blog going in a way that is interesting to people with and without CF. I have many reasons why I blog and I thought it would be fun to share them with you.
- To keep my sanity - it makes me feel better and helps me to organize my thoughts. I have a logical, writer's brain - enough said.
- To keep people informed of what's going on - I am always forthcoming about my health issues and my blog is no different. However, I know that not everyone deals with hearing about other peoples' health problems the same way. It makes some people uncomfortable to ask me how I've been doing, but I know that they do care and want to know. Blogging is a way for people to have the information without having to ask me. Also, blogging allows people to follow what's going on with me so that I'm not repeating the same conversation (and let's face it, it's not the most uplifting of subjects to constantly rehash) over and over again when I see them.
BUT, I never want my blog to read like a play-by-play. I try very hard to stay on a topic and do a lot of self-editing so that I am not telling all of the dirty details. That's right, there's even more fun going on in my life at a given time than you read about - imagine that!
- To stay in practice - I am first and foremost a writer. My brother was/is a writer, my dad was/is a writer - it clearly runs in the family. Since I left my job at the end of last year, I wanted to keep writing on a regular basis. My blog became part of my current "job" of keeping up my health and sanity.
- Because I enjoy it - I really like writing. It gives me a huge sense of accomplishment. There's something that happens during the writing of a good composition that is comparable to a runner's high: you work and work and then you just sail. The result? At the end of almost every blog post, I feel I am putting forth an informative, heart-felt contribution to the world - hopefully with some light-heartedness mixed in. It is always something I am proud to have written.
- For my community and for the spectators - A decade ago is when I first discovered the online CF community and started making friends. After having lived my life with very little one-on-one interaction with other cystics, it's safe to say that I really took to it and have never looked back!
At that time - way before transplant was something I even thought about in any kind of a realistic way - I started following some peoples' blogs or stories online and that included people who were at various stages of the transplant process. It was fascinating to me in a way that was also completely terrifying. Looking back, I think it was a way that I could sort of begin to imagine what transplant might look like for myself but viewed from the comfort of my life with high pulmonary function.
Now that I am to the point of transplant, I want to be informative not only to my family, friends and fellow cystics but also to people I don't even know. To have a moment where someone on the other end of the internet says something that totally resonates with you is a very profound thing. I hope my experience can in some way be helpful to others.
Addendum: What Makes a Good Blog?
Since I've been thinking about why I blog and that I think my blog's pretty good, naturally a list began to form in my head of what kind of things make a good blog. Here's what I came up with:
- Practice - read a lot of other blogs and be willing to accept feedback/constructive criticism
- High standards - write, rewrite and edited
- Visual appeal - spend time finding the right photos for each post; break text down into manageable sized paragraphs
- Regular updating - often but not too often
- Speak from the heart, avoid cliches - make it personal but not too personal; do not post anything too impulsively that you may regret
- Leave others out - not everyone around you wants to be in your blog (doctors, for example); be respectful and use trash talking only when absolutely necessary
- Know your audience - in my case, I have to balance my medical jargon for both CF and non-CF people
- Write about something people care about - a good topic will often be something that people can relate to even though it pertains to your very specific situation (If you want to tell people what you had for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, use facebook.)
Photos: Nothing to Say, paintermommy.com; Chickens, savagechickens.com; Dogs, thepathlesstaken7.blogspot.com; Dog Blogging, wronghands1.wordpress.com; Snake Blogging, cartoonstock.com; Still Going to Ignore You, lizhover.com.