Every couple of months I have the same conversation with my colleague Paul Thomas. I really should blog more. It’s been ages since I blogged. I’m going to write a blog tonight on the train. I fell asleep on the train, I literally could not keep my eyes open. I’ll definitely blog at the weekend…
So here I am at the weekend (not the weekend that followed this conversation, but a weekend nonetheless), writing a blog, about writing a blog. It might sound like I’m scraping the barrel for ideas, but bear with me.
Recently I’ve been asking myself, why do I blog, if I struggle to make the time to sit down and actually do it? Well, it was originally to raise my profile for future job opportunities. And because I envisioned it being a blog about work, the introverted side of my personality was pretty adamant that my personal life would be kept separate. Why I thought writing about my career, one of the biggest elements of my life and where I spend most of my time and effort, wasn’t personal is a headscratcher.
I quickly learnt that any piece of writing you do is an extension of yourself, and that putting it out for public scrutiny not only leaves you vulnerable, but is a little bit terrifying. Luckily for me, all my blogs have been well-received (not that I write anything particularly controversial) and some seem to have resonated with people.
Two years ago I published a blog outing myself as an introvert. It was the first time I had written about a personal experience and was wary that I was talking to an industry of extroverts. Except I wasn’t. People still come up to me to talk to me about that blog, confessing they too are introverts, feeling like the odd one out or that they need to pretend to be something they’re not. I was truly overwhelmed by the response and even ended up speaking on a panel debate about it.
Suddenly blogging wasn’t just about raising my profile anymore and people knowing who I was, it was about having a voice in an industry I’m passionate about, where my opinion was valued and might make a small difference to the way someone perceived or responded to a fellow human being.
And then of course, my blog got really personal. Last year I was diagnosed with breast cancer and after much deliberation I decided to tell people via my blog. I wanted to control the message about what was happening to me and I also wanted to raise awareness, if this could happen to me, it could happen to you too. Again, the response was overwhelming. Some people said to me they thought this would be the start of a new blog, documenting my experience through treatment. And I did consider it. So why didn’t I?
Because writing is an extension of yourself and you become defined by it. I’m happy for people to know I had cancer, to talk to people about it and raise awareness. But I don’t want it to be the first thing people think when they see me. You could argue that by sharing my experiences, I could help someone else in a similar situation, but let me reassure you, cancer blogging is a well-trodden path, and I would have been far from a trailblazer.
So while I’m not about to become a cancer blogger extraordinaire, I am determined to blog on a more regular basis, from a more personal perspective. I’ve realised there are many reasons why I blog, but the biggest reason, is the simplest, I enjoy it, it’s good for my soul, and long may it continue.