As many of us with health issues will know, working a traditional job can be a challenge with long hours, commuting and the difficult aspects of a work environment. Now I didn't ever imagine I would be blogging with chronic illness (and about chronic illness!) back in the day when I was still at my previous job, but I almost can't imagine not doing it now.
Blogging has flexibility as one of its main benefits. It can be done from your sofa or your bed, at whatever time of the day works for you and in your pyjamas if you wish! All of which can make it a great choice for those with chronic illness for whom a 9-5 job would be impossible, or really problematic. Aside from the financial aspect, it also helps us become part of the chronic illness community and personally I find it motivating to have my own little project. I hope this post is interesting, and has a few helpful tips too!
My thoughts on blogging are written as part of the September linkup party hosted by the lovely Sheryl of A Chronic Voice. I'm very happy to be participating again, and look forward to reading the other submissions!
I think many of us have a lot of feelings about how our lives have changed since we began to experience the symptoms of our chronic illness conditions. One of those feelings can centre on work and how it has proven, or proves to be, incredibly challenging due to our health. Personally I began to experience vestibular migraine in my second 'proper' job after leaving university and to cut a long story short was 'let go' because of it. Was that legal? No, of course not. But heartless employers will often find a way won't they . . .
My symptoms were far worse while working. Bright lights, a long commute, unnecessarily stressful (and often pointless!) meetings etc all added up to an increase in my symptoms. It wasn't until years later that I started a blog, and started blogging with chronic illness and all my symptoms. This past month has seen me having a lot of positive feeling about blogging. I finally feel more settled in the blogging life, my page views are increasing beyond what I ever hoped for and I feel as though I have found my niche - blogging on chronic illness conditions, and cooking up low histamine recipes. It suddenly feels a little bit like a job, a real one and not just a hobby!
Now if my past job felt gruelling at times, it definitely is the case that blogging can be at times too! I can only say to be kind to yourself and look after your health first. Do I always listen to my own advice? No of course not . . .
Blogging can definitely take over daily life at times. There always seems to be something else to do, whether it's starting or finishing a post, putting graphics together, promoting it on social media, networking with other bloggers, replying to comments or just brainstorming new ideas. It's definitely not just typing out 500 words and pressing publish.
I find blogging gruelling in a positive way though. It's building my own little corner of the internet, and getting my ideas out there. During August I had the most lovely feedback and comments, and replying to those was definitely time-consuming but in the most wonderful way. It really does put a smile on my face when I hear or see someone cooking my recipes or responding to my posts saying they were helpful to them.
What's been tempting about blogging with chronic illness this past month? Well doing way too much because I enjoy it and am definitely a bit of a workoholic! Not giving into those temptations can be really important for our health though, and I have had to give myself a talking to about not doing everything all at once.
Some things I have learnt recently about blogging when you have chronic illness conditions:
1. Have a rough schedule, but a flexible one - I try and do one chronic illness post a week and one new recipe. This is the ideal, but if it doesn't happen due to symptoms, then I give myself grace over it. Staying up until midnight to finish a post is rarely a good idea and may have you feeling even worse the next day.
One way to help prevent fatigue and still be consistent with social media is to schedule your posts. There are lots of ways to do this such as the scheduler within Pinterest, or Tailwind. Have a look at Rachel's post on why it is important to schedule social media for more tips and tricks!
2. Pace yourself - I work blogging around other necessary tasks. Doctor's appointments, medical admin, life admin and catching up with friends and family come first, blogging comes second. Make sure you take breaks, take your meds at the right times(!) and have time away from your computer screen.
The same was the case when I was writing my book on fibromyalgia - rest breaks were essential to take care of myself when working on it!
3. Find your niche and one that you are passionate about - if you don't love what you are writing about then you simply won't write! Or at least find it tedious to do so.
4. Make some chronic illness blogger friends! I am very fortunate to have quite a few such friends now and it is so lovely to be able to bounce around ideas, ask for advice or simply gossip about anything but blogging! To my two favourite blogging friends (both beginning with S!) - I love our groups chats, and you both make me smile so much 🙂
5. Consider monetising your blog - if blogging is a passion of yours and you have a degree of readership, then it can also help your finances. And we all know that the chronic illness life is an expensive one! Working with an ad company is one way to earn money, you can use affiliate links or work with brands on paid posts. I can't promise you it will earn you millions, but it should at least cover the costs of hosting, domain, photo editing etc etc.
Personally I work with Monumetric and you may like to read my review of Monumetric for tips on how to start monetising!
For lots of great tips and help on blogging have a look at Jenna's post 10 tips for improving your SEO as a blogger.
6. Promote your posts! While you may get lucky and get good SEO without ever promoting your post, it is fairly unlikely. Sharing your posts will get it out there, and social media is key in my opinion. Pinterest is my best referral platform by a long-shot, but I also share on Twitter and Facebook and I have a weekly round-up of new posts and a few older ones on my Instagram stories each Sunday.
I would caution against being too aggressive on Instagram though as too much self-promotion can have the opposite effect. I know many of us get irritated by an endless stream of Instagram posts and stories about a person's blog posts, and several friends have commented that they either unfollow people who do that or don't engage with them. So find a happy balance where you share, but not overshare!
The past month finally made me feel as though I was running a small business with my blog! Such a lovely feeling I can tell you. Blogging feels like it has become part of my daily routine, just as going to work used to be. I started working with an ad company in August and so have a small but steady stream of earnings, and I've been in talks with a couple of companies about paid partnerships. I honestly wouldn't ever have imagined running a business from blogging, but it's a lovely feeling. Does it officially make me a CEO?!
I was stuck for a moment on what to write about blogging and mending, then it came to me as clear as day. I have been mending behind the scenes issues with my blog! Yep, all the little niggly 'backend' things about blogging that nobody seems to talk about but which are rather time-consuming. Now I am learning slowly, but if you have no idea what your cache, SEO or backlinks are, then I advise two things: 1) a lot of time on google, and 2) find yourself a good web designer!
I hope this gave a little insight into blogging with health conditions! I would definitely recommend it if you love to write - it doesn't have to be about chronic illness of course, you can blog about pretty much anything!
A big thank you to A Chronic Voice for hosting the linkup - go check out the other entries!
Don't forget to pin the post!
Please follow the advice of your doctor as to all medical treatments, supplements and dietary choices, as set out in my disclaimer. I am not a medical professional, and this post, as well as all other posts on this blog, are for informational purposes only.