Since writing my very first blog post for ASweetLife more than three years ago (my sophomore year of college), I’ve discovered quite a bit about myself, others, and diabetes. Some lessons I was eager to learn, others not so much. I love writing my blog and I’m looking forward to writing future posts, but I just wanted to take some time to reflect on what this experience has taught me so far.
1) It’s not always easy.
As much as I enjoy writing, I get writer’s block from time to time. It’s tough to write a blog post when I don’t know what I should focus on, and it’s even more difficult when I have so much to say in a given piece and can’t quite articulate my feelings properly. Often, I worry about whether readers will find what I have to say remotely interesting or helpful. As a writer, engaging my audience is one of my top priorities and something I strive to do with all materials I create.
2) It’s scary to share my emotions with (mostly) Internet strangers.
I know that some of my family and friends (hi Mom and Dad) read my blog faithfully; otherwise, my blog is viewed by perfect strangers. That being said, it stresses me out to think that people I don’t know might judge me for thinking or feeling a certain way. This makes me extra sensitive to the other bloggers out there. I know it’s not easy to be vulnerable, especially to nameless and faceless people. But I do it anyways, in the hopes that my openness can offer support to someone struggling.
3) It can make me overly critical of myself.
In my spare time, I like to read other diabetes blogs. There are so many talented bloggers out there who inspire me. But my exploration of other blogs leads to something that I know is a huge no-no: Comparing my diabetes to other people’s diabetes. I know I shouldn’t do this, but I put myself down when I read about people who have “better control” (I hate that phrase, but I don’t know any other way to describe it) over their diabetes than I have over mine. When I get too caught up in this, I get burnt out…so it’s a habit I’m trying hard to break.
4) It can offer perspective.
I read ALL comments on my blog posts. It doesn’t matter if the comment is posted directly to the site or if it’s on Facebook/Twitter, I’ll read it and (more often than not) take the commenter’s words to heart. Most of the time, the comments are appreciative or offer kindly words of advice. But once in a blue moon, someone will leave a hurtful or judgmental comment that, depending on the degree of severity, will leave me fuming or depressed. When it comes to my personal and professional writing, I’ve developed a thick skin when it comes to criticism, but I shouldn’t have to face criticism when it comes to my personal thoughts and feelings.
5) It helps me troubleshoot.
I find that writing can help me solve problems. It’s sort of like talking something out—as you put something into words, you can stumble across solutions unexpectedly. This has happened to me a couple times in the process of writing a blog, and other times insight from readers serves as the answer to an issue.
6) It’s fun.
Have I mentioned how much I love writing in this post? (I’m pretty sure that was the third time I’ve said so.) I get a rush from putting my thoughts into words and experimenting with language in my writing. Growing up, I wrote so often in my spare time—poems, short stories, long stories, vignettes, and so forth—that I miss it now that I’m older and have more responsibilities that take away from time I could spend on my writing. Blogging allows me to tap into my creative side sometimes, and it has helped me satisfy the part of me that longs to devote more time to writing in my own unique style.
7) It can be rewarding.
This is the best part of blogging. It’s only happened a dozen or so times over the years, but when I have someone reach out to me and say that my blog has positively affected them, I feel overjoyed. Whether they’re getting in touch with me to say that they can relate, or that they learned something from me, or just to say thank you, I genuinely appreciate the time, effort, and sentiment offered by that person and their message. It makes me feel validated that writing this blog serves a greater purpose than just writing it for my own personal reasons.
I’m humbled by the fact that people read, and hopefully enjoy, what I have posted on my blog over the past three years. Here’s to more blogs being written, connections being made, and support being offered across the DOC.