I’ve been writing my blog In the Circle for 18 months now. I thought I’d write a bit about blogging for those who are interested. The irony doesn’t exactly escape me, here I am writing a blog post about blogging!
What is a blog?
A blog is a bit like an online diary, where the blogger makes entries (which are called “posts”) about specific topics. Blogging is nothing new; it has been around since the 90s. Some say it is outdated but I beg to differ. As the author of the blog, you are in control about what you write about. As I have said before, blogging isn’t senseless babble. A blog can and should be informative and educational, whatever the subject matter. A blog should add value by stimulating further thought and discussion about different issues. Remember that while blog posts are short and appear easy to write, this can be deceptive as it is actually harder to draft something that is shorter than longer in length.
Tips for writing a blog
o Try to keep your blog active, by posting at least once a week
o Keep your posts short and punchy so you don’t lose readers’ interest. I try to keep my posts to no longer than a one page Microsoft Word document
o Be prepared to spend a lot of time and effort drafting posts behind the scenes. You may need to research topics before writing about them to come across as authoritative. You may find it helpful like me to progress different pieces in parallel as ideas come to mind. Jot down ideas and thoughts in a written journal or a Word document so you can incorporate them into posts later on
o Don’t be afraid to tackle personal and/or controversial topics. This is what can make a blog interesting to readers. In my own blog, I have covered my struggle with schizophrenia, which I was diagnosed with eight years ago. As I have said in a previous post, hopefully I have gone about covering my condition in a classy way through a series of educational and informative posts, rather than airing my dirty laundry in public
o Don’t forget that you can’t cover everything in one post. You can always do what I do and divide large topics, exploring them in a series of posts
o Make your blog stand out by keeping all of the content original. In saying that, don’t be afraid to quote other people as I have done, to give your post context or ideas/topics to follow on from
o Work on developing a personal voice and sense of style. This may take awhile, so don’t give up if it seems difficult. I was used to writing like a lawyer (my former profession) and it was hard getting used to writing like a blogger
o Cross-refer to previous posts you have written to engage readers more into your world
o Have a guest blogger make an appearance on your blog from time to time. You can read guest posts on my blog here and here
o A blog can be a great and inexpensive marketing tool for businesses. In the Circle grew out of a gardening blog I started when I ran a boutique plant nursery called Anita’s Garden
o Disappointed with readership stats? Don’t be. You need to develop a strong track record of posts. Building up your readership can take time
o Publicise your blog. Put the link to your latest blog posts on your social media accounts such as Twitter, Facebook and Linkedin. The more you link to your blog, the more visitors you will receive. If they like what they read, they will hopefully bookmark your blog and forward the link to others. This is the best way to build your readership
As readers of my blog will be aware, I was diagnosed with schizophrenia eight years ago, back in 2010. Like many people who have this condition, I am single. Sometimes I think this is a blessing in disguise, as it is difficult enough for me to look after myself, nevermind anyone else. However, there are times that I think it would be nice to be in a relationship with someone for company, companionship and love. Humans are designed to interact with one another, not to live and be alone all their lives. As I mentioned in a previous post, a major revelation for me was that instead of spending all my energy searching for someone who would accept and love me with schizophrenia, I first had to learn to accept and love myself with my condition, which wasn’t easy but I got there in the end.
Although I haven’t given up entirely on finding someone, the odds aren’t exactly in my favour. For one, I’m 38 and the pool of single people, especially male, at my age is very small. I read somewhere on the internet that statistically speaking, those with schizophrenia who are married tend to have met their partner before they were diagnosed with the condition.
So why can it be difficult to find love when you suffer from schizophrenia?
o The stigma attached to mental illness makes it difficult to attract potential dating partners
o Many people with schizophrenia such as myself are unemployed, making yourself an unattractive partner
o Misunderstanding about the condition and its symptoms may lead others to believe that schizophrenia is worse than it actually is
o Weight gain due to schizophrenia medications can make you look less attractive and affect your self-esteem
o The condition of schizophrenia itself makes it difficult to relate to others, thus being in a relationship
o If one considers having children, there is the risk that the condition will be passed down to them
o Then there is the more general challenge of finding a suitable partner (applicable to anyone), including a small pool of eligible people, which shrinks as you become older
Things to remember are:
o Having schizophrenia doesn’t define who you are. Your condition is just one aspect to you as a person
o While having schizophrenia may make meeting someone more challenging, it isn’t completely impossible so don’t give up
o If someone doesn’t accept you for who you are, schizophrenia and all – they’re not worth knowing!
o Don’t forget what I said above – before you can find someone that will accept and love you with schizophrenia, you first need to accept and love yourself with your condition
What can you do to improve your chances of meeting someone? Basically, someone with schizophrenia who is looking for love should do all the things that anyone would, including leading a full and active social life. Try to join clubs and associations as a way of meeting people. A gym can be an excellent way of making friends. I personally wouldn’t recommend using a dating site to find someone, both to people with schizophrenia and those without it, based on previous bad experiences. Others may take a different view, however.
Comments? You can contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Are you male and single? I dare you to ask me out on a date! I promise I don’t bite….