An Alphabetical History: B is for Blogging

i_love_blogging1I found this little meme on another blog, and I thought it would make a great platform for talking about how I started blogging!

1. When did you first start blogging and why?

I started my first diabetes blog, Lemonade Life, in 2005, in the summer between my sophomore and junior year in college. At that time, I was the youngest blogger in the DOC, which, as it happens, wasn’t even called the DOC. In fact, it didn’t have a name at all.

A forgotten bit of the DOC “origin story” is that it was first given the name “the OC.” But so many people thought were were talking about the television show, The OC, that the D was eventually added to clarify things. So now you know.

Anyway, I eventually got tired of talking about diabetes all the time because I just don’t necessarily enjoy rehashing every high blood sugar or conversation have about my disease. Lemonade Life eventually became a catch-all blog for my life. Eventually I got tired of blogging entirely, because I was going through a depression and talking about anything at all was just too much work. So I closed the doors on Lemonade Life. For six months, I didn’t blog at all.

Eventually life improved and I got the itch to interact again, so I opened With Faith & Grace. This was going to be similar to Lemonade Life, a catch-all life blog, but I eventually decided I wanted a more dedicated diabetes space. Now that I’m going into diabetes education and still writing frequently about diabetes, I wanted a place that made my diabetes experiences a little more obvious.

2. Have you had any past online presence?

Aside from the aforementioned blogs, I did have a Livejournal for a few years in college that I used to keep in touch with my friends from high school. It is now locked up where no one can find it.

I also worked at DiabetesMine from January 2011 until August 2012, so that could also be considered a “past” online presence because obviously it is something I did in the past.

3. When did you become serious about your blog?

I probably became pretty serious about it after a few months and I noticed that more people were commenting on it. Blogging became really serious probably around 2008, though, when I attended my first blogging conference with Medtronic. It became even more serious when I was hired to work at DiabetesMine and was a job! I had to take it quite seriously at that point.

4. What was your first blog post?

My first blog post was on July 12, 2005, and it was basically just an intro post. Not terribly interesting, actually.

5. What have been your biggest challenges blogging?

Several! First and foremost is coming up with something to talk about. Sometimes I think people wouldn’t be interested in something and so I don’t write about it, or I think people will be interested in something and then no one reads or comments. I tend to have a lot of self-doubt when it comes to my material.

The other big challenge would be staying encouraged to blog when no one comments. I have written about this in the past and it’s still a pretty big sticking point for me. Of course, I am a terrible commenter so lately I try to shut up about it because it’s kind of like the pot calling the kettle black. I really have no place to complain. I also find it challenging to find time to blog, and of course, all the technical issues with making a blog look nice and pretty.

6. What is the most rewarding thing about blogging?

There are two things that have been most rewarding. The first are the connections that I’ve made with people, which have helped both me manage my diabetes and then the people who I have helped manage theirs. Blogging is a huge reason why I decide to go back to school to become a diabetes educator. I find it extremely rewarding to help people feel better about their diabetes, leave them feeling more knowledgeable and capable, and of course, I always end up learning something about diabetes because we are all so different.

The second thing that has been rewarding is on a larger scale with the interactions that we’ve had with the companies in the diabetes industry. It’s not something that has been easy, but it has been interesting and things are continually improving in favor of the patients. I’m really proud of what the companies have done to improve their technology, their outreach, their customer service. I think we will only see things getting better as the years move on. I know things aren’t perfect and that there are still a lot of issues and kinks to work out, but it’s been a pleasure to be a part of the solution.

7. What is the most discouraging thing about blogging?

Can I be honest? I think the most discouraging thing about blogging — well, anything really — is when other people find success when you don’t. Which is of course a terribly silly thing for me to say because it’s not like I’m at the bottom of the barrel, or being called last for a round of kickball. But sometimes it seems like everyone else has more fans, more comments, more likes, more speaking engagements, etc. However, I will say that none of these things are really things that I strive for anymore. Maybe that makes me a more mature blogger? Maybe I’m showing my age?

8. What is your lasting inspiration or motivation?

My lasting motivation to write about diabetes is my own diabetes. It’s not going anywhere, for any of us, so it’s pretty much a continual source of material. Also the idea that with my experience comes information and support for someone else makes it really encouraging to share my story.

9. What is your blogging dirty little secret?I don’t read nearly as many D-blogs as I used to. Somehow I just never kept up on all the new blogs so for awhile I was reading like the same blogs who have been around for a long time. I’ve been trying to get better about finding new D-blogs and following people on Twitter. Basically being an all around better member of the DOC because I was feeling totally out of the loop for awhile.

10. What is your current goal as a blogger?

My biggest goal as a blogger is just to continue sharing my story. My biggest goal as a writer, however, is to finish my book by this summer. It’s been slow going because I’m very busy with a full class load and working part-time, but I will get there!

11. Have you learned or become passionate about anything through blogging that caught you by surprise?

Not really. Blogging was borne out of my passion for educating people about diabetes, and so that has remained fairly consistent throughout my entire experience with it. I will say that blogging has intensified my passion for educating people, which is why I chose to go back to school to become a diabetes educator. I would say that was a surprise because when I first started blogging I was planning on working in public relations! I had no idea that diabetes would eventually become my profession.

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