Once again it is time for Nancy’s 2021 Summer Blogging Challenge . This is a wonderful opportunity to learn about one another, discover new blogs, and share more about my own writing process. My approach to Nancy’s questions is much lighter than last year. You’ll see what I mean.
Who are you?
Somedays I don’t know. I see a familiar stranger in the mirror. Who I feel I am seems to change often. My appearance doesn’t seem stable. We are so much more than our appearance. Who I am isn’t based on what I do (or did). It was easy to tie my identity to my career as a teacher, but what remains now that I’ve been retired for five years?
Am I a writer? Amateur photographer? Professional patient? International mystery spy? Oops . . . it’s in your best interest to forget that last one.
Quite simply, I’m me.
I love pajamas. I make really good brownies. I hate cleaning. I am not fond of chipmunks or ground squirrels (a lot like a chipmunk but bigger with different markings).
Lately, I’ve thought of myself as a depressed optimist.
I spent my career teaching and am lucky I got to do what I loved for so long. Second graders will always hold a special place in my heart.
I’ve always been a reader and a writer. I love relaxing with a good book. I bounce between a couple of writing ideas at a time. I write a blog on living with cancer while living well that you are reading now! Diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer in 2012, I’ve blogged weekly about my thoughts and experiences for the last three years.
A lot of my time is spent focused on my health. 2021 has been harder for me than 2020. Every month I’ve had something that’s presented a problem for me. Hair falling out. A hospital stay. Repeated surgeries. Failed treatments. I am someone who tries hard and is hard on myself when something doesn’t work out. It seems the rest of the world slowly reemerged from the lockdown of COVID and embraced the year more positively than I have.
What’s been your biggest blogging roadblock this year and did you come up with a way to get around it?
I haven’t felt blocked in terms of content and ideas. Material usually presents itself. I’m not sure if that will continue.
A bigger roadblock is exposure. I want to reach more people, but I haven’t garnered as many followers as I hoped I would. I feel established, but I don’t do a lot of promoting.
No, I haven’t found a way to get around it and maybe it isn’t necessary. Being able to share and have people read what I write is a privilege for me. I’ve tried to toot my horn with a Facebook page catered to my blog and cancer content. You can follow that here. What I’ve found is when people don’t have a personal connection from their own experience or through a loved one, it’s too heavy. Photos of puppies and kittens get more attention.
So, basically, I need to figure out how to use puppies and kittens to attract followers.
What’s something you accomplished with your blog this year that you’re proud of?
Try fam-trastuzumab-deruxtecan. It’s both hard to say and spell. The brand name Enhertu is much shorter. Nailing some of these drug names is an accomplishment. How about a cancer spelling bee?
On a more serious note, I’ve continued to publish consistently. I’ve included narratives to share my experiences as a patient. I’ve written more poetry to express myself. Letting some vulnerability show up through my words has been another revealing step for me.
More readers are responding to my mid-week posts where I share a thought-provoking quote. I’ve honestly thought about phasing this out at the end of the year. I felt it hasn’t been very successful at times. I am reassessing what to do with my Wednesday Words posts.
What are a couple of your best blogging tips?
Blogging gratuities are never expected but always appreciated. I have PayPal and Venmo.
Am I kidding?
Send me some money and find out.
Or you can follow my blog. Those are the only choices.
As a writer, my biggest tip is to write what you want. It’s more authentic that way. Sincere writing circles me back to that first question about who I am. Some of my favorite pieces haven’t racked up the views or comments I had hoped they would, whereas a post on writing and stories is still surprisingly well read. You never know how something will go over which is why it’s important the writer likes it. When my heart shows up through my words, I believe I make a stronger connection with readers.
How do you handle negative feedback or comments?
Everyone loves what I write. Wink, wink. I have received comments offering different perspectives from time to time, but nothing I would call overtly negative. I confess I wouldn’t like negative feedback, but I think it’s best to think of it as constructive criticism and turn it into a learning opportunity. Growth can come from these discussions. Or I can delete them and grow that way.
Share a link to a favorite post you’ve written recently that you want more people to read.
One is such a lonely number. Two is better. Three’s company.
I often return to Love Letter to My Future Self when I need a feel good boost.
Cancer Haiku shares big ideas about cancer in a few words.
A Day of Surgery gives a glimpse into the more medical side of my life.
Thank you, Nancy, for your summer blogging challenge. It’s an awesome opportunity to discover new blogs and share mine. I also love reading my fellow bloggers’ responses to your questions. I hope many others will check them out at Nancy’s Point. Click on the link below to access other blogs in the hop.
Enjoy these dwindling days of summer weather.
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