|This post was written for I Support the Sisterhood - Jordy Lucas' project. It's a website showcasing the talents of women doing great things - artists, entrepreneurs, social good makers... They shine! Jordy used to be on Neighbours, playing Summer. Check out her Instagram too.|
|Some writers I've met in real life: Kerri Sackville, Pip Lincolne, Clem Ford, Jax Brown, Em Hawker, Fashion Hayley, Nicole Rouge|
It can be a little lonely being an online writer. That seems like a contradiction, right? I mean, we are connected to others all the time online – through social media, blogs, skype and email. I’ve formed so many friendships and even professional networks – and because blogging is mostly done by females, But the act of writing and connecting is done alone – for me it’s on my couch or even in bed, snug in my pyjamas and sometimes with a wine beside me. I write in the evenings and on weekends. I have a day job too, so I’m surrounded by people all day. But those who don’t write don’t often understand the loneliness and also the friendships formed from being an online writer.
Writing as solo pursuit – and of course writing my life - means I’m inside my head a lot. I think and dream and write constantly – my electronic and paper notebooks are filled with ideas and paragraphs and half-finished blog posts. I write about what it’s like to look different and hope add a more diverse face and voice into the media. I’ve been blogging for a long time – on and off since 2001 – my current blog is almost six years old. Through writing my life, I’ve come to know me, and also wider issues. In a podcast interview, Tavi Gevinson said something that resonated with me deeply: "In writing about my own life, I come to new ideas that are larger than myself." It’s been that case for me too – I’ve come to identify with and learn about disability issues, and immerse myself in that community. And it’s wonderful.
Most of my friends are inside the computer. On the internet. I’m not antisocial or withdrawn. In fact, I’m more social than ever – chatting away with the TV on in the background, or sending texts to besties through the day. And increasingly, my friends are crawling out from the computer, appearing in 3D at events and meet ups – and I relish those social occasions. The energy in that room is incredible.
I recently went to Problogger conference where more than 700 bloggers came together to learn and to socialise. Of these, less than 70 attendees were men. It was a fantastic chance to catch up with old friends and make new friends, and discuss blogging with people who truly get it. They know how hard it is to just turn off the computer when a bad comment comes through, and why I maximise my walk to work by scheduling social media posts for the day. They understand the need to jot ideas down as soon as they come, and are totally fine with a table of friends photographing and then Instagramming dinner (a really good friend shines light over a plate of food when the restaurant lighting is bad!). They also love the rush of crafting a great blog post or article.
At Problogger, there was talk of having an accountability partner. That is, a person you can tell your goals to, and have them keep you on track. They’ll check in to see how you’re progressing, give you a prod when you need it, and offer you a hug, a wine and lots of reassurance when you’re feeling like a failure. They’ll also celebrate your milestones. Because they believe in you. And you’ll do the same for them. I was thinking of who my accountability partner is. And I have a few.
I have a number of friends who I bounce ideas off. We all write about the same sorts of issues – disability, chronic illness and appearance diversity – and the politics and pride surrounding them. We are all really feisty, independent women wanting positive change for people on the fringes. It can be hard to discuss seemingly progressive ideas with others outside of the disability pride movement – and so it’s great to be able to have robust and supportive discussions with these friends. I call on one or two of these friends to proof read my articles before sending them off to my editors. And We are big sharers of each other’s work too. That’s super important.
I also have a really wise, caring friend who’s been a blogger for almost 10 years. She really knows blogology, and is a leader in forging her own path rather than following the masses, which I love. She’s not worried about page views or the latest trend. She cares about community and nurtures her own community beautifully. My friend encourages everyone to be their best, to live a creative life and just do things for the love of it. And she’s got my back.
A little while ago, I had an awful experience after I wrote an article. Of course writers put their opinions out there to be critiqued. But the delivery of the critique can hurt. A lot. And so when I was really hurting, she was there for me, checking in to see if I was ok, sharing and seeking lots of diverse opinions about the issue I wrote about over on her social media account, and reassuring me that I was still a good person despite a few people thinking (and saying) I wasn’t. Thanks to her, I felt so loved, and really cushioned during a not so nice time. Every blogger needs someone like my friend in their life.
It’s so important we show other writers we admire them by telling how great they are and by sharing their work. I always share things that are interesting and I really enjoy reading, and I do hope to boost the writer’s profile by sharing on my social media channels. Here are some blogs I love:
Pip Lincolne - reading Pip’s blog is like having a cup of tea with a friend. Pip also termed Lady Faves, and I've borrowed it for this post today!
Colour Me Anna – beautiful Anna writes about anxiety – I just love the way she uses colours as metaphors
Living with Bob – Michelle writes about living with a chronic illness, Dysautonomia.
Bruises You Can Touch – Carly-Jay writes dreamy verse, death midwifery and observations about life after a lung transplant
Frocks and Frou Frou – I LOVE Lilli’s wardrobe – especially the way she alters clothing to give them a personal touch.
Listen to a podcast I did with Pip!