This post was written in response to the Insecure Writer’s Support Group monthly (first Wednesday of every month) blog hop to where writers express thoughts, doubts and concerns about our profession. February’s questions – Blogging is often more than just sharing stories. It’s often the start of special friendships and relationships. Have you made any friends through the blogosphere?
On this dark and rainy Saturday, I am struggling to tune in to the ‘best me!’ Hubby whinging how difficult it is managing with a sprained ankle; how it takes him longer to get dressed and go up and down the stairs. Pah! I bite my lip … knowing his injury will be gone in a few days when the swelling subsides, whereas the nerve damage from my spinal injury… well, I’m still working on ‘finding my new normal’ which may well include going up one stair at a time for the rest of my life. No excuse to be so unsympathetic though I know!
So, to cheer me up I thought I would have my first attempt at the insecure writer’s blog challenge. Whilst it makes me feel slightly anxious as I am still still new to the world of blogging, it should at least take my mind off things.
Yes, I would have to say I agree that blogging is definitely so much more than just sharing stories. I am extremely grateful for the endless blogs out there helping new writers like myself to get our heads around the various stages of writing a book, with great tips, advice and suggestions of further reading. There is soooo much to learn and I wouldn’t have got this far without great blogs on various subjects from ‘The 10 worst mistakes memoir writers make’ (whoops!) to how to write a successful blog… (tumbleweed moment).
So, friendships and relationships: despite being new in the blogging world, there have been a few connections made, initiated from kind comments on my recovery blog as well as blogs that I have read and commented on. By connections I mean: a private message or email, perhaps finding and adding the person on Instagram or Twitter, making more effort than usual to read their posts and blogs whilst making time to support or give advice to them perhaps.
My over-analytical brain wants to ask what constitutes a friendship or relationship? If there is mutual interaction via the internet does this count, or do you have to meet up in person for a coffee or suchlike? Well, I haven’t personally met up with someone whom I’ve been introduced to on the internet via blogging or social media. Well, apart from my husband some thirteen years ago after Plenty of Fish, which turned out to be a bit more than friendship!
There are so many blogs you read and pass by once you have pulled the information from it that you were looking for, but then there are others that jump off the screen and draw you in with its inspiring message, tragic story or belly breaking wit. When we come across these types of blogs, the formalities of a polite comment or ‘like’ doesn’t quite feel sufficient don’t you find? Some blogs can really move us and have a great impact. Whether a heart-wrenching story that brings a tear to our eye or an inspiring feat of strength that exhausts us just reading it, we sometimes find ourselves compelled to find a way to connect with the writer, curious to find out a little more about them perhaps.
I believe as human beings we have a deep-seated desire to feel validated and when we find someone who has experienced something similar to us it connects us on a deeper level. I know when I find someone who has been through the journey of a spinal cord injury, I immediately feel empathy and want to find out more about them; hoping to share my story with them too. Likewise, with psychosis or some other condition that is shrouded by ‘stigma’, I feel inspired and sometimes comforted when I see how others have overcome this, making me feel not quite so alone. It can be incredibly healing.
There are the more day-to-day dilemmas too of course, such as parenthood, relationships or the dreaded menopause (shoot me if I start blogging about this!) If we catch that one blog post that really resonates with us it can be a red flag to make a further connection with the writer.
So, in summary: with regards to friendship, I guess my analytical mind has concurred that the coffee meeting isn’t necessarily required; It’s the social-emotional connection that counts. Don’t let that put you off asking me for a coffee though. 😜