It’s hard to believe, but three years ago I didn’t even know what a blog was. Not really. I just knew that it was where people wrote things online. I didn’t know why, or who, or when or even how. I was just a Sheffield lass in my late twenties with no obvious future because of my sight impairment. I was at a stage in my life where I was finally accepting my sight loss, but I still had no idea who I actually was or where I was going. I used to be a Nursery Nurse and I couldn’t do that any more so I just didn’t know what else I could possibly do. I had only ever done that since leaving school. It was the only work I knew.
I was still managing to use a computer as long as it was set up how I needed it. It was one of the only things that I managed to do independently. I couldn’t read things on paper so the only way I could access things for myself was online. I wanted to know about other people in my situation and I found it so hard. At the time I don’t remember coming across anybody I could relate to. Everything I found was about these massively unrealistic achievements like blind people skiing and mountain climbing. I wanted the more simple stories from people who struggled to walk to the shops on their own like I did. I wanted to read about people who understood that the most simple day to day activities can be so challenging and sometimes scary. I’m not saying the people who climb the mountains and ski back down them aren’t brilliant because they are. It’s just that wasn’t helpful to me at the time. I was thinking about setting up a group on Facebook, but then it was suggested that I started volunteering and working on the blog at The Sheffield Royal Society for the Blind. I had never worked in an office before, or with computers or anything at all like that. I didn’t really know what a blog was, but it hadn’t been used in quite a while so I couldn’t really break it. So I thought I’d give it a go. It would get me out of the house for a few hours and give me the opportunity to meet new people and start socialising again.
I seemed to take to it straight away. I have always found that writing helps me to clear my mind and I find it very theraputic. I was able to get my thoughts out there and write about issues that meant a lot to me. Everybody was saying that I was a good writer and that I explain things well, which makes people think about what it’s really like to be visually impaired.. I loved all of the lovely comments so each time I would try and go bigger and better and get even more good comments. A bit of an attention seeker really, but it was my motivation and what kept me writing. I loved being heard and that people wanted to know what I had to say. I had never seen myself as a good writer so all of the comments made me feel really special. I really hoped that in some way my writing would be helping someone, if it helped just one person then I would be thrilled. And trying to help others was also helping me. It helped to build my self confidence and make me feel like I was actually good at something. Then when sharing it on social media came into it, well I was in heaven. I had been saying for years that I would love a job playing on Facebook. I learnt a lot about what blogs are and how they work best. I learnt that social media is a massive part of blogging, because if you don’t tell people your blog is there, how are they supposed to know? I wrote a few blog posts for other websites as well and managed to come across other people that blog about sight loss. I have found that the sight loss blogging community is very friendly and understanding, sharing each other’s posts and encouraging each other. I have also learnt that my best writing seems to come when I feel that I need to write. So I will write quite a few things in a short space of time and then have a while where I don’t write anything. I have noticed that if I try and force something out for the sake of it, it’s just rubbish. So if you don’t hear from me for a while then it’s not because I’m bored and I’ve given up, it’s just because I’m waiting for a juicy story to share with you all. 🙂
In May last year (2019) I decided to have a play around and try and set up my own blog. I had never built a website before but I thought I would see what I can do. I haven’t got a clue when it comes to coding and all that stuff but I had started to look into it a few times before and realised that you can choose from ready made themes customize them. It really was quite easy, I just followed the on screen instructions and chose from all of the options. I went for the most simple looking one to start with and then I thought in time when I get the hang of it, I can maybe get a bit more technical. I got my friend to create me a logo and i set up a Facebook page and I actually had my own blog!!! My own space to fill with the random things that pop in my head.. It’s so easy to use and I love it. This year I have decided that i want to try and improve the blog, go bigger and better and put more effort into it. My two goals that I really wanted to achieve this year were to update the look of the website and get a better domain. It is now the 8th January and I have completed my mission. Go me! And already in the last few days I have got the most views i have ever had. So I am very excited to see how this goes. But for now I have my very own website, which I am quite impressed with to say I have never made one before. This isn’t just playing around any more, my blog means a lot to me. It’s not just a hobby, it’s who I am and what I do. I’m a blogger.
xx ❤ xx