Grasping The Baton
A writing challenge.
I said yes.
Then I read her contribution to this challenge and well, let’s just say… I have a lot to live up to!
Here’s Philippa’s wonderful post.
The idea is that we pass a writing baton along the blogosphere. It’s just the kind of thing I love.
So here’s my attempt to grab the baton and run with it.
1) What am I working on?
Right now, I am working on some forthcoming talks – does that count as writing? My talks are informed by what I’ve learned through writing my blog and from the stories shared in the blogosphere each week. We may have all been handed a diagnosis of cancer, but that experience is as varied and as different as we are and each week I learn so much from reading other blogs.
I also write a column called Beyond The Buzz which is aimed at healthcare practitioners and marketers. It is about demystifying the latest social media trends and platforms and showing how they can work for healthcare marketing and public health messages.
2) How does my work differ from others of its genre?
I’d like to think that community and compassion is at the heart of my blog. I work hard to foster a sense of community. I don’t think I am particularly unique in this; many more bloggers do the same. I read a quote by Barry Lopez – Everything is held together with stories. That is all that is holding us together, stories and compassion - and had one of those moments of revelation when I thought yes, this is the purpose behind Journeying Beyond. We tell our stories in order to heal and in listening to the stories of how others have walked their path, our own journey of discovery and healing can be enriched. We have so much compassion and wisdom to share and I believe it is these qualities that has fostered a sense of community here.
When I started my weekly round up on the blog, I did it as a way of showcasing the wonderful writing there is on the blogosphere each week and because I am passionate about encouraging and helping new bloggers, I saw it as a way to introduce them to the community. I cannot tell you how happy it makes me to see the beginnings of connection and friendship when someone discovers a kindred spirit through the weekly round up. This sense of community and connection is the most rewarding part of blogging for me and helps me keep Journeying Beyond Breast Cancer on purpose.
3) Why do I write what I do?
Writing is a wonderful way to access a deeper well of healing within us. Through writing, we can find our way back to a sense of wholeness. We may discover a place inside us that we are not even aware of; feelings that might remain forever hidden unless we gave expression to them through writing.
I first started blogging when I was struggling with a post-cancer treatment let-down. I turned online to connect with others who would understand how I was feeling. I started the Journeying Beyond Breast Cancer blog to share my experience and learn from others what had worked for them. It has been a creative outlet which has been part of my healing, not just from cancer, but from other traumatic life events over the past few years.
Blogging helps me connect with myself and others in ways I never thought possible before. It is a continuing source of strength and comfort to me to feel that there are others out there who truly know what I am going through, because it is their experience too. It counteracts the loneliness and isolation we can so often feel. When I first started this blog I had no idea what direction it might go in. I started it as the story of my own personal journey with a vague hope that others on the same path may find some resonance and the knowledge that they are not alone in struggling with the post – treatment limbo. It wasn’t until I started to invite guest bloggers to share their stories that the direction of the blog changed and the seeds of community were sown.
4) How does my writing process work?
My writing process is driven by insomnia - writing is what I do in the wee small hours. My process is inspired most often my something I have read. I believe to be a good writer you need to be a good reader too, and to be filled with curiosity about this world we live in. I have endless curiosity, especially about the lives of others. How we navigate our way through this world is fascinating to me.
Passing The Baton
Ok, that’s me done. I am now passing the baton from down under here in Australia to more northerly climes.
Audrey Birt is a writer and a person I admire very much. She lives in Scotland and is a two-times breast cancer survivor who writes with compassion and understanding on what she calls “heartful leadership”.
Victoria Ferauge, originally from Seattle, now lives in France, and blogs about her experiences and insights of being an American in Paris at The Franco-American Flophouse.