Nancy’s Summer Blogging Challenge


If I put this post off any longer I will never get round to it, so here goes!

1.  How long have you been blogging (or reading blogs)?

I started my blog in February 2009 so it’s nine years since I stepped into blogging waters.

2.  How has your blog changed?

When I look back at those first few posts I wrote, I cringe – they were dreadful. I hadn’t a clue what I was doing and what I wanted to say.  They were very generic and I am embarrassed to say followed some of the “breast cancer is pink” tropes I now criticize. The other way my blog has changed is that I see JBBC as more of a community now than I did in the beginning.  This has been the most surprising and wonderful thing I’ve discovered about blogging. It becomes less about your story as a single story and more about the power of our collective stories to help and heal each other.

3.  What is your biggest blogging challenge/frustration?

I am going to echo what Nancy has said – it’s finding the time to write. If it wasn’t for my commitment to the Weekly Round-Up I’d be a very infrequent blogger here.

4. What is your favorite post that you’ve written (or read)?

I have several for different reasons. It’s gratifying when you write a post that resonates with many readers and they share that post. My most popular post to date has been Ten Things I Wish I Had Known About Breast Cancer – it has over 5k shares on Facebook alone.  But, the post that is most precious to me was written as my mother lay dying in hospice – The Hand That First Held Mine.  I am so glad now that I wrote it, though it was very painful to write at the time. I still cry when I look at this picture and read the words but I am grateful that I could capture this moment in all its rawness.

5.  What are your goals for your blog?

Honestly, it’s to nurture other bloggers. To be a space where those who are new to blogging can find a community who will support their writing and their healing, and to help facilitate this by introducing new bloggers to the weekly round-up and encouraging those who have fallen by the wayside to blog again with weekly writing prompts.

6.   How many blogs do you read on a regular basis?

I haven’t counted them 😉 I do a big reading session when it’s time to put the weekly round-up together so that could be anywhere between 10-30 blogs. Outside of that, I am a regular reader of many non-cancer blogs.

7.   How do you determine what to share and what not to share; in other words, do you have blog boundaries? (or comment boundaries)

I am hugely inspired by what I read in other blogs and what I see in conversations on social media.    I don’t, as a rule, write about my family and my personal relationships. I don’t really set boundaries on what people want to share or comment on here  – everyone is free to express themselves however they wish. I recognize that our experiences of cancer and how we deal with it is different for each of us. Although I guess I do have boundaries in that I would never condone the “eat this to cure cancer” brigade or give any space on my blog to people who say that you can “beat cancer” by taking a certain supplement, chanting a specific mantra, or any other vodoo remedy for treating cancer.

8.  When things get hard, what keeps you blogging (or reading blogs)?

Things get hard no doubt about that, but knowing that I’m not alone – that there are others walking this path alongside me helps. There are a couple of bloggers who are also therapists (Karin and Elizabeth)  and I am hugely comforted, encouraged and inspired by the wisdom they share in their blogs.

9. What is your biggest Cancer Land pet peeve today, right now, this minute?

The terms used to describe the experience, especially “lost the battle”, and my real pet peeve is “cancer sufferer” – that really grates on my nerves.

10.  What one piece of advice would you offer to a new blogger?

Just start writing and see where it takes you. As Nancy says, it takes time to get the hang of it, but it’s worth it, I promise you.

11.  Share something most people do not know about you. A secret sort of thing.

I am actually a shy person but I’ve forced myself to overcome this by putting myself out there to speak at conferences and meetings. I get really, really nervous when I have to stand up in front of an audience to speak. I feel as if I have to put on a big act a lot of the time and hide behind a mask and that if people saw the real me they wouldn’t be impressed at what they see in front of them.

12.  What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?

Writing. I love to have time to write, but I don’t often get the time. And reading – I always have a book on the go. And I love knitting – though I am not very good at it, I am working on getting better.

That was fun – thanks for the challenge Nancy!