Monday, December 5, 2016

Blog Post #50, Reflecting On My Writing Journey

I started journaling a little over three years after I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis, and another two years passed before I created this blog, 'Keep Doing What You're Doing.' This post marks the 50th blog post I've published in almost three and a half years of sharing my thoughts for anyone who wants to read them. 

It's remarkable to me that I now enjoy writing so much. I never thought of myself as a writer. In junior high I learned of a study that said kids either do well in math and science or in history and writing. I knew I was good in math and science and figured I must not be a very good writer. Not such a smart conclusion, but so it was.

The first page of my first journal perfectly shows how nervous I was about delving into my thoughts and putting them on paper. It also includes my inspiration for doing it anyway. 

"Live in alignment with the way things are." "Know your story. Write it down. Acknowledge what has brought you to this place. Celebrate it, share it with others."
~The Way of the Happy Woman

"This page intimidates me. The first page of a clean bound book seems like it's too important to waste with selfish, non-insightful, non-clever scribbling that would embarrass me if someone else read it. So... to the un-named, no-faced person reading this, go away. :)"

From the first page of my first journal.
"Live in alignment with the way things are."
"Know your story. Write it down. Acknowledge
what has brought you to this place.
Celebrate it, share it with others."
~The Way of the Happy Woman
Early in this first journal, I wrote, "I can see writing isn't my passion. Almost wrote 'is.'  How Freudian is that? Anyway, I'm not going to force a daily journaling routine. Instead I'll do it as needed."  In that section, the "n't" is crammed in after "is". 

It amazes me how since then writing has become a huge part of my life and something I look forward to doing. The name of my blog references what my doctors would always say when I saw them, "Keep doing what you're doing." I'm tickled to see that I've been able to create what I set out to do: track, compile and share what helps me live with MS, and use it as a reference guide for my own health. In essence, figure out what I'm doing and keep doing it.

I figure I spend a lot of time learning about myself, Multiple Sclerosis, and how to live well, and I may as well share it with others. I'm a firm believer that we learn lessons when we're ready, and if something I write can help someone short-cut the lesson learning process I'm happy to help. As a good friend of mine says, "if you help one person, it's worth it." 

Reflecting on the past few years, it's been worthwhile to see my blogs featured in Multiple Sclerosis Association of America MS Conversations and newsletter, Carnival of MS Bloggers, and Phoenix Helix Paleo AIP Recipe Roundtable. The local newspaper interviewed me, and so did Mostly though, it's been rewarding talking to people one-on-one who said they appreciated something I wrote.

Over time, I've developed a template to help keep me focused on what I write in my posts. Not all of my posts include everything in the template, but I try to consider all of the points before hitting, "Publish." 

Keep Doing What You’re Doing, Blog Template
  1. Describe the lesson or approach.
  2. What happened to inspire me? What Am I doing, what’s the benefit?
  3. What was the challenge?
  4. What did I learn? How is this different than before I learned this lesson?
  5. How do I apply the lesson?
  6. What’s hard or irritating about the lesson? How can I make it easier?
  7. What does this have to do with MS?
  8. How will I use this in the future? What success have I had with this?  Photos?
  9. Is this self serving or would someone who doesn’t know me care about this? Would I care to read this if a stranger wrote it?
  10. Is there a funny story to tell?
  11. Can I show compassion for myself and others?
  12. What about it am I passionate about?
  13. What perspective do I have that I haven’t seen before?
If there's something you'd like me to add to my list, please let me know! 

Edited June 28, 2020 to add questions #12 and #13 that I've added to my template since posting this.

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