Sorry for neglecting this blog, I have many excuses but none of them good enough!
Would like to introduce Marie from Ireland who I had read before but it was her interest in posting a series on Bullying that really attracted my attention. She writes well and now I understand as an educator she knows how to keep her posts relevant and short.
Her’s is a most interesting story, so read on …. shame we can’t hear her Irish lilt.
Please share your background, hobbies/interests?
Fàilte! (Welcome!), I’m Marie, a wife, mother, adult further education tutor and blogger from Ireland.
I had an idyllic rural childhood surrounded by extended family. My parents had a strong social conscience and I’ve followed their lead with an interest in social justice. I’ve collected and filled shoeboxes with gifts, for children all over the world for more than twenty years. I was thrilled to be part of a distribution trip to Transnistria visiting families and an orphanage.
I married my secondary school sweetheart when I was 22 and we celebrate our 30th anniversary this year. We have two wonderful children. At 30 when my children were one and three, I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia/chronic fatigue which had a huge impact on my life.
My philosophy: Looking at life from an alternative and colourful perspective!
After a few difficult years, I knew I had to fight back against my illness so l started looking for a new challenge. I trained as an adult literacy tutor and was bitten by the education bug! For the next six years I worked part-time and completed my Degree in Adult Education. I love meeting friends for coffee, baking, writing, psychology and walking the beach to feed my soul!
When, where and why did you start blogging?
I was at home during the summer holidays of 2016, when a good friend told me about WordPress blogging. I’ve had a love of writing for a number of years and I can still recall the mixture of excitement and apprehension I felt when I pressed ‘publish’ on my very first post!
School bullying was taking its toll on our two children, affecting them physically and mentally and we were struggling to find help, often taking one step forward and two steps back! In order to cope with the upset of bullying, I decided I needed a new project to give me some distraction. I wanted to share some of our journey through bullying as I felt writing would be cathartic and it might save another family some of the distress we experienced. However, it took me over two years blogging, finding my voice and building my confidence through the amazing warm support I got from so many bloggers, to finally write a post about bullying.
What blogging tips or advice would you give someone just starting?
Don’t over think it, just make a start. One post will lead you to the next. Use a daily prompt or just follow your heart and write about what you love. Read other blogs and try to engage with other bloggers by joining in the conversations! Do what you enjoy, then… repeat!
A special photo. Spending time with my dad and brother
walking a short path in the Comeragh Mountains to Mahon Falls.
My dad has dementia, diagnosed almost three years ago.
What do you most enjoy about blogging and what have you learnt?
My life has been enriched by blogging! Having fibro/CFS means my energy is limited and I’ve had to accept that I can’t keep up with the average person and it’s a waste of energy to even try. What I enjoy most about blogging has to be connecting with people, a sense of belonging and making new friends. I love sharing words that have the potential to support or encourage others! I have also been at the receiving end of many affirming and encouraging comments and I’ve gained so much from this positive experience.
I have also learned to love myself – that might sound a bit clichè but what I really mean is that through writing and sharing I have finally listened to my own voice. I have, after 20 years been able to admit, to more than just a few close friends and some family members that I have a chronic illness. I’ve learned that there is no shame in being ill and I’ve finally accepted my illness. I can listen to my body and I’m getting better at saying ‘No’ [something all mothers and many others have to learn!]
Has your blog or writing led to opportunities for you?
Yes, blogging has ignited my love of writing and I’ve joined a monthly writers group where I was encouraged to take part in a writing project for a summer festival. I was then asked to share my work at a local Library event for our National Culture Day. Blogging also gives me a much wider social network that I could not physically achieve due to my CFS/fibro. I know beyond doubt that other opportunities will open up to me when the time is right. I don’t need to rush this as I am exactly where I need to be in this moment and I am so happy with all I have achieved and grateful for the opportunities I have experienced by being a WordPress Blogger!
With my wonderful husband Tony who is my rock and best friend.
I would not be where I am today without all his encouragement
and his never ending understanding of my life with fibro/cfs.
What methods do you use to expand your readership?
I don’t focus on expanding my readership as I think this is an organic process which will come to me as it is meant to. I do look at the stats and publish some posts in line with the most popular viewing time. I also try to read the blogs I enjoy as often as I can. I like to be generous with my ‘likes’ and share my thoughts in the comment section, particularly words of encouragement as I believe all we need to know is that somebody believes in us. I also like to ‘reblog’ posts that I find interesting and that I think other bloggers would enjoy or benefit from.
Time management can be a challenge: how do you stay disciplined and organised?
If time management is a challenge for bloggers, it is three times the challenge for bloggers with fibro/CFS . I have to manage my fibro/chronic fatigue first. Practicing good self-care helps me avoid feeling overwhelmed. I write to-do lists to prioritise and keep me focused, then I follow it up by practicing gratitude. Finally, I simply try my best and accept that it is good enough!
Which is your favourite post and why?
I have got some really lovely comments on my Attitude & Altitude post, which I really enjoyed writing. That taxi driver was an inspiration and motivating factor in my own life, causing me to pen and share my first blog post. It always warms me when people find it inspiring, just as I had hoped!
Enjoying lunch with my new friend Iris before catching the train to Dusseldorf
to fly home from an amazing week furthering my love of
Adlerian Psychology at ICASSI Bonn 2018.
What has been your most popular post and did you expect it?
For some reason WP only shows my recent views so I don’t know what post is most popular but this is of little concern to me as I write to share, to encourage and to create a community where bloggers can feel supported and valued, the most popular post is not of interest to me.
Share something funky about yourself, or something that most don’t know?
Funky was never an important word in my vocabulary but I can challenge anyone to come up with a Christmas pudding, chocolate roulade, or fresh cream and jam sponge that out-funks mine…although I might need to schedule a nap in between…but that’s ok too!
Thanks Kate for this opportunity!