Reflecting to Keep Sane

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Review of My First Month in Blogging

This week I have decided to take my foot off the gas and give myself a bit of a break. I have a habit of putting self-care on the back-burner and, considering how important it is to my wellbeing, that’s a pattern I’m trying to change.

There’s a strong possibility that my husband and I will have to move house soon; I’m excited about the change, but the up-in-the-air feel of it has caused me a lot of worries this week.

My brain has been working flat-out, trying to account for all the things that could go wrong. This weekend, I’m drained. I need to change things, so I don’t burn out.

I want to keep the blog going and keep up my writing habit, so I’m not just scrapping my weekly post. Instead, I’ve written a review of my first month of blogging.

Why Bother to Review?

While writing my articles, it can be hard to remember the present and refocus on my goals for the future. Taking stock, learning lessons, and refining your focus are all hugely beneficial in every area of your life. They are especially important in the recovery journey.

This post may not be that valuable to you, but I hope it will at least be somewhat thought-provoking and helpful.

I hope that in showing you my reflective process, I can encourage you to take time to reflect in your own life.

I’m naturally a disorganised and unproductive person. I can spend all day procrastinating if the mood takes hold. Reflecting gives me a break from “doing” while still nudging me towards being productive with my time.

All that said, here is my review of my first month of mental health blogging.

What Has Gone Well?

The Numbers

Firstly, I’ve been very encouraged by the number of people who’ve come to my site so far.

Over the month, I’ve had:

30 visitors
53 page/post views
Two new Twitter followers

While this is small-fry compared to some of the other mental health blogs out there, I’m pleased with it!

I’ve not been focussing on traffic or employing any organised SEO strategy. To be honest, I’ve been winging it.

Despite me having no clue what I’m doing, people have seen my stuff – and come back to look again.

That’s a win in my book.

Regular Posting

Secondly, I’ve managed to keep a regular writing habit for the first time in my life.

No matter how rough the week has been, or how much I’ve procrastinated, I’ve managed to come up with something every week.

The quality has varied, I’ll admit, but I’m cautiously pleased with my writing so far. Not only this but pursuing each article to its end – no matter how crap I’ve felt or how much I’ve doubted my abilities – has given me a greater sense of purpose.

I may not keep it up forever, but I’m keeping it up right now, and I feel good about that.

What More Do I Need to Do?

There are a fair few things that I could be better at, and there are lots of things I don’t know enough about yet.

I’ve been winging it as I said above, and a few times this has hindered my ability to work efficiently on the blog.

With that in mind, these are the main things I feel I need to work on.

A More Structured Approach

As I’ve noted previously, being organised doesn’t come naturally to me. Most of my life has been spent reacting to crises, not planning for the future.

A few times, my procrastination and lack of time-management have combined to cause me real problems.

I’ve wasted hours during the weekdays, which has meant many rushed weekends trying to catch up and make sure I post.

I need to look at where I’m using my time and commit to spending at least an hour a day working on my blog.

That will make my weekends run a lot smoother.

Learning the Ropes

There are many things I don’t know about blogging.

I don’t know how to get my site ranked in search engines, which is vital to reach more people; I don’t know how to make consistently high-quality posts that people will use.

There are also bound to be other things that I’ve haven’t even thought about yet.

To a certain extent, I don’t mind this. I am trying not to put an unhealthy amount of pressure on myself. I’m trying to accept that I can’t be perfect at it.

Part of me is aware though, that unless this blog is helping other people in their recovery, there’s not a lot of meaning in what I’m doing. I don’t just want to be shouting at the sky – I want my words to have a positive impact on those that read them.

There are things I need to learn in order to do this. SEO, content creation, social media engagement – these are all things I need to learn to do better and more efficiently if my blog is to have much of an impact beyond me.

Encouraging Community

One of the things I love about “mental health Twitter” is its ability to connect people.

It’s a true community. People engage with each other in spontaneous ways, and so the content from those people is as authentic as it gets on the World Wide Web. It’s fluid and organic.

There are sub-cultures within the community which may not always agree with each other (and things do sometimes get heated), but I’ve found that it’s one of the most welcoming online communities out there.

I’d love for my website to be able to foster the same sort of culture. One of my four aims is to help others with their recovery; a strong and cohesive support network plays a central role in recovery.

There are too many individuals who are isolated from their family and friends by their mental illness. They suffer alone in the real world.

Online communities have an opportunity to fill that social gap that exists for these people. Fostering discussion, opinion and thought is something I want to be better at.

The Month Ahead

I’m still clarifying the direction of my blog, but I know that there are a couple of things I want to do over the coming month to improve on its weaknesses.

I want to add a couple of pages: a resource page, with websites of organisations and individuals who have given valuable information or expertise; and a journey page, showing a rough timeline of events for my mental health highs and lows.

I will update both pages from time to time to reflect the new insights and discoveries I make. For now, though, they may be a bit bare-boned.

Whilst I’ll still be writing articles on my experience of recovery, I also want to review a book that I read recently on the nature of trauma.

It was an eye-opening read. It taught me many things about my experiences and history that I hadn’t appreciated before, and I think it would be an excellent resource for people who have experienced trauma.

One Last Word

Overall, it’s been a great first month. I’ve learned many things and am excited to continue.

If you’ve read this far – thank you. This project has become really important to me, and it’s great to know you’ve seen it.

Lastly, if you’re enjoying this blog and have found it interesting or helpful in any way, please get in touch. Likewise, if there are things I can do better, let me know.

I’d love to hear from you, good or bad, as it will help me steer this blog in the best direction possible.

As always, until the next post!

Bronwyn @ LBT x