Ten years ago this November, my working life stopped. Disability made it impossible to continue. I just could not travel to work and back every day, and climb up stairs, potentially several times a day. There were no offices on the ground floor and no elevator; so stairs were the only option.
I really did nothing for the next 8½ years, nothing that is except fall out of love, fall in love with Lisa, get divorced and then get married to Lisa; no, not much at all, really. Oh, yes, and there was a diagnosis of a heart problem to go with multiple sclerosis and epilepsy.
But having said all that, it was in June last year that the decision was made to put my career in journalism to good use to write a blog. Nothing great was planned but it started on August 1 with more of a whimper than a growl. It was launched as a lifestyle blog and each post was about whatever took my fancy. Howver, view figures, the number of views per day, were very low.
Then, January arrived and everything changed. What had started as just ‘something to do’ became much more. I had learned what people like to read and, just as importantly, how essential social media is when it comes to marketing your blog. And that’s how my lifestyle blog was transformed into one specializing in all aspects of health and disability with more than 10,000 views per month being consistently achieved and exceeded since the beginning of February.
It was just like doing a part-time job, with no pay, from the comfort of my own living room.
And there it might have stayed if it wasn’t for Mike and Chris. Mike had been following my blog for a while, unbeknown to me. In early June, he sent me a message on LinkedIn and asked if I would write one blog a week for multiplesclerosisnewstoday.com. Of course, I agreed.
In fact, I wrote two blogs that first week and, having seen them, Chris, Mike’s boss. Asked me to write three a week. Soon it was five and I was thoroughly enjoying myself – without leaving the confines of my armchair at home in sunny Andalucía, Spain.
Oh, yes, and this blog of mine, 50shadesofsun.com, is still being produced.
Now, besides writing, I am checking out and recruiting more bloggers for the 40 disease-specific websites that come under the umbrella of BioNews Services. Together, it is a great form of occupational therapy; just what is needed.
For once, my physical disability has been coupled with my journalistic experience and ability to great effect. Who’d have thought this was possible 10 years ago? Certainly not me, that’s for sure.