Blogging is becoming more and more popular by the day, from people creating their own online space to others reading what they have to say. People are talking about an abundance of different topics, from beauty and fashion to travel, food and mental health. I, for one, am all for people writing about their passions, their interests and even talking about taboo subjects or topics that might be slightly harder to open up about.
I believe that disability comes under the umbrella of topics which are slightly more difficult to put into words and even though I think it’s really rewarding to write about my own experiences, as well as reading about other people’s stories, it can still prove to be a little harder to talk about sometimes, in my case anyway.
I’ve been thinking a lot about the bloggersphere recently, it’s been a nice distraction from the mountain of university work I have to get done. More specifically, I’ve been thinking about the positive aspects of blogging but also the slightly harder or more tricky things that come hand-in-hand with life as a blogger.
Originally, I planned on writing a post about the pros and cons of blogging more generally but then thought, where’s the fun in writing something that has probably been done a countless amount of times before when I have the opportunity to make it more niche?
My pros and cons of being a blogger might not differ too much from your average blogging gal or guy but being vision impaired means that some elements make my blogging experience a little more unique.
Con: It results in more questions being asked about my abilities
How can you write your blog if you’re blind/VI? How do you know what’s on your screen? Does someone write your blog posts for you?
These are all questions I’ve received since starting my blog back in 2015.
I don’t mind answering people’s questions and I’m always happy to chat to people to educate them and ensure those myths are busted. But, being a blind/VI blogger has seemed to open the door to a whole new world of misconceptions which I didn’t know existed.
Pro: I can break down those barriers and raise awareness
As I said, I’m always happy to answer people’s questions and correct them, in the nicest way possible of course, when they throw a preconceived idea my way. I’d rather people ask questions than still believing the misconceptions and creating new ones as they go along.
Blogging gives me the opportunity to do all of that in one space, by doing one of the things I love to do the most, writing.
If people have any questions, if they’re curious about my abilities or if they want to learn something new, I can address it in a blog post. If people have a question or they say something which is a myth, I can say, well, I’ve written a blog post about that where all your questions will be answered, it’s a handy little directory to have.
But honestly, there’s no better feeling than hearing someone say they’ve learned a little something from what I’ve written or that their views have changed regarding a certain misconception. That’s one of the main reasons I started my blog as well as wanting to help others so it’s incredibly rewarding to hear.
Con: It can be nerve wrecking to publish some posts
I guess this goes for any blogger, depending on how open they are in their posts.
My disability used to be a very sensitive topic for me to talk about, something which is quite ironic now considering the fact that I created my blog completely based on my vision impairment and that I now publish a post almost every week about my disability.
I still feel quite nervous to publish some posts because I’m always left wondering if I should say a certain point or I worry about what others might think.
My post about sight loss and isolation which I published a few weeks ago was one I felt particularly nervous about posting because it’s a topic I’ve never spoken about in much detail before. But I’ve been completely overwhelmed with the positive feedback I’ve received and hearing about other people’s experiences has been really heart-warming.
Pro: The positive feedback makes it all worth it
Although it’s never nice to know that someone else is struggling with some of the things you’ve had and still have to go through, posting more personal content that can be nerve-wrecking to publish is 100% worth it when someone says they can relate to what you have to say and that you’re not alone.
Pro: Being a part of the blogging community
The blogging community in general is so lovely and I love being a part of it, there’s nothing better than when people join forces to support each other and show love for others’ work.
Something I never expected when I started my blog was to be a part of a disabled blogger community, I never knew that there would be so many people out there who were also writing about their experiences of life as a disabled person but it’s so lovely to have found that community and talk to others who can relate to some of my experiences.
I’ve met some amazing people through blogging and it’s definitely one of the best things to come out of this entire journey.
Con: Disabled bloggers can be overlooked
If you’ve been around these parts for a while, you might remember me publishing a post at the beginning of this year all about the importance of disabled bloggers. In that post, I focused on the topic of how disabled bloggers can often be overlooked and I listed the reasons why we’re important and how we contribute to the bloggersphere. That post then went on to win the award for the ‘Best blog post of 2018’ at the Teen Blogger Awards back in July, crazy!
Sadly, I do think that disabled bloggers are overlooked in many ways which isn’t very fair since we are just as capable as any other blogger.
Saying that, I do think this is improving and although we have a long way to go in some ways, I can only hope that more disabled bloggers gain the recognition and opportunities they deserve. There are so many people out there who are striving to make a difference and they deserve to be recognised for it just as much as a non-disabled blogger.
However, many of us disabled bloggers have been nominated in the UK Blog Awards 2019 which is all very promising and is definitely a step in the right direction. If only there was a specific category for disabled bloggers!
Con: Photography can be a little tricky
A blog’s photography seems to have become just as important as the writing in some cases and whilst it’s amazing that people can express their creativity through their beautiful imagery, it can prove to be tricky for us who are vision impaired.
I still try to put effort into my blog’s imagery since it’s important to me that I make my posts aesthetically appealing as well as concentrating on the quality of writing.
However, it can be tricky to know what kind of photos to include with some posts and since I can’t see much to take inspiration from other bloggers, it can be hard to know what will look good and what won’t.
I’ll always recruit my mum’s help in terms of my photography and I’m always incredibly grateful to her for her help. There are also some techniques I use to take some myself, where there’s a will, there’s a way, right?
Pro: I can express my creativity
The great thing about blogging is that it gives everyone the opportunity to express their creativity, it gives everyone the chance to put their own creative flare on their content and this is definitely one of the things I love the most about being a blogger.
I can use my disability to my advantage by making things such as beauty and fashion content a little more unique and I can hopefully talk about my vision impairment in a slightly more entertaining way, hopefully making it more interesting to read than the content which was out there when I was in my early teens.
Con: Accessibility can be an issue
From not being able to find an option because my screen reader won’t read it out to me, to adding the wrong photo to a post, I’ve definitely come across my fair share of accessibility issues when it comes to blogging.
Although WordPress is quite good in terms of its accessibility, it was definitely a learning curve when I first started blogging in terms of navigating the dashboard and learning the best ways of using assistive technology to use the platfrom in the most effective way.
WordPress has also just launched a new update which includes a new editor which has a completely new interface so learning how accessible that is with VoiceOver and trying to navigate something new should be a fun one…
Pro: I’m constantly learning new things
Despite the accessibility issues being a real headache at times, it can also be a positive thing since it means that I’m constantly learning new things about the online world, how accessible it is and what can be done in order to make it more inclusive.
Even though I’m confident when using it, I am by no means a screen reader expert so despite feeling a little frustrated when I come across accessibility issues, I do enjoy learning how to go about them and how I can use different elements to make things accessible to me.
It also means that I can pass the things I learn on to other people and hopefully help them in their blogging journey, something which I love to do.
Although blogging can come with some cons, I can honestly say, it’s one of the most rewarding things I’ve ever decided to do.
From the people I’ve met and have the opportunity to chat to everyday to the opportunities I’ve been lucky enough to receive and being able to express my passion for writing in so many ways, the pros outweigh the cons by a mile.
Are you also a blind/VI blogger? What are some pros and cons you think come hand-in-hand with life as a disabled blogger? Let me know as I’d love to hear from you.