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Hello everyone, allow me to first say what an honor it is to be posting here for you all today! My name is Tessa and I blog over at Amazing Asset, a space where I write about my interests in healthy living, fitness, running, and all of that jazz, while also continuously striving to find optimal balance within my life… All while dealing with and actively recovery eating disorder that has been a part of my life for years now.
It’s safe to say that my particular description and tag line of my blog, is quite similar to countless blogs out there. This makes sense, as the websites that exist in the HLB world all have to do with health in one way or another, so of course the likelihood of resemblance among blogs increases. Although some of you might not be perturbed by this fact, others perhaps are looking for ways to make their blogs more unique and stand out in some way.
Today I am going to talk to you about being honest on your blog and how this can help both you as a writer better understand yourself, while also gaining readers who are genuinely interested in what you have to say.
When I first started my blog back in March 2011, I didn’t really have any expectations or goals at that point for Amazing Asset, and it was a slow realization of where I hoped to go. In the beginning for the first month or so, I looked to the “big blogs” for inspiration and tips on how to even go about developing my website. My first few posts included titles such as, “10 ways to eat healthy in college,” or “Strength Training Tips,” and while those are important topics to know, I was finding myself lacking genuine interest in creating such posts and they were forced more than anything. While I was receiving some comments on such posts (always very exciting, especially in the beginning!), I couldn’t help but feel “fake” in a way, that I was not being true to myself.
Now while it was my blog and I could write about what I wanted (even lack-luster topics), these particular posts were not showing the true me. This is when the realizations occurred and the questions I posed for myself allowed me to take my blog in a direction that I was quite pleased with. Questions such as,
How can I make my blog unique?
What exactly do I want people to know about me?
What issues are going on within our society (and even the blog world!) that are often “brushed under the rug” and disregarded?
If there are such issues, can I add my $.02 to any of them?
How can I reach out and make connections to people reading my blog?
How can I use my blog as a tool to learn more about MYSELF?
That final question is the one more near and dear to my heart, as the last year and a half of writing for Amazing Asset has allowed me to understand myself more than I could have imagined. This is when the real writing occurred and thoughts of mine that had been hidden away with shame, were suddenly boiling to the surface and coming out in the form of typed words on a computer screen. It was my desire to be honest in blogging that allowed for Amazing Asset to take a shape.
So what were these elusive private thoughts? They were the ones I had concerning the eating disorder that has been a part of my life for too many years now. Finally I was talking and writing about an illness that I did not (and still don’t) fully understand, something I could not possibly get away from, yet understood how much it was ruining my life. When I began my blog, I was a junior in college, and while there was a part of me that grasped the depth of the eating disorder, there was another side of me that clung on tightly to the rituals, schedule, routine, and false sense of safety, that the illness provided.
I was so confused at the time, so unsure of myself and what I really wanted, whether my actions were considered normal or not. I couldn’t understand how I could function without the comfort of my routine, how I could gain the weight I needed to without completely losing my mind… It all seemed impossible, too difficult to handle, and the worst of it was I felt 100% alone with my feelings, no one could possibly understand the constant battle inside my own head, the daily torment and tears. You know what I did during this time? I used my blog and wrote about my feelings in the most blunt, honest and genuine way I could. Lying about such things was no longer possible, I was now too informed of what the eating disorder was actually doing to me, and while I knew recovering would be a hell of a thing, it was the only choice I had to thrive in my life verse simply existing.
When my honest words took shape in the form of posts on my blog, the connections to others began and soon intensified. More and more people were reading my blog now, commenting how much they appreciated my truthful topics, how they could relate, and even how they were gaining understanding of their own issues. Most of us are aware that eating disorders run rampant in our society, yet are rarely focused on, and readers told me it was a relief to find someone that “got it” and were not ashamed to speak the truth.
Honesty on my blog has now become a personal rule of mine, and it’s the only way I post. It has allowed me to not only learn things about myself, but also make genuine connections to others and have Amazing Asset be a space I want to come back to, rather than something that is forced. I have talked about subjects on my blog that I would never have imagined revealing, yet I regret none of it because of all the positive feedback and results I have received. Now while it is certainly a personal choice of how much you wish to discuss and outside factors play into this, consider for the future how honesty could enhance you, your blog and the people in your life as well.
The comments, emails and support I receive from this wonderful community is something I am incredibly thankful for and I am fully aware that I would not be in the state of recovery I am now. While I do still have a long road ahead of me, I “continuously strive to find that healthy balance,” because what choice do I have if I desire a thriving life? Honestly, there is not one.