Thinking Caps On

Continuing with my pattern of writing about writing as the first post of each month, I thought I'd tackle the issue of CREATING TOPICS.

When I first began almost two years ago, I had only a vague idea of the content of my blog would be. I knew only this much:
1. I wanted to help other people with O.I. & parents of kids with O.I. by writing about my experiences.
2. I wanted to connect with others who have O.I., and also other bloggers with a disability as well.
3. I wanted to have fun writing about O.I. & other topics related to having a disability.

Armed with only those three pieces I decided to check-out other bloggers out there, those who were both in the O.I. and greater disability community. Many bloggers were parents who used their blogs to update family & friends on the well-being of their kids, health-status updates and other milestones as well. Others were disability community 'thought leaders' who expounded on relevant news articles, and still others were young people who took to the internet to vent and express themselves. The content of the blogs clearly had a wide range that met different needs and readers in their audience.

What I didn't seem to find many examples of were blogs that just wrote about the everyday normal stuff. And around the time I began my blog, I had begun to realize that - at least for me - my disability wasn't some specially compartmentalized / separate aspect of my life. Having O.I. didn't just shove its face in front of me when I broke a bone, and it wasn't something I was judged by based on annual audiology tests. I decided that if I was going to have a blog about living with a disability, I would write about just that: living with a disability. Or at least I would try to.

So I set out to write about topics that everyday people come across. Whether it was school related, social topics, health, family, interpersonal, jobs, etc I made an effort to place my experiences of having a disability in the context of 'normalcy.'
It wasn't always easy to do this, and it still isn't easy. Often I have trouble coming up with topics that are not medically related. Medically related topics is probably the easiest genre to cover because when we think of disability, and writing about our experiences with it - that's where our minds naturally go to. Everyone has a wealth of experiences to share when it comes to living with a disability and managing their health. But if I were to focus on that I didn't think it would accurately reflect where I had placed disability in my life... as usual, I tend to make things harder for myself than I really need to.

This means I spend a lot of time doing what my elementary and middle school teachers had us do when we were stuck: "putting on our thinking caps!" If I were to divide the time I spend on my blog each week, 80% of it is devoted to coming up with ideas. (Once I have the topics in mind each entry takes on average about 10-15 min to hash out. Writing each entry, surprisingly is what I spend the LEAST amount of time on!) It doesn't mean that I sit in front of my computer writing lists upon lists of ideas (though I do do that), it means that since starting the blog I make an effort to be more aware of potential topics. By dividing my life experiences into categories i.e. school, family, personal, etc etc. it makes it easier for me to think about the perspectives that I can take with my entries. When I take disability out of its 'traditional' compartment as related to healthcare - an entire flood of ideas pours forth! From there I have fun running with one of the ideas, and hope that I am helping someone else think about their own life in a slightly different way that they hadn't considered before reading my entries.

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