A Blogger with Myalgic Encephalomyelitis.

Hello lovely readers, for the last week or so I have been suffering a severe M.E. setback. After reading a wonderful article written by a fellow sufferer (featured in Fabulous), it dawned on me that I’ve never truly expressed what it takes to blog as a woman with  Myalgic Encephalomyelitis. So today I’m going to take you back to the very beginning and creation of The Life of the Live. Love. Laugh. Girl. . . .

A few years prior to being diagnosed with M.E., I considered starting a blog but with all the chaos occurring at the time, I dismissed the thought. Roll on into January 2012; I suddenly re-discovered the world of bloggers. Bloggers that weren’t paid by magazines to write articles. No. Simply regular individuals that shared their musings. It immediately bewitched me. 

That dreary January morning, an idea was born. 

I so desperately wanted to spread awareness of Myalgic Encephalomyelitis and I just knew a blog would be the perfect way. It’s never been done. I wanted to be the first M.E. Blogger. For a few months, I stewed and thought about it. I discussed it with my mother and although hesitant like myself, she urged me to bite the bullet and go for it. So one evening in early April, I powered up my laptop, got onto Blogger and created my blog in the spur of the moment. The creation of my blog took three days in total to complete.

There are essentials in the process of creating a blog and I'm going to list a few of them:

Template Design and Logo

Having set up an account, the next thing to do was design and create a template for the blog. Although it may seem like a simple task, it isn't. We all judge a book a by its cover and the same goes for blogs. I wanted to create a design that reflected on me as a person. 

My background was how I created this dynamic. It is a mix of white/pink polka-dot and smoke. I am in love with polka-dot as I perceive it to be a welcoming pattern. The smoke represented my M.E. and how it clouds who I am. This background earned me the nickname "The Girl with the Pink Polka-Dot Blog”.

To compliment my choice of background, I then thought up a colour scheme. Not many realize this but pink and grey do go hand in hand. They're so different that they work. And so, my pages and posts would be presented on a piece of grey virtual paper.

A logo is a signature. It's another aspect of representation. With pink being a slight theme, I draw and digitally remastered a quirky sketch of a woman with red/pink clinochlore coloured hair, a red zebra patterned dressed and a chostick with a strawberry christened with a chocolate topping in her right hand.

Pages

Pages are also a must when creating a blog. It separates topics up. The standard pages that are required are a biography and contact page. For me though, I had another page dedicated to Temptaion Bites inbetween those two.

Like every blogger, writing a short blurb about myself proved difficult. What could I say without rambling or sounding conceited? (TIP: Giving yourself a word limit possibly may help!) Although it took some pondering over, I was able to come up with something short but sweet:

Hello lovely readers, my name is Tammy-Louise – although Tammy is much preferred. I’m a country bumpkin–as some would say–born and raised in the wonderful UK. Since December 2010 (possibly earlier than that) I have been a sufferer of Myalgic Encephalomyelitis, an invisible illness that generally leaves me exhausted with barely any energy every day and night.

Here in my little corner of the internet I will often ramble about most things whilst trying to raise awareness of Myalgic Encephalomyelitis and share my discoveries as I figure out this extraordinary world of blogging.


Slogan

Everything has a slogan of some sort. It's a one sentence summary of the entire piece. It needs to be something that people will remember. For me, there was only one thing that kept repeating in my mind that would be the greatest slogan: I Work to Write Something Worth Reading.

Social Media

steered clear of social networks because they were magnets for trouble. Arguments, public online bitch fights and cyber-bullying. Unfortunately, I have been object to all of those. But after looking at a few blogs, I reluctantly set up FacebookTwitter and Email account purely for the blog. Allowing readers to reach out to you elsewhere is an absolute must.

Profile Photo

There are a lot of creatively artistic aspects in this process and profile photos are one of them. It is advised to have a professional or well-presented profile photo of yourself on your blog and social networks. It sounds irritatingly arrogant, yes, but it definitely helps the reader in more ways than one to identify whether the blog is for them. As much as I hate to say, again, we judge books by their covers.

The Introduction

Having finished all of the above, I now could write my first blogpost. As it's the first, an introduction about yourself and why you're here is the best thing to begin with. Introductions are tedious and it took me a lot of time to finish it. I wanted to explain why I was here in the first place as well as sharing a little bit about me.

After what seemed like eternity, I had, at long last, completed my introduction entitled, Motivationis What Gets You Started…

The Blog Name

The final and most important thing to do is give my blog a name. It was almost instantaneous that the name of my blog popped up. When I was younger, I was nicknamed The Live. Love. Laugh. Girl. (it's a great story but one for another day). At that moment, I knew I had my name. It expressed perfectly what both my blog and myself were about. After adding three more words, The Life of The Live. Love. Laugh. Girl. was born.

Blogging is the equivalent to writing a journal. It is a Lust List of discussions about must-haves. It is also a documentary of the life of individuals; the ups, the downs and even a few gory details. For me though? Blogging, no, writing as a whole has returned a sense of freedom to my life. It's an escape from my M.E..

How it Affects myself & my M.E.

I haven’t really discussed with you lovely readers how painful it is for me to blog. As I’ve said countless times, Myalgic Encephalomyelitis is many things all at once. This includes Fibromyalgia. (This symptom was dedicated a post, click here to read it)

My shoulders, arms and hands are especially painful. I could be sat at the desk typing away, unknown to anybody around me that I am crying on the inside from the shoots of agony crippling my hands and arms. There isn't any other way to explain it other than that it is like being in a constant inferno. 

When I write my posts, it is agonizingly painful. But I do it because it's helping me to keep my muscles from wasting away.

For the first month of blogging, I wrote many posts. Almost back-to-back posts. Each one of these would award me with a great deal of M.E. payback. As the months went on though, my monthly post count gradually grew and my pain tolerance rose.

Now here in 2013, I am still plagued with pain and fatigue but I continue to blog for one reason and one reason alone...I love to. At the start, the blog was merely a distraction from my M.E. aided by my own curiosity about the blogging world. It has since evolved and become one of my favourite things to do because I enjoy it.

So I shall end this post with a word of advice to not only fellow M.E. sufferers, but also everybody with a condition of sorts: No matter how hopeless you feel, strive to find the one thing that makes you feel alive and pull yourself to the light at the end of the tunnel. There is hope. Trust me.

Tammy xo

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