Friday, February 14, 2014

Disability Thinking - First Birthday

Photo of a cupcake with a single lit candle in the top, against a black background
A year ago today I sat in my local Starbucks and set up a new Blogger blog that I named “Disability Thinking”. I had blogged on and off for almost 15 years prior, but rarely about disability, and I wanted that to be the main topic of my new blog. I had vague but rather over-blown ideas about the blog being just the first step in developing some sort of online magazine for people with disabilities. That idea is kind of on hold, though I still think there’s an unmet need for a certain kind of disability website with a certain tone and feel you don’t find in current disability websites, but you do find in quite a few personal disability blogs. More about that soon, perhaps …

Compared to some of the other disability blogs I visit, Disability Thinking got off to a slow start. I’m very pleased with it overall though, and at this point it is such a part of my life that I can’t imagine giving it up.

By far the most important element of whatever blogging “success” I’ve had is reading other peoples’ disability-related blogs. I read a lot of them, and I am always looking for more, but I want to give special thanks to a few, and recommend them to whoever reads this:

You can see a longer list of disability blogs I like over to the right, but these are the ones I look forward to reading, and get excited when there’s a new post. They have all also helped me develop my own blogging style, sometimes with direct advice, sometimes just by example. Emily at Words I Wheel By, in particular, gave me some great tips on networking through social media, and Ellen at Love That Max provides an invaluable platform for other bloggers with her Weekend Link Ups. Thank you all for you help and your continued blogging.

One thing I hoped I would find when I started Disability Thinking is a community of disability bloggers I could relate to and truly enjoy. I have found them, and I continue to find more. These are people who not only “get” disability issues in a similar way to me, but they are also funny, revealing, great writers, and they are … for want of a better term … cool. This gives me hope for the future. Even if the more organized parts of the disability community drop the ball on getting the next generation ready to take over, it will be okay because the next generation appears to be preparing itself just fine … if not better than the people who came before.

One thing I’d like to do better is explore and engage with a more diverse community of disability bloggers. For one thing, the majority of bloggers I follow are women, and I wonder if I am missing some perspectives from other genders. Another gap that bothers me is harder to define. I guess you could call it the “positivity” side of disability blogging. Because I am the person I am, I tend to gravitate towards blogs that highlight problems and have critical, negative, darkly humorous tones. I do come across lots of other blogs and disability-related writings that are much more positive, focused on hope and achievement, and expressing a sunnier mood. But, I have to work harder to appreciate them. I want to do that more in the future, because I feel like the gap between these two kinds of disabled people is more significant than we probably understand. It sometimes seems like the happy people and the grumps of the disability community barely speak to each other, not out of anger, but out of neglect. If that’s true, we are all missing out on the possibility of doubling our circles of support and friendship. I want to explore that more in the future.

Meanwhile, for the next week, I’m going to change the “Popular Posts” widget to show the most popular posts over the whole life of the blog, rather than just the last week as is usually shown. That way people can revisit some of the stuff I wrote early on. And seriously, why is my most popular post, by far, the weak piece of junk I wrote about “Forrest Gump?”

Thanks to all my readers, and all the people I read, for a great first year!

Andrew Pulrang
Disability Thinking

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