In the control panel of my blog, the counter for the number of posts sits at 999. I hesitate to write the 1,000th post because it should have some kind of significance. I can’t just write a flippant flyaway piece, it has to be memorial and interesting, it has to mark the occasion with importance.
Then, as if by divine intervention, my friend Elena Peters from Living with Batman bestows on me a blogging award. It’s an award I’ve never heard of before called the Sisterhood of the World Blogging Award, and one I think might even be a little silly, but the questions she poses give me food for thought. They are the perfect questions to answer on the occasion of 1,000 posts. So here we are.
How did you choose your blog name?
I chose the name head-heart-health to signify a change of focus in my life from weight loss to wellness. At the end of 2009, I left behind my old blog Thin Enough to Go To The Gym on Blogger and started afresh on WordPress. I see the title as a variation on body, mind and spirit. I did not know at the time there was an organisation in the USA called head, heart, health and hands — if I had known I would have chosen something different. I also would have chosen not to have the hyphens in my URL — I didn’t anticipate how hard a hyphen is to find on a mobile touch screen.
When did you write your first blog post and what was it about?
I wrote my first post on Blogger in February 2006. It was a chronicle of how much I weighed, how much I could lift and how far I could run. Of course, I wasn’t at all happy with any of it. I want to be slimmer, stronger, and faster. My blog continued in the same vein for three and a half years during which time I competed in two body building competitions and developed bulimia. I found myself drowning in a sea of self-loathing in September 2009 and decided it was time to give up dieting forever. I closed my old blog and began the one you are reading now. You can read my first post on this blog here.
Has your blog changed direction since then?
My main focus has remained the same – positive body image and self-love, but I’ve expanded to include topics such as sex and relationships, mental health, and aging disgracefully.
What is the most time-consuming task for a blogger?
The most time-consuming task (after writing posts of course) is finding the right image. I am aesthetically sensitive and have to have beautiful pictures on my blog. It takes me awhile to find the right image and to give it the ‘Katie’ treatment.
How many hours in a day do you spend on your blog related tasks everyday?
I spend nearly all day everyday on my blog. I am trying to go back through my archives and clean up my posts, add new images and re-share on social media. Most of my work pre-dates Pinterest so I’m making new images for my old posts.
What would you like to see happen more in the blogging community?
I would like to see bloggers be more like we were in the beginning — pouring ourselves out on the page and connecting with each other. We didn’t know or care about SEO, or page views, or niches, we just wrote and commented on each other’s posts. It was the wild, wild west and we were cowboys.
What is the worst piece of blogging advice you have ever read or been given?
I hear the same thing litany of advice all the time — write on one topic, brand yourself, use keywords, guest post on bigger blogs, build an email list, promote yourself on social media. I’ve pretty much ignored all of the advice and been moderately successful.
In my experience there are only three things you need to do — be different, write well, and offer authentic helpfulness. The rest is all a waste of time if you aren’t nailing individuality, storytelling and generosity.
What has been your most read post and what was it about?
My most read post is 10 Things You Should Know Before You Kill Yourself which is about what happens to those left behind when someone completes suicide. It goes viral about once a year.
Why do you think it is your most popular post?
A lot of people search on the term ‘how to kill myself in my sleep’ and because I have those words in the post, it comes up on the first page of Google. I get emails several times a week from people who say that post has helped them stay alive. I am grateful if my experience helps just one person.
Excluding direct blogging advice, what pearls of wisdom would you give a new blogger?
I would tell new bloggers to stop stressing about everything. You don’t need to know what you’re doing, you don’t need the right URL, you don’t need anything except the desire to pour out your innermost thoughts and feelings on your blog.
There is far too much blogging about events and not enough blogging about the big ideas. We should be talking more about the important things — death, grief, pain, love, change, success and disappointment — and less about what we ate and what we wore. The internet is so saturated with information now that we can’t make a difference unless we’re saying something no one has heard before, or something most people are too afraid to admit.
Success used to mean being a big fish in a small pond. Now the pond has become an enormous lake polluted with shit. It no longer matters what size fish you are — success comes when you can lead others to clean water.
So, I’m meant to nominate 10-12 bloggers to receive this award and to ask them ten questions of my own. But I’m not one for following rules.
I do have a few questions though. If you’d like to answer them in a blog post, please be sure to leave a link in the comments so I see your post. If you just want to answer them in the comments, you’re more than welcome.
- What has been your biggest life transformation? What led you to the place where you knew you something had to change?
- What do you value most in the world?
- What do you know now that you wished you would have known when you were younger?
- What causes you the most pain … and where do you find comfort?
- What do you wish you did better?
I can’t wait to hear your answers. Thank you for reading my stuff and connecting with me — it means the world to me.
For fun, I’d love to know who is still around after all these years. If you started reading my old blog and you’re still here, please let me know in the comments.