A Summer Blogging Challenge

Posted on: August 17th, 2018 by


My friend Nancy Stordahl at Nancy’s Point has laid down a blogging challenge, and I am enthusiastically taking up the challenge. Here are the questions she presented, with my answers.

1. How long have you been blogging (or reading blogs)?

I started blogging in 2009.

2. How has your blog changed?

The purpose of my blog has changed a lot. I first started blogging because I had a book in mind — one designed to help others speak up for themselves when facing a difficult medical situation in an often-harsh medical landscape. I was nervous about writing an entire book, so I figured I would write blog posts about this topic until I had enough material for a book. Then I just kept blogging because I had a lot more to say about the breast cancer experience than I initially thought, and I wanted to help others with various facets of the breast cancer experience. I write about body image, as well as the psychological trauma side of breast cancer. I also write about non-breast cancer topics, as well.

My book, Calling the Shots in Your Medical Care, was published in 2016.

3. What is your biggest blogging challenge/frustration?

The lack of time. I’m a busy mom, and my job as a college instructor is intense. While I love both jobs, they give me little time for blogging. I do my best to make the time, though. Sometimes I’m more successful; sometimes I’m not. I do aim for one blog post a week.

4. What is your favorite post that you’ve written (or read)?

First Comes Breast Cancer, Then Comes Divorce because it made many of my readers feel they were not alone in having cancer and then having their marriages/partnerships dissolve. Unfortunately, many, many people are out there who have had a serious illness and then watched their relationships die. This post resonated with many people and, I believe and hope, helped them feel less alone.

5. What are your goals for your blog? (Why do you read blogs?)

To help readers know they are not alone and to build a connection with them. I would like to venture out into writing about topics other than breast cancer. I’ve already started writing such posts.

6. How many blogs do you read on a regular basis?

It really depends. I try to reserve some time on Sunday to read blogs from Journeying Beyond Breast Cancer’s Weekly Roundup, as well as leave comments, but if I have stacks of papers waiting to be graded, I make the latter the priority.

7. How do you determine what to share and what not to share; in other words, do you have blog boundaries? (or comment boundaries)

I’m pretty much an open book, but of course I do have boundaries. There are certain things about me and my family that I won’t share. In terms of blogging, I follow the golden rule: I treat others with respect and do not use my blog to insult people.

8. When things get hard, what keeps you blogging (or reading blogs)?

Connecting with readers.

9. What is your biggest Cancer Land pet peeve today, right now, this minute?

Being told that there’s a reason for everything as a way to explain that there’s meaning in having/having had breast cancer. What a bunch of crap.

10. What one piece of advice would you offer to a new blogger?

Be authentic.

11. Share something most people do not know about you. A secret sort of thing.

I’m an introvert who is also an extrovert. This sounds impossible, but it’s true. I’m naturally shy, but I socialize well with big crowds of people at fundraisers and the like, as well as successfully connect with my students.

12. What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?

I’m an avid reader and an artist who sketches and oil paints. But I enjoy most of my time with my daughter and cat, as well as good friends.

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2 Responses to A Summer Blogging Challenge

  1. Nancy Stordahl had this to say about that:

    Hi Beth,
    Thank you for participating in this year’s summer blogging challenge! I always enjoy reading readers’ responses.

    No surprise many of our answers are pretty similar. And that time, or lack thereof, seems to be a common thread!

    Thanks again and enjoy the rest of summer. Hope you get to do lots of those #12 things!

    • Beth L. Gainer had this to say about that:

      Thanks, Nancy, for the challenge! It’s always fun to write these pieces. And I hope to have the time to do the #12 things.

      Time is going to be a huge challenge for me until December, as I have a full teaching load. I will do my best to blog, though!

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