I blog for one reason--and one reason only--to help people.
When I discovered I had celiac disease and multiple food allergies and eosinophilic esophagitis--all in the same year!--I felt incredibly alone with myriad questions. How would I prepare meals for a family who ate EVERYTHING when I couldn't eat ANYTHING? Would I ever be able to eat in a restaurant safely? What about travel? What would I say to friends who invited me over to dinner?
And the biggest question of all: WHAT WILL I EAT?
Two years ago, I turned to blogging because I needed to voice my fears, frustrations and foibles. I also hoped that maybe, just maybe, some kind soul out there with similar issues would write back and tell me everything would be okay.
I found a safe place to vent--and do so often!--and I met other food-allergic folk like me. I even attended a conference for Food Allergy Bloggers. I've received and given hundreds of virtual hugs.
I am no longer alone . . . and I've found a purpose.
“The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well.”--Ralph Waldo Emerson
Still, blogging is time-consuming. Learning how to make a "Pin-It" button is exasperating! Will someone teach me please? If you want to make money blogging, you've got to put even more hours in. Then there's all the social media required to promote your blog and gain readers. Social media sucks the minutes out of your day like my vacuum would if someone powered it on. How did I know I'd become addicted to Instagram? When I returned a lovely necklace my husband gave me so I could get a new camera with Wi-Fi capability.
After your readership grows, your mailbox fills with requests to review products. This is not a bad thing. I've learned about allergy-friendly foods and cookbooks I might never have discovered on my own. By readers' responses, they like learning about these products, too. They especially like the giveaways!
A side note to marketing gurus: If you are going to send me a gluten-free product, check my allergies. I am an allergic foodie--not a gluten-free foodie.
Here's the ugly side of product reviews. Sometimes when you give a "bad" review, you get slammed. Read what happened to Gluten Dude. If bloggers can't be truthful, what's the point of blogging at all?
At some point, a blogger looks around at the piles of paperwork, laundry and dishes and says, "Maybe I should do something this morning besides writing a post."
Or the blogger's partner says, "Maybe you should do something this morning besides writing a post."
So you sit down your iPad or iPhone or walk away from your computer.. . but wait! Was that the ding of a new message? It's an unfamiliar name--a message from a follower thanking you for your latest post!
Your heart leaps.
We bloggers want to know we are making a difference. It's what sustains us. Especially those of us who are doing this for free.
The other day a friend with a soy allergy told me on the phone how my post on soy-free eggs allowed her to enjoy eggs again. Then she mentioned her husband who is gluten intolerant liked my post Breaking up with Dr. Oz. I'm glad she couldn't see the happy jiggle I did . . . or the dishes in my sink and the laundry on my floor.
Because of her kind words and the kind words of so many readers, I once again set aside the book I've been writing for the last five years and wrote this post. I even gave Adventures of An Allergic Foodie a facelift; after two years, she looked a little tired.
It's not really "Hug a Blogger Day." I made that up.
But go ahead--hug a blogger anyway.
Happy Hug a Blogger Day! originally appeared at Adventures of an Allergic Foodie.