On August 10th, 2010, I published my first post on Gin & Lemonade to medium fanfare. I was a younger disabled person who wasn’t sure where home is, and I thought I’d make a home on the web.
I wrote about living in a city that was kind of inaccessible, but I still loved it, with a boy who’s a bit of a geek, but I still love him.
We got married and I had a baby-sized hiatus.
465 510 543 posts, I’ve answered a lot of questions you never actually asked. I figured I’d do a real FAQ and opened up an Ask Me Anything on my Facebook group.
What follows are my answers to the real questions some of you asked me. And there’s a giveaway and a video in it, too. Have a beverage and read on…
How much gin do you drink?
Not much. I prefer coffee. And beer and cider. And coffee.
I love the title of your blog…why that specific title?
Well. I knew I wanted something snappier than ‘diary of a disabled, not quite expat’.
And legend has it that Gin & Lemonade was my Grandma’s favorite drink, and she was my favorite person, so.
And you know the whole ‘life gives you lemons, make lemonade and add gin’ thing? Yeah, it isn’t that.
Life has not given me lemons because I have CP, and I’m not triumping over any type of adversity with the help of my plucky sense of humor. I’m not feeling the fear and doing it, anyway.
Gin & Lemonade happened because I got drunk. I was in Italy, and after a day of missing my Italian Nana (also my favorite person) and being dragged backwards over cobblestones, I was um, rattled enough to do something.
It took a while, but I came home and started a blog about using a wheelchair but not spending my life trying to get out of it. I love my wheels, and I prefer to work with them. And I wish the world was a more accessible place.
What is the one thing you find the hardest about blogging?
Finding time to do my words justice. I’m not precious about the actual words, but I hate posting random shit, and I’d like to have more time and headspace to write more thought pieces.
What’s your at home coffee of choice?
Italian coffee from our DeLonghi esspresso machine. Sometimes with hazelnut syrup.
What’s the best thing about having wheels?
When the accessible seats at any given event aren’t limited-view seats, too.
What’s your biggest achievement in 8 years of blogging, that was achieved because of being a blogger?
In terms of real life, I landed the best job I’ve ever been paid for when the office read my blog before I arrived for the interview. Back then, I added the link to my CV.
Actually you’ve all helped me with that, whether we’ve met or we’ve yet to.
What is your favorite post ever and why?
If you could go back 8 years ago and give yourself one piece of advice about blogging what would it be and why?
Write the shit, because sometimes it turns out OK. And I should take my own writing advice.
Also, I would have invested in blogging education earlier. Here are some of my favorite tools I use to grow my blog.
What are your favourite apps for blogging and why?
Where have you have seen the most traction in growing your blog – was it subject matter? Joining other groups? Using certain social media?
Edited for 2020 My recent top posts are mostly disability-related writing.
Sensing a theme there?
So, what works is having something to say, and then saying it.
My advice on using social media, which echoes my thoughts on actual social interaction in real life, is to go where your people are, but also remember not everyone is your people. That’s OK, too.
And if you’re like me and spend zero time your with closest friends who don’t live in your house, learn to stay up really late. And trade GIFS with your best friends online.
How long does it take you on average to complete a post?
AGES! The writing happens pretty quickly. But it legit takes me hours to format a post. Like 5 hours. Which is why I have no dedicated blogging schedule, even though I’ve tried.
Do you think it’s necessary to blog daily? Weekly?
There are people who blog daily. And then there’s me.
I’ve taken blogging breaks. I’ve tried 30 day challenges. I last three days. I would dearly love to blog more and write ahead, and I shall try. Like I’ve tried for 8 years. For me, I’d like to actually publish 2-3 times a week. But I can’t say what works for other people. You do you.
What about retaining readership?
There are people who’ve read me since the beginning and even sent me emails during blogging breaks. I love those people. I love people who actually read what I’ve written, and feel compelled to share it.
You can keep people reading by making blogging a conversation, by being real and writing because you love it. Write for yourself, but also for those who read you.
I haven’t lost many readers, and those who click off aren’t my people. I see you, fitness bloggers. Disabled doesn’t mean unfit.
How do you plan your blogging schedule?
Favorite type of coffee (machine, cafetière, instant etc)?
Instant? Have we met?
What’s been your biggest blogging challenge?
Time-blocking. Mom/Mum-guilt. My 11 wpm typing speed.
and last question, WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE GIN?
Well. I hope I’ve established that Gin & Lemonade really isn’t about gin. But since you asked, Whitley Neill Rhubarb & Ginger, with lemonade.
That’s the end of the questions for now. That was fun. Seriously, ask me anything!
And I wanted to show you a video Kim at Rockin’ Rhino Productions made for me.
(Video storyboarded from a family road trip. We like those.)
To celebrate 8 years of Gin & Lemonade, Kim has offered a free 60 second video to one groovy reader.
Let me tell you that Kim is excellent to work with and will help you look at your blog in a new, creative, and fun way. More video samples can be found here.
To enter the giveaway, please share and comment on this post. I hope you would anyway, but if you want to be in with a chance to win your own blog promo video add ‘Lets go to the videotape’ to your comment. Winner will be randomly selected from the comments section on August 17th, 2018.
Edit: The winner of the giveaway is Sonia from Losing The Plot. Thanks to all who entered. If you’d like your own video, Kim is kindly offering a 10% discount on video projects for Gin & Lemonade readers. Just mention Gin & Lemonade when you contact her.
Thank you for reading Gin & Lemonade, whether you started in 2010, or today. Here’s to the next 8 years!
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