There is no right or wrong way to blog through a personal tragedy. Let’s go over some options.
We all know it’s inevitable.
And yet, it catches each and every one of us by surprise.
Tears. Heartache. Sorrow.
Sometimes, it’s the loss of a loved one. Sometimes it’s losing a job. Sometimes it’s a random tragedy that hits you on a nondescript Thursday afternoon.
It doesn’t matter if we are prepared for it or if it blindsides us, because you can’t prepare your heart. It’s going to feel what it’s going to feel.
And, eventually, it happens to all of us.
To Blog Or Not To Blog
If you’re a blogger dealing with personal tragedy, “what to do with my blog” very well may be the last thing on your mind.
Some of you may not visit your blog — much less write anything on it — for weeks or even months. Or, you may abandon the blog completely.
And that’s perfectly okay.
However, others, either through want, need or a combination of the two, will keep their blogs going.
This post is for those bloggers.
How To Blog Through Personal Tragedy
There is no right or wrong way to blog through a personal tragedy. What is right for you may be completely wrong for someone else.
That being said, here are some options:
1. Just Keep Writing (or, And The Band Marches On)
Many bloggers find blogging cathartic.
Blogging helps us unwind. It helps us release frustrations. It helps us deal with whatever it is we’re dealing with — be it something as simplistic as an annoying co-worker, to something as profound as an unanswered prayer to God.
Blogging, and the comments we receive from readers, can help us through tragedy, too.
Last year, I stumbled across the blog of a married couple who was building their own log cabin home. My wife and I dream of doing this very thing one day, so I jumped back in time to their very first post and began reading.
I read a year and a half’s worth of their posts. I read about the progress they were making and saw the photo evidence courtesy of dozens and dozens of images.
It felt like I was on their log-cabin-home journey with them.
Then I clicked on their post from July 8, 2010. The husband had passed away.
The wife, Rachel, was writing a tribute to her late husband. Then she announced she was going to finish building the log cabin in his honor, and the blog would continue.
The blog hasn’t been updated since March of 2013, but that means for almost three years after her husband’s passing Rachel kept alive the blog (and the home project) she and her husband began together.
Reading through all her posts (and I read through every single one of them, praying for her along the way) was an emotional roller coaster. I can only imagine what it was like for Rachel writing it.
But, write it she did.
It helped her.
And continuing to write — whatever it is you choose to write — could help you, too.
2. Call On Guest Bloggers
If you already have friends who occasionally contribute guest posts to your blog, this would be a perfect time to ask them to help you in your time of need.
And if you’ve never had guest posts on your blog, this would be an ideal time to start.
Even one or two guest posts from other bloggers could bridge the gap between your own blog postings. Those one or two posts could keep your readers from leaving your blog, never to return.
(Of course, hopefully your readership would understand.)
You could even write a simple post explaining the upcoming delay in updates. You could go into as much or as little detail as you feel is appropriate.
And, in this announcement post, you could ask if any readers could contribute guest posts.
You may be surprised how many take you up on your offer.
True, many who offer won’t be doing so for altruistic reasons. They will be wanting to promote their own blog or website.
However, the motives of those readers shouldn’t matter. Not really, anyway.
If they write good content and abide by the guidelines you set forth, they will be able to help you in your time of need.
And that – not their motives – is what really matters.
3. Schedule “Evergreen” Posts You’ve Written In Advance
If you have already written a post or two you were saving for a vacation or rainy day, this would be a good time to use them.
These backup posts are like “sick days” with your employer. You are given X number of sick days every so often. And while it can be tempting to fake a cold and use them for the random 3-day weekend, it’s a good idea to save them in case you ever do get sick.
Rainy-day posts fill the same need. You could use them whenever you don’t feel like writing new posts, but it’s much wiser to save them for vacations or emergencies.
Or, personal tragedies.
If you don’t have any such posts waiting in the wings, consider writing one or two. Do it now, while the sun is shining and all seems right in the world.
The hope is you will never need to use them. But, if you do need them, you will be glad you have them.
Note: The ideal rainy-day post is an “evergreen” post. What that means is the topic should be timeless. It could be published in 2009, 2014 or 2019 and still be relevant.
So, for example, my What John Grisham Can Teach Us About Blogging post would be a good evergreen post. The lessons it gives aren’t dependent on technology or time.
The same is true for Copyblogger’s 11 Essential Ingredients Every Blog Post Needs and 20 Rules for Writing So Crystal Clear Even Your Dumbest Relative Will Understand written by Glen Long of Boost Blog Traffic.
Those posts will stand the test of time. They will age very well.
However, my How to ask Google to crawl and index your blog post from last year would be a poor evergreen post. Less than two weeks after it was published, Google had updated its process. And it’ll likely do so again and again.
This, Too, Shall Pass
However you choose to handle your blog while enduring a personal tragedy, remember that time has a way of healing wounds.
Continuing to write could aide you in the healing process.
So, too, could distancing yourself from your blog for a season.
If your blog is a personal one, figure out which approach works best for you. If your blog earns you an income, do what you can to keep it going.
Don’t be afraid to ask your readers for their prayers and support.
Quality readers, the ones you want, will offer them. Almost as importantly, they won’t leave your blog, never to return, during this trying season.
Stay strong, my friend.