100th blog post, can you believe it? There are now 100 blogs post of me waffling on and yet I’m still here with a growing audience. It amazes me and I am so pleased that you are here with me – it means a lot! I honestly didn’t think I’d be here, having the different adventures I have with NSTP that’s for sure!
I won’t waffle on about how it started as I know there’s a blog or two that explains so. But to say it was on a whim it turned out pretty well, I guess. I really didn’t anticipate the platform it has given me to start my career in occupational therapy. But not just in occupational therapy but also in disabled activism. When I wrote the first post on NSTP there was a part of me that was thinking about potential opportunities that could arise. Of course, there was after seeing the amazing work that other disabled activists I was inspired by had been involved in, honestly though I mainly just wanted to enjoy the ride, and I still am!
I thought it would take years to get my blog established and although 2019 was mainly a foundation-laying year I still had amazing opportunities to deliver presentations about my blog just 4 months in! The publicity from this helped me to land my first talk at a conference. The feedback from that gave me the confidence I needed to keep pushing on. I clearly remember writing the post to mark one year of NSTP thinking that it couldn’t get much better. I’d become an ambassador (and recently head ambassador) for CP Teens UK I was loving life, I had university, NSTP and a few unpaid guest blogs. I knew back then that it was all helping my future career. Yet, I couldn’t have predicted what happened next.
Then my virtual placement happened in early 2020 before Covid. We really could have not predicted the impact, recognition and requests for help that we were inundated were as virtual life was forced onto the world. We were lucky to be ahead of the curve in the right place at the right time. It just took off as it did and me with it! If you want to know more I will leave it for you to find all about in my upcoming book. Yes, not even 100 posts in and I’d already got a book deal, like wow?
Anyway, we’ll get back to the book in a bit, where was I ahh the virtual placement… I know I’ve said it before but that placement was the corner store in helping me to understand, identify, and establish my role as a future occupational therapist. This placement made me realise that my role as a disabled activist is intrinsically linked to my occupational therapy skills.
I also gained international reach during this placement by linking in with other international blogs with a request to be the Global Students Ambassador and Digital Production Director for Occupational Therapists Without Borders. Again it helped to boost my confidence further. Making me realise that my wild dream of becoming an occupational therapist and activist wasn’t so wild. It goes without saying that obviously the wonderful Margaret Spencer played a massive role in giving me this confidence and helping me get here which she still does today!
Completing my handcrafted virtual placement led me to gain the title “Upcoming Disability Blogger of the Year” with CP Teens UK. Yet again, I’m not going to lie and say that becoming an award-winning blogger wasn’t on my mental SMART goals lists for the placement. But, I never expected this to happen within NSTP’s second year. I was also now getting a few freelancing roles from those who wanted to pay for a piece by a ‘professional blogger’. Me, a professional blogger? More like a professional waffler!
All this just made me more determined to make my dream more real. But I didn’t know what my next step should be. I kept moving forward, working with my colleagues at university on the Empowered Practice Conversations spurred me on and encouraged me to get more politically minded. This was needed, my blogs needed to demonstrate a deeper professional level and although my stories are great. My stories I realised, weren’t enough. So I took to Twitter and asked the disabled community models and accepting disability.
I started to realise just how much I had to say about ableism. Analysing my life through the eyes of a professional also me realise how much ableism I had faced.
Adding this depth was needed and this showed, my audience grew in 2020 compared to 2019! 2021 just got better which did puzzle me as because of virtual placement I was producing a lot more content in 2020. But still, my audience grew and now I actually felt like I was having some impact. My blog did great throughout the whole of 2021. Even in the summer and autumn when my internal ableism due to my ongoing battle job hunting and registering with HCPC was at its highest. Having this support from my valued readers and followers was amazing and helped me get through what was, in all honesty, quite a challenging time.
When something is bothering me I just threw myself into work. I didn’t get much-paid work during this time I was loving keeping busy. Helping set up AbleOTUK was just what I needed. Talk about timing! It kept me busy and I had others to talk to who understood my hurt and confusion during this time.
Presenting at The Occupational Therapy Show was of course a highlight of 2021! It would have been the highlight of my year regardless. Yet, due to going through this rough patch this really was a saving grace and kept my confidence levels up.
When 2022 came, I entered the world of work and all my fears came true. I wasn’t able to keep up with the momentum of my blog. For the first few months, although I knew I needed to focus on work I got really worried. Was I throwing all my three years’ worth of hard work away? The truth was that even with the little time I have I couldn’t think of many topics to write about. My mind was so full due to all the other projects I was juggling including writing a book proposal…
When I was contacted last September by Jessica Kingsley Publishing about a book that covered ableism in occupational therapy practice I was very excited. In my wildest dreams, I never expected them to want me to write a whole book! A case study contribution, chapter maybe, a whole book, surely not me. Yet, when they said they did I was dumbfounded to say to least, of course, I was up for the challenge.
The proposal took me a very long time to write, it had to be perfect! I didn’t send it off until March I was very particular, I feel sorry for the editor working with me. What I didn’t expect was for it to get accepted less than a month later! I still can’t believe it’s happening to me, all because of that day I decided to start a blog back in 2019!
So now my goals have changed. Although Not So Terrible Palsy has achieved 100 posts, it’s time to slow down to focus on bigger and better things. I never thought I’d be writing a book instead of blogging especially not just three and a half years in. The book is there to tackle ableism and I want to make that clear. Although I will use personal stories I want it to be thought of as a book about ableism and not a book about me. It’s still an adventure I am on because of NSTP and because of all your continuous support.
I cannot thank you enough for reading, sharing, commenting, liking and your awesomeness! Here’s to the next 100!