1) What is your blog about? What is your niche, if you have one?
My blog, Navigating Darkness, is a mental health advocacy blog where I write about mental health, mental illnesses, and mental health advocacy. I consider it to be in the mental health niche, but health is also acceptable.
2) Why did you start blogging?
I initially started blogging to earn some money, as I was a stay-at-home mom at the time. I read a few posts where bloggers were telling everyone how to earn money with their blog, and naturally they included how much they earned that month to get people to read the posts.
It didn’t take long for me to figure out that it wasn’t a realistic motivation for having a blog. The sooner I let that idea go, the better my writing got, and the more fun I had writing my content.
3) What do you love about blogging? What do you not like about blogging?
I love blogging because it’s therapeutic for me. There’s something about the written word that’s beautiful, and it’s a great feeling when I write a new post, as it is always straight from the heart.
I can’t say that there’s anything I straight up dislike about blogging. It can be a huge sucker of your time, but those of us that love doing it don’t even care about that.
4) What is your biggest obstacle/fear about blogging?
The biggest fear I have about blogging is that I’ll receive negative criticism. In reality, I know that receiving such criticism is a good thing because it allows me to see where I need improvement. However, I don’t handle rejection or criticism well, so I always struggle with that aspect of it until I come to the realization that it’s a good thing and will only help my blog. It’s a huge struggle getting there, but I do get there eventually.
5) What type of audience do you hope to attract with your blog?
Honestly? Everyone. My blog is centered around mental health. One in four of us will experience a mental health condition or illness of some type in any given year. Mental illnesses don’t discriminate, so there’s not a specific audience that I’m targeting with my blog. It’s more so open to everyone.
6) What apps, software or plugins are your favorite for blogging/social media?
I enjoy the WordPress app so that I can check for any likes and comments on my posts, as well as my blog stats. Jetpack and Yoast SEO are great WordPress plugins. Otherwise, the only other app I really use is Twitter. Most of my blog traffic comes from Twitter, so I’m always on there engaging with people and meeting new people.
7) Can you please tell us more about the Mental Health Awareness Project?
The Mental Health Awareness Project is something I’m so excited about. In early September of this year (2018), I realized that I wanted to do my part in spreading awareness of mental health. There are various mental health conditions and illnesses that have a specific day, week, or month for awareness. For example, September is Suicide Awareness and Prevention Month.
We should be talking about mental health all the time; not just when a worldwide awareness holiday comes about or someone famous dies as a direct cause of their own struggle(s). This used to infuriate me.
A handful of famous people, and hundreds of thousands more whom you don’t know, have died by suicide this year. Famous people who die by suicide always receive media coverage for a week or two. People are so shocked and surprised, as they “didn’t seem sad” or “had everything and all the money in the world.” After the media coverage dies down, people stop talking about it as if it never happened. Sure, fans of said persons still talk about it, but the majority of people move on.
I eventually realized that I can’t really get mad about that, because not everyone knows what to do. It’s not that people don’t care. The problem is lack of education.
I hope to be some sort of solution to this problem. Every single day in 2019 (that’s 365 days!), we will be discussing something mental health-related. We will still be recognizing all of the established awareness days, weeks, and months for mental illnesses, but we’ll being going beyond that.
We’ll be touching on subjects like the stigma that surrounds certain mental health topics, self-care, mental illnesses (including that of children, men, and minorities, a.k.a. everyone), therapy and counseling, medications and alternatives to medications, and so much more. We’ll be posting on our social media accounts and blogs, and we’ll be hosting Twitter chats.
By talking about things and starting these conversations, it will “normalize” it, which will make it so much easier to talk about. When people become more educated on mental health, more struggles and tragedies can and will be prevented.
8) If you could meet anyone dead or alive, who would it be and how would you spend that time with them?
I would love to meet Chester Bennington. I went to see Linkin Park live in concert when I was a teenager, and I always wanted to meet him in person. I don’t even really have anything specific in mind for our conversations. I would just be happy to meet him and hang out with him. I won’t get that chance, but I hope that I #MakeChesterProud (I love this Twitter hashtag) with The Mental Health Awareness Project.
9) Do you have a passion project, besides the MHAP that you want to pursue now or in the future when you have time?
My two main passions are my blog and MHAP. I don’t have anything definite in mind right now, but I do have a couple of ideas for the future. They both technically have to do with MHAP, though. It would make me incredibly happy to be able to set up events, like actual conferences, so that we can get mental health advocates together in one place to network and hang out.
Another idea that recently came to mind was turning MHAP into an actual, recognized organization. This would allow us to spread awareness even further, and we could even accept donations so that we can provide some mental health resources to people, like assistance with the cost of counseling or medications, and so much more.
10) What do you wish you had known before you started blogging?
I wish I did a little bit more research before actually starting. I did many things the hard way, like networking and monetization.
Please include 1 – 3 sentences about you, your blog, etc.
My name is Nicole Carman and I am a mental health blogger and advocate. My personal blog, Navigating Darkness, is my own space on the internet where I can journal publicly while spreading awareness on mental health and mental illnesses.
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