Pandemic Blogging

Pandemic blogging: Adjusting to blogging during a public health crisis - flowery background image

It’s remarkable how a couple of weeks can change everything.

I regularly watch the Late Show with Stephen Colbert, and that’s the marker I use in my head to think back to when things got serious.  Two weeks ago they announced that, starting the next week (aka the week just past), all the major late night shows were going to run with no studio audience as a precaution.  Then abruptly on Thursday, March 12, they had to do the show without an audience, and then the show fell off the face of the planet, as did a great many other things.

In the last week, some areas have been put on lockdown, and social distancing is suddenly part of everyone’s vocabulary.  Toilet paper has inexplicably become a hot commodity.

As all of that is going on in the world around us, how do we carry on here in the blogosphere?

My WP Reader feed has been dominated all week by stories related to COVID-19.  I’ve seen some people apologize for writing about other topics that seemed less important, but I actually think it’s crucial that we don’t get sucked into an all pandemic, all the time mindset.

We’re living in a world that is currently in a very abnormal state for most people, and to avoid getting swept up in the panic, it can help to maintain some sense of normalcy.  The blogosphere is one place where we can do that, even just a little bit.

I’m not saying that people should stop writing about the pandemic; for most of us, this is an important outlet to be able to express thoughts and feelings, especially around difficult things.

What I am trying to say is that if you feel inclined to write about something else, do it; it doesn’t become less worthy of being written just because it’s not about the virus.  I know I certainly appreciate as a reader seeing “normal” kinds of posts thrown into the mix of my Reader feed.

I write most of my posts 2-3 weeks in advance of publishing them, so I have a number of posts lined up that were written before everything started shutting down and have nothing to do with the pandemic.  I think that, for the most part, I’ll run them as scheduled because I want to hang onto that bit of normalcy, plus at this point, I don’t have pandemic-related anxiety or other strong emotions that I need to use this space to work through.

One way that I do want to write about related to the pandemic is factual health information.  I think all of us in the blogosphere (and on social media, but that’s a lost cause) have a responsibility to use information from reliable sources.  If you can, linking to sources for any pandemic-related information you use in your posts helps to promote responsible information-sharing.

Collectively, we’ve been supporting one another in many ways all along, and I have no doubt that we will maintain this supportive space no matter what goes down with COVID-19.

So keep going, and keep writing.

 

 

COVID-19 coping toolkit from Mental Health @ Home

 

I’ve put together a COVID-19 coping toolkit with some resources to help with managing the stress of the current pandemic.

 

You can find more posts about blogging on the Blogging & Writing Tips page, as well as the New Blogger’s Guide to the WordPress Community.

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59 thoughts on “Pandemic Blogging

  1. Johnzelle Anderson says:

    Thanks for this. I’m currently reading the Eat the Damn Muffin book and will write something up about it today. Being patient with all the typos in the kindle version😬

  2. Hannah Celeste says:

    Love this! Most of the news is already all pandemic, all the time anyway – it’s really comforting to have the blogosphere (or at least parts of it) be non-pandemic related.

  3. Meg says:

    This is a great blog post!! I so totally agree that there’s nothing wrong with non-virus topics! But speaking of the virus, we never got toilet paper when everyone else did. No huge deal, because we had some at home. Then I went to the store yesterday, and my dad asked me to get some if I could. HA HA! There was ONE huge package of toilet paper–and I do mean huge–in the aisle. And then someone took it. And I noticed that the stocker employee had more all the way up the store on a flat dolly, and that he was deliberately stocking the toilet paper aisle one package at a time so that the packages wouldn’t all be taken by the same person. Brilliant. So I circled back after getting something else, and sure enough, there was one huge package on the shelf again. Victory was mine, and we now have enough TP for at least two months.

    I always turn to your blog for normalcy, in part because it comes out at the same time each day!! Rock on with your normal self!

  4. Melanie B Cee says:

    Amen. Although information is vital during this mess, dwelling on it, for some of us (I know you have the same issues as I do vis a vis mental health) is deadly. It’s not burying one’s head in the sand and ignoring the issue, it’s choosing to think about other things besides the damned virus. Which, for me anyway, worsen my depression. I don’t need that to happen. Thanks for sharing a bit of reason in the time of COVID-19! 🙂

  5. Luftmentsch says:

    Apparently newspapers in China are advising that only 40% of the information you take on at the moment should be COVID-19-related, although I don’t know how exactly they advise you to avoid it.

  6. Brendan Birth says:

    Thanks for writing this. I think different people have different takes on how to be a blogger during the coronavirus, so I appreciate your point-of-view on this.

    I think that one thing I hear a lot of people yearning for at this time is some sense of routine somewhere. I think that’s where bloggers who (like me) have scheduled routines for posts are as important as ever. Having that 6 PM post on Mondays (in my case) can give that routine, regardless of whether what I post about is coronavirus-related.

    I must admit, though, that I did give an explanation for why some of my posts won’t be coronavirus-related (because there is a world outside of the coronavirus and I think it’s important to write about important topics that we should be aware of after this pandemic passes).

    P.S. I live in New York, so I will be providing readers an update on Thursdays on how I’m doing and how my city is doing with the pandemic.

  7. aguycalledbloke says:

    Spot on the button Ashley – this’ll come across as just wrong – but l am sick to the back teeth of the Corona – that’s not derrogative nor a kick in the head to those suffering. But it is mentally draining and damaging and stress straining for people who are trying get on with things, with life.

    Well said.

  8. Maja says:

    Well said. It’s never good to focus only on one thing, no matter the situation. Also, thanks for your contribution to blogosphere and all of your support.

  9. Arcanum Oculus says:

    Hi Ashley, just thought I’d say hi. I closed down my blog, because it was rubbish again.
    I need something new as I’m missing writing more than ever especially now we are all staying at home….

  10. kachaiweb says:

    That was a breath of fresh air! My mind was all filled with Covid-19 but as time passes and I have other things to occupy myself with, it seems to be finding its new normal again.
    I must admit that it felt for a while that writing about anything else than the virus was out of line or even disrespectful. But maintaining a warm heart and a cool head is supported by some routine and normalcy as you wrote. Thank you for sharing your views, I found it very supportive.

  11. skinnyhobbit says:

    I’m trying to round up good news (about the virus or not)….because some friends and family are literally bombarding me with all sorts of terrifying virus-related news.

    I’ve a FB friend whom I care a lot about, but I decided to mute her because she’s sharing all the scary medical health pre-publication research and summarizing them in status updates so I can’t even scroll by or avoid clicking because I see the info AS I scroll by. I feel like I have to be the calm one in my immediate non WordPress circle as I try to support non WordPress friends who are losing jobs, suicidal, triggered as fuck, isolating etc.

    I’ve also a bunch of drafts I never finished that aren’t about the pandemic so I might work on them further.I welcome how your posts are NOT about the pandemic tbh.

  12. amymayj says:

    This is a really refreshing take on what’s happening right now. I feel a lot of us, especially within the community of MH bloggers don’t particularly need to see our feeds flooded with COVID-19 posts (the same with social media too) but sometimes it’s nice to see some reassuring facts pop up now and again – such as China ending their lockdown and such. I like the idea of maintaining a sense of normality by carrying on with usual posts, it can be a great way to take your mind off things for a few minutes!

    • ashleyleia says:

      Silly WP has marked your comments as spam. Anyway, yeah, somewhere there’s a balance between recognizing the abnormal and keeping a bit of normal going.

  13. Bob Who Blogs says:

    I believe we should strike a balance between writing about what is happening right now but like you say, write about something different to the virus. We read & hear so much on the virus, it’s nice to read something different and more positive.

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