Seven years ago, I started a blog. It wasn’t much of one at the time – just a space on the internet to call my own, on the blogger.com platform. At the time, blogs were not as ubiquitous as they are now, and most blogs I read were either online journals or specific to a particular subject, such as feminism. Strangely, I didn’t feel as though blogging counted as writing. I didn’t refer to myself as a writer. It took a few more years of blogging for me to feel as though I had enough content and I had learnt enough to call myself a writer; instead I was one of the growing category that referred to themselves as ‘bloggers’. Even though when people write, when they are putting their work out there and self-publishing, they have every right to call themselves ‘writers’ or ‘journalists’.
All those years ago, people didn’t know what I meant when I spoke about blogging, or having a blog. The technology has moved on, and the words ‘blogger’ and ‘blogging’ are everywhere. This is brilliant, but often overwhelming with the sheer volume of writing out there. Everyone has their favourite blogs and vlogs (video blogs), and it has encouraged people to write and express themselves. In particular, the past few years I’ve noticed that many deaf people have begun blogging, writing or signing about their experiences, campaigns and access issues. Deaf people have adapted blogging and created communities from communicating with each other, and into the internet-void.
I didn’t always blog or write about being deaf and issues of identity, culture and access. It is not the only thing I blog about, and my blog continues to be a space to write about the things that interest me, to document my life and what I’m passionate about. I see this on other deaf blogs too, and how fluid identity is. The strongest blogs are those that aren’t afraid to be honest, to still be open and accessible to readers. Some of the best are where ground-roots campaigns begin – such as how a vlog by Lee Robertson about spitting the dummy became the Spit the Dummy campaign, or how Melissa Mostyn blogging about Deaf People Against Welfare Cuts led to setting up a campaign group. Others are simply an entertaining read or speak to the reader on a deeper level.
The Limping Chicken, for example, is a space that has encouraged young deaf people to write about their experiences, and for deaf people to be more vocal and visible. Deaf writers as a whole don’t get as much publicity or visibility, and websites like the Limping Chicken, Deaf Read (a blog feed of International Deaf Blogs and Vlogs) and writers groups on Facebook, mean that more deaf people are inspired to write or video blog about their experiences. The next generation of deaf people need to know that anything is possible – that if you want to be a journalist or writer, then go for it. If you want to report or blog about something that matters to you – then go right ahead. It is important for budding deaf writers and journalists to see that there are mentors and trailblazers who will support them.
Some of the blogs and writers I read regularly are:
Deaf Read (Stream for various blogs)
Why not start your own blog? There are a lot of blogging platforms to choose from, including WordPress, Tumblr, Blogger and Squarespace. WordPress and Tumblr are my personal favourites, because they are both easy to get to know and you can be blogging within half an hour. Most of all, blogging can be a fun way to keep a record of the things that matter to you, to share your ideas and experiences with others, and to find support from other people. If you want any advice or have any questions about blogging – let me know in the comments. Please feel free to share your favourite deaf blogs too!
Lizzie Ward is a deaf journalist, writer, blogger and creative professional. She is working on various writing projects, including writing her first two novels, and editing and writing articles for Deaf Unity. Interested in social networking, social research and breaking down barriers for deaf people, she hopes her work with Deaf Unity will encourage more people to strive for their dreams and push through the barriers within society. She has a keen interest in the Arts, loves to read, and dreams of travelling to far flung places.