Monday, April 25, 2011

Adventures In Blogging: WEGO Health Webinar And “Chocolate & Vicodin”

I had a few blogging-related experiences last week that I wanted to share.

I had the opportunity of being an audience member of the WEGO Health Webinar “Navigating Your Health Narrative” about health blogging, and I also read the book “Chocolate & Vicodin,” written by blogger Jennette Fulda.

I had never taken part in a Webinar prior to this one.

On the Webinar panel were bloggers Lisa from Brass and Ivory and Jenni from ChronicBabe, and a representative from WEGO Health. They addressed topics from starting a blog, why to blog, finding your blogging voice, disclosure, promoting your blog, community building, ordering your blog, and blogger burnout.

For me, many of the topics were things that I already knew about, like starting a blog and why to blog.

Both panelists talked a lot about social media, utilizing Facebook, Twitter, and other web resources. I had never heard of Networked Blogs, as part of Facebook, but it is something I am looking into to streamline my blog posting to Facebook.

Something else they talked about that I hadn’t considered is an editorial calendar in order to plan what you are going to write about. I have had a bit of experience with this in writing for Health Central, but not for my own blog. Both Lisa and Jenni expressed not really relying on editorial calendars, and leaving a lot of room for “creative freedom”.

There are definitely dates I commemorate by posting, but for the most part, I just write what I want, when I want. And I think for my personal blog, this works well. I think it would take a lot of the fun out of blogging if I tried to stick to a schedule. I have enough deadlines with graduate school to keep me disciplined.

Another thing they talked about was keeping conversations positive. One thing I have noticed is that the tough stuff tends to get more play than the good stuff. Maybe this is because the good stuff happens so infrequently. Anybody have thoughts on this?

Finally, Lisa and Jenni warned about blogger burnout, which tends to happen in the first few months of blogging. I think you have to pretty quickly find your niche and facilitate communication with other bloggers. For me, once I started getting comments and knew there were people out there actually reading my blog, I was hooked. Three years and counting…



What drew me to this book was the title, “Chocolate & Vicodin,” and the cover art.

In a very brief summary, the book is about a woman who gets a headache that won’t go away. While I can honestly say that I can’t completely imagine what this would be like, although headaches are a big lupus symptom of mine, I did find some commonalities…

“I realized I had skipped becoming my mother and had gone straight to becoming my grandmother” (214).

Wow, I can so relate to this. I skipped feeling like a 50 year old to feeling like an 80 year old. And my 80+ grandma and I swap arthritis war stories all the time.

“All I could do was swallow the pills and say a prayer” (215).

I can really relate to this, too. It’s no secret that medication working for me is a hit and miss type of thing. All I can do is have confidence that my doctors are doing the best job they possibly can, and that I do my part as a patient, taking my medication diligently, even when it seems like it isn’t doing much, and making sure that I voice concerns about medication efficacy to my doctors.

“Pain was lonely. I wanted someone to stand next to me and share my view of the world” (248).

Need I say more?

”Pain and suffering were siblings, similar but not the same entity” (267).

She’s right. Pain and suffering are related. I think people think that pain is objective and suffering is subjective, but I’m not sure that’s the case. I personally think and pain and suffering are both subjective.

Anyway, this was a good read. There weren’t as many commonalities as I expected, but it is another story of a twenty-something woman facing chronic illness head on (no pun intended).


(Fulda, Jennette. Chocolate & Vicodin. New York: Gallery Books, 2011)


  1. sounds like it was a wonderful webinar. love the quotes you captured.

  2. Just put that on my Barnes and Noble wish list for this summer!

  3. thanks for a great blog post! i too would be drawn to the book and the title. interesting about the webinar i have never done one either. maybe I will think about it now!

  4. Thanks Leslie. I attended the webinar also and found it very helpful and thought provoking. Your post helped remind me of some of the key suggestions.