People read what you write
Prone to crumbling under pressure, and reduced to stammering out nervous gibberish when put on the spot, I am used to not being listened to, or at least not taken very seriously. However in the privacy of my own home, with only the hum of the fridge freezer and the whirr of my thoughts chaotically assembling and dissembling, then mixing with a little real life experience and a puff of inspiration, a process of coalescence is allowed and I am able to form coherent sentences and arguments with a kind of fluid ease that would never happen in public. It’s a wonderful discovery to find that in this format, some people actually enjoy listening to what I have to say
2. You are not anonymous
The burka doesn’t go quite far enough for me. What I’d love is an invisibility cloak. Much as I enjoy dressing up once in a while and attending a fun social event, most of the time I would rather get on with my business without being seen, noticed or required to participate in that most dreaded of past-times, making small talk. I called the blog osteofm for various reasons, but one was that it sounds like an anonymous, impersonal platform. But I have found I am less anonymous than ever now. And it’s fine. It really is. Completely fine. As long as I can go off and do the writing alone, being asked to speak up at meetings, as happened recently, or chatting to complete strangers who tell me they follow the blog, has actually been quite fun and I’ve managed to take it in my stride.
3. You end up talking to people you’ve written things about
As someone with a self-confessed, lifelong, over-thinking habit, I remember reading an article as a child, where someone in the public eye was described as fat and boring. I still remember my concern. How could they write that? What if their family read it? They’ll be so upset; and ashamed. I was probably more affected than they were! But, I still think like that a bit. And I try not to write anything bad about anyone. Not that that’s an effort. I generally like people. But because I’m still trying to get my head around the fact that people actually read the blog, I have felt mildly uncomfortable a couple of times to hear my words quoted back to me by the person they’re about. Notably Simon Singh wasn’t too happy about his crew being obliquely referred to as “bored, anti-alternative science fanatics trawling through websites looking for reasons to complain.” I did point out that it was a fairly humorous piece, also referring to physios as “gym bunnies who treat everything with ultrasound”, and homeopaths as “bored housewives needing a hobby”. None of them complained, thank goodness. But I became a little more guarded about what I wrote. It’s also slightly unnerving when you come face to face with someone you’ve described.
4. You don’t always agree with what you’ve written
I was a bit taken aback when I got an email from an osteopathy teacher, for whom I have huge respect, to the effect that he didn’t agree with everything in the blog. What, I wondered? What don’t you agree with? Please tell me, correct me, enlighten me, write a blog of your own to explain. But since then I have discovered that since I am on a learning curve, like everyone else, and we are all very dynamic in our thoughts and views, if I don’t spend every day reviewing and editing every post I’ve ever written, they will not always reflect what I actually think NOW.
5. People think you know something and ask for your opinion
The idea that by writing a blog you become an instant expert, or are regarded as one, might have something in it. Even though my blog is totally transparent about the fact that it comes from a place of feeling I know pretty much nothing at all, and don’t have an area of expertise, I still find that some people have started to ask my opinion on things. I beat a hasty retreat when his happens, but the truth is that by attending GOsC and NCOR meetings, following social media, doing more CPD than I reasonably need to, and chatting to the people I meet through all this blog-related activity, I have become miles more informed about the world of osteopathy than I was in the 20 years of practice before I began the blog.
6. You find out what you’re really interested in
When I started the blog, I thought I would be posting about treating patients. There would be posts on the best way to do squats, and patient’s descriptions of their frozen shoulder, tips on how to diagnose fibromyalgia and so on. However I have found fascination in the the evolution of osteopathy as a profession, together with its challenges, debates, politics, strengths and weaknesses. Not only that, I have discovered pain science – enormously interesting, and APS Therapy (still on my to do list), and not least what all the different strands, dare I say factions, of osteopathy have to say. I would love to get more clinical based blogs out, but let’s face it there are already quite a few physical therapy blogs, but not so many people reporting back on GOsC meetings. And let’s not forget the current attacks by skeptics. I think they’ve got us wrong and I don’t like the fact that they seem intent on the eradication of my preferred modality of treatment, but they’ve certainly livened things up, and given us some great reasons to discuss and debate what we do.
In short, it’s a fun thing to do and I’d recommend it.