Carly Findlay is a blogger, writer, speaker and appearance activist. She challenges people’s thinking about what it’s like to have a visibly different appearance.
She is a popular figure in the Australian blogging community, and for good reason. Her work constantly makes me think and exposes me to issues I’d never have discovered otherwise.
In 2014, Carlys image was shared and mocked in the WTF forum on reddit. Carly shares how she fought back with awesome and changed the narrative at How to win the Internet. Or how to defend yourself when your photo is ridiculed on Reddit.
The story went viral and was subsequently covered in many mainstream media publications. She wrote about that experience in What it feels like to go viral. She also wrote about how it impacted her personally at How someone sees me.
She wrote An open letter to Reddit’s founders and administrators: protect the vulnerable after her post continued to show up in subforums on reddit.
Carly has written SO many useful articles about blogging, disability and navigating the balance between helping and overwhelm. Here are a selection of my favourite articles
Blogs are a great way of telling your story – they’re immediate and easily updatable. And you can start one really quickly, should the thought stop you from sleeping at night. Here are Carlys tips for starting a blog
I believe that statistics don’t necessarily equal success. Bloggers can look for other ways to reach success, form communities, and feel intrinsically rewarded through knowing their blog makes a difference to readers.
“Since that post, I’ve learnt it’s not about how many people visit my blog a day, but the difference I can make to just one person through sharing an authentic, engaging story on my blog. “
We’re making this blogging business up as we go along. That’s how new it is. Sure, there are many experts providing us great advice. But the great thing about blogging and having our own blogs is that it can be anything we want it to be. It’s ok to slow down or change direction or only post on Sundays.
Blogging is a great way to get practice, to show commitment to a task, to show that you can meet a deadline (even self imposed) and to show that you can handle criticism. Promoting it on social media might just get the attention of an editor who might want to republish and pay you for your awesome writing! Or a company might like your writing style and content so much they might ask you to work with you in a different way! Blogging gives you an awesome portfolio of work to show people you’d like to work with.
I see blogging for social good as using your blog space and time to raise awareness about a cause or charity. Kind of like volunteering at a hospital or taking part in a fun run. Only you can use your words and photos to spread the message, and there’s a chance you’ll have a far reach.
I admire those illness and health bloggers who are genuinely making the world a better place by responsibly sharing their stories online. And I am disappointed in those who take advantage of the vulnerable. There is no health blogger’s rulebook or union. I’m winging it. We all are. So I’ve made my own pledge to do the right thing by health bloggers, my community and my values.
Making Your Blog Disability Friendly
“There are also time and emotional constraints on how much we can give our readers. I don’t have the emotional stamina, time nor professional qualifications to give everyone the advice or support they are seeking. I have had to set boundaries about how much I can share with my readers.” Very interesting perspective.
Bloggers, by nature, like to share their lives online but what do you do when your readers overstep your boundaries and ask for advice or help you can’t give? Carly Findlay explains how she manages to balance her blogging audience.
- How to write sponsored + gifted blog and social media posts with integrity. (Has free printable!)
- I sold my blog for a bar of chocolate. Blogging and monetisation.
Leveraging social media
“Base model behaviour on those who who using social media for social good, and not on those who aren’t using it well at all. I challenge whoever it is that alerts those in charge about bad things happening on social media, to alert them to the good things too.”
Here are eight ways to use Instagram to build a strong chronic illness community, plus more bloggers with chronic illnesses for you to follow.
Dealing with the media
- What to consider when the media asks you for your story (about life with ichthyosis or facial differences or disabilities).
- Integrity, reach and tabloids
Writing For Other Publications
“Most of my pieces that have been published on Mamamia have already been on my blog. I figure, I’ve already written them and think they may apply to a wider audience, plus the tweaking they get when edited for Mamamia is good for me. I want to get paid for the new articles I pitch and write. Publication on Mamamia is excellent exposure that, along with my blog, has led to paid work. But I write for more than money.”
“Just because my writing style doesn’t suit a website, it doesn’t mean I’m not a good writer.
Most of my pitches elsewhere are accepted and get a great response from readers. I’ve won some awards. And I’ve helped people see a different perspective. For that I can be proud.”