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The Disabled Blogger Tag

Today marks the 1 year anniversary of my blog! *wahooo*
I was recently tagged in a "Disabled Blogger" Q&A. So for today's post, I thought it would be fun to get involved and give you guys an insight into why I started this crazy little journey.
1. When and why did you start your blog?

Blogging has always been something I've wanted to do. I talked about the idea for several years before publishing my very first post in May 2017.

I've always had a passion to work in the media, whether it be in front of the camera or behind the scenes. As an incredibly private person, I knew it was going to be a challenge for me to open up and start sharing certain aspects of my life.

2. Did you intend to talk about your disability online from the beginning?
Well the clue is in the name... A Life on Wheels! I always intended on talking about disability related topics, although I knew I didn't want that to be my main focus.

Obviously there's no hiding the fact I'm a wheelchair user. I enjoy reviewing access and sharing personal experiences, however a lot of my content ideas have to come me along the way.

3. Have you ever been sceptical about talking about your disability online?

100%! Not even my closest of friends know much about my disability or my day to day challenges. As cheesy as it sounds, I'm not defined by my disability. To most people I'm just Ross, which is exactly the way it should be. I read a quote online the other day that said: "If you can't stand up, stand out!" I think this might be my new motto in life.

Sharing my SMA Story on national awareness day this year was a big step for me.

4. What kind of response have you received in terms of your disability-related blog posts?

The majority of responses online have been incredible. I really appreciate all the support I've had in terms of views, comments and shares etc. A lot of effort goes into each post, so a simple 'like' goes a long way and I really do appreciate it.

Don't get me wrong, it's not been completely plain sailing. A few of my posts have caused some controversy along the way, and I have been subject to some negative comments. In particular a post where I criticised the staff at a restaurant staff for using the word 'normal people' against a group of my wheelchair-user friends. Even though the restaurant issued a public apology, I still received a backlash from all their loyal customers online.

My criticism of EasyJet airline and their disabled access also caused some negative feedback. But hey, it's all part of the fun! Everyone is entitled to their opinion and I get that. Putting myself out there like this gives people the opportunity to comment, and I'm totally cool with that. I only have an issue when the able-bodied muggles criticise things they know nothing about!

5. Do you write/talk about other topics apart from your disability?

Yes! I like to write reviews and document my trips away etc. For example I blogged about my adventure weekend at The Calvert Trust and my recent trip to Butlins. I also am a massive fan of live music/comedy events, so I like to share those experiences too.

6. What steps do you take to make your blog accessible to yourself as well as other people?

I'm a perfectionist. I tried so many different websites and layouts until I was happy. It was important for me to make a site that was personal, and something I could look back on and be proud of. I don't rush into anything, so making this blog as accessible and appealing was something I worked really hard on in the months leading up to sharing my first post.

7. What is your favourite thing about blogging about your disability?

One of my favourite things since creating this site is being able to connect with other bloggers and be involved in a community I knew nothing about. Twitter has been a great stepping stone for me.

8. What are your top three disability-related blog posts that you’ve ever published?

My 3 favourite posts so far have been:

9. Do you think that the disabled blogger/YouTube community is overlooked?

No, I don't think so. It's so easy to blame your disability if you're not achieving the success you had hoped for. This blog is a slow burner for me as I only create content part-time, however I do hope to be able to make this into a future career.

I very much believe that you get out of life what you put in. I agree that there aren't many disabled personalities in today's mainstream media. I'm dreaming big, but I do hope to make that leap one day!

10. Do you find it difficult to think of new disability-related content to publish?

As I am still very new to the world of blogging, I try not to put too much pressure on myself with targets and deadlines. I wouldn't be doing this if I didn't enjoy it.

My aim is to try upload a new post once a week, however sometimes life gets in the way. If that's the case, then I just won't post. I'll never upload something just for the sake of it, or if I don't feel passionate about it.

11. Do you think blogging about your disability helps to change people’s perceptions?

Definitely. Over the past year I've received so many lovely messages from people all over the world. Social media is such an incredible way of connecting with people and raising awareness of different issues.

12. Who do you tag?
A lot of my blogging friends have already completed this Q&A. So instead of pissing everyone off with more tags, I'm going to recommend three of my online favourites for you all to check out:
Emma is one of the first bloggers I connected with online last year. She writes about her travels and love of live music - which is something I am also very passionate about. Emma is from Scotland and was my go-to person for travel advice when I was in Glasgow a few months back. It's a shame I wasn't there for much longer than a day, as it would have been great to have met up in person!
• Carrie Aimes - Life on the slow lane
Carrie is one of the most supportive creators online. I love it when people encourage and build each other up. In order to run a successful blog, you've got to put the effort in behind the scenes. Carrie has always supported my posts and I really do appreciate it. Carrie has a form of Muscular Dystrophy and often blogs about her life experiences, as well as writing reviews and interviews for other brands.
I discovered Gem on twitter last year after she won "Blogger of The Year" at the Diversity in Media Awards. Since then we have shared several messages online, and she always brings a smile to my face. As well as writing, Gem also makes video blogs via YouTube. She has the best sense of humour and has done some great work for the Brittle Bone Society.
Thanks again to everyone who has supported my blog over the past 12 months. I honestly love what I do and I'm so excited for what's to come!
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