I think most of us who blog love to connect with each other.  I often think of blogging as a solitary event, something I do out of a need to tell my story.  I realize as I blog that others might not be interested in what I have to write, that is part of blogging.  Still, I feel like there is someone out there who is searching for similar experiences, because they are going through the same thing.  Otherwise, I would not continue to blog.

RABlogWeekwordmemeThat was the reason I started the #RABlog week event.  I wanted to put in place the common experiences of others who blog, so we could for one week speak not with one mind, but with multiple minds about common topics.  Then I wanted a site to link the results in one place so others can find and enjoy them.   With the help of CreakyJoints and WEGO Health, #RABlog week did just that and more.

Blog week is not a new idea.  It has been successfully done in the Diabetes community by my friend Karen Graffeo and in the knitting and crochet community where the concept originated,  Knitting and Crochet Blog Week.  Even the idea that such an event would be stated in a non-health related community, then massaged and implemented in the diabetes community and now make it to the RA community is amazing.  The reason it has such broad appeal is twofold.

First, it creates genuine cross pollination of ideas among bloggers.  When we get the prompts, we each get to decide how we will approach the subject.  Sure the prompts are the same, but our experiences are so different and unique that we get different takes on the subject.

Second #RABlog week offered a place to collect these blogs in a single location for others to view.  The collection of these blogs makes it powerful.  Most RA bloggers probably have written about the topics we explored.  But to do it in one week, locked in time and to post those results in one place amplifies the reach of our writing.

Take for instance the amazing reach of two bloggers (both from CreakyJoints who tackled the first day prompt “A day (or an hour) in your life”.  Lene Andersen of TheSeatedView gives us the incredible story of her day when pain becomes center stage in her life while Karen, TheOriginalDragonMother, tells us of her pill regimen.  It is the same prompt with very different answers.  Nowhere else does a reader get to experience that diversity of experience written about in the most personal terms imagineable.

In total, we completed and posted 178 blogs by 33 bloggers on topics ranging from “How to explain RA to another person” to “Five things we have learned” about ourselves as people with RA.  Perhaps not surprising the most blogged about topic was “Managing fatigue associated with RA”.  But all the prompts offer some great insights into our life with RA.

During the week bloggers from five countries on four continents participated in the event.  This represents the diversity of our community and the amazing reach of the effort.  People who blogged during RA Blog week have dealt with rheumatoid arthritis as well as  juvenile arthritis and psoriatic arthritis.

If you like, you can view links to each blog at RADiabetes.com.  To view the blogs, select the topic that interests you and you will be directed to the link page for each day.  When you visit the links please be sure and browse.  If you do, you may reacquaint with some old friends you have read in the past and some new friends you never knew existed.

As good as 2015 #RAblog week was, there is room for improvement and planning for 2016 #RABlog week has already begun.  In 2016 I hope to have more Twitter support for blogs as they are written that week, new logo, and new prompts.  But one thing will never change and that is the question for the final day of #RABlog week: tell us about great blogs you have read.  Because the principle aim of #RABlog week will always be to help people discover great writing about RA.