Should I Blog? End of Course Survey

Hi everyone,
First off, I want to thank you all for participating in Should I Blog. I so hope that you were able to get something positive out of the course. If you feel like you want to do it again, feel free to sign up  for the April or May offering of the course. The material will remain available, and we’ll be using the same Facebook group. Also, please feel free to pass along the course website – – to anyone who you think might be interested.
I would like to ask that everyone please take a moment and complete the post-course questionnaire – even if your didn’t finish the course (or start it). 
The survey is available at:

Should I Blog? Week 4 Introduction (March 2015)

Hi everyone,
Welcome the to the last week of Should I blog? Although this is official the last week of the course, you are welcome to re-enroll in the course at any time in the future. The content for the course will remain available on the website indefinitely. The Facebook group is also available for anyone who wants to share their blog posts or ask questions. Please pass along the link to the site to anyone you think might be interested.
I have not added an activity or a discussion topic for week 4 – in part this is because the content is a bit more fragmented. You may find the topics interesting, or you may not. Personally, I’m just now exploring how one makes money from a blog – and as such, there is some content on that topic, which will likely be updated for the April or May version of the course. I would encourage you to not think about making money from your blog until you have written for at least six months and have some content – as it is the content on the blog that will bring people to your site.
If there are any topics or tips you’d like me to cover in more detail, please send along a note. I’m aware that much of the week 4 content is vague, and I’d like to make it more concrete – your questions help me do just that.
Next week I’ll be sending along a link for a post-course survey – when it comes, I’d appreciate your feedback.

Should I blog? Week 3 Introduction

Hi everyone,
Welcome to week 3 of Should I blog? The content this week turns a little more practical – we explore different blogging platforms.
I strongly recommend using a throw-away domain name – that is, start by picking something you do not want and play with it. Don’t be afraid to try out the various settings to see what difference they make. Also, please ask lots of questions. If you like a particular platform or domain, feel free to reach out to the cancer blog mentors that use the domain for help. They are here to help you!
I’ve chosen to provide overviews of four platforms in order of complexity: Tumblr, Blogger,, and Some would argue that Tumblr isn’t really blogging, but it can be. They have an easy-to-use platform that can be setup quickly and integrates really well with with mobile phones and tablets. Blogger is a great option if you already use Google (e.g. gmail) and you just want to get started writing. WordPress is the most common blogging platform, and provides more options but is a little bit more complicated to get started. As with all platforms, the easier it is to use, the less flexibility you get with it. You get the most flexibility if you self-host a WordPress blog. Note that most of my domains use WordPress (,,,, – each has different look at feel but the techniques used for creating them are the same. Knowing how to use WordPress to create websites is also a useful skill to have.
Hosting your own domain is not as complex as it sounds, especially if you have the support of a good provider. The folks at reclaim make it easy to setup, and it involves very little management once things are up and running. I’m happy to coach anyone who wants to use their services. I host and on reclaim hosting. They have given me some first year free discount codes – so if you want one, just reply to this email or email me. If you have never used WordPress before, I recommend you play a little with a throw-away domain before you start at reclaim. That way you already know a little about WordPress before you worry about domain hosting.
If you have already started blogging elsewhere and want to move to your own domain, I’m happy to help with that too. Some of the platforms allow for exporting and importing of your existing blog posts, making the transfer a lot easier.
If all goes according to plan, I’ll be away from my email on Tuesday and maybe Wednesday (for what I hope to be my last surgery). I should be back by Thursday with a mid-week update.

Week 2 – MidPoint Checkin

Hi everyone,
I hope you have found the time to explore the content for week 2, but also to reflect and start writing. Every blog should have a page (usually called About or About Me) that provides a brief biography of the author. If you are writing without using your actual name, then you should write your biography either completely without names or with a pseudonym.
I’ve moved the cautionary tail about images and blogs onto the week 2 content, as it fits more logically here. The key point to remember is that images carry a copyright, and that you cannot just use any image you find on the Internet. The easiest way to avoid copyright infringement is to only use pictures that you take.
Relating to this week’s topic, I wanted to highlight this morning’s blog post by one of our cancer blog mentors, Corrie Painter – – here she talks about an intensely private friend being mindful about maintaining that friend’s privacy.
If you are finding this course useful, please do me a favor and pass along the message to others. I’ve opened registration now for April and May. I probably won’t run a course in June due to vacation, but will be back again in July.
Your questions help shape the content of this course, so please ask questions. In week 3 I’ll be talking about a few specific blogging platforms (Tumblr, Blogger,, and

Should I Blog? Week 2 Introduction

Hi everyone,
Welcome to week 2 of Should I Blog? I’ve now posted the links to the Week 2 Content, Discussion, and Activities. See
In this week we look both internally and externally when we consider what to share on our blogs. There is no right answer to these questions – rather it is a matter of considering what you are comfortable with. With blogging you are self-publishing. I want to highlight that it is very important that you read the short bit on Responsible Self-Publishing.
I’ll also talk more next week (week 3) about sharing images – but for now, consider that copyright exists on images – especially those taken by professional photographers – so if you see a picture you want to include, don’t assume that you can without first checking to see if there are any copyright restrictions (assume there are unless otherwise listed).
If you have blogged a response to the discussion about where you draw the line, please email the link and I’ll add it to the list in “What to share and not share on your blog”.
As always, if you have any questions, feel free to drop me an email. This week I’m preparing the content for weeks 3 and 4.

Week 1 Mid-point Check-in

Hi everyone,

I hope week 1 of the course is going well for you. If you are new to the course, you can read the previous announcements by clicking on the Announcement menu on the course website.
I hope you have all found your way to the week 1 content. Some of you have mentioned that you are finding that there are too many blogs to look at – and too much content. I want to emphasize that what is important right now is not that you follow and read blogs, but that you look at the blogs for the types of things you like or dislike about them. Do you like the color scheme? The way the text is laid out? The fonts? What things appear on the left or right margins that are useful to you? Understanding the features you want will help you decide which blogging platform to use, and how you might wish to configure your blog.
I’ve done some improvements to the Week 1 content. Specifically, I have also added two new sections to the content for week 1: Blogging, Writing Therapy, and Journalling; and Blogs versus websites. I also added a paragraph under Following Blogs to talk about Facebook Pages.
If you are eager to get started, or are looking for a place to hold your ideas, consider using an app like Evernote ( It is free and works on all your devices. I will often have an idea for a post or an email (like this one), that I compose first in Evernote and then copy it over to my website. This also has the advantage of not having to worry about the connection when I’m writing. If you are writing a longer text, you risk losing it if the Internet connection fails – so it is best to write those longer text in some other application – e.g. Microsoft Word or Evernote – and then copy and paste it into your blog once it is ready.
Please at any time send in feedback, questions, and comments. Your feedback will help me better shape the content of the course. You can leave feedback or questions anonymously using this form (link is also in the header and footer of each page on the website): I’ve added a new check box question, so if nothing else, please send in your response to the check box so I know how things are going for you.

Welcome to Week 1

Hi everyone,

Welcome to week 1 of the free online course “Should I blog?”. Each week of the course I’ll post a short video clip with a couple of key points. If you navigate to the weekly menus at the top of the website (, you will see button at the bottom of each week labeled Content, Discussion, and Activity (note that since this is the first time the course has been taught, the content will be released each Sunday – or at least that is my plan).

This intake of the course will remain open until the end of week 1. After that, if anyone new wants to join, they will start the first week in April. If you know anyone that might want to explore this topic with you, please pass along the invite to join in.

Announcements for the course are send via email and posted on the Facebook Page and the course Website ( under the Announcements menu.

Course discussions will mostly take place on Facebook, but you are also welcome to post comments directly on the course website. When posting on the website, you can choose to use any identity you like – so you do not need to use your real name – just be sure to use the same email address each time (email address is not posted). The first time you post, your message will be held for moderation. Once your email address has been approved, new messages should appear immediately. This is one way in which to avoid spam messages on the course website.

Please take some time this week to look over the content, discussion, and activity for the first week of the course (under the menu “Week 1”). If you have any questions, you can post them on Facebook (preferred), leave a comment on the website, or reply to this email.

Happy Learning!

Rebecca (aka Becky)

Welcome to the course

Hi Everyone,

Welcome to Should I Blog, a free online course about blogging through illness. I will be sending out an email to this list once or twice a week throughout the course. You can unsubscribe at any time by clicking the unsubscribe at the bottom of this email. If that doesn’t work, reply to the email and I’ll remove you from my mailing list.

Please note that if you read the Introduction and Week 1 course content before March 1st, you may wish to go back and review it. Will be making changes and tweaks to the course content until March 1st – mostly to help ensure that everyone can participate at a level that they are comfortable.

If you do not already blog, then I recommend that you wait until week 3 of the course before you set something up. The topics discussed in the first three weeks are important things to consider before creating a public blog. If you feel the urge / need to write, you can start crafting blog posts in any word processor on your computer. Then, when you start your blog you will have content for the first few days/weeks.

Most of the discussion activity for this course will occur in the close Facebook group. If you wish to participate in the group, you must request to join ( ). It is a closed group, and posts are only visible to those who are in the group. There is also a Facebook announcement page, where messages like this will also be posted. If you wish to receive announcement on your Facebook stream, please like the page:

If you are not comfortable participating in the Facebook discussions, you are welcome to “lurk” – which means to just watch and read the discussions. You are also welcome to just email me or any of the other cancer blog mentors your answers to the course discussion questions. You may also wish to find someone in your face-to-face world in which to talk through some of the ideas presented in this course. I would encourage you to share and discuss the different ideas in whatever forum that works well for you.

If you are mostly participating offline, I would greatly appreciate the occasional email to let me know you are still here and are progressing well through the course. If you don’t post anything and don’t email me, I have no way to know how you are doing.

For some people, you may not yet be ready to read other people’s blogs about cancer. I began writing my blog months before I could contemplate reading other blogs. Also, note that the cancer blogosphere is over represented by those with metastatic disease – which again can make it difficult to read the blogs. If you are not ready yet, then I encourage you to choose another topic for exploring other people’s blogs. The lessons about how blogs look and are designed work just as well if you are reading travel blogs as it does illness blogs. I’ve added links to a few of my favorite travel blogs in the week 1 course content.

If you have any friends who might want to take the course, there is still time to sign up for the March intake. Please pass along the message.

I’m looking forward to virtual meeting everyone.