Why my blog will never go viral (reflecting on 2017 as a Watcher)

What I’ve learnt from blogging about chronic illness on Called to Watch

why my blog will not go viral www.calledtowatch.com #caregiver #struggle #chronicillness #writer #hope #chronic #faith #watching #prayer

At the moment, even as I’m preparing to look forward to Christmas, 2018, and the future – I’m also looking back.

This is what I’ve learnt:

1. I have everything to gain and nothing to lose

Blogging over the past year has taught me that Watching is a ‘thing’. By this, I mean, loving someone with a chronic illness is a state of being worth talking about. It’s a relationship worth sharing.

It’s actually an important part of who I am – just as it’s a crucial element to who a lot of people are!

It’s taken a long time for me to realise this. Perhaps too long – but when you are in something, and living something, it’s not a ‘Thing’ – it’s just life.

And that’s as it should be, in one sense.

Yet on the other hand, there is nothing to lose and everything to gain in talking about Watching.

If we share our struggles, our griefs, our joys and our questions, the worst that can happen is someone say I don’t get it. Watching, and everything you’re talking about Emily, it just does not exist in my world.

And that’s okay! That’s natural. We all have different ‘Things’ in our universes.

2. Just because it hurts doesn’t mean it’s wrong

If someone responds like that it may hurt. It may feel like they’re saying ‘I don’t get you.’ But that doesn’t make sharing wrong. Just difficult.

But what if I share, and someone looks me in the eye and says, ‘me too!’

What if they write a note which reads: I know what you mean.

Then love has been shared, understanding built, and perhaps, just perhaps, a life saved, a day redeemed, a perspective renewed, or a relationship restored.

Sharing about Watching someone struggle with an illness is hard work. It’s difficult to know what to write and what to tuck closer to our heart. It’s not easy to share your life, and open it wide to judgement and misunderstanding and criticism.

But just because it’s not easy, doesn’t mean it’s wrong.

3. This blog will never be popular – but I write anyway

Blogging has also taught me that even though Watching is a ‘Thing’ for me, it’s actually not a very big ‘Thing’ for many others.

What I mean is this: out of all the blogs on the internet – most of them are not going to be about Watching.

Out of everything that becomes an internet sensation – 9.999 times out of 10, it won’t be an article about loving someone with a chronic illness.

My blog will never become famous, well-read, or go viral. Partly because most people who are currently ‘Watching’ are actually busy (you guessed it!) Watching. They may not spend that much time on the internet, or if they do, they may not have the energy or inclination to interact or share.

In choosing this blog topic, I am not lining myself up to become a ‘successful’ writer.

Sometimes this can feel frustrating (who doesn’t want people to read what they’ve poured time and energy and money in?) but even so I know that it is good.

Just because it's difficult, doesn't make it the wrong path. www.calledtowatch.com #chronic #caregiver #caregiving #blogging #blogtips #Hope #Jesus #chronicillness #loneliness #joy #fait

4. I write because joy can exist in the midst of suffering

Why? It keeps me humble. It forces me to be dependent on God. It draws me back to the reason I created this blog.

Not to become a famous author, but to follow down a path I felt God leading me. To be faithful to the life and interests He has given me. To glorify His name, by trying to do well what I am called to do.

I chose this topic, not because it would have a wide audience, but simply because I cannot write anything else.

This is what I long to write, in this time, in this place, at this stage.

This brings me joy, this makes me excited, this keeps me up at 2 am and causes me to work 20+ hours some weeks on this blog after I get home from my day job.

God, in His utter mercy, has given me joy in the midst of what is still very real sorrow. I can’t speak for every Watcher.

I certainly can’t speak for those struggling with chronic illness, but I can speak for myself, and so I say:

This is what I learnt from half a year of ‘serious’ blogging:

It is:



Not widely applauded,

But a joy and a privilege,

To follow my calling

And write about loving people who are sick.

// What have you learnt over the past year? Any words of wisdom to share? I’d love to learn from them!

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I’m also on Facebook, Pinterest & Twitter! Meet me there for more interesting reads, resources and community.

And last but not least… Happy Christmas! I hope you all have a lovely holiday.

I’ll be back after the 25th, but in the meantime, here are 3 downloadable and printable cards suitable for someone with a chronic illness or anyone in need of some love!


Author: Emily J. M.

Hi, I'm Emily. Two of my closest family members struggle with chronic illness, and I watch them. That's hard, and so I write about life as a 'Watcher', what it looks like to support them and find Hope.

8 thoughts on “Why my blog will never go viral (reflecting on 2017 as a Watcher)”

  1. I’ve often had these kinds of thoughts about my own blogging journey. Particularly when you’re just starting out, there’s a lot of work and emotional energy that goes into it, and you just need to keep going because that’s what you believe God’s called you to do, which is hard when there’s so little evidence that anyone is even reading your stuff!
    When the discouragement used to get me down, I would ask God to send me some encouragement, and he always did! I’d get a random message from someone who had been silently following my blog for months, thanking me for my words of encouragement. And that verse from… can’t remember where!.. that says “Don’t become weary in doing good because you will reap a harvest if you don’t give up.” That kept me going too, in the establishment phase.
    I do get what you’re saying about your topic not being a “popular” type one. (I’m a bit the same. I write about grief and illness – not a bright and happy crowd-pleaser topic!!!) But for the other Watchers out there your words will be like a soothing balm to chapped and burning skin.
    I’m a chronically ill mother and my kids are still quite small. I’ve just discovered your blog today and will follow it, to help give me insights into my own children’s experiences as they grow. As much as possible I want to walk the grief journey with them as they adjust then readjust to the limitations my illness poses. So thank you for writing so honestly about your experiences – it will help me have greater empathy and awareness for my children.
    Ok, I’ve written an essay!! Time to stop. Be encouraged! Your God-given calling is bearing the fruit God wants it to bear. Perhaps he has just entrusted you with a medium-sized garden bed for now, rather than hundreds of acres of farmland, but just like in the parable of the talents, God gives us all different “talents” (missions) and what matters is that we are faithful with what he’s given us, whether it be 5 talents, 3 talents or even just 1. God bless you! Kristy ?

    1. I feel you Kristy – and thank you for your lovely comment from the bottom of my heart. It’s comments like these which make my day and make all the time and energy worth it. They always remind me that it is God working, not me! It means so much. <3
      That you are aware that it might be hard for your children is so important and half the battle (the other half is Jesus!).
      Thank you Kristy. Keep blogging also!

  2. The spirit of your blog really touches my heart. I have fought chronic illness for 20 years, and my 20 old daughter now lives across the country and is fighting so very hard against multiple co-illnesses that make living extremely hard and debilitating. and she moved across the country, so I am completely helpless, except for PRAYER! Thank you for taking the time to bring light to the challenges of loving…and encouraging…and feeling helpless…and finding hope…for the watchers

    1. Thank you Christa! Prayer is so important – and ‘Watching’ remotely is so difficult. I am always thankful we have God on our side, because helplessness is not fun at all. Thank you for your encouragement, and may this blog continue to bless you on your journey. 🙂

  3. I read your blog simply because I believe it is a subject/ministry that is overlooked when talking about chronic pain. Even as someone who has chronic pain personally, it has taught me to “watch” for other’s pain. I know this journey has taken a toll on my wife and kids, so I am very grateful that you write with their concerns in mind. I look forward to you speaking to our group. We are going to invite our friends and family to be with us that Tuesday. May God continue to bless you in this important work.

Thoughts? I'd love to hear from you, friend.