Welcome to The Invisible Vision Project’s Blog and, welcome to another episode of Guest Blogger Interviews, currently at Interview #4. For today’s interview, we have a guest blogger, Glen from Well Eye Never. Now, let’s get right into the interview with Glen:
- Please briefly introduce yourself.
Hi, my name is Glen, I’m 35 years old and I live in London. When I’m not doing my day job, I love going out and about in the city, making new friends and blogging about my adventures.
- What are your hobbies and interests?
I love going to the theatre, exploring museums, having fun at game and quiz nights, eating out, taking long walks and socialising with friends. And at home I love listening to music, and watching comedies and action dramas.
- Name your strengths? And your lacking?
I have a calm and positive outlook on life, I’m honest and never try to be someone I’m not, and I like to help others. But I can still be a little bit shy or nervous sometimes, and although I’m reasonably healthy I haven’t got into a regular exercise regime or sport yet, even though I probably ought to.
- What is the highest level of education you have completed so far?
I achieved a 2:1 degree in Accounting & Finance at university. I didn’t get a career in that field in the end, but I’m still very glad I did it, because it was very interesting and something I felt I was good at, so I learnt a lot from it.
- What is your current occupation?
I provide IT support for the printing section of the local authority where I used to live, looking after the system that does automated daily printing of bills, invoices, orders, letters, etc, while also preparing general mail merges and various other jobs for production. When I moved, they offered to keep me on as a homeworker, and so that’s what I do now. Sure, I do miss the banter and camaraderie a little bit, but I’m also happy working on my own, and we do keep in touch closely, so I’m happy with how it’s going.
- Where do you see yourself in five years?
Still in London for sure. Over the past couple of years, moving here and getting involved in blogging has changed my life massively. It’s allowed me to build on the confidence I’ve gradually acquired during my lifetime to meet lots of new people, visit lots of new places and try lots of new things. It’s resulted in some very surprising outcomes and opportunities, and still does. So I want to keep making the most of it, and haven’t looked too far ahead just yet. But in 5 years time I hope that I’m happily settled in a relationship and have had plenty of fun travelling experiences.
- Describe one of your proudest moments in your life.
Earlier this year I gave a talk to children at a primary school about my disability. They have a child there with the same conditions as me, so they felt I could help the other pupils understand him better by sharing my own experiences, and help them understand how to interact with disabled people in general.
It was only the second time I’d given a public talk about my life, and this was my very first time doing it for kids. So I was very apprehensive about it, and before my blogging days I would never have done it. But they had faith in me, so I pushed myself to do it, and it went extremely well. So I’m very proud I was able to connect with the children and raise positive awareness of visual impairment and disability with them, as I think it’s very important to educate people at a young age about that kind of thing.
- What is your biggest fear in life?
Being lonely and isolated was my major concern when moving to London, as it’s easy to be lost in the crowd and ignored in such a huge city. Making new friends in such a place can be very hard, and the fact that I have a disability, can be quite shy, and am working at home on my own means isolation is a very real risk. So I pushed myself and did all I could to try and make connections, by joining social groups offline and blogging online. Thankfully it’s paid off, but I was worried it wouldn’t at first.
And it’s similar thoughts of isolation that mean another big fear is losing my sight one day. I’m sure I could adjust to it given time and support, but it would be a very hard period of adjustment after all the years I’ve been used to seeing and getting around independently, as I would feel very isolated from the world around me.
- Please tell us about your blog: What is the title of your blog? When did you first get into blogging and Why did you start?
My blog is called Well Eye Never, as my eyes will never be perfectly healthy, and I hope my adventures will surprise people in a kind of “Well I never knew visually impaired people did that” kind of way. I started it in 2016, as a social media experiment while preparing to move to London. I had stumbled across other visually impaired and disabled bloggers and thought I’d try joining in to share my own experiences, help raise awareness and see if I could make some useful online connections. I didn’t expect it to last long or lead to much, but it’s evolved a lot since then. So now, as well as posting about my disability, I also talk about my adventures in London and beyond, and my interests such as music, TV, books, technology, etc.
- How would you describe your blogging style?
It’s very conversational. I like to keep the tone friendly and informal, as if I were chatting to the reader in person, and I want them to feel that they’re sharing in my experiences a bit. I certainly don’t want to come across as talking down to people. I also like to keep things varied, covering a mixture of topics all the time, as it keeps things interesting for me as well as the reader, and it gives a well-rounded view of who I am and what I do with my life.
- Who has impacted you the most in blogging?
Other bloggers and my followers have been a big influence on me. When I first discovered the disabled blogging community, I had no idea how widespread it was. But the more I got involved, the more people I came across (and still do now). It’s amazing just how many of us there are, with more joining in all the time. And I’ve built up a decent group of regular readers and subscribers, which is wonderful.
It’s a very friendly and supportive community all in all, and I’ve made lots of new friends through doing it, both online and offline, as there are a few people I’ve met in person as a direct result of it. Knowing I have so much support from other bloggers and followers has definitely spurred me on to keep doing it, and I’m very grateful for the warm welcome and encouragement I’ve received from everyone.
- How active are you on your blog and approximately, how much time do you spend blogging?
I’m regularly active on there and try to make a few posts each month. I can easily spend quite a few hours on my posts, as the time does fly by, and I’ll often write them in stages over a few days, to break things up a bit. I often do videos to go with my posts as well, which also takes a fair bit of time, with the editing, uploading and captioning required before I publish it.
I don’t have an actual posting schedule, because my leisure time doesn’t work that way. I do a variety of things, and every week and month is different, so adhering to a fixed timetable is impossible, and I don’t want to force myself to write a post just for the sake of it. I prefer to do posts whenever I feel ready to write them, either because I’ve done something interesting or inspiration has struck me for a topic to write about.
That said, when it comes to ‘regular’ posts, this year I have got into the habit of writing a Favourites post for each month, which has proven to be a good way of compiling and summarising things that I’ve been doing, including smaller things that don’t warrant big blog posts of their own but still deserve a mention. Again, their timing is random depending on my availability, but I am keeping up with them.
- Have you ever faced a challenging moment in your blogging journey so far?
Getting into the talk-to-camera style of YouTube videos was something I felt very self-conscious about at first, hence most of my early clips are slideshows with me talking over them. But I’ve become more comfortable with it as I’ve got used to doing it. And at least with those I can do multiple takes and edit out errors. You can’t do that with public speaking, which has been an even bigger challenge.
When I was first invited to give a talk last year for a group of adults, I seriously considered turning the offer down, as I/d never spoken to a crowd of strangers about my disability before. But I was persuaded to say yes and, after a lot of time writing and rehearsing my speech, it went extremely well on the day, despite my apprehension and nerves. So I was very proud of that.
Right now, however, my latest challenge is very different, as I’m doing a charity abseil, which is another very new experience! But I know I can do it, and I have a lot of support and sponsorship behind me for it.
- In the future, where do you hope your blog will take you?
Blogging about my disability and my lifestyle has allowed me to meet lots of wonderful people, try lots of new things and make lots of useful connections. And it gives support to other people with similar conditions, and to new parents of visually impaired children, by showing that it is possible to live a happy and fulfilling life with sight loss. So I hope my blog will continue to do all of those things and continues to reach a wider audience. I do enjoy writing it, so as long as people are interested and I have the time and ideas to devote to it, I’ll happily keep doing it. And who knows what opportunities it will lead to? I’ve had plenty of wonderful surprises already, and I have no doubt there are more to come.
- What would be one piece of advice you would give to first time bloggers?
Be yourself. Write about the things that are important to you, that you personally feel passionate about and that you know about. That’s where your best writing will come from and how you will best stand out from the crowd. Don’t worry about the number of followers others are getting, and don’t try to copy what others are doing just to try and keep up with them. There’s no right way of doing things, everybody’s different.
So just focus on your own posts about the things that matter to you, and promote yourself on social media, and your numbers will gradually rise as people discover you. It will be slow at first, but don’t worry about that, stick with it. You’ll get better at it the more you do it, and that will earn you more attention. And, as I’ve found, it only takes 1 person from your followers to become a great friend or to give you an amazing opportunity, regardless of whether you have 10 subscribers or a million. Big numbers are wonderful of course, but it’s who you connect with that can really matter, not how many.
Thank you so much Glen, for your very detailed answers to the interview and thank you everyone for reading! Some things to keep in mind: Currently, all of our guest bloggers have been either Disability and/or Life Style Bloggers. Please note that this Guest Blogger Interview opportunity welcomes all bloggers, this means, you don’t have to be a disability or a life style blogger to participate. Interview questions are relatively neutral rather than having a specific focus. So, I hope this will encourage more bloggers from all walks of life to get involved!
By: The Invisible Vision Project