Tuesday 20 April 2021

Book Review: Everything Disordered: A Practical Guide to Blogging, by Aimee Wilson

Aimee Wilson blogs at I’m NOT Disordered and has guested here at Gum on My Shoe on several occasions. I’m delighted to have this opportunity to review her new book Everything Disordered: A Practical Guide to Blogging.

Paperback: 222 pages
ISBN-13: 979-8713490348
Amazon UK | Amazon COM


This book will be of interest to anyone thinking about starting a blog but it is probably most relevant if you are blogging — or contemplating blogging — in the mental health arena. The majority of examples are drawn from the author’s experience and blog posts in this area.

Trigger Warnings

Everything Disordered includes some very honest descriptions of the author’s lived experience of mental illness, abuse, suicidality, and self-harm. This could be distressing or triggering for readers, but the author opens with a detailed note on content and trigger warnings, which also serves to orient the reader for the rest of the book.

Organisation and Content

The book is organised into seven parts.

  1. Should you blog?
  2. Choosing a blog name
  3. Blog posts
  4. Blogmas
  5. Collaborations
  6. Press and media
  7. Top tips for blogging

Each part contains practical suggestions, advice, and guidance drawn from the author’s experience as a highly successful blogger, amply illustrated with examples from her own blog posts. This approach echoes how Fran and I wrote High Tide, Low Tide: The Caring Friend’s Guide to Bipolar Disorder, illustrating our ideas and approaches with excerpts from our conversations to show how we put those ideas into practice. Everything Disordered takes this a stage further by including worksheets which the reader can use to explore the ideas and decisions being discussed. These and the title pages for each major section make for a colourful and engaging design.

It’s worth noting that the book doesn’t discuss the relative merits of different blogging platforms (WordPress, Blogger, Wix etc), software, or technology (computer, laptop, phone, tablet, etc). This is actually a strength, because any such advice would soon become out of date. Instead, the author focuses on the creative processes involved in blogging, which are mostly independent of platform and gadgetry.

Part 1: Should you blog?

The book opens by inviting the reader to explore why they want to start blogging, and whether they have the qualities to succeed. As a blogger myself I found this part really interesting and relevant. I agree with the author that passion is very important; passion both for your chosen subject area and for the practice of writing and maintaining a blog. Other qualities discussed are time, bravery and purpose, having a good support system, and creativity. The section on having a good support system resonated with me. Like the author, I find blogging can be a lonely pursuit and it helps to have people around you who are supportive, but who also acknowledge your autonomy and creative boundaries.

The author covers potential downsides to blogging such as triggering, overwhelm, struggling with boundaries, and receiving unwelcome reactions from others. The reader is encouraged to consider both the positive and negative aspects of blogging, and this section of the book includes the first of several worksheets for the reader to use.

Part 2: Choosing a blog name

Choosing a name for your blog might not seem that big a deal, but once chosen it’s something you are likely to be stuck with. There’s another worksheet to use when exploring ideas. The author describes how the name of your blog may influence how memorable your blog is and how other people perceive you. Also important is whether the name relates to your theme, purpose, and audience. These are relevant questions no matter what your subject area is, and are a good example of the book’s applicability beyond the mental health arena.

Part 3: Blog posts

This part of the book focuses on writing and publishing a blog post. I found the author’s discussion of sources of inspiration interesting because I use similar sources in my own blogging; personal experience, quotations, and media including social media. The author uses these in different ways to me, though, which has given me new ideas for my future writing. The media section, in particular, has led me to rethink my reluctance to blog about controversial current affairs topics. This part of the book closes with some top tips, a prepublication checklist, and some pros and cons about using photos and images, especially personal photos. I’ve written previously about choosing images for your blog posts and it’s interesting to see how another blogger approaches this topic.

Part 4: Blogmas

The book next covers the phenomenon of blogmas. (“Blogmas is where you publish a blog post every single day from December 1st until Christmas.”) The author covers the process in depth, from conceiving, planning, and writing a lengthy series of daily posts, to the benefits and potential drawbacks. There are two worksheets, and examples of the author’s blogmas posts. I’ve not attempted blogmas myself but the ideas are relevant to any series of posts and I’m sure I’ll find them useful. Topics include setting an overall theme for the series, collaboration (covered in more detail in part 5), guest posts, Q&As, and the importance of good time management and preparing material well in advance.

Part 5: Collaborations

Collaboration can be a valuable and rewarding part of blogging and the author shares tips and suggestions, generously illustrated with articles written in collaboration with organisations that include NHS Foundation Trusts, FutureLearn (an online training provider), Cats Protection, and LNER (London North Eastern Railway). Event blogging is covered in a similar manner. This is another section I found really interesting. I have blogged several events but have very limited experience of collaborating with others.

Part 6: Press and media

Working with the press and media is another area where I have very limited experience. The author’s wide experience is clear and there is a great deal for the reader to pick up and learn from.

Part 7: Top tips for blogging

The book closes with top tips for blogging, focusing on three key areas: confidence and self-belief; finding a sense of community, audience, and support; and appreciating that blogging can be a source of ongoing learning, personal development, and change.


It should be clear that I found Everything Disordered very relevant to me as a blogger in the mental health space. My life experience, writing style, and approach to blogging are very different to the author’s, but I found the book to be a wholly honest and realistic look behind-the-scenes at what it takes to be a successful blogger. I’ve learned a lot and look forward to putting what I’ve learned into practice.

Social media undoubtedly has its dark side. The author does not shy away from this reality but shows that social media in general — and blogging in particular — can be overwhelmingly positive and beneficial. Examples of how blogging has enriched and expanded the author’s life run through the book. One of my favourite quotations highlights the impact her words have had on others.

A little while after the blog post was published, a reader contacted me to tell me that after reading the post she had finally reported the abuse she’d experienced years before. [...] For the first time, I really realised that my words — my experiences, could have such a huge and important impact on readers.

Everything Disordered, page 62

This is expressed perfectly in the foreword, written by Debbie Henderson, Director of Communications and Corporate Affairs at Cumbria, Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust:

I would encourage anyone considering setting up a blog to read this book, not only as a practical guide, but as a true insight into the difference a well-run blog can make, not just to the author, but potentially to many other lives.

I will close with a shorter version of this review which I will post on Amazon.

A fascinating read, packed with advice and tips for the budding blogger

This fascinating and informative book is packed with behind-the-scenes insights, practical advice, and suggestions from Aimee Wilson who runs a highly successful blog called “I’m NOT Disordered.” The book is essential reading if you blog, or are thinking of blogging, in the mental health arena but the wide range of topics and ideas make it relevant no matter what you blog about.

The book covers whether blogging is right for you, choosing a name for your blog, writing and publishing posts, collaborating with individuals and organisations, event blogging, and working with the press and media. There is also a chapter on blogmas (publishing one blog post every day from December 1 until Christmas) which would be helpful when planning any series of blog posts. There are loads of tips and examples from the author's blog, and colourful worksheets you can use to explore the ideas yourself.

Highly recommended.

Everything Disordered: A Practical Guide to Blogging by Aimee Wilson is available in print from Amazon and other sellers. (Amazon UK | Amazon COM)

You can follow the author Aimee Wilson on her blog I’m NOT Disordered and on Twitter (@aimes_wilson).


1 comment:

  1. Exploring mental health is an interesting activity. So, thanks for sharing this great resource for doing so.