Guatemala-based blogger Aisling Walsh writes on a number of topics not often seen in blogs, including menstrual health and sexual and reproductive rights.
Aisling, who is starting a Phd at NUI Galway this year on healing in transitional justice processes, worked for human rights and development NGOs for the last five years.
As a result of her blog, aislingwrites.net, Aisling now writes full-time.
“I have made three attempts at blogging over the last 10 years, the last one has been the most successful in that it has facilitated my transition to freelance writing and has allowed me to connect with lots of other wonderful women writers and bloggers concerned with similar issues. I am now building up a steady portfolio of freelance work and I am finally able to dedicate myself 100% to writing, which is what I have always wanted.”
She said it is difficult to get established as a blogger, especially when writing about a niche topic. As a result, she primarily writes for other publications rather than her own blog.
“The blogging world is truly saturated, it is really hard to make any kind of impact or grow any kind of audience, especially if you are writing on not so mainstream issues like menstruation. It’s also really easy to get caught up in the frenzy of hits, and likes and follows and monetising and forget why you started writing in the first place. That is part of the reason why I have been focusing my energies on finding other places to publish. I haven’t completely given up on the blog but it isn’t my main focus anymore.”
As she writes about feminism and women’s rights, Aisling says she has been targeted by trolls online from time to time.
“If you write about anything to do with feminism, women’s rights or sexual and reproductive rights the trolls will begin to descend from the hills. Sometimes they are good for a giggle — there are comments on some of my HeadStuff articles that are longer than the article they are commenting on — but for many writers they reach very unpleasant and sometimes threatening levels.”
She said ignoring it is the only way to deal with online abuse: “Don’t feel you have to engage, the block button is your best friend.”