Guys. Can you believe that it’s the middle of February already?! January seemed to last forever so it’s like February is speeding up to compensate for lost time. Also, it boggles the mind that it’s been TWO YEARS since I started blogging? If you do the math, that’s approximately 100 blog posts! If you had told me that I had to write 100 blog posts in two years, it would’ve seemed impossible, but all those little steps towards a long held goal led to where I am now.
Coming out on the other sides of things, I love reflecting on what I’ve learned along the way. Last year I mused over the lessons I learned about the act of blogging but this year I contemplate on more existential lessons like what keeping a weekly blog has taught me about myself.
Here are 8 things blogging for 2 years has taught me about myself:
1/ YOU CAN’T BE EVERYTHING FOR EVERYONE
Before having written anything, I was concerned about appealing to the MOST people possible. Did I list ALL of the best things to eat in Marrakech? Was my writing TOO personal? While the first year of blogging was dedicated to learning the basics, the second taught me to hone in on and emphasize the aspects that set me apart. Why was I trying to water down what made me unique to be more palatable for the masses? There is an audience for everyone and return visitors are interested in your opinions and curated picks.
2/ IT’S IMPOSSIBLE UNTIL IT’S DONE
For the longest time, I put off starting a blog because I couldn’t fathom how I could add a regular writing commitment to my already lengthy laundry list of weekly responsibilities. Two years and 100 posts later, I realized that if you really want to do something, irregardless of how jam-packed your schedule is, you’ll find a way to make it work. Of course, something’s gotta give like maybe you order out more to save time on cooking, but eventually it’ll become a habit that is seamlessly integrated into your day.
3/ DON’T GIVE YOURSELF THE OPTION
At 18, my mom moved from Trinidad to Toronto with her younger siblings, went to school, got a job, kept house – all without her parents. Incredulously I asked her how she managed it, to which she shrugged and replied simply “I had to.” It’s the same mindset I have towards blogging. No matter how busy or tired or uninspired I may be, posting a blog every Wednesday is non-negotiable. This has taught me that the key to success is to not even entertain the idea of an escape route, subconsciously or otherwise. Just put your head down and plough on towards your goal.
4/ UNDERSTANDING THAT SOCIAL MEDIA IS A TOOL
Gamification is an effective method to engage us with a product or service with the same obsessive fervour reserved for endless hours of Candy Crush. While I enjoy curating my IG feed and interacting with the online community, the vanity metrics involved (follows and likes) is akin to progressing levels in Super Mario – satisfying but ultimately pointless. While I derive more fulfillment from developing my blog posts, I accept that social media is a great means of promotion and measurement which puts things into perspective. It’s a conduit for communication NOT a source of validation.
5/ DEFINING WHAT MAKES CONTENT VALUABLE
When you are on a tight deadline, it’s tempting to fall into writing predictable posts that have been long exhausted but is that worthwhile? Real value comes from combining your unique perspective while considering where there is a need. When I’m brainstorming what to write, I start by thinking “What do I always search before going on a trip?” or “What life lessons have I learned that I wish someone had told me?” Like New York based writer and artist, Austin Kleon said: Create what you want to see in the world.
6/ CLARIFYING TRAVEL PRIORITIES
Writing about travelling and having the memory of an absent-minded goldfish means that I have to be extra vigilant about photographing and recording everything – where I go, what I eat, how much it cost, helpful tips, etc… That makes it difficult to live presently and actually enjoy experiences but blogging has clarified that being in-the-moment is my top priority. Instead of being LESS present, blogging has resulted in me being MORE present than I had been before because it became a reoccurring issue that I had to deal with.
7/ VALUE vs EGO
With the rise of The Influencer, has come endless mocking about the ridiculousness of the self-proclaimed moniker. It conjures to mind talentless Kardashian-wannabes who want to get paid big bucks from sponsors to do minimal work. Essentially, people want to get paid for living their life (who doesn’t, AmIRight?). I resisted blogging for so long because I didn’t want to throw my lot in with the frivolously entitled which forced me to distinguish the difference between propping up my ego and providing value. Am I projecting an idealized life to incite envy or am I trying to create content that actually helps people?
8/ VULNERABLE INVINCIBLE
I’m the kind of emotional person who feels so much that I laugh and cry in quick succession during Grey’s Anatomy episode yet I am loath to express vulnerability. I used to think being and showing vulnerability was a shameful weakness but blogging has proved to me that it allows people to empathize with your pain and relate to you. It seems a contradiction but being vulnerable is the most powerful thing you can do because it gives your audience permission to be vulnerable as well.
If you’re thinking of putting together a website, here are some more tips that you may find helpful.
Keep your stalking game strong and follow me @teriaki if you aren’t already!
Photo Credit: Cameron Joseph Fliegel