Tuesday, 26 January 2016

Lessons Learnt: Blogging

There are certain things in life we learn from doing and certain things we learn from other people's experience. Unlike school subjects or college classes, the topics of these lessons aren't specifically disclosed. You have to know which lesson to learn and which wisdom to take out of it all. One of the things you can do to become a successful person in life is to acknowledge the lessons you've learnt and, if possible, share them with other people. Sharing knowledge, as opposed to popular belief, can actually make you smarter, wiser and a better person. Plus, it can be so much fun! Here's to lessons learnt and me sharing them with you.

Today is the 4th anniversary of this little ol' blog! Can you believe it? When I started out, I honestly didn't know whether four years later I would still be here—although, well, four years ain't that long—but I'm glad I'm still doing this. You can actually still read my first post in 2012, which is so different quality-wise to what I've been doing lately. Hopefully, you have noticed the growth as well—so that it won't seem all-in-my-head as much. You may think I'm hardly the blogger to give "tips" on this topic, seeing as how few experience I have in terms of sponsorship and haters—or whatever else other bloggers normally go through—but I feel like I've learnt quite a number of things throughout the past few years and I'd like to share them with you all.

Show Your True Colour

The first few months of blogging, I was afraid of its unwritten rules: How far should I expose myself before I lose my readers? Should I post about anything other than clothing, since I don't understand fashion very well? Was it okay to reveal my love for Japanese animation and culture? Back then I was exposed almost exclusively to fashion blogs which are so glamorous and brand-oriented that I wasn't sure I would fit in. Almost like moving into a new school. But, over the years, I learn that it's actually quite all right—necessary even!—to be different, to be myself. It's what makes people flock to read your blog, what makes it so unique. There are tons and tons of different genres of blogs out there and boxing yourself to just one is ridiculous—should be a crime even! So embrace who you are and who you want to be and let that shine through your posts.

Quality Over Quantity

Now this is something I've been struggling with over the years. I admit there have been times when I feel guilty about not posting according to my schedule—which was too packed for a uni student, actually—so I went ahead and came up with a crappy post. I don't know if you could tell but—I kid you not—I still cringe when I see these posts even months or years later. The exact opposite goes to my high quality posts. Whenever I see them, I smile in satisfaction and pride. That is why this year I'm making it my policy to spend less time publishing posts and more time planning them and putting my heart into them, so that only the best quality posts make it to the blog. Not only that, the time I don't spend on writing snafu posts can be used to create a new layout design or preparing better contents. Because, hey, everything in life worth having comes with hard work and process. So it's okay to make your readers wait a while to give them something worth waiting for.

No Harm in Bragging

Before I moved back home, my blog has always been a kind of private place for me, despite wanting to be discovered. I didn't feel comfortable sharing about it on my social media, convinced that it would be perceived negatively by my acquaintances and friends. It would seem like I was being a self-absorbed bitch who wanted to flaunt her vanity. But, it turns out, sharing my posts and blog-related photos on social media attracted people with pretty much similar interests as myself. It let me befriend plenty of bloggers and illustrators, who I only looked at from afar before, unsure whether saying "hello" would have been an appropriate gesture. Not only that, it has also brought more people to my blog, more people to care about what I have to say and enjoy the photos that go with it. This blog is part of who I am now and one should never feel guilty about being themselves. Of course, everything in moderation.

Kindness Goes a Long Way

This is something I've learnt only recently, probably in the last 12 months. Not only in blogging, actually; this tip will help you in life too. Last year has been the year for me to spread more kindness to everyone I meet, both online and offline. It has also been the year I apologised for my previous mistakes and rekindled friendships which have been lost. It has helped open several doors for me throughout all the time I've been blogging—despite the facts that people come and go in this trade. It has allowed me to befriend many amazing and inspiring people, which has been rather rewarding in its own way. Also, I'm a true believer that being kind does not chip away something inside of you. Sharing kindness and giving it to others doesn't cost you a thing—if anything, it gives you more than you've given away. And, chances are, people who receive your goodwill will feel the need to reciprocate or pay it forward. When this trade happens often enough, little by little you become friends. See how far you've come?

Be Kind to Yourself

Yet another item that I've learnt only recently. This has so much to do with point number two. When I first started blogging, I posted almost everyday on account of how little I had to do and how bored I was. It was new, fun and exciting! I was addicted. But little by little, I felt more and more pressured to post as much as possible in the course of a month or a year. Sometimes it became stressful and started to drown me. The weirdest part is: I'm not even being paid to do this. It was all a kind of binding contract which I thought I had with my readers—but you guys don't care when I post, right? That's when I started to think about it really carefully. What have I got to lose if I post less? Will something bad happen when I do? Who has anything to gain from me posting so much? Just in case you didn't know the answer, it was the negative for all. So let yourself rest when you need to, or when you hit a wall. It's okay to step away from the laptop sometimes and forget about this world. Don't let the blog control you; make sure you control the blog!

I know most of you have probably been in this world longer than I have, so if you have anything more to share, please do leave them in the comments below! It's always inspiring to hear stories of people doing the things they love. If there's anything to take away from this post, it's this: you blog for yourself first, before anyone else!

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