(A really old picture from my first blogging days. Yikes.)
If, as Ernest Hemingway so rightly said, “There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed,” then I am convinced that to blog, all one must do is sit down at a computer and drool.
I read a post recently by my fellow blogger Lani about who we write for; ourselves or an audience. It got me thinking about who I write for. Which got me thinking about why I write, which got me thinking about where I started and where I am now. (Yeah, the long, meandering paths of my brainwaves are fascinating.) I know that to be a really effective lifestyle blogger, you have to write what you want. Obviously the quality of writing counts, but the most important thing is to write about something you care about. This was good advice for essays in high school, and it’s good advice for blogging.
I got started on my blog a few years ago. I think I may have changed names a few times, so you can’t find my very first posts. At that time, I was obsessed with A Beautiful Mess blog. It’s changed in the years too, but it was absolutely visually addicting to me at the time. I don’t remember if I started my blog before I found the site or after, but it definitely made a huge impact on my style and intent. I had no focus at first; it was really just a random web log, full of inanity about silly things. ABM helped me create an intent and purpose for my blog.
I struggled in the next few months, trying to find the balance between writing what I wanted and writing for an audience to attract a readership. Elsie from ABM gave very provocative numbers for her viewers, and she made a heck of a lot of money off of her site. I wanted that too, so I was challenged to find some avenue that wasn’t hackneyed that I could actually write about with any authority.
My posts in those days ran from daily life anecdotes, which were awful, short stories, and random cool stuff I found on the internet. It wasn’t any good, really, and I knew it. I stopped blogging for a while before I came to Taiwan. It was only in the, hmm, maybe four months or so before I moved that I started it up again. This time my focus was on natural living and remedies. I’d gotten on a kick of homeopathy, so my posts were a lot of natural beauty care trials, making water kefir, etc. I think it was at that point that I renamed it ‘The Flying Armchair.’ I sure had a lot of fun doing the natural stuff, but it didn’t really attract many readers.
After knowing I was coming to Taiwan, I revamped the blog and started tailoring it for a travel direction. But even then it wasn’t super successful. I still hadn’t gotten a hang of photo-editing, and I was posting almost every day. I knew that blogs that posted more often did better, but only if they had quality stuff. My stuff was okay, but I would push for content and it showed.
I was still writing to reach an audience, one that shared my interests, but I was way too focused on a crowd. As such, by New Year’s, I was flagging. I had lost interest and was just posting to keep my friends and family updated. Fortunately, that all changed.
In February, and I know the date because I know the post that began my new journey, I started a new focus for my blog. I was tired of writing silly stuff or just posting boring play-by-play narratives of what I did. I was really into living the dream life at the time (still am), and was reading a lot about ways to optimize performance, ways to increase productivity, why loving your job matters, and so on.
So I posted a motivational post, and voila. People seemed to like it. I did more. They liked that too. I started getting more comments and more followers. I’m still small, and that’s okay. I like what I’m doing and what I’m writing. It’s finally become as fun as I had hoped. I like posting my thoughts on life. I didn’t think anyone would care, but it seems they do.
Right now this blog is still a travel lifestyle blog, but it’s changed in the past and it will continue to change with me. It’s on this journey of life alongside me. I can’t predict if people who followed me for my Taiwan adventure will care about my college experience, but I’m optimistic that other people will enjoy it.
So that’s my blogging story. I’ve come a long way, and I like where I’m headed. What’s your story?