5 Hard But Valuable Lessons Learned From 5 Years Of Blogging

Blogging isn’t always easy. It can be a lot of work with quite a few lessons along the way.

This month marks five years since I started this blog about multiculturalism, being Asian Australian and cultural stereotypes. Reflecting on this milestone, I never anticipated this blog would still be going today. I also never imagined my blog would have a bit of a following and helped me become a better writer. To be honest, blogging has been challenging.

The path of art and passion isn't always the easiest. | Weekly Photo Challenge: Scale.

The path of art and passion isn’t always the easiest. | Weekly Photo Challenge: Scale.

The more you blog, the more your blog becomes a notable part of your life. The more you blog, the more you realise it can be hard keeping up the blog and juggling it with the rest of your life – but it’s doable. Here are some valuable, reality-check lessons that I’ve learned from being a blogger.

Time management is your best friend

To achieve something, you have to show up and do that thing you want to do. A blogger needs to blog to make a blog. For many bloggers who focus on exploring certain themes and niches within their blogs, putting together each blog post takes planning, takes time.

Brainstorming blog ideas. Scheduling and writing posts in advance. Engaging with the comments section. Social media promotion. Reading other blogs to see what other bloggers are up to, making connections and finding inspiration from them. This is all what a dedicated blogger typically does. In 2016, a survey of 1,055 bloggers around the world by web design firm Orbit Media revealed more bloggers are spending more than 6 hours writing a blog post (average length 1,050 words), 95% promote their blogs on social media and more are blogging monthly. As a blogger, you need to make time for your blog and work that around your life in the offline world.

Most of my blog posts come from ideas I’ve been mulling over for a year or two. Each post (one post a month) is usually written a month or two month in advance. Writing each one involves jotting down my ideas, Googling to see what has been said, then reflecting on my ideas, and then drafting and editing the post. Visiting and commenting on blogs is something I do for an hour or a bit more most days.

Most weeks I’ll make time after work to work on a blog post for a few hours, after taking care of things at home or catching up with friends. Usually it takes about three weeks to finish a post (including post-processing photos), sometimes much longer. Somehow I’ve been pretty consistent with my posting schedule and today there are 164 posts on this blog.

Art takes time to create, time to imagine and let go.

Art takes time to create, time to imagine and let go.

Failure is an option

Many bloggers blog with goals in mind. Sometimes they will fall short of these goals and may want to rethink their blog approach. Some share their day to day lives, but perhaps not when life gets tough. Others bloggers blog strategically to make a tidy profit off blog traffic and sponsorships which aren’t always guaranteed. There are over 440 million blogs across various online platforms today and over 81.8 million posts are published on WordPress each month, and so making your blog stand out – even as part of a niche – can be hard.

Initially I started this blog to share my academic works on multiculturalism, racism and cultural studies. I also wanted to connect with Australian writers and grow my skills and presence as an Australian writer. The former has eventuated but the not the latter. Most of my readers are from the States; this could be because there is less of a blog scene in Australia. In 2010, social media analytics company Sysomos analysed more than 100 million blog posts; most bloggers were located in the US at 29.2%, and Australia was located 10 places below at 2.2%.

Two years after starting this blog, I decided to switch up my writing style and narratives – shifting from academia linguistics to colloquial semantics, writing more about universal human experiences from a cultural perspective. Since then, my writing seems to have become more relatable and it has been challenging finding time to engage with the quite a few of you who stop by here – and as much as I want to read everyone’s blogs and every one of your posts, it’s impossible and maybe it’s also time to do less of it  😦

Art takes practice, practice over and over again.

Art takes practice, practice over and over again.

Drama

Not everyone will like your blog. Not everyone will agree with what you share online. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion. At times others will incessantly make themselves be heard (think internet trolls, warrior keyboards, flamers), and bloggers and readers alike may find themselves on the receiving end of opinionated perceptions and bullying. Pew Research Centre conducted a study of online harassment on 2,849 web users in 2014. It found 40% personally experienced it and 22% mentioned this experience took place in the comments section of websites.

When I published the post Understanding the Asian-Girl-White-Guy Relationship, many disagreed with my take on this topic in the comments section and through email. To quote, some readers commented I’m using my blog to ‘aid (my) dream of getting a white man’, implied I am a white worshipper with ‘hidden agendas’, told me to ‘stop being racist’ and that I should ‘remove the world multicultural from anything talking about yourself. It’s an embarrassment’. These assumptions were very amusing to read because I never have and never will talk about my romantic relationships online, and am simply putting common thoughts about the world out there.

Aside from verbal criticism, I’ve encountered bloggers who copy-pasted my work onto their own blogs without my permission. As bloggers, we are vulnerable. We put ourselves and what we’re passionate about out there with the best of intentions – one bad word about what we do can bring ourselves down unless we are thick-skinned enough to move along from a bad moment and move forwards.

More than just a blogger

Bloggers are more than their blogs. Being a blogger often involves multi-tasking, thinking outside the box and perhaps learning and taking on different roles over time. As a blogger, you’re an entrepreneur, and your blog is your small business.

Through blogging, I’ve learned how to use a camera and take photos for this blog, and in the process became a once-off paid, published photographer. Learned to promote my blog across social media. Learned to brand my blog as SEO-friendly and turn it into a portfolio of written works, which has opened up freelance opportunities.

Consequently, a blog can be a springboard towards career-wise goals or artistic ventures. According to best-selling author and digital nomad Danny Flood, a blog can open up ‘side hustles’: creating a product-facing blog instead of focusing on getting more page views is key to building the right relationships and sustainable networking opportunities.

Being a blogger who wears many hats, you learn what you never thought of before and learn what you couldn’t do and do it. You learn to become more than your blog, and you learn to become more than who you once were, online and offline.

As an artist, we wear different caps and at times feel the world is at our feet.

As an artist, we wear different caps and at times feel the world is at our feet.

Not everyone will be your friend

Not everyone will be drawn to your blog. Not everyone will come back for a second look. Everyone has their own tastes and it’s up to them how they want to spend their time, reading a blog or not.

It’s humbling to have regular readers on this blog, readers who leave a reflective peace of their mind as opposed to just leaving a quick ‘Like’ for a ‘Like’. At the same time, it’s sad seeing some readers fade away and some bloggers one day deciding not to blog anymore (likely moving forward with their lives sans blogging for the better).

In the real world, the number of my friends who read my blog (and encourage me to write), I can count on one hand. With most of my friends, we rarely talk about my blog when we hang out. It’s not a bad thing: it’s cool I’m a multicultural blogger, but my friends see me as much more than that.

* * *

When you’ve achieved what you wanted to achieve, where do you go from there? For many artists, change is the motivation we need to keep creating our art, to keep finding fun and purpose in it, to keep doing it. Blogging is an art given that it almost always involves creating something from scratch and so, bloggers are artists.

Over the last five years, I’ve achieved what I wanted to achieve with this blog: built an outlet and writing portfolio expressing thoughts on culture and the world, became a better writer. There have been things I got out of blogging that I didn’t expect: been invited to give a few talks on multiculturalism, led me to be a published book author in Lady by the River, landed freelancing writing gigs and met some of the nicest people on here.

Who knows where art can take you.

Who knows where art can take you.

For many artists, time is what we need to create what we want to create. Separate from that, we need to be in that headspace that allows us to create. As writer Jeff Goins said, when we’re not feeling creative sometimes we have to give up our passion momentarily and solve creative blocks with uncreative solutions. Whether or not we feel creatively inspired can depend on where we are at in our lives. At different phases of our lives there’ll be different priorities. Some phases we’ll go hard at our craft and other times the call of an extended break beckons.

Over this past year, I’ve thought a lot about walking away from this blog, packing it all in and closing this chapter on a high. Today, without coffee, weekdays for me involve working an office job all day (which I don’t mind at all), then settling down at home, then working on the next blog post/visiting blogs/freelance work/book and then crashing into bed around 1am or 2am. Weekends are pretty much packed too. When it comes to living my life, I never like doing anything half-arsed – it’s either ‘go hard or do none’ in everything that I say yes to, every conversation I choose to have or even doing something I don’t like but have to do. But admittedly the introvert in me would love to have more time taking life at a slower pace.

The different roles we play in our lives shape who we are. Success and satisfaction come to each of us in different forms in different roles at different times. While blog recognition and blog traffic is nice, in the grander scheme of things being present in the offline world is more important to me. However, in the offline world this also includes doing what I love and writing is what I love and so is sharing and entertaining with my words…and ironically the easiest way to do that offline is here online like so many other writers today – offline is online and online is offline.

Where and who I am today has got a lot to do with this blog, and everyone who silently reads or chooses to say something here has an impact on that. So, thank you  🙂

Sometimes it's those beside you that help you get where you are with your art.

Sometimes it’s those beside you that help you get where you are with your art.

* * *

A big challenge I’ve encountered while blogging is writing about topics that speak to me. Blog posts from a few years ago read vastly different to the posts I write these days, and I’ve thought about re-writing some of them. Writing about universal topics such a music concerts and introversion has been fun, the kind of topics I want to do more of – but I don’t know what.

What do you want to see me write on this blog?

Advertisements

299 thoughts on “5 Hard But Valuable Lessons Learned From 5 Years Of Blogging

  1. Congratulations on your 5 years of blogging! Time sure flies and you are so right…some people will love what you write and some won’t. But that’s ok, you can’t please everyone.
    We all see things from a different perspective. The important thing is to stay true to yourself and write in your own voice!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks, Cristina. So true. We can’t please everyone and it’s okay to not like something. Writing in your own voice can be challenging, but it comes with practice. The more you do something, the more you feel comfortable with it and the more you might want to put your own twist to it.

      Like

  2. “This is all what a dedicated blogger typically does. In 2016, a survey of 1,055 bloggers around the world by web design firm Orbit Media revealed more bloggers are spending more than 6 hours writing a blog post (average length 1,050 words), 95% promote their blogs on social media and more are blogging monthly. As a blogger, you need to make time for your blog and work that around your life in the offline world.”

    Usually I don’t allow myself to get concerned about my own motivation/creativity for my personal blog. As for writing a blog post…I seem to average probably no more than 4 hrs. or less in total per blog post. However searching, prepping photos and embedding them, could be at least another 2 hrs. But I enjoy it, that’s why I blog.

    What I do aim for is to have a few blog posts ready for publishijng in advance…for the times, major life crises (and they have happened) which affect my creativity and motivation negatively. This helps me to continue publish on a loose schedule of approx. 1 blog post per month, or rarely, 2 blog posts per month. It does give the illusion to the world, that I live a charmed life. I live a good life but there have been deaths in my family, I’ve had major job changes, I’ve moved thousand km. to live in another city during my blogging years. However my blog is not the place for me, to delve into deep personal stuff as a cathartic platform and hope I will find resolution with strangers who don’t know me much at all. Other bloggers may have other intentions. Fine by me.

    Like you, being a participant blogger also means reading other blogs and offering useful comments..that is being part of community. By the way, always appreciate your visits in my blog kingdom. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    • Some of your blog posts are quite lengthy and come with historical insights, and I would have wagered you spent a few hours at least on each post. Photos and uploading them can be quite time consuming, definitely agree with you on that. But like you, I enjoy it.

      My hat’s off to you for posting consistently and having a sense of purpose about your blog. Personal stuff is personal, and our artistic side can be a separate side to us…though sometimes they can intertwine. A blog can certainly give an illusion about our lives. But it’s just one side of us, one impression and what goes on in our lives is our lives.

      It’s always a pleasure coming by to your blog kingdom. It’s such a different kingdom compared to mine 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. As for what I would like to read on your blog…you do write on some major themes. I still don’t know much about the history of Asian-Australians …and perhaps that could be intertwined with personal family history.. without being overly personal.

    But what you write now is just fine also.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Just be yourself Mabel. Writing is an expression of oneself, thoughts will push out reactions, good or bad doesn’t matter. Thoughts will create emotions and words will carry people far away or into their imagination. Any way you look at it, blogging is good.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. At the outset dear Mabel heartiest congratulation for reaching a wonderful milestone, and every blogger knows how difficult to be consistent and sustain with such quality of thoughts over so many years, and in a blogger’s life five year is a long journey by itself. Kudos to you…

    You are a unique blogger as you work so deeply into the topic of multiculturalism in such finer details and dissecting the subject clinical precision, and presenting to us a truly thought provoking perspective that keeps us contemplating and reflective for a better tomorrow.

    I couldn’t have agreed more on the aspects of “blogger is more than a blog” and “blogger is an artists”, so much true when you sit back and give a good thought on the magic of this platform, and it definitely makes you a much better person, and being creatively engaged keeps us motivated and makes us more active in whatever we do in our other sphere of life. There is life beyond blogging and blogging helps that part of the life, and it is to be experienced to appreciate that umbilical chord that connects between blogging and beyond blogging. Yes, bloggers are artist and blogging is so much about creation and so much about constructing new ideas, thoughts, concepts and it appears that we are always in a state of work in progress.

    True Mabel, not everyone are friend there are few out of those millions who becomes your closed buddy and that is beauty of this space where we have never met and where we have no common denominator to have shared thoughts, but when we do on blog and when we discover that connect we become blogger friends forever and we are connected with such brilliant thoughts and cherish exchanging those thoughts for building a newer perspectives in our repository.

    I agree, time management becomes such a tricky part, as we have to balance between our offline mode of operation and the online mode of engagement, as surveyed bloggers spend 6 hours in preparing a post and also spent much more time in reading and researching on topic they want to dwell on in their own blog. I can add to the wonderful list is “blogger is also a trainer”, it keeps us training on so many new areas from writing to reading to commenting to marketing, and the list goes on and we enjoy exploring all such expanding avenues of living life with blogging. Indeed, there are times we all want to quit and there are times we want to hold on forever, life of a blogger keeps oscillating in between and now so difficult to imagine life without blogging for a blogger.

    Once again Mabel this a brilliant take on blogging and how blogging shapes our life and you have kept so much on the plate for us to enjoy a sumptuous dinner. Wishing you many many more years of happy and much more success in your blogging journey, let it continue to be your lucky charm forever…
    Have a beautiful weekend…
    Take Care!!!
    😀

    Liked by 1 person

    • 5 years is a long time, but in a way it feels like it was just yesterday. It has been quiet a journey and a fun one sharing and putting out there so many deep thoughts about this world.

      You are certainly kind with your words. Multiculturalism has always been a topic of interest to me, and so has racism and cultural studies. There are always so many perceptions and perspectives about these topics, and we could debate these topics for such a long time and not come to a conclusion. After all, culture is changing, this world is changing, and so often there will be different answers to different questions and propositions.

      ‘There is life beyond blogging and blogging helps that part of the life’ As usual, you said it wonderfully. Blogging helps us to be creative, and as you also mentioned about welcoming new thoughts and encourage us to be in a state of progress – to accept that we will always be a work in progress, that creativity starts within the individual. As you mentioned, a ;blogger is also trainer’. You have to work to make a blog, likewise you have to work for what you want – and that starts by making sure you have time for it. Procrastination needs to be put away again and again if we are to keep up an engaged blog and keep up our creativity. If we love it enough, we will not say ‘no’ when it comes to blogging or being creative. It always needs to be a ‘yes’ one way or another.

      It’s amazing how so many bloggers can feel like our friends, and we may feel closer to some of them compared to those we know in real life. That’s the power of creativity and the online sphere these days: you never know who you will meet. Never expected to be exchanging idea for a few years now, Nihar. So glad we have connected. Looks like I might be stopping by over at yours again some time later this week. I think I’m due for a visit 😀 Take care.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Indeed Mabel, this is such a magical space, we keep going through a deeply driven self-discovery process, every stage and phase of our engagement with this space provides some thing new to us, whether we are writing for the post or reading a post and for that matter just going through a cursory glance through the blogosphere, we have take away; it is a provider of positive force in our life and makes us more mindful of things that we keep doing and how we should be doing it better and how those creative engagement makes our life little better every time we connect the virtual with the real.

        Unfortunately, blogging also gets drawn into the social media space and many unknowingly brand it as a digital distraction, though every thing in life needs that balancing act, and excessive of anything is harmful in long run but blogging with a purpose and blogging as much has nothing to lose in life…it only adds to the positive and creative side of our bank.

        So true, here we become friends and are so far off, we feel friends here are so close to us compared to friends near us and we have so much better understanding of how we engage as friends and how we support each other in becoming a better human being in life, as we think deep inside, the more we realize there is something divine in it, otherwise how else this is magical disposition is possible. Lucky to have met a lovely friend like you and learning so much from your brilliant take on such powerful topics of life and living.
        Hope you had a lovely Sunday.
        Happy Blogging!!!
        😀

        Like

        • The blogging space is a magical space indeed. Not only is it a process of self-discovery, it us also a place where anything is possible and we can create the impossible and make it come to life. ‘makes us more mindful of things that we keep doing and how we should be doing it better ‘ Yet again you hit the nail on your head with your words, Nihar. Blogging makes us more self-aware, not just more aware of ourselves but more aware of the world around us – which is the essence of many art forms.

          ‘digital distraction’ is also a rightful phrase to describe blogging. Often you look at those blogs that are very strategic, seeking to make a profit for the sake of making a profit. You can’t help but wonder whether what they are putting out there is genuine or nothing more than a marketing ploy. Blogging with a purpose other than to get eyeballs is a powerful thing, something the world needs more. There’s nothing but a lot of honesty in that kind of blogging, the kind of blogging to engage with the deepest of ideas, thoughts and feelings.

          Divine isn’t it what connections on here are…sometimes some of us are just better at conveying ourselves behind a computer screen, because that’s who we are 😀

          Liked by 1 person

          • This is definitely has been one of it’s kind of medium has set it apart from the rest. There is something fundamentally different and there is something special which comes at us with all it’s magnetically glue and we are hooked to this very space. Of course we derive so much benefit out of it and many things are intangible and also intriguing that keeps us positively thinking and reflecting on our life and what we do and what we want to do, the aspiration to inspiration beautifully blended in this engagement with platform of blogging.

            Money and marketing are aspects which plays its part in moving with the platform of blogging and there are expectations and there are comparisons which keeps coming at us and we keep oscillating between two ends of the spectrum should we be enjoying the sharing of thoughts and conversations or should be shifting our base and quantifying our efforts and attaching a price to that endeavor?

            Just being engaged with this space and expressing ourselves all out and with all its wonderful freedom at our disposal makes it truly a magical experience…and yes there is so much philosophy and reflection that goes along this expression and conversation, it tends to make us more mindful of things around us and place our purpose in right perspective.
            Hope Mabel you are having a lovely start to the week.
            😀

            Like

            • Blogging is certainly magnetic glue in some kind of magical sense. We are so different, yet each of us gel together so well.

              On one hand if you endeavour to write for traffic and numbers, there might be every chance you get more feedback. Then again, clicks on each blog posts doesn’t necessarily translate to thoughtful engagement and reflection shared. Attaching a price to our endeavour is attempting, and if we do get that price we can supplement other aspects of our lives. The ideal situation is one where we can put out honestly what we want, but usually there is a compromise. At the end of the day, neither choice is wrong and really, nothing will ever be perfect and we can’t have it all.

              Always great chatting, Nihar 😀

              Liked by 1 person

              • I agree Mabel, it is choice and either one is fine, it is only a matter of journeying through one’s passion and one should enjoy that travel, rest other things comes along it, some immediately and some other later but in a big way…patience is important.

                Blogging is in a community and we all want more members of the community to come to us and it is also a big source of inspiration and the feedback and conversation adds to that wonderful engagement with this platform.
                Thanks always Mabel, have a lovely weekend.
                😀

                Liked by 1 person

  6. Pingback: My Picks Of The Week 2017 – #39 & #40 | A Momma's View

  7. Congratulations Mabel! This is an important milestone. I believe you have achieved your second objective. You post once a month but achieve much more interaction than some of my posts, and blogging is a community of interactions, once the post is sent off into cyberspace. Your posts make readers think and analyze matters that may have previously not been considered. I do hope you continue blogging. We all have lulls when we might resent the time blogging takes from other activities and shy away from blogging for a while. The commitment to continue posts on a regular basis sometimes does become a chore. We strive to keep it fresh and different. I do feel the blog world is decreasing as people engage in quick snippets of information on social media, and shy away from reading details and lengthy prose. I hope this is not so. Your blog has such value in spreading an integrated, more cohesive society. I feel that you build bridges between cultures and the people who suggested you were aiding your romantic interests or racist, seem to have missed the point!

    Like

    • Interaction and engagement has been a surprise for me. Never expected the degree of interaction at all. These days I do wonder what exactly it is that attracts others to stop by and leave their thoughts. As you said, maybe it’s because my posts make others think. Maybe others can relate to them. With longer posts, I do feel I am gambling with attention spans in the face of this ‘instant’ social media age. Then again, I never do think all readers read a post from start to finish, but they might still feel engaged enough at some parts to stick around – which I am thankful for.

      Doing different things, mixing up what we do, that helps keeps us motivated on different levels. The photography aspect of this blog has certainly kept it interesting. I think it becomes a chore when it stops becoming fun or too mundane for our liking. The latter is seomthing I feel for quite a while now. Then again, I do feel the more I blog and the more I keep up what I’m doing here, the better writer I am becoming.

      Thank you so much for your support, and patience, Amanda. So glad we have connected and many great things to come 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  8. First of all, congratulations on reaching 5 years of blogging! 🙂 Having a blog definitely involves a lot of multi-tasking – that I’ll agree with you. My own friends aren’t aware that I have a blog and I’m more than contended with leaving it that way.

    “The different roles we play in our lives shape who we are. Success and satisfaction come to each of us in different forms in different roles at different times” – this sentence resonates with me a lot. Back when I first started blogging, I used to think that being recognized for what I do would be good. Fast forward years later, and I feel that recognition isn’t as important as it’s made out to be. As long as I’m comfortable with this little blog of mine, the anonymity suits me fine. 🙂

    “For many artists, time is what we need to create what we want to create. Separate from that, we need to be in that headspace that allows us to create.” – this is also true. I feel that as a blogger and a student, I don’t have as much time as I want to pursue my other interests. Whatever time that I have after studying is left to draft a blog post – and that’s if I’ve managed to throw myself into the zone for it. A lot of non-bloggers don’t seem to understand that a lot of time and effort goes into writing and publishing a post. :/

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hehe, you also are more contented not shouting out your blog to your friends. Maybe it’s the introvert in us. Or maybe it’s because our blog is just a slice in the grander scheme of things.

      ‘recognition isn’t as important as it’s made out to be.’ This is such a profound phrase from you, and it can be applied to different parts of life. Recognition is more often than not fleeting. As emo as this may sound, you can be the attention of someone’s eye one second and completely forgotten when something else comes along. With blogging, I already given up of trying to make my name as a writer through it or write a viral post. Very thankful for what I’ve got here and the connections I’ve mad 🙂

      It’s great to see that when you have the time, you turn to your blog and get creative with what speaks to you. I’ve always liked reading your analytical thoughts on juggling life and your interpretations of your dreams and what your mind lets you see. And you blog more than me 😀 Then again, I do feel working life is much more busier than student life…more responsibility and it’s really a world where each is to their own :/

      Thank you so much for stopping by ❤

      Liked by 1 person

      • I like to leave the blog as a little diary for me to vent and rant about things that have occurred around me (as evidenced by the short stories and, possibly, other posts too). Anonymity works in my favor on that ground. 😛 No one exactly knows who or what I’m referring to, lol.

        I find that it’s hard to achieve stardom via blogging (although some folks have done it) because of the difficulties attached to it – and the full-time dedication required of it. Ngaw, thanks for the compliment, Mabel! ❤

        Well, I haven't been blogging as much as I should. I'll chalk that up to an intense semester and an exhausted psyche. It actually depends, you know? I find that student life is just as busy as working life – between the hours spent into digging for the distinctions and what not. When you finally have the time for yourself, you just want to sleep the exhaustion off, ahahaha. I mean, that's just my thoughts as a student.

        Like

        • You are much more braver than me. My rants will never make it onto here given the private and quiet person that I am. Sometimes I just rant in silence than putting it out here 😀

          Finding fame through blogging is possibly. Don’t believe it will happen overnight. To be honest I never thought I would get to where I am with this blog. And I still have this dream of making it to the NY Times bestseller book list with a book of mine (probably wishful thinking 😀 ).

          That is me – when I have time for myself outside work, I just want to do nothing. Or at least does something that involves lying down and doing as little as possible 😀

          Like

  9. Thank you for writing this article. As a new blogger, I appreciated reading about what I needed to know. Also being bi-racial myself, I know about racism all too well and look forward to reading more of your posts.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Congratulations Mabel, on completion of 5 years of blogging. You have very comprehensively captured all that it has taken you to keep writing and running this blog. As easy as it to start a blog, growing it is a painstakingly slow process and to keep it running takes a lot of interest and effort.
    It is interesting to note that to make your writing more relatable, you have shifted your style and narratives from academia linguistics to colloquial semantics. I too have experimented with different styles and themes while shifting from business and academically oriented themes to themes that more people can relate to.
    Since what you write is rarely controversial, it must be quite disturbing to see comments like the ones you have mentioned in the post. But then, for all of us, who publicly share their thoughts and viewpoints, the risk of facing flak and trolls remains. I hope that you do not allow other people’s misinterpretations to disturb you.
    Yes, a blog may start with one objective and as you say it may gradually open up side hustles. Our blog becomes a part of us, and as our thinking changes or evolves, so does our blog. Keep writing on topics that interest you the most, for that is what inspires you to put up efforts and make the posts interesting for the readers and that is what will keep your readers connected with you.

    Like

    • Shifting writing style hasn’t been easy for me. It took me about a year to write less academic, less rigid and even today I still feel writing casually hard. I admire the way you write your different posts – sometimes geared towards a certain initiative, other times about travel, other writings about lifestyle improvements. Very fluid style you got there 🙂

      Lol, I do think the topics I choose are quite sensitive sometimes. But I always endeavour to present arguments in a level-headed manner and from different perspectives, though I may not agree with all of them.

      Sometimes I think I do need a break from writing and blogging, but I think writing at least is something I will always come back to. Thank you so much for supporting, Somali. It means a lot.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. It’s absolutely amazing to me how much time and energy I, and many others, still put into blogging when it seems that the attention deficit world has become more interested in quick glance social media like Twitter and Instagram. I am stunned, and pleased, that there are still people who actually read my blogs when I have something to say.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Happy 5 years of blogging Mabel.
    You had written the truth about blogging. I have my share on those. And I agree about this one the most: so making your blog stand out – even as part of a niche – can be hard.

    It is really hard to be stand out and get attention from people. For the niche blog is already hard, being a lifestyle blog is even harder. But I do believe you are already stand out here in blogsphere. You are the only Australian blogger I know.

    By the way, I am using my other blog for the comment.
    Febriyan Lukito (febriyanlukitocom)

    Like

    • Very kind of you to see you here again, Febriyan. It feels like yesterday we just met, but it also feels like quite a long time I’ve known you.

      I’ve always admired your blogs, and how you juggle two languages in your posts. You really are very savvy when it comes to putting your blog out there and getting hits 🙂

      ‘You are the only Australian blogger I know. ‘ So kind of you to let me know 😀 So cool that you are an Indonesian blogger. I don’t know many of them at all. Keep blogging.

      Like

  13. Congratulations Mabel, on your 5 years and I sincerely hope for at least another 5! This was a really great post, well thought out and from the heart.
    I’d not previously considered it, but yes, you are so accurate when you stated “bloggers are artists.”
    The Australian audience indeed is far less in volume than the US; once I changed my spelling back to Amercan vs Oz my numbers tripled. Their population is enormous there.
    This is a post, that needs me to return a couple more times to get the full value. You make SO Many good points. Thank You, for writing it Mabel.
    I skimmed it first – a week ago. But dislike making comments on such a cursory glimpse, so I left it til now. Loved this 🙂 cheers, Debi

    Liked by 1 person

    • That is interesting to hear you change your spelling to American and your traffic went up. I never thought of that, and I will keep that in mind. It is amazing how big the blogging world is over in the US. It felt like blogging was growing here in Australia over the last few years – there was even a national competition to recognise a variety of blogs. But that competition is no more. Also finding bloggers from Australia, and connecting with them, is hard in general, lol.

      Very touched that you stopped by this post again, Debi. So kind of you. Thank you and take care 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  14. I am glad to have come across your blog and have with great interest read you thoughts. Your insight into blogging is well researched and you obviously have a very good control of where and to what your work is taking you.
    Congratulations to five years. From a five months blogger.😊 .
    Miriam

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much for your kind words, Miriam. A lot of the times I feel very confused writing, but I guess frustration is what we feel when we want to push ourselves and take what we do to someplace we’ve never been.

      Keep blogging and hope you have fun with it for a while to come 😊

      Like

  15. Happy belated blogversary! Spot on the lesson learned points. I find the time management is the hardest part of all. Nowadays it seems I have problems in writing and responding comments by readers. I felt so bad 😦

    Like

  16. Hi Mabel! I don’t know if you do blogging awards, but I linked your blog as one of my “nominees” for the Real Neat Blog award. Feel free to ignore it, if that’s not your thing. My intention in linking your blog was so more people can discover it. You have a unique perspective and a great way of writing about it. I feel like most people should educated themselves more about multicultural issues, and your blog is a wonderful resource for that. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much for the nomination, F. Very kind of you to think of me and for what I write about 🙂 Will pop over shortly. I’ll put a link up to your blog on my Awards page. Keep writing about your chronic illness and journey in academia – such a unique combination 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  17. Hi Mabel, Congratulations on five years of blogging. Hope you keep on blogging.
    Thank you for posting this article. Great insight and advice for new bloggers like me.

    Like

  18. Very well said congrats may you prosper more and more❤️ do check out my new blog post and let me know what you think would love that😊

    Like

  19. Valuable lessons indeed Mabel – you and I started blogging at about the same time and I agree wholeheartedly with your lessons. I too have evolved quite a lot in what and how I post, and am enjoying the creative outlet whether others appreciate it or not. As for you, i think you’ve always been a good writer but your photography has grown tremendously over the years – congratulations on your 5 years!

    Like

    • It feels like you have been blogging forever, Tina. Love the way you engage your readers and give back to us by visiting our blogs too 🙂 Thank you, that is very kind of you to say about my photography. I still feel the need to carve out a direction for it – if I decide to take it any further than this. Congrats on five years too and wishing you and your blog well!

      Like

  20. Congratulations on your milestone! While I can certainly understand a pause to evaluate blogging, and the time involved, I’d miss getting to ‘catch up’ with you. I agree with the comment on wanting to see more history of Asian-Australians, but appreciate learning about all your subjects. AND your wonderful photos!
    I’ve been lax about blogging, and following, recently with moving out of my house. Very time consuming and frustrating, and I’m just getting back to “real life”, still amazed at all the time it took.

    Like

    • Thanks, Sandy. Maybe I will write more about the history of Asian-Australians. I too am interested in that topic.

      Moving house sounds like a lot of work. Good luck with it. You’ll probably discover a lot of thing you once had and loved so much 🙂

      Like

  21. Honestly, I want your writing/photography to go wherever your pen/camera lead you. I’ve been following you now for almost three years and you never disappoint. Your posts are passionate, informative, and real. I have very much enjoyed the friendship we have forged as a result.

    My blogging goals have totally changed overtime from ‘blog all day long’ to ‘blog when I can’. And I expect that I will ebb and flow between those two places again. Big hug from Bangkok 🤗😘

    Like

  22. Congrats on 5 years of blogging! A big one there for sure. I love your blog for insights that you bring. The research, the writing and the perspective. Like you said, all that content can not be put together in a day. So kudos to you for that hard work and mulling over posts so that they come out as you would like them to. I would love to see more of your photography and reflective posts. Why I say this? I think I don’t have a niche. I enjoy the process of writing. So I go serious and I also go easy. I would love a peek into your world too.

    If I read that right, please don’t think about packing and leaving. No, the world of blogging needs you. hugs! ❤

    Like

    • Thank you so much, Parul. It seems so fast, five years just like that. It is interesting to hear that you want more reflective posts. I do enjoy reflecting but the hard part is always coming up with a topic to write about. Packing up, up and going from the blogging world will always be an option. Maybe it will come to that at some point, maybe not.

      I’ve always enjoyed your blog for the wide-variety of inspirational content, and a very engaging Indian blogger with quite a following 🙂 ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  23. This comes at a perfect time, as I am approaching my 1 year mark soon! A lot of valuable insights with this piece. I love how you your posts are well researched. In fact I was just wondering, when your next post will come out, after I read your last one!

    Like

  24. Many congratulations on five years of blogging, Mabel. You’ve come a long way from that first post you published and obviously have a passion for blogging as, otherwise, you ‘d have stopped. As I heard another blogger say the other day in a comment she left on one of my posts “people come and go so quickly here.’ It’s a true statement and I believe many that come into the world of blogging get disillusioned quickly when their stats don’t measure up to what they expected. Many see blogging as a sprint rather than a marathon and slip down the slippery road of churning out too many posts, many of which are poor quality because they’ve not been thought about. I could go on, but I’d take up your whole blog if I did. 😀

    In answer to the question you asked, write in your voice and don’t try and copy what others have done or write what you think your readers want you to write. Write what you want to write about in your voice because you are unique and that is why people come to your blog and keep coming back.

    I wish you many more successful years with your blog and your writing.

    Like

    • Thank you for the well-wishes, Hugh. I think what that person who said on your blog that people come and go so quickly here is so true. I’ve come across a lot of blogs over the last few years, and to me a lot of blogs don’t go for more than one, two years.

      You do seem to have a strong opinion on the blogging timeless 😀 Sometimes I think some are in it for the fame 😀

      For a long time I struggled to write in my own voice. These days I’m pretty content with the way my posts come across, but expressing feelings into words is still a big struggle. So is choosing topics to write about. But I do seem to always get there.

      It has been a pleasure blogging side-by-side with you, Hugh. So lovely to see how your blog has transformed into something larger than it was when you started. Wishing you many more blog years 🙂

      Like

      • Yes, I’ve heard that if a blog survives 18 months, then it won’t suffer from ‘blog burnout’ Mabel. I’ve lost count of the number of bloggers and blogs who seem to have disappeared. Some of the blogs are still there in cyberspace, but there seems to be nobody at home anymore.

        Thank you for your kind words, Mabel. I hope to reach my five-year milestone in a few years time. I hope to be celebrating with you then. 😀

        Like

        • ‘blog burnout’ That is lovely alliteration there, Hugh 😀 For those of us who love blogging, we may see that blogging is not important to those who disappear. That said, some do have things to deal with outside of here.

          It really does feel like you have been blogging for a very long time, lol. You have a commanding yet down-to-earth presence here 😀

          Like

  25. 5 years of blogging is a great achievement, Mabel…
    it means a lot of dedication and consistency… even if you change your initial course and ideas, that only means change for the better and development.. and I love that 🙂
    I may be inconsistent blogging, but I consistently keep coming back for more of those positive vibes you always have about you and your writing ♥

    Like

    • I think you are a better blogger than me, lol. You keep coming back…you know what makes you tick. For me, I’ve been doing blogging so long sometimes I wonder if my life would have turned out different had I not spent so much time on it. Then again, if I hadn’t been on here, wouldn’t have met you…

      Always love your positive vibes from you and your photography. Your photos are tell stories, but they always seem to remind me to appreciate the simple things ❤

      Like

      • if you spend so much time blogging, then you need it and you love it… don’t spend time on “what ifs”, focus on “why nots” …

        you are so sweet!! and I’m the worst blogger there can possibly be lol :)) I’m inconsistent… I’m inconsistent with blogging, but keep consistently coming back lol… and reading your words gives me a priceless perspective into why I possibly keep coming back, thank you so much, Mabel…♥

        Like

        • I do feel that I need blogging and writing, but sometimes it just gets too much, lol. I think sometimes I need to walk away.

          Hope you continue to come back. You are always welcome here and you have quite a few blog-friends who love you and your work ❤

          Liked by 1 person

Share your thoughts. Join the discussion

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s