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?

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

  1. Congratulations and well done Mabel.
    Five years go so quickly.
    I love your blog and reading what you write, you inspire me to think more deeply about my own life and experiences growing up an ABC.
    I hope you continue to write about your own personal experiences, what you learn from your research and even perhaps, what you glean from your family and friends in the context of being Asian-Australian and being a young woman in this current era (ca. 2015–2020).
    I’m a happy person counting you as a friend here, on Instagram and on other social media platforms.
    I hope you keep blogging (which is so much more than writing).

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Very profound lessons you’ve learned, Mabel. I can relate to many of these as well. My blog is turning six this month. I seem to be letting it go by without any recognition. I agree that we change over time and therefore our blog topics take a different tone then when we began. I say “let it roll with life”. You’re a wonderful writer and I’m so glad I’ve met you on-line. I truly feel the on-line friends are just as supportive and ‘there’ as off-line.

    The topics you choose are always fascinating to me. Maybe write a post about your work, as I’m sure many of us would be curious to learn more about your life outside writing. Not sure if that makes sense… 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Congratulations on 5 years my friend!! I am so so proud of you. Every single thing you do is so inspiring to me. I’ve told you this before but you unknowingly encouraged me to start my own blog. It’s thanks to you that I can extend love through creation. Even doing something we love takes commitment but the joy we feel every time we finish a post or press publish makes all the hours spent worth it. I am so excited to continue watching your blog grow. You deserve all the positive accolades in the world! I am always interested in personal pieces – learning more about the blogger itself piques my curiosity and as you are my friend, I will feel even more connected to reading more about you. Best of luck for the years to come. May we will always be bloggers and friends forever ❤ xx

    Liked by 1 person

    • This comments means so much to me, my friend! Though I was so creeped out to see you comment on my blog at first, I was also very happy to know that you would remember my blog and as you said, lost some but gained a friend through all of this.

      Nothing like doing something, loving it and continue doing it. If it makes us happy, it makes us happy. Love how you share yourself and your life with so much honesty on your blog. There is so much optimism over in your corner, and thank you for showing us a more healthy and caring way of living. Friends forever and hope to see you again ❤ xxx

      Liked by 1 person

  4. CONGRATS, Mabel! You are an ongoing inspiration to me with your consistent and thoughtful blogging. My personal blog has its ups and downs and silences (!) but you have powered on through all these years – solo. My hat’s off to you. And long may you find it enjoyable and enlightening. I loved this post. Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Tseen. I am so glad we’ve connected and still are connected. When you do blog about AA, you do blog about it so thoughtfully – that is something I feel I need to work on and get back into. Your work on research is amazing too, with so many collaborations. Now, my hat is off to you for spreading your wings but staying true to who you are. Thank you.

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  5. Congratulations on the longevity of your blog, Mabel! I’m sure many of us at times think about shuttering our blogs and spending more time on other things, but for those who write for the love of it, it’s hard to just walk away. I love the photo of the stone pier – is that you on it?

    Liked by 1 person

    • ‘shuttering our blogs’ Really like that phrase, Lex. I’m amazed at how vividly you recall your travels – and to travel, you would have to step away from writing for a while and live. Yes, that is me on the stone pier. Very good guess. I put my camera on my tripod and on timer, and took the shot 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Congratulations dear Mabel…five years of blogging and writing on so many meaningful and thought-provoking topics, which evoke interest, is a remarkable achievement. I always look forward to your posts and you know why…because you don’t post every single day and your post is well thought out and organized. It is very clear, as you have mentioned that a lot of time and effort is poured into every post. Many thanks for the inspiration that you provide through your work. No wonder you have such a large following! 🙂
    As life changes, as we evolve and change paths, similarly our goals keep changing and therefore it is natural to shift gears…true writers never stop writing, creative ideas keep flowing naturally and I am sure you would keep sharing your experiences about life and people around you. I know blogging can be very challenging if you have a full time job and I am really impressed to see your consistent presence in blogosphere. It shows your creative talent and dedication. Kudos for that!
    Dreams and desires keep multiplying; achievement list is endless, new avenues keep cropping up, so keep going my friend…you have along road ahead. My ‘bestest’ wishes for you. (we coined this word for the most sincere wishes, when we were in college!) Love and hugs. 🙂

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    • Another well-structured comment from you, Balroop. It is always humbling to hear my words inspire, even more so when people like you keep coming back. The reason why I have a following isn’t clear to me, though. A lot of the time I think I am lucky. I used to blog every single week for about a couple of years when I first started blogging. Then I decided I needed more time to write what I want. Each writer and blogger has their own pace. Really admire you for how you blog every week, switching between poetry and the finer significant life narratives.

      You are so right. Goals changes, gears need to shift and we have to roll with the punches. I really like writing and don’t think I’ll ever stop writing. There will probably be times when it will take a backseat…maybe like you, going off on a road trip and adventure to see the world and get inspired 🙂

      Thank you so much my friend, Balroop. So, so glad we have connected and I am always inspired by your writings and your books – writing for most of your life and you are certainly showing us how to do it. Love and hugs right back at you across the miles 🙂 ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Congratulations on five years of blogging, Mabel. I don’t think it’s possible to tell you what to write. It has to come from within you. That’s part of the blogging experience: finding something you care about and have something to say about.

    It’s interesting that you learned photography for your blog. Your pictures are always unusual, sharp, and bright. They look very professional.

    Liked by 1 person

    • A lot of the time, what I write about is inspired from what others have said to me. This blogging journey hasn’t been a solitary one. You and a lot of other bloggers and readers play a bit part.

      Thanks, Nicki. When I decided to take photos for my blog, I told myself why not try to go above and beyond. That is how I like to live my life.

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  8. Congrats on your five year milestone. I’ll be honest, whenever I see a blogger write, “What do you want to see me write on this blog?” I cringe a bit. I read this blog because it is your creation. It’s content that I don’t write about or even know that much about, your life experience is quite different than mine. That’s what I find wonderful about blogs. I like looking at other people’s creative work. So, I guess my answer to your question is that I would like to see you continue to write what is important to you, it’s fine if the topic evolves over time.
    The other thing that struck me about this post is the fact that bloggers sometimes stop. I have to say that I miss certain people I use to find in the blogging world, but honestly, if it wasn’t working for them anymore, it just wasn’t, and I think it is fine to walk away.
    Cheers,
    Amy

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Hi Mabel, congratulations on a major milestone. I’ve had my blog for about 8 years now and it’s quite a random thing. Sometimes I blog everyday about minor things, sometimes I write a thoughtful piece once in a few weeks but it’s because the blog is my expression and a reflection of who I am. It’s good to ask readers for what they want to see but what makes a bit unique is what you put in it so I would say continue to write about what matters to you.

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    • Thank you so much, Sukanya. Very kind of you to stop by. Wow, 8 years is a long time to be blogging and it sounds like you have different kinds of writing styles to keep you going. Doing what you want, you’ll always be inclined to do it – what matters to you is a part of you, and that’s when honesty shines through.

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  10. Time Management
    No doubt writing takes up much of your time. Replying to comments even more so. It’s why I’ve always appreciated you responding to (as best as I can see) everyone’s comments to you, especially my own long-winded essay-length remarks! Thank you.

    Failure is an Option
    I’ve only been following you for around 20 months now, so I haven’t read your earlier, more academic-oriented posts. But I definitely think the ‘universal human experience’ angle to be one that’s more easily related to and probably why I keep coming back to read your messages. Also, everyone has different ideas on what constitutes failure, but I think it’s better that you’ve set yourself goals and applied yourself to them than to not make an effort at all. And when we ‘fail’, that’s when we learn – I’d say a lack of failure is more often a case of someone not challenging him/herself enough rather than genuine prodigious talent on his/her part.

    As for the lack of Aussie readers, it could also just be that we are a very small population on the global scale. That, and the English-speaking Internet is American-dominated – the Internet started in the US, the dominant dialect of English on the Internet is American, and the tone and culture of the English-speaking Internet just seems so US-centric to me (in my experience so much English content on-line assumes an American audience and is written from an American viewpoint). I don’t begrudge the Americans their place in the physical and on-line world, but many (not all, but many) Americans seem to forget that there’s more to the world than just the United States (and maybe Canada and Mexico). I haven’t found this problem with you because your site already makes it clear you write from an Asian Australian perspective and you generally (I believe) write in a way that’s accessible to a global audience.

    Drama
    It dismays me to read this part. It’s part of why I’ve kept away from so-called ‘social’ media. Anti-social media, more like. (As an aside, I do find Asian-girl-Caucasian-boy relationships seem to be more common than the other way around. At least among friends… seems to be more even in my extended family, one of each that I can think of at the moment.)

    The plagiarism is a sad thing as well. I’ve seen it with visual arts, it doesn’t surprise me that it’s there in the written art too. I’m glad you are thick-skinned enough to have endured what you have!

    Not Everyone Will be Your Friend
    I don’t think I’ve ever left a ‘like’ (or whatever the equivalent functionality on a given platform) in my Internet-browsing life. If I ‘like’ something enough, I will respond to it thoughtfully. It seems to me the whole ‘like’ pattern in social media promotes shallow appreciation and shallow relationships rather than a genuine attempt to streamline social interactions among a supposedly ‘time-poor’ culture. But that’s just my backwards anti-social-media self talking, I suppose it has a use, just not a very helpful one in my opinion.

    On the other hand, I’m glad that you’ve been heartened by a regular readership. And I know on-line interactions don’t exactly promote the same level of closeness as relating to friends in person, but I hope you can consider me at least a friendly acquaintance if not a friend (of the Facebook ilk or otherwise).

    I was wondering if there would be a time when you consider stopping writing (on this blog, at least). It would make me sad to no longer read your thoughts here, but I would completely understand if/when you choose to make such a decision. It’s been nearly nine years since my relations with those closest to me in the on-line space took a turn for the worse and the fall-out from that left a crushing mark on me that I’m not sure I’ve ever really recovered from. It’s another major part of why I stay away from the ‘social’ media world, trying to keep interactions with those I see face-to-face, but as we already discussed in your previous post on introversion that comes with its own set of challenges!

    What would I like you to write about? I was going to say it sounds like you already have a lot of ideas and a continuation of the universal topics would be great. But you say you’re not sure what to write about next. I’m not the creative sort, so I also wouldn’t be sure about what you’d find interesting, but a couple of topics come to mind – assuming you haven’t already written about them: Asian culture in the rest of the world and similarities/differences to Asians in Australia; and maybe a look at the mix of cultures that we enjoy/endure within Australia – Asian, Caucasian, Indigenous, etc. I don’t know if you have thoughts on those, but I’m trying to be helpful!

    Happy 5th Anniversary

    Like

    • Time management is really, really something I have to work on. For the first two years of blogging, I blogged every week and after that decided to space posts out hoping I’d have more time to focus on crafting my stories in a way that spoke to me. It is always humbling to receive responses, and your responses are something I look forward to no matter how essay-length they are. Sometimes some of us are just really good at expressing our thoughts in words, and I reckon you are one of them.

      So true each of us have different definitions of failure – it is subjective and so is success. Since so many of us are chasing the next best thing, in a way you can think of it as success is never really possible. Personally I like to think of it all as expectations: you can’t always have your cake and eat it. Blogging, art, is always subjective, constantly evolving, and so our best is yet to come. Or to put a more positive spin to it, if we do our best at everything, we will find what we are looking for every day.

      You also hit the nail on the head about how Americanised the world is. Your sentiments made me think back to my time in Malaysia and Singapore. American TV is popular over there, so is American food, and Americans are the first that come to mind when the topic of Westerners come up, a close second would be British. Like you I have nothing against this, but it’s an interesting observation. This year more from Australia seem to be reading my blog, though.

      Moderating the drama was very time consuming. Don’t think it’s something any blogger wants to do. Personal attacks on others are what saddens me when they happen on here, and thankfully it’s rare on here these days. With plagiarism, it is a case of ‘too bad, too sad’ for many of us who share our work out here. I’ve also had people share my photos on Instagram cropping out my watermark and without credit. Not something I can control but something I need to accept.

      To be honest I think I am more anti-social media than you. My blog is probably where I spend my (online) time most apart from Googling. Usually I go days without going on Facebook, sometimes even a week. A ‘Like’ doesn’t necessarily mean endorsement but maybe a look for popularity. It is something quite special to have someone actually read and leave a piece of their honest reflection (whether agreeing or disagreeing), and also telling it to you in person 😀

      Stopping the blog has crossed my mind, but I do think I love writing and sharing my writing enough to not stop it. However, I do think a break in between posts will be inevitable – say when I decide to travel or working on my book or just taking more time out on the home and friends front. I’ve also toyed with the idea of taking more time in between posting regularly. Sometimes online relations or rather communications can matter just as much as those in the real world.

      Once I had commenters saying on that touchy post that I was only writing about Asian culture and that made my blog one sided. My response was along the lines of making this blog a niche. We will see where I run with this. Now nothing else to say but thank you for supporting, Simon 🙂

      Like

      • Occasionally, when reading an older post of yours that you’ve linked to, I notice that they seem to be shorter. Maybe that’s how you managed a weekly message in those days. I do not think it would be unreasonable for you to extend your time between posts further still – quality not quantity, as is often said. If you honestly look forward to reading my commentary, then I am humbled and pleased that we can connect in a constructive way.

        What it means to be successful – searching for fame, money, power, influence, or other things – can be a motivator to drive some kinds of people, but I think it can also drive people to despair when they don’t fulfil their expectations of themselves. There’s a balance in striving for something and knowing that failure to achieve that something isn’t the end of the world. But as you say, if one honestly says he/she tried their best, I don’t think you can ask for any more than that.

        It so happens that the current time is where American culture dominates, at the very least in the Anglosphere. There was a time when British culture and governance dominated too. And other empires before them still. Kingdoms rise and fall all the time, I think what is important is that we genuinely love and care for each other as fellow beings regardless of race, culture, or nationality. And I am glad to be one of your fellow Aussie readers.

        I remember you saying previously that there were times in the early days when you had to commit a lot of your time to moderation. I’m glad your readership has matured to a point where this is seldom needed now. And there will always be people who will try to take advantage of others for their selfish gain. Thankfully with our interconnected age, people do often point out theft when they find it, even at the highest levels of their craft.

        Well, you already know I don’t even have (or want) a Fb account. My English Liverpudlian niece finds it hard to communicate to me in e-mail because it must feel so primitive to her. I only recently switched to a ‘smart’ phone (handed down from Dad), primarily because of the 2G network shut-down in Australia (as it happens it’s been extended to March next year) and my dumb-phone wasn’t 3G-capable. People used to ask me ‘how can you live without one’? I told them I had no need for it – quite easy when I wasn’t on any ‘social’ media network. Pretty strange, I know, especially when considering my love for computers and fascination with technology in general.

        I feel a ‘like’ often says something along the lines of ‘I resonate with what you say, but couldn’t be stuffed writing anything in response to it’. Maybe that isn’t always an accurate reflection, but I feel it often is. And as you say, sometimes people seem to be just chasing a high ‘like’ count as a status symbol rather than wanting to genuinely engage with their readers/viewers. I feel for children like my niece (though she is quite level-headed) growing up in this interconnected age, where identity, self-esteem, and self-worth often seems unhelpfully tied to perceived popularity in the on-line world.

        As I said above, extending the time between posts doesn’t seem unreasonable. Even if you were to take an even longer break for other reasons. I suppose there is a risk that the longer you go between posts, the less you feel like posting again. But you seem to enjoy writing, so maybe that might not be such an issue for you. I haven’t forgotten to be a proof-reader for you, if that’s something you still want for your book-writing. And spending more time with your physical friends is a good thing too.

        Speaking of travelling, I actually don’t know how much of that you get to do. I know you’ve had your time living in Malaysia and Singapore as you grew up, but have you had the chance to travel much in recent years, even within Australia? Maybe as you visit Asian communities in various places it might add to your considerable knowledge about how Asians have adapted in the various places we’ve made ourselves home (and provide more fodder for your thoughts in coming up with topics to write about). Another thought I have is the question of why Asians are seldom seen outside of the major city centres of Australia.

        As for those unfavourable commentators, maybe you’ve changed in more recent years, but all the time I see you try to balance those aspects of your identity, your Asian heritage and upbringing with the predominantly western culture of living in Australia. I don’t agree at all that your writings are one-sided, and I think writing about your personal experiences as an Asian Aussie is a valid niche to take. So take heart and continue doing what you do, if you so choose. And if you wish to take a break, short-term or long, I will support you in that too. Just warn us before you decide to quit, if you please.

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        • My older posts are indeed shorter, and I think you are right in that that was a reason I could pump out a blog post each week. But I did feel like I was making sweeping statements with most of those posts. If I had a choice between blog traffic + a tidy profit vs engagement, I would definitely go for engagement. Nothing like having a good conversation where not only you learn about the world more but also connect with another person 🙂

          Trying your hardest or your best is often easier said than done in my opinion. Sometimes knowingly we let others dictate how we should behave. You really have to be in the zone doing something and doing it with such a passion that that’s when you are likely to do your best.

          Every now and then they’d be a few comments I’ll have to moderate – because of a personal attack, or one with written with profanities with vulgar intentions. These comments don’t faze me, and it’s always interesting wondering why someone would say something like that. Maybe it’s a sign someone wants attention or popularity as you brought up. After all, some personalities such as extroverted personalities thrive on interaction with others, no matter what kind of interaction.

          I hope you get acquainted with your new phone from your Dad. Well, as new to you as can be. ‘No need for it’ sounds like a really honest and legitimate reason why you don’t need a fancy smartphone. Because you don’t and those who do see you as a friend and matter to you will respect that. For me, I do have a smartphone which I use on the go for checking out blogs throughout the day and also for navigating around places where I am not too familiar with.

          Aside from my work, travel these days is also something I’m keeping a mystery from the online world 😛 When the time feels right, then I might share. But with working full time as you know, travel for leisure is limiting. Interesting to hear you say Asians are seldom seem outside of city centres. True, but I do notice they tend to flock towards rural tourists attractions such a fruit picking and lavender plants/bears 😀

          If I do quit the blog, I think it will be a case of cold turkey. It’s always been hard giving up doing things that I like doing but pulling the plug in one hit usually is what helps me move on. Thanks again, Simon. It is always a nice feeling to have an Aussie reader. Also haven’t forgotten about your offer about proof-reading my book. I just need to get the book going again.

          Liked by 1 person

          • When you first started, were you trying to turn a profit and make a name for yourself? I might have to dig up your very first posts if I have time! I’m glad you’ve chosen to engage with people – as I said, it’s why I enjoy coming back to read your messages.

            Hmm, depends on the circumstances, I suppose. If it’s something like a public performance I can imagine things like nervousness kicking in. But being passionate about something can certainly be a big motivator. Like my work, the way big companies are, there is nothing – aside from my conscience, perhaps – stopping me from bludging around and doing a mediocre job like so many do. So many times, with myself and others, I see good people disregarded or ignored while those who just blindly obey management are well regarded (this is in the context of good software design and development). It’s such a demotivator and I repeatedly feel like giving up on trying so hard to do the right thing. Yet I keep trying my best because I want to make sure that the systems my team is responsible for are performing optimally (at least within the unhelpful constraints imposed by management) and that no-one can accuse me or my team of not doing the best they can.

            I’m glad I haven’t seen any of them. The people who post before I do usually seem to be your close followers or friends. I know you’re not fazed by vulgarity or other offensive behaviour but some people on the Internet can be so toxic, getting their jollies from bullying and making other people suffer. Like you say, I think it says more about their own insecurity that they need to stomp on others like that. Comes from the selfishness inherent in all of us, rather than the selflessness we were designed for. And resorting to common foul language is just plain lazy – I’m reminded of reading about a humorous analysis of insulting language in literature, like Captain Haddock’s unconventional profanity in the Tintin series, or Shakespeare’s more creative insults in his plays. I suppose they wouldn’t have the impact on the average reader if they were to be used, though.

            Ha ha, I’d been using the phone for several months already, mainly to play an Android-specific game and have access to things like Steam authentication, but I hadn’t bothered to switch to it as my primary phone till I was able to get a SIM replacement (I was still using the original mini-SIM I had when I first got my own mobile number some twenty-odd years ago, and smart-phones use micro- or nano-SIM nowadays). Even when mobile Internet first came around (in the days Blackberry phones were popular, before there was such a thing as ‘smart’ phones) I didn’t feel the need for mobile access because I already spent too much time on the Internet at home anyway. I’ll grant that having ready access to maps has been handy on occasion, but I could have got by without it and I still don’t use it for much more than making actual phone calls and sending text messages. The larger size of smart-phones is also cumbersome to me, my old dumb-phone is tiny by comparison. Maybe I will find more uses over time, but it’s certainly not ‘indispensable’ to me like some people feel they lose a limb if they lose their phone (indicative of an unhealthy addiction to phones, I think).

            Ooh, international lady of mystery! Fair enough, didn’t think something like that would need to be kept private, but if you go somewhere a lot it’s possibly a good idea not to advertise that to everyone. I only started travelling on my own in this decade, before that it was always organised and paid for by family – I didn’t travel overseas at all between 2001 and 2012 and even now I can only manage it once every year or two. In committing 7 working days a year to serving in the Pilbara, plus the mandatory Christmas shut-down, that doesn’t leave much time left for taking leave for myself and I prefer to have at least three weeks when travelling overseas, plus some time to recuperate back home before returning to work. So I haven’t had any holiday for myself this year but I hope to revisit relatives in the UK next year, plus visit friends in France and Hungary.

            I was thinking of Asians *living* outside of city centres in Australia. I suppose Asian tourists can be seen in many places, but in my recent time in country NSW – Dubbo, Parkes, Orange, Bathurst, and the like – I notice the people there are mostly Caucasian. Likewise, in the Pilbara – Wickham, Roebourne, Karratha, Point Samson, Tom Price, Paraburdoo – it’s either been Caucasian miners and other workers, or Indigenous communities. If I had to guess, the stereotypical Asian seeks after the high-paying jobs and these are generally in the major urban areas rather than in the outback. Maybe I just haven’t been to the really touristy regions where Asians might be more prevalent.

            If or when you choose to hang up your blogging hat for good, I do hope you give a final farewell before you go. But you’re right, if you were to take that drastic step it might work out for the better rather than think that you should give another occasional post just to try to keep it going. Whatever you choose, you’ll have my support.

            Liked by 1 person

            • Making a monetary profit was never my intention with this blog. I did want to make a name for myself, and to do that, naturally I had to attract people to read my work, and trying to increase blog traffic. That meant learning how to write (and promote) my posts in a certain way, and that included learning SEO strategies. To be honest, I don’t think I did a good job back then lol.

              You bring up such a good point there. Being motivated by your passion is one thing, but if someone dictates you on how to do it, you can lose motivation at the drop of a hat. Didn’t know that the case with software design and development, at least where you are coming from. The working world is very much a playing field. Having pitched my writing to publications, naturally I receive feedback from the editors on how to improve my piece – and a lot of the time I’ve been asked to rework my perspective into another perspective. From how I see it work-wise and in the context of making a living sans being your own boss, things won’t always go your way and you have to put up with how the game works (this is something I’ll be touching on in my next post, next month).

              Spot on. Those who bring down others tend to be insecure. With the internet, one can do it anonymously, even create various accounts to troll over and over, or even be two different trolls setting up a fake conversation. I’ve seen it happen here – it’s amusing, and at the same time I do wish people of the like find their way.

              With bigger phone screens over the years, it has become easier to check my blog 😀 Then again I agree with you – the bigger the phone, the more cumbersome it may be. I can’t put my phone in my pocket anymore! For guys I suppose this might still be okay.

              ‘international lady of mystery’ I like this phrase a lot 😀 Security is definitely one reason why I’ve decided not to divulge my work or leisure travels here, and also because I am a private person. No need to tell the whole world every single thing I do. Just no 😀 Sounds like quite a few getaways for you to look forward to next year, and more than few weeks off at a stretch perhaps. Something for you to look forward to 🙂

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              • It’s hard for me to imagine, since you seem quite well-established now, but I suppose starting fresh you would have had to work hard to establish your on-line presence and make yourself known, particularly with the goal of hopefully being published in more mainstream media some day. Being a private individual (at least in terms of an on-line presence/identity) I don’t care much for SEO optimisation for myself, but funnily enough I think I first found your site while looking for references for ‘banana’.

                Ohh, so you do still have some ideas for new posts. Yes, I can see how publishers would want to use their bargaining power to change authors’ views into something that aligns more with their own. I thought that kind of thing happening in the current political debate is an extreme case because of the over-emphasis people have put on this particular issue and the vested interests they have in pushing a certain ideology, but that it happens in the everyday case is sad to hear. There’s often stories of people like Ms Rowling being refused publication of Harry Potter, or Robert Zemeckis and Bob Gale being refused production of Back to the Future – we know about these because they turned out to be runaway commercial successes in the end but how many stories remain untold because they don’t align to publishers’ desires?

                For my case, I work in the financial services industry which inherently requires regulation, checks and balances, audits, etc. And managers, doing what people often do when they fear the unknown or uncertain, put in unnecessary and unhelpful requirements that even impedes their own business goals because they perceive software and software development as being unstable and/or unreliable and fear the penalties that come with breaching government regulation and the like. There is a lack of trust on passionate and knowledgeable developers to do what they know best and to do it efficiently, and instead adopt a command-and-control structure to give themselves a false sense of security. Meanwhile, it takes projects on the order of months to reach completion and changes to be deployed in production code when arguably changes can and should be done in the order of days or even hours. Hmm, I didn’t mean for this to become a rant, but as you say, when you’re told how to do something by superiors who are not experts in your professional craft, then it’s a huge demotivator.

                Australian egalitarian culture often elicits the Tall Poppy Syndrome way of thinking. This can sometimes be good if the individual concerned is particularly obnoxious and arrogant, but it can also be unhelpful in discouraging genuine talent and good/hard-work in Australia. Is this a sign of our culture’s insecurity? Maybe not, but it’s something to consider. I’m sure you’ve probably written something about this in your years of posting.

                One pair of jeans I have, while it still fits, does mean that squeezing a comparatively huge phone in my pocket can be uncomfortable. I remember asking girls in high school why you seem to always carry hand bags and it was explained to me that female clothing often don’t have pockets. Ah, the ignorance of being a bloke!

                I was trying to be humorous, but I’m glad you like it. Sounds like you get to travel a lot for work and/or leisure after all. And while I’ve mentioned to you (and, indirectly, the world) what my general plans are, I haven’t given specifics on where/when I’m going (and neither have I completely identified myself here). I’m not completely ignorant of privacy/security considerations, but I do wonder about those who ‘need to tell the whole world every single thing [they] do’ – for example, if people know they’re away then their home could become a target for burglary. Not to mention the silly people posting their credit cards on social media…

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                • I wouldn’t say well-established on my end, lol. That’s subjective, though. A lot of the time I look at other blogs and bloggers who freelance for a living and go wow, they made it. From the outside looking in, it takes a lot of hard work to get to that stage and they probably work more hours than most of us. Come to think of it, I’ve not written about the notion of ‘banana’ explicitly here. It is down as a topic in my notebook of things to blog about for a while now.

                  Having ideas for writing is one thing, but feeling those topics and having those topics resonate with you is another. The latter is what I’m struggling with – I can write about so many things, but they aren’t necessarily topics that are speaking to me or piquing my interests right now. It’s frustrating because I do feel the desire to write…just don’t know what to write about.

                  Thank you for sharing about the financial services industry, and from the sounds of it, a bit about coding and programming too. In the corporate world and many workplaces in general, I suppose a lot of what you described goes on is this – inefficiency. ‘when you’re told how to do something by superiors who are not experts in your professional craft, then it’s a huge demotivator’ 😦 It is what it is, and as an individual you can only do so much. I think rejection is not something a lot of people like to talk about, or doesn’t get heard about because it can come across as whinging when you have quite a bit to be thankful for.

                  Actually, no. I haven’t written about the Tall Poppy Syndrome. Or something about hard work not getting rewarded in the non-racial context (lol, not phrased very elegantly). Now that is something to write about, and thank you for that 🙂 Oh, and ‘travel a lot’ is subjective too 😀

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                  • Hmm, well, I suppose in terms of regular blog reading, I only have a sample size of two to go on. The other one is fellow Aussie Troy Hunt who writes predominately about tech security and also has quite a following (I heard about him from being present for his talks at a developers’ conference). I don’t think he makes a living off the blog – I think he mainly gets paid for running tech workshops and speaking at conferences. (He recently made a specific post about generally not being compensated for his personal endorsements on his blog – they are his independent opinion and not commercially-motivated and if there are freebies thrown his way he makes sure to disclose them in the interests of transparency.)

                    I suppose the difference is that the focus for him is technology and spreading awareness about the security aspects of it whereas for you it’s the writing itself. I understand where you’re coming from with regards to the idea of having ‘made it’. It’s an easy lie to fall into – I sometimes think that when I have my own home, a wife and kids, then I will have ‘made it’. The so-called ‘Great Australian Dream’, if you will. And then I remind myself that real contentment comes when I am satisfied regardless of the circumstances I’m in. Not easy, I know, but better than always seeking after more and never being satisfied with what we already have.

                    Well, you made at least some references to ‘banana’ – that’s probably where I first started reading your posts. I just had a quick look around at people’s thoughts on the term and – maybe it’s just a case of Americans tending to be more sensitive about racial differences – many seem to consider it a slur or an insult while I freely and happily use it to describe myself and others in a positive or at least neutral perspective. Would be interesting to read what your thoughts are when you come around to writing that one.

                    In my early years at my current job, I was told that big companies are inherently inefficient. While the company I work for might not be considered big on a global scale, it’s probably pretty big at least on a national scale. And it’s my first job in this kind of environment, so I can attest to this statement. I do find it troubling that a lot of management demand solutions when risks or problems are brought to their attention, taking the mentality that problems without solutions is just staff ‘whingeing’. Thankfully, that’s changing, but there are lots of other issues besides. A colleague passed on to me today a quote from Richard Branson: ‘There’s no magic formula for great company culture. The key is just to treat your staff how you would like to be treated.’ I would say that’s a good principle to live by, not just work by, but I think the point stands. A lot of managers don’t realise how loyal and passionate workers can be if they are given the trust and responsibility to do what they know is best. The conferences we are sent to make this point repeatedly – and we’re not able to practise it!

                    Ah, well, good to know I’ve given you something to write about that you can resonate with. My impression is that stereotypical Asian culture strives for and lauds achievements – perhaps to an unhealthy extent in some cases. Stereotypical white Aussie culture is often lackadaisical and perhaps frowns on those who put in a lot of effort or are otherwise high-achievers. That’s what they are, though, stereotypes – I’ve seen Asians bludge in school and university and likewise I’ve seen some very hard-working Caucasians too. Sounds like you have much to say on this as well, so looking forward to it!

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                    • Never heard of Troy Hunt and had to Google him. Quite amazed by his blog and the way he has established it – and it looks very professional, and specific topic and audience driven and his blog would be a platform for him to supplement what he does and build his networks too. As you mentioned he writes to deliver ideas on tech security, but for writers like me and other bloggers here, it’s the writing itself as you mentioned – and creating stories based from your own imagination and perspective.

                      I actually wrote about the Great Australian Dream here in 2013. Had to go back and have a read of that post again 😀 ‘ that real contentment comes when I am satisfied regardless of the circumstances I’m in. Not easy’ So, so true and this resonates with me a lot. There is only so much we can change be it at work or in our personal lives. Some things we just have to accept.

                      Agree with the Richard Branson quote. We’re all more than our jobs and roles at work, and if we’re respected as a person all round, it will certainly make for a better working environment – even if you have to face corporate and bureaucratic policies as you alluded to. It’s something I do have my own opinion on and I mentioned to you, perhaps I will touch upon that in my next post, and maybe also the fact that I also think both Asian and Caucasians are hardworking too.

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                    • Yeah, it won’t let me reply to your most recent responses because I think the conversation thread is too ‘deep’. Not a big deal, probably a weirdness or limitation of WP as you say.

                      Yeah, Blogger is old. It still works, but is probably behind the times now when it comes to ease of use for most people, as well as styling. When Troy was asking people for platform recommendations for his wife, people suggested WP, GitHub (didn’t even know they had blog-oriented features), and Ghost. He eventually chose Ghost and liked it so much that he moved his own blog to it.

                      High-five for feed pulls! I used to manually check my favourite web pages for updates till I discovered some time ago I could let a feed reader (like the one built into my e-mail client) pull updates for me. Saves me a lot of time. Not sure how your first responders get notified so fast of a new post from you unless they do something similar.

                      I suppose I was thinking of an ideal rather than a specific set of circumstances, although my view of those circumstances probably leant towards the Caucasian version of it. It probably has changed or died off because of the impossibly steep house prices in Sydney and Melbourne.

                      Thanks for continuing to write!

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                    • If you like a blog enough, you’d want to check it manually 😀 I do that to a few blogs I follow, and would go on there a few times a week to see if they have posted anything. Apart from that, I follow blogs through my WP reader, though this reader has known to be unreliable and not showing all posts from blogs I’m following at times.

                      Waging a guess here: guessing most of my readers come to my blog via the WP reader, and a small number by email notifications.

                      No, thank you for continuing to support and chime in 🙂

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                  • (I can’t directly reply to your last response. Maybe I’ve hit the reply limit again!)

                    I wouldn’t have expected you to have heard of Troy before, I only mentioned him as another Aussie blogger (and the only other one I follow). As for his blog’s appearance, he was using Google’s Blogger previously and switched to the Ghost platform (which was born out of an attempt to simplify the complexity of working with WordPress) at the end of 2015, tailoring it to what you see today. I follow via Atom/RSS feed (as I do with you) so I don’t see the fancy styling most of the time anyway – the content is what is important.

                    Was it the post you made on 25th July 2013? I had a quick read through it – I’m sorry if I caused any offence in my use of the expression. Maybe it’s my ‘whiteness’ colouring my view (pun not intended) but I didn’t think the expression specifically referred to white Australia – as you wrote then, you were also a family enjoying life in your own home in suburbia. For me, the idea is about enjoying family life in the ‘security’ of your own home, etc. Maybe there’s some cultural differences in opinion as to what that exactly looks like between different families. Once again I’m reminded of that Australian advert referring to Caucasian, Asian, Middle Eastern, and Indigenous families all living side-by-side in harmony. I find it interesting that your mum was concerned about your sun exposure – as a child I was the one doing the mowing! Anyway, as I said, the ‘dream’ itself is a lie, but it’s still okay to desire things like having a home and family. I just shouldn’t let it (or anything else, for that matter) become an idol.

                    Yes, of course, no matter where you go there will be slackers and there will be hard-workers, irrespective of race or nationality.

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                    • Don’t think you have hit the reply limit…maybe it’s WordPress being weird 😛

                      I’ve actually found WP to be a much more smoother, intuitive platform compared to Blogger. It’s always very commonly used and I also chose to use it because if I were to have issues with it, I was certain the community here would help – and they did with my CSS styling. I think you are the one of the very few, very rare people I actually know who follows my blog via Atom/RSS feed 😀

                      Yes, it was that post back in July 2013. No offence cause at all and we do have similar thoughts about the term, though I do think it has a bit of a Western-lifestyle connotation to it. To be honest, I don’t think I’ve heard many people mentioning this phrase much anymore and lifestyles and household arrangements have changed significantly over the last few decades. As you mentioned, the dream is a lie…but am inclined to think a lot of us want a place to call home at the end of the day.

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  11. Hi Mabel 🙂 I look forward to your posts. I enjoy reading them (regardless of the topic) because you have such an engaging way of speaking to me. I also enjoy reading all of the comments you get from other bloggers. I agree wholeheartedly with your point about engaging with your fellow bloggers by responding to their posts. I try to comment on as many of my fellow bloggers posts and I try to respond to every comment on my blog. I do hope you continue with this blog, however I understand if you start to wind back 🙂 Thanks for five years of fun Mabel and congratulations! I hope sunny Melbourne has warmed up for you – here in Brisbane it is steamy and hot and I have broken out the tank-top and shorts for dog-walking. Take it easy my blogging friend 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Very kind of you to say and read the other comments too, Andy. I am sure the other bloggers are greatful for your support 🙂 Hopefully you continue to read. Your background, line of work and your personality makes you a very interesting piece of the audience. Also, I’ve always enjoyed your poetry and haikus and hope you keep them coming 🙂

      Winding back is very tempting at the moment as summer is approaching. Very glad to say that it looks like Melbourne is hitting 30’C next mid-week. Woo hoo 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  12. I heard you Mabel, especially ‘Not everyone will like your blog. Not everyone will agree with what you share online. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion.’, this point.

    As blogger, I fully aware that I can’t have all people to like my blog but sometimes, plenty of others who dislike my posts somewhat would give me tough such as putting harsh comment extended to verbal harassment by sending email only to make me feel bad

    But again, I like to remind myself, the reason why I started everything, the fun and joy when blogging, and many more….

    Well, all the best for you and your blogging ^-^

    Liked by 2 people

    • I hope you don’t get such harsh comments. Though Chinese novels aren’t my thing, I do admire you for blogging what you like and sticking with it. If it makes you happy, it makes you happy 🙂 Very nice to see you have followers too 🙂

      All the best for you and your blog too. Keep doing what you do. Thank you so much for stopping by again 🙂

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  13. People stole your work?! Jerks. I must have arrived after that.

    I’ve got to go find your inflammatory post on interracial dating. Or maybe not. But kudos to you for ignoring the trolls.

    I always tell people I never do anything, “half-assed. I’m full-assed, all the way.” (It’s maybe funnier when a not-so-petite person says it?)

    Liked by 1 person

    • A few months ago again someone copy-pasted one of my posts on their blog. Though they credited me, I did not give them permission and they didn’t respond to me. Oh well.

      Here is the inflammatory post. It was a short post too:
      mabelkwong.com/2013/09/19/understanding-the-asian-girl-white-guy-relationship/

      Hehe, I like full-assed, all the way. I think I will borrow that line and try it out. If I get any laughs out of it I’ll let you know. Hehe.

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  14. “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”

    This is the number one reason to me. Great points here. Thanks.

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  15. Congrats on five year blog anniversary, Mabel. I’m happy to hear that you are still going strong and blogging from your heart. Mabel, although my blog journey is just half of yours, I have found that fellow bloggers who used to comment regularly suddenly stop… visiting and commenting. So people who would comment 2 years ago…are no more visiting my blog. I guess they moved on or may be got bored…or found better blogs to follow….which is fine! nothing wrong with that. It is a journey…I also do that…many times!
    would like to mention here that I find you are invaluable reader of my blog….no no wait…I think you are invaluable to many other bloggers because you read with complete interest and then share your thoughts which makes blogging all the more interesting. There are many bloggers who wite “great post”…”lovely pictures”….but you are not one of them. You know what you do. Even though you don’t write frequently but what you write is superb and meaningful. Appreciate your presence here in blog-o-sphere. Keep blogging and keep inspiring us, Mabel! It is always great to hear from you.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I feel for you when you say some bloggers have not stopped by your blog as often as they used to. But usually over time others will discover your blog and perhaps like it 🙂

      Thank you, Arv. It’s very nice of you to say about my writing. What others have to say, like you, there is usually always something to learn from that given we all live different lives – always a pleasure to respond to honest, thought out content. Also meaningful connections are hard to come by and when they do, sometimes you just want to stick together.

      Thanks for writing about Jaipur, Arv. You do put your town in the spotlight beautifully as one articulate Indian blogger out there 🙂

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  16. Congrats on your 5 Year anniversary! I’ve been quite a casual reader on and off because I haven’t exactly been consistent with my blogging so I definitely agree with what you wrote about time management. Haha… Things happen in life and I always believe that I should live my life to the fullest and that means embracing life offline so life gets in the way, work gets in the way, friends get in the way of the online world.

    And yet, I too enjoy writing and I would miss engaging with the small community that (hopefully) still remembers me when I bother to post so I find myself back here again and again, trying to do better with my blogging everytime I lapse, so to speak. Every time I wanted to give up, I thought that it was better to keep on trying still as long as there’s a fire to keep building (being a bit to melodramatic here but you get my meaning, haha!). I especially agree with what you mentioned about those who have stopped blogging cos I do miss some of them whenever I pop back in and realise that they have stopped posting.

    Oh and social media? I think you are way better than me at it because I’m not missing the social in that media. I think we can all do without social media because it just gives you additional stress and creates a pretentious image rather than make you socialise more. For the sake of blogging, though, I’m trying to be better…haha

    Anyway, just keep on posting the content that you wish to even if it means cutting back on your time here for as long as it makes you happy to do so. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Sha. Thank you for following along even if it’s on and off. I’ve always liked your travel stories and have been lurking every now and then. It’s great that you do actively take time to go live, adventure and see places – do it while you can and when you feel like it, and really do what matters to you.

      Yes, things do happen in life, anytime, anywhere. I think if you are honest with what you put put there on your blog, others will remember you for it. As long as you want to do someting, do it. So many times I’ve thought to myself why not stop blogging and writing too, and then I’ll realise I love it and I do find enjoyment and a sense of peace out from it.

      Haha! I’m actually not much of a social media person at all. I do go days and maybe a week or two without looking at Facebook and it will feel completely normal to me 😀 ‘creates a pretentious image’ You said it so well. In person, there is no hiding, just honest you and how you are.

      Hope you keep posting too as and when you are up for it 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • Hahaha, same! I actually removed facebook from my phone so nowadays I find that I only check it on occasions and I never felt like I missed out on much..haha…thanks for the kind words and hope that you’ll still keep posting once in a while too.. 🙂

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        • I also don’t feel like I am missing out on much with Facebook. Really I only use it to promote my blog post once a month, and there are many time I decide to check my feed…and right away feel the desire to go away. I’d rather devote my energies to blogging 🙂

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  17. Excellent post, my dear friend…
    I totally second your thoughts, especially when you say that we should acknowledge that not everyone will like you… And the last point. “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”: so true- I love blogging (an lately Twitter!)… but sometimes it can become an isolating activity. It seems paradoxical, I know… I guess virtuality could become a spider web at times… We are not so sure what to believe or if what we see is true… Luckily for us, blogging is a door that allow us to get into things… and exit when we want or should be need to do so… If we find balance is can be an excellent thing!. Many hugs to you across the miles, linda… xx 😀 ❤

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    • Really, really like your spiderweb analogy. Sometimes when we start blogging or doing what we love, we can’t stop. What we create will get bigger and more beautiful, but it’s also important to slow down and ask ourselves if we’re really happy with what we’re doing.

      I have admired your blog for so long, and have always seen you liking and commenting on other blogs so generously. For so long I was so scared to say ‘Hi’ – I think I was just shy and intimidated by how well-written your works are and thought ‘This linda must be famous with a big heart’ 😀 But I am so glad to have connected and who knows, maybe one day we will meet in person ❤

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      • Thank you for the lovely comment, linda (I just replied to your comment on my blog and wanted to thank you for that too, great insights!)…. You are so sweet to say that you might have seen me as famous…. haha 😀 —>We should have connected ealier, but the good thing is that we did, anyway! 🙂 And: Yes, I´d definitely love to meet you too, my friend… Enjoy your weekend. Many hugs to you!!! ❤

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  18. Incisive thinking about and sharing of your experiences… I have often mused that blogging –as well as engagement with other bloggers–takes time and energy that might be better used to work on projects outside of blogging. I have used blogging partly to explore genres and hone writing skills, especially narrative nonfiction ( also write-and post-poetry and short stories). It is enriching to interact with readers/creative persons. But after a writers conference, I am reconsidering goals again, and using more time to submit and aim for publishing outside of the blogging world. I have published in the past yet often put that aside–it is so intensive an endeavor! Yet as writers we are also motivated to explore opportunities beyond this platform. You write very well, Mabel, and I have appreciated many of your posts. I am sure you will continue to move forward. Regards.

    Liked by 1 person

    • So agree that the time we spend on our blogs can be used elsewhere in the real world, especially developing our craft further in others ways. That was an interesting writer’s conference you shared on your blog, and sounds like you took a lot away from it. Just goes to show how writers need to be social creatures every now and then.

      I used to publish on other platforms too, and I’ve toyed with the idea of going back to that. Writing about different genres and platforms is a great way to expand our writing skills and learn the kind of writing that speaks to us.

      Thank you so much for your support, Cynthia.

      Liked by 1 person

  19. “Most of my blog posts come from ideas I’ve been mulling over for a year or two.” – I loved this sentence, Mabel, because it speaks to the preparation and thought that you put into your writing.

    Congrats on the anniversary, and also kudos on your skills that you’ve developed over the time you’ve been blogging! I was just sharing with a friend that I have learned much from my blog readers, which I never anticipated would happen. From how different people see art differently to readers expressing that they cared about one of my characters from fiction, it has been so helpful to me, which I didn’t expect. 🙂

    I always look forward to your posts! Thanks, Mabel!

    Liked by 1 person

    • A lot of the time I think I overthink things, lol. I’m one who likes to make decisions that I would feel 100% comfortable with, and when my writing is put out there, I want it to be 100% what I believe in.

      It is so heartening to hear you have learned so much from your blog readers – so encouraging, so honest. I have always enjoyed your reflective thoughts on the writing process, and also really like your illustrations which I never expected from you 🙂 Maybe drawing is your hidden, secret talent 😀

      Thank you so much, Theresa. Your support means a lot to me ❤

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  20. You’ve been doing great, Mabel. Congratulations! 🙂

    Blogging is not easy. I was active – went offline – came back. I admire your perseverance with it, and am so happy your blog is loved by a lot of us.

    If the goal is to become a writer and if blogging gives us the medium to build a portfolio, so be it. As a blogger, we choose a topic to write on before researching, citing, structuring, and publishing it – and the final post, probably unbeknownst to us, has contributed to our improved and fine-tuned perspective. We are growing along with our blog, only if we’ve been consistent with it.

    There are several bloggers who just “like” and leave. I fail to understand what their like meant or did to my post. They liked it – yes – but how. At one point, I wrote to WordPress asking if I could get rid of the “like” button. No – was the response.

    “Some share their day to day lives, but perhaps not when life gets tough” – yes, this happens, which only says they never made blogging a part of their life. Which is fine. But it takes years and several posts before one identifies with one’s own blog. What makes this post so exciting is that you are very honest, like always, and speak for a lot of us.

    I’m an admirer of your worldview. Keep it up! 🙂

    Like

    • I first discovered you and your blog during our collaboration with Lady By The River. Came by your blog and did notice you were offline. There are times when real life calls, and hope when you were offline, you lived, gained perspective and found meaning in what you did 🙂 Given the way my life in the real world is going at the moment (busy), it seems very much possible I’ll need to take a step back from here in some way.

      ‘has contributed to our improved and fine-tuned perspective’ This is a compliment many bloggers, artists and creatives would love to have. Thank you. Often we create for ourselves, but we also create in hope to make a bit of a difference.

      I’ll be honest and admit there are times when I do just ‘Like’ a post. You posed a good question there – like, and how? Sometimes I ‘Like’ and don’t comment because I have nothing to say. Other times, I might have read the post and am not sure what to say. I’d much rather read selected posts from a blogger, and then respond reflectively to share what I think, and then the blogger gets another perspective on their work – as opposed to ‘liking’ every post or reading every post (some bloggers post daily, hats off to them).

      Thank you so much for following along, Mahesh. You know, you’re very honest too and very generous in sharing parts of you day to day lives with us, and your family too. Keep up the good work with your writing and it is an honour to have been published in the same book as you 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  21. Mabel, first of all, I LOVE your photographic images of people, especially. They are just stunning. The light and composition are sublime.

    As for your blogging subjects, I think you’re doing just fine – I love it when a blogger changes it up, which I like doing, myself. Yes, mostly poetry, but not always. Sometimes prose. Sometimes one of my academically notated pieces. My readers can take it. And I don’t give a fig if I receive fewer comments and likes. I write. All the time. Every day, usually – and not because I ‘need the discipline.’ There’s just always something to ruminate about. When I blog it is ‘merely’ an outlet for said writing. I have no grand objectives – those have been met in past lives 😉 (My ‘thirties and ‘forties.)

    Your post is wonderful and I am going to forward it to a couple of friends who wonder why they don’t get traffic on their (quite well written) blog posts. You are correct, we need to interact with one another, not just push the Like button a hundred times, unless ‘being liked’ this way is one’s ‘thing.’ Thanks for continuing with your interesting posts! Aloha ❤

    Liked by 2 people

    • About a couple of years ago, I toyed with the idea of starting a photography blog. Even got around to playing with a dummy blog messing around with the design code…but that blog never eventuated because back then, I felt ‘in the future two blogs will be hard to manage’ 😀 So I am happy you do enjoy the photos here, lol.

      Bela, I LOVE your poetry and your academic touches on some of your narratives. You present the beautiful little things in life that we should cherish in so many of them – and published elsewhere too. It is amazing your readers are responses to your different kinds of writing styles, and it is so kind of you to take the time to engage in-depth with all of us.

      That is so kind of you to want to forward my post to a couple of your friends. Thank you so much. Traffic is one thing, engagement is another. If I had to choose, I’d choose the latter. Almost every connection that is more than just a ‘Hi’ is a special one. Thank you for supporting, Bela ❤

      Liked by 2 people

      • had to chime in on the reply to Bela (hope you don’t mind) but I think you made a wise choice to keep your photos here – Ive tried the separate blogs and not ideal.

        Like

          • I hear ya – and I also love how you have integrated your photos into posts. Also, I kind of feel like I have grown with you and evolved with you. Like I recall one post where you said you were trying out this and that with photos – and then we saw your photos unfold….
            so keep in mind there are so many ripples a blog can have – I know you know this – but I have recently realized the scope of the ripple of my own. Like I ran into someone local in my town and they followed my blog – I was like – what? and they wanted to know when it would resume. I was on that long break… anyhow, it really spoke to me – to hear they were waiting for my return….

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            • Lol, you have a good memory, Y. True, at one point I wondered what to do with photography. I was even afraid that the more photos I posted here, the more my people won’t take my writing seriously. Well, seems others like the writing and not much the photos 😀

              That is so cool you ran into someone who followed your blog, and they look forward to it! So kind of them to think of you and your blog – and mention it to you. Maybe you are on the road to stardom 😀

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  22. You’ve spoken what I have mentioned time and again on my site/social media. It takes a lot of effort, and (like you) my posts take weeks and even months as they go through multiple iterations of proof-reading.

    I started off just to document my travels, but soon was approached for promotions. I started with high prices and, gladly, some firms accepted my quote. I get to do less promotions because of high charges, but then my full-time job is a priority. My images have found takers on Instagram too…and (again) I am paid good for them.
    Happy to see you earning here too…nothing quite like doing what you love and making money off it!

    It is sad to see people making opinions about you just because of a blog post…but there are many who keep an open mind too. Accept each other, for everyone is unique.

    Quality and consistency is what matters in blogging. I’ll complete 3 yrs in December and have a similar count of published posts as you did in 5 years. I’ve really learned a lot from you…wishing you many more years of successful blogging. Happy Anniversary 😍

    Like

    • Your blog and tie-in with social media is something to be admirable, Alok. It is great that you get approached for promotions and weave them into your posts and also around your interests. Good that you have benchmark quotes and know what you are worth, on here an dalso on IG. It takes time to blog and promote on social media, and good to see you are investing wisely in it.

      I don’t actually make money off my blog and promotions is not something I’m comfortable with on this blog. Each to their own. But this blog has landed me freelance gigs outside and every now and then I do earn a bit off that. Making a monetary profit has never been my aim with this blog or even my writing. It would be nice, I think 😀

      Congrats on your blog’s upcoming 3 years. It feels like I’ve known you for a long time already. Keep blogging and wishing you all the best 😀

      Liked by 1 person

      • It sure is nice to earn, but I like the association part of it with big brands. Money is not much anyway, so we can’t live off of those earnings entirely.

        Seems to me too that we’ve come a long way together. Here’s wishing us many more ☺️

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  23. Congrats on the five years, Mabel! That’s a fantastic achievement. Something you should be really proud of. Your blog posts are so well written and thought out—you can read just how much of your time has gone into them. That hard work has really paid off. You’ve created a great blog which has a bunch of really engaged readers. Think that’s worth a high five!

    Like

    • Thanks, Jaina. I do have quite a bit of pride for this blog 😉 Really appreciate each reader whether they are regulars, casual or once-off. Not too sure where to from here with the blog, but I am very humbled to see everyone here. High five to you for being a blogger 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  24. Congratulations Mabel on your five years of blogging. It takes a lot of perseverance and passion I think to keep a consistent commitment. This section really resonated with me… ‘Not everyone will like your blog. Not everyone will agree with what you share online. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion.’ If blogging has taught me one thing this would be it. I used to be the kind of person who might be quite hurt by someone saying they didn’t like my writing or arguing with it. Blogging has either toughened my skin or taught me that as you say everyone can have their own opinion. I love the photo of you on the stone pier. Beautifully captured.

    Liked by 2 people

    • It is amazing to see your blog journey, Sue, and it’s an honour to blog beside you. I do think you say what you want to say on your blog, and with downright honesty, great sense of humour and adventure – which I’m sure has also toughened you. Because of blogging, I met you and actually met you in person and that is one of the highlights over the last five years. Thank you so much for always being a great support. Words can’t fully express how thankful and greatful I am for that 🙂 ❤

      Liked by 1 person

      • Mabel your feedback warms my heart on this chilly Canadian morning. It was such a delight to meet you in person. The same goes to you in that your dedicated support and in depth comments have been a huge support. To think that if we had never started blogging so many friendships around the world would have never happened. I am grateful every day. Wishing you an excellent weekend!

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        • I have to take my hat off to you on how many blogger friends you’ve actually met, and so many others who would like to meet you too 🙂 Now you make me feel greatful for every day. Wishing you many more blogging adventures!

          Liked by 1 person

          • We have been so fortunate to meet so many bloggers over the years. Recently at the TBEX blogging conference in Ireland, we had another blogger who has been a long time follower and we of him, recognise us in the crowd. What a delight to finally meet after all of the conversations we have had on each others blogs.

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  25. wow – five years – and I believe I have been following for almost half of that – or at least 1/3- and love you and your blog so much.
    congrats again!
    I was curious as to what this means: “creating a product-facing”
    and enjoyed reading your experience – I have always admired your staying power and your schedule for posting – seems like you found a way to keep it win-win.
    There are many helpful things here- and one of my favs is the part about not everyone liking someone’s blog – so true.
    I want to come back and read the comments – really hope I can – and I also have learned some things blogging that I am going to share – but it just seems to unique for each person – I sorta wish I could blog anonymously – but I am already out there. ha! and for me – blog breaks have kept me fresh.

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    • I also love following your blog. Love the different topics you post about, from happenings around your neighbourhood to food. And we wrote a book together ☺

      ‘product-facing blog’ What that means is a blog that is more than a blog about random personal ramblings. Think of a blog that focuses on presenting a consistent theme that is marketable – think blogs such as lifestyle, make-up, tech blogs that has potential to be your portfolio or a brand that you want to project or a blog where others want to work with you – which goes someway to help you make a living.

      Lol, it has been much harder than I thought to be consistent. Posting consistently is one thing, creating content that is speaks to yourself and others is another thing altogether.

      So kind of you to want to come back and read the comments. Would definitely like to hear what you’ve learned about blogging. You’re out there, ready to share 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  26. I too have been blogging for 5 years and like you my following has become immense. It just is not possible to go to everyone’s blog and leave a comment. I’ve had to change strategies over the years on how best to approach blogging as my blog grew. I agree with you that blogging is challenging and when life itself is whirling around you to keep blogging takes commitment and a lot of effort. I applaud you for what you have achieved here, Mabel. You need to feel pride in yourself because you are a very gifted writer. And the photograph of the women standing on the rocks with slow shutter speed is AWESOME! Your photography skills are right up there with your writing skills. You rock, dear friend! Keep on!!! 🍷💫💝

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    • 5 blogging years for you too. Happy 5 blog years to you, and it has been wonderful connecting with you. I do notice you do go under the radar sometimes, and keep comments closed when you feel like you need time. Above all, I admire you for sharing so honestly about your life with us along with those stunning photos of yours.

      That is me standing on the rocks and I took the photo of myself with a tripod 😀 Post-processing did help with the end result of this photo. Thank you so much and take care, Amy ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  27. Hey there Mabel! Congratulations on 5 years of blogging and successful blogging too – quite a ‘bit’ of following you have 😉 I hope to get there some time in a decade or so 😀 I loved your photographs and particularly the captions – thoughtful and pretty much covered everything! Kudos 🙂 Interestingly I also started blogging in October – two years ago. A mere toddler 😀 Yet I often wonder what I did with my time before I began blogging! But then again I had a lot of homework then but with an empty nest I do have a lot of free time on my hand. Shackled by my own self of what is right wrong what I can do or not do the ‘bindaas’ world of blogging has been a liberating experience for me. It has introduced me to myself and for that I will always be grateful who have welcomed my hesitant baby steps with so much grace and genuineness. And of course you are among the toppers – many burgers and chips to you my friend 😀

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    • Why thank you for the well-wishes my blogging and burger loving friend 😀 Really loved that you have come aboard the blogging world, and I feel like you have such a loud yet approachable personality. In fact, you already have a following of your own already, so fast 🙂

      ‘It has introduced me to myself’ What a way to put blogging, and I think this is so true for those of us who honestly share our lives here. So glad we have connected and am loving your variety of posts from the themes to your poetry and random photos that are always hilarious 🙂 For this comment, you deserve a big burger and a big round of fries my friend 😂🍔🍔🍟🍟

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  28. Since you asked, Mable, I would be interested to know more about your writing: what your genres are, why you gravitate to them, what you work on in freelance, etc. Being Asian in a country that is multicultural anyway, what similarities do you find between your heritage culture and others?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Those are some great suggestions, Glynis. Thank you so much. Freelancing, along with my work, is something I’ll keep private. But I really feel I can run away with the writing genre and why I like certain styles more. Cultural similarities and differences is also a topic I’m interested in. Once again, thank you.

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  29. Happy anniversary and congratulations Mabel – it takes a great deal of commitment to keep the blog going – as any of us who have been at it for a while know. I too have often thought of dropping out but for me the blog is an opportunity to share thoughts and get a bit of exposure for my photography so I keep going. I also think it’s important to have a regular schedule, and to limit the number of posts so that readers are not “pestered” by over-posting. One thing I’ve started doing is limiting the number of photos and the amount of text. I think it makes the blog an easier visit for the vast majority of readers who, like us, are over-scheduled and short on extra time. And, like you, I make it a point to visit all of those who take the time to visit and comment on my site. All that said, my final comment would be “keep up the good work”!

    Liked by 1 person

    • So agree with you, Tina. Blogging is a lot of work and can be quite a commitment. I’ve admired your blog for the wonderful photos you share, and such a diverse range of images – and with different effects too. I’ve always wanted to limit the amount of text…but that has certainly not happened with my posts this year!

      You too keep up the work. You have such an engaging blog and an engaging following too.

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  30. There is so much to learn from and admire you for in here. I am glad that you have found blogging to be a rewarding experience, as I have as well. And I cab completely relate when you say how humbling it is to know others care about what you have to say. 🙂 Congratulations on all your accomplishments!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much! Sharing what you share takes courage, and I admire you for being so open about your chronic illness. Keep sharing and I look forward to reading and seeing how you make the most of what you’ve got 🙂

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  31. I can’t believe you have been blogging for 5 years already.. this is crazy!! Time is flying.
    I cannot agree more about time management, this is definitively something I’m lacking.
    I would say keep writing about your experience, the multiculturalism in our society today.. I find it really interesting and so different from other blogs I follow. You have a unique voice so keep it that way 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Crazy is the correct word! I also cannot believe it’s been 5 blogging years already. Felt like I just started. It is so nice of you to say my blog i different, thank you so much 🙂

      I miss your posts…but I notice now you have a shop! You make jewelry! Amazing and good luck 🙂

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  32. Congratulations, Mabel. I am sorry you had to encounter the hate words and I am glad that you were not discouraged by those. Truly, your blog is well-thought of and well written, a testament to the hard work and time you put in it. Continue writing, whatever direction it make take you.

    Thank you as well for being one of my blogging companions. I am so glad I know you even if virtually. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much, Imelda. It has been lovely connecting with you, and you do share such heartfelt, honest poems. You keep writing too, Though poetry is not my writing genre of choice, through your blog I’ve found a newfound appreciation for it 🙂

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  33. Congratulations, Mabel! Five years is a loooooong time and you stuck with it! I know how difficult it is to continue blogging after the first year. 🙂 You’re incredibly brave to put your thoughts out there. It isn’t easy talking about difficult (highly relevant) topics. That’s why you need an extra thumbs up for your dedication. I’ve always liked reading your posts and your perspective. There’s so much we can learn. I’m so glad I cam across your blog! All the best for the next 5 years! Hugs

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    • Five years is certainly a while but it feels like I just started blogging yesterday 😂 Thank you so much for sticking around as these posts get longer and longer…maybe shorter in the future I don’t know, lol. Love your travel blog and the philosophical thoughts on life that you share. You and Basil make a great team. Maybe he can write a blog post one day 😊

      Liked by 1 person

      • Your posts need to be of a particular length because they need to address issues/topics from avery angle. I think the length works for me! 🙂 I’ve been trying hard to get him to write a post or answer comments. I guess, I’ll have to try harder to get him to write. 🙂

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  35. Congratulations on your 5th blogging anniversary Mabel.
    Your articles have been always very interesting and are a nice change to other article I usually read (can’t read all blogging article anymore though, just too many I like and try to follow). Your posts are very well thought and written. My style is completly different. More often than not I just come up with a topic and write everything within 2-3 hours and I am done. Then again my topics are more of the “easy” or “lighter” kind and are just a reflection of my everyday life.
    Hope to see/ read many more interesting articles by you 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Timo. Following, reading and commenting on blogs can be so hard. As you said, there’s not enough time and everyone generally is very nice and interesting on here.

      I actually like your blogging style a lot. No matter how hard I try to right more casually, I never get there completely, lol. Maybe more lighter topics on here in the future. Maybe I will look to your blog for inspiration 😛

      Liked by 1 person

      • Oh and never imagined that someone would really appreciate my blogging style as I do not believe in myself too much. I think the reason is that English is only my third language but then again I would feel even more insecure blogging in German!
        Casual topics are somehow my favorite as they just “flow out my fingertips”. Back in high school I was well know for my creative exams in sport theory. Somehow I manage it always to entertain my teacher and his colleagues with each exam. In the end I got even remarks on my high school diploma sports exam from several teachers around the state who were checking the exams. I guess it I just had a hand in turning a very boring topic such as theoretical sports into some amusing stories 🙂

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  37. Congratulations Mabel. Well done. 5 years. You are the best blogger i found on WordPress. The amount of work you put in your blogs is incredible. You are an amazing writer and i learned a lot from you. Hoping to read more of your work.

    Shreyans

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  38. Congrats on your 5 years Mabel. And don’t I know how short time is to write books, blogs, interviews and read 100 blogs nightly! You have to love what you do. And if we don’t engage with our readers, what are we doing it for? 🙂 xx

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  39. “… more bloggers are spending more than 6 hours writing a blog post (average length 1,050 words) …”

    If I ever find myself having to spend 6 hours to write ONE blog post, I’d go terminate my web hosting service and kill my blog. Screw it, it won’t even get that far. Make it 3 hours… 🙄

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  40. You sound organised when it comes to writing your blog post Mabel.
    I always enjoy reading your posts.. You put a lot of thought and effort into each post.. And your writing is creative and easy to read..
    I can agree too, not everyone likes our blogs or agrees, I enjoy the ones who constructively evaluate and bring their opinions. I encourage conversation ..
    But you are also right, about the trolls and those who can be down ride rude..
    I have also had my share of them too.. Mainly in the past.. And while I can tolerate debate, done in a polite manner.. I do not tolerate abuse.. And they get sent to the trash can where they belong..
    And like you I too have work copied and pasted and presented as their own.. Especially my poetry.. And I found this out via copyscape Then they make their blogs private so I do not see..
    I can only hope they derive satisfaction.. In their lack of ability to ‘Think’ for themselves.. They are sad really.

    You are so right about Blogging teaching us skills.. I have learnt everything on the computer by trial and error.. No one has taught me.. And Yes I have made some mistakes.. That is how we learn.. LOL

    We who blog, develop more than computer skills.. We also at times become healers, as we listen to those who out pouring need listening to .

    I love visiting my WordPress ‘Family’ as I often call them, because as we learn more about each other and visit and exchange conversations, we become friends, even though we will never meet.. My WordPress Family also mean a lot.

    My only ‘Guilt’ is that I cannot always get around and read as many as I would like to.. And feel bad often when I miss a post or I am mega late in arriving which is often the case..

    But as you so eloquently point out Mabel, Our Off line World is the REAL world and one in which we should be engaging in .. And We do..

    Loved this post and So loved the photos too And I really cherish the time it takes when you visit and read my own posts Mabel..
    Time is precious and We bloggers always appreciate it when others take time to read and comment..

    Love and Mega Hugs your way..
    Love Sue ❤ 🙂

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    • It is so nice of you to pop by, Sue. It is amazing how you encourage conversation on two of your blogs – each so different yet each of them bring wholehearted responses, and so many nice blogger friends of yours sharing their opinions, chatting with you. Constructive criticism is something I look forward to, and it’s always humbling to receive that.

      It sounds like you got a good grip on trolls. Personally I don’t mind if someone else expresses an opinion completely different from mine, so long as they do it in a level-headed way. Hopefully those you’ve sent to the Trash don’t come back again. Some of them I’ve had coming back again and again with a different name and persona. Hard to imagine you get such opinionated comments – after all, your writing comes across as very relatable, accepting and welcoming.

      So sorry to hear your work has been copied without permission. While there is nothing we can do about it, such a choice is not made by us but someone else. While they might gain satisfaction in a split second from taking our work, that is just that for one moment.

      The WordPress Fam is amazing. Can not say that enough. Amazing how so many are so supportive on here – so many give their time, their selves, their heart towards what gets put out here.

      So glad to have connected this year with you, Sue. Wondered why I didn’t discover your and your blogs earlier, but never too late. Mega Hugs? I am so flattered to receive them, so here are some Mega Hugs right back at you ❤ ❤ ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  41. Hi Mabel, congratulations on 5 years of blogging! Wow, I knew there were a lot of blogs out there but 440 million of them?! My oh my! I bet when you started 5 years ago there were considerably less than that – blogging is popular 🙂

    I’m grateful for all of the time you take to craft your monthly blog post and I think others agree, which is why we take care to read it thoroughly and comment in full, rather than just leaving a quick “Like” on it. I know it’s not easy to fit in the writing if you’re not a writer by trade. Congrats on Lady by the River, which I have a copy of, and I’m reading it this month ~ You are now published in book form too, woohoo!

    As for friends in real life who comment on our blogs, I’m the same as you where few of these people chat about my blog. So I am thankful for those people like you who take time to read and comment on my posts and form bonds unlike any other. May your day be amazing and you continue to find happiness in the blog world ❤

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    • There really are 440 million blogs and counting out there, and that would probably mean a billion blogs posts. Amazing statistics.

      I also am greatful for the time you take to manage your two blogs, one for your poetry, and for the other one about lifestyle. It’s amazing how consistent and tailored your writing style is for the latter, and hope you are getting what you want out of both 🙂 It does take a lot of time to do a blog post, and I have been considering even posting less. Funny how I used to blog once a week and wanted to blog more!

      Hope you enjoy Lady by the River. All of us who contributed had such a great time writing our pieces. Thank you so much for picking it up, and for supporting all these years, Christy. It means a lot and always humbled whenever you pop by ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  42. Keeping a blog definitely takes a lot of time! Specially with posts so long and detailed as yours. And visiting other blogs, answering comments, etc, too. I think sometimes we need to remember that it’s fine if we don’t have time to update/answer/visit everybody! There are other things in life! But I do feel anxious if 10 days go by and I didn’t update, haha.

    Happy blogversary!

    Liked by 1 person

  43. I’ve thought about quitting blogging, too. I think another interesting statistic is how many bloggers stop after a certain period of time. Maybe one year? Maybe not even that long?

    So, congratulations for sticking with it. Blogging is hard work. It’s harder than I imagined and forming a community is equally challenging because: expats come and go, bloggers quit (I miss some of them!) and a lot of them take looonng breaks.

    I’ve gone from blogging once a week (for years, actually) to blogging when I have the time. I’ve deleted FB and Twitter off of my phone. I’ve stopped doing self-promo. I just IG for fun. Part of the reason is like you, I want time in the real world and I got frustrated constantly trying to promote and get nowhere.

    But that’s okay. The reason I started blogging was to get my writing out there and test the waters. And with other projects, blogging has had to take a back seat.

    Interesting that there are not many Aussie bloggers. I’d never guess. Any thoughts on why?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Now that statistic I want to know – what is the average lifespan of a blog? Such an interesting question. Like you, I would also say one year, maybe even less.

      Your blog is amazing and you are certainly consistent with expat life, cultural identity and topical issues like body image. Never crossed my mind that expat bloggers come and go… Expat and travel bloggers have always fascinate me, especially those who globetrot the world freelancing. I wonder how they keep up.

      ‘frustrated constantly trying to promote and get nowhere.’ You about sum up how I feel about self-promoting. Over time I’ve learnt some strategies work and some don’t. Then again, what works won’t always work given search engine and social media algorithms are constantly changing. And as an introvert, self-promo is sometimes a bit much for me 😛

      Have absolutely no idea why there isn’t much of a blogging scene here in Australia. A few years ago, there was a rather renowned national best-blogs competition for Australian blogs. The top prize was like a trip abroad. This competition is no more, and the year I wanted to enter it stopped lol.

      Liked by 1 person

      • GAH!

        Yeah, I’m stopped promoting myself on Twitter because it never ever has worked. I think in all these years I got maybe one referral. FB is better, but I stopped self-promoting there because I started making new friends that I fear don’t really know me, mainly colleagues and that scared me. What would they think? Today though I decided to ‘bite the bullet’ and start up again on FB. F* it, I thought.

        But we’ll see. Must keep trying, right?

        Yeah, expats come and go with great regularity. They come out East for a year or two and then head back home. Some move on to other countries, but the expat lifestyle doesn’t normally last long and a lot of them start blogs as a way to keep in contact with family and friends and then they stop when they return.

        Yeah, I’m willing to bet the average lifespan of a blog is 1 yr.

        Like

        • Keep trying, and you never know where you will go. Then again, it’s also very much rewarding to just sit around and just be. Fuck it sums it up for Facebook at the moment – not keen on posting at all there, not keen on going on there unless it’s chatting with others to make plans for a catch up. Promoting my blog and writing has never actually appealed to me, lol.

          Heh, you show them how to do the expay lifestyle, Lani. Still going strong after all these years 😀

          Liked by 1 person

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