Tag Archives: Blogging

Potential reasons why the blogging stopped

1. I hit a slump and never came back. (Never say never?)

2. I became a full-time primary school teacher and feel weird about how readily available my  inner thoughts are (which have been known to include ‘drugs’ and PG encounters)

3. Who knows what’s acceptable for a teacher to say or write.

4. Its an endless game getting Facebook and other social media sights to cooperate and show your content to people. #algorithms #paidposts

5. If I write something good and stats are low I die a little inside. I put so much effort into each post and then Facebook plays hide and seek with it.

6. I became increasingly unsure of my brand and what I was bringing to the table. It became less about travel and more about me and my opinions. Perhaps I needed a new space.

7. But I love my space! Just look at it!

8. If my personal online behaviour and click-through rate is anything to go by……. no-one reads things anymore! So what’s the point.

9. Someone I Once Met was the most continually successful dimension of the blog. Somewhere along the line I lost my nerve writing about people I know and who know me and who I can potentially insult. I need a formula.

10. The haters. People are violent bullies when they have a cyber facade to hide behind. Just like I left South Africa before I became a statistic, did I stop the blog before people said shit I couldn’t handle?

11. I find it very difficult to ignore negative comments/feelings/cybervibes. Things stick with me and ruin my day!

12. I’m lazy.

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Wrapping my head around blogging on the road

Who knew there were so many things to consider when blogging on the road. What do I write? How in-depth do I go? How much hindsight do I need? How much of an effort do I make to find wifi? These questions and more swirl around my head, contaminating my mind, frustrating me.

Arriving in Mumbai almost four weeks ago was a definite sensory overload. For me it was mainly the heat and the noise. Coming from tourist-haven Barcelona, I felt like I was prepared for the amount of people, but the incessant honking combined with the heat was headache material. I was probably adding to the sensory overload by trying to figure out how I would filter through all the mental and photographic images, the encounters and experiences.

India_315It took a while but I finally came to the point where I was able to side-step the over-stimulation I was causing myself. I gradually realized that it’s near impossible to take everything in and live every experience while simultaneously coming up with story ideas. At what point does my lived experience become part of a story?

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What helps, unsurprisingly, is jotting things down in a notebook. The trick is to have this notebook with you almost always because, and take this from me, you’ll often think of a great idea that you will never again remember if you don’t write it down straight away.This side of things takes practice. Although I consider myself a writer I’ve always struggled with keeping diaries. I can’t do the day-to-day musings, preferably written poetically and possibly ‘for my eyes only’. A big reason for that is probably because no-one will be reading it and so I half don’t see the point.

 

But there is a point. The point is to remember. A diary reminds people of their experiences and my notebook does the same. I might jot down a word or a sentence or elaborate on a point I want to make, but the overriding idea is that I can come back to it later when at some point I’m inspired to do so.

I can’t believe it’s taken me so long to figure this out.

Backpacking is tough. I might be stating the obvious here but there’s a lot of moving around with heavy backpacks and if you’re me -a camera bag and a non-travel friendly laptop. Backpacking is about overnight travel. It about putting your belongings down in your new digs and feeling like you’ve just run a marathon and could sleep for days. Then there’s the added self-imposed blogging pressure; a niggling feeling of needing to maintain consistency.

Then you remember you’re in India. After you’ve booted up your breaking computer, converted your unreadable photo files and touched them up a bit, you realise the internet has stopped playing along and opening a single webpage can kill your soul.  Don’t forget that there’s 1 socket, 2 people and 500 things to charge.

So I ask you to excuse me while I travel, while I navigate around the idea of blogging on the road in a third world country. I may be experienced at being an ex-pat but this ‘backpacking’ is a whole other ball game.

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2014 Writing Resolutions and Revelations

It’s January 2014 which means Wanderlust is turning 1 years old! One way to go about starting a blog is to put a lot of thought and time into the kind of ‘product’ you see it being so when it finally goes live its ‘ready’. A layout you’re happy with, prewritten content and a good idea of the ID-10057451direction you’re going in. But since that’s not really my style (because I have little to no patience) Wanderlust was an idea, an embryo and a final live product all within a week.

The fact that my URL and blog name differ from one another is a perfect example of how I’ve changed and adjusted my website as I went along. The content I wanted to write about, where I saw it going and all the other important visions one has for things like blogs have never been very clear. My tag line and ‘about me’ page have changed a number of times – how could you get more confused than that?

A year in and I’m at the point where they say most bloggers call it quits. While my first hope (delusions of grandeur) was that my blog would eventually start paying for my travels, I have now come to my senses. It’s an interesting thing- trying to figure out how to measure the success of a blog. A measurement I quite like involves looking at readership loyalty over numbers of readers. Are there even just a few people who really enjoy reading what you write and do so consistently? If the answer is yes then congratulations- you write a successful blog.

I’m glad I came across that piece of writing because if I hadn’t I’d be under the impression that I was failing at this weird endeavour we call blogging. I identify with it simply because I don’t have it in me turn Wanderlust into a money maker. Some people do and some people have. There are travel bloggers who started out with a little blog intended for their friends and family and the next thing they knew ‘voila’, it’s funding their adventures around the globe. To them I say well done, but I also say please don’t tell us we can do the same. It’s not quite as easy as that.

While there are various factors that influence the exponential growth in blog readership, the main one I can do nothing about is the fact that I started late. The time to start a blog was a couple years ago when the web was less saturated with wannabe bloggers. There are many older and well established blogs out there that are great, and then there are those that are just terrible and still have a massive following. The latter blogs always leave me with a confused feeling. Half of me is aggravated that they managed to wangle so many followers and the other half is fuelled by the ‘if they can do it so can I’ feeling. 

So what is my revelation today?…. I enjoy writing my blog and people enjoy reading it. It is a hobby and, ultimately, a platform to practise, grow and maintain a portfolio. Keeping a blog is, after all, what a modern day writer is expected to do.

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So what do I resolve to do in 2014? Well there are many things. But one of them being that I will write more narratives, stories of experiences that I’ve lived. Since I’ve come to terms with the fact that my dream job of ‘professional blogger’ is a lot harder to obtain than I thought, I will follow the rules of blogging up to a certain point. And then do whatever the hell I want.

All the lists that give tips on how to attract readers say the same thing- ‘its all in the title’. Headings that spell out to the (lazy) reader exactly what to expect in the article are the ones that do the best. ‘7 ways to (blank), how to (blank) and not (blank), The best (blank) for securing your dream (blank)…… you catch my drift, this is the modern day online article, we’ve all seen them and read them.

My dream job is being paid to write. But until that happens I will do my best to write more about what I want, less about what I think I should and just start caring a whole lot less about how it’s being received. The worst thing could happen is I stress myself out enough to stop writing altogether. “Write every day, even if it’s shit”- I read something along those lines somewhere once. I guess what I’m trying to say here is that I resolve to explore myself as a writer in 2014. I might even start calling myself one.

P.S. bloggers who blog for a living work really hard, probably harder than those who have regular office jobs. Money comes from various projects, publishers and places and often not on time. Turning your blog into a money maker takes a massive effort and this, more than anything, is the reason why mine has remained ’boutique’. 😉

 

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