With the coming of December, this means I have been posting regularly on my blog every single week for one whole year.
Okay, maybe more than a year.
Back in 2017, when I challenged myself to be more active in this blogosphere, I half-expected myself to quit halfway through, just like how I usually do my new year’s resolutions. In fact, looking back, I am astounded by my own persistence in writing blog posts, to the point where I started questioning why I started doing it in the first place.
Sure, I had thought that it would be a good challenge, but as far as I knew, that would’ve only been enough to make me start; not carry on with the task for more than 50 weeks. After all, I have my other responsibilities. And if you’ve been reading my blog posts, you would know that more often than not, I have to prioritize my day job over my blogging hobby.
For seasoned bloggers who have been dishing out quality contents weekly
(some even daily, and I don’t even know how they manage to do that), this might not be a big deal. But for someone like me, who used to create a blog and abandon it after a few weeks, this is actually quite monumental.
So after I took some time to deconstruct my motivation/drive to blog regularly, I’ve decided to share with you why I started doing this, and more importantly, how did I manage to keep on doing this.
Why I started blogging regularly
Back when I was in high school, our IT teacher gave us the assignment to create a blog of our own. Back then, it was sort of a big deal, you see. Internet was almost like a foreign concept to most people, and some students even struggled to remember what http stands for.
During this time, I noticed how some people continued to post on their blogs, even way after the assignment’s due. One blog talked mostly about the author’s diet attempt; another talked mostly about My Chemical Romance’s new album. There was a disarray of interests in this collection of student-created blogs, but unlike me—who only wrote blog posts for the sake of the assignment—these people loved the things they wrote so much that they managed to keep on doing it for a very long time.
I, for one, had always admired that.
But as much as I had admired them, there were other reasons why I finally decided to make a blog of my own, and write not for the sake of an assignment, but for growing the blog itself.
Reason #1: Establishing an Author Platform
To be honest, one of the main reasons why I started blogging in the first place was because I needed a place where I can put information about my books. I first realized about the need to have an online presence when I received news that my manuscript of 3 (Tiga) was getting published.
Back then, the only way a potential reader could find out about me was if they googled my name on Goodreads. And I thought if I wanted to write more books after my debut novel, it would do me good if I have a reliable platform where I could post all the information about my publication portfolios, upcoming books, giveaways, and writing journey.
While Goodreads is a decent site to find book reviews, I thought that it was hardly a suitable platform for an emerging author to “build a nest” in.
Also since I am not the most gifted photographer, and I don’t really fancy seeing my face on the internet, I immediately shied away from Instagram and Youtube, even though I knew how much potential both social media had in terms of promoting my works. This left me with the only real choice I had at hand: creating a blog.
I thought that with the flexibility to build my own blog, I could dedicate certain pages for information about my books, another page for my author bio, and the actual blog portion to write whatever I wanted. Plus, I don’t have to pose awkwardly in front of a camera in order to make it work.
That was perhaps the moment when I started considering blog seriously.
Reason #2: Creating a space to write more freely
I started having funny thoughts the moment I got published.
I thought that since I was now a published author, I had to act my part and make sure that everything I wrote was of at least the same quality as my manuscript. But of course—I was sorely mistaken—because there is no way I could maintain the same writing quality throughout my life.
Here’s the thing: back then, I would blame myself whenever I didn’t produce writings of at least the same quality of my debut novel. And this frustrated me to no end, because writing had always been a huge part of me, and now suddenly I forced myself to not write unless it was a really spectacular idea and unless it was executed perfectly.
Enter the idea of blogging.
By having a blog, I could dedicate the site to be my writing canvas of some sort. I can be a perfectionist all I want with my future manuscripts, but at the very least, whenever I’m writing for my blog, I wouldn’t strive for perfection; I would just strive for being as authentic as possible.
And that very thought, personally, liberated me.
Reason #3: Practice
I’ve mentioned about my demanding day job a few times in my blog posts already. In fact, the moment this post goes live, I would be working overtime (on Saturday!) to ensure the project I’m handling has nothing but a smooth sailing going forward.
This, of course, poses problems for my “other half” of the career spectrum: my writerly stuff.
I am a very momentum-based writer, you see. In order for me to finish a manuscript, the entire drafting process has to be done with a lightning speed from start to finish. Given enough time off, I could finish writing an entire book in just 9 days, as I had previously shared.
However, with the nature of my job, it has been getting increasingly hard to request for a day off, let alone a week off. This means that instead of writing with rapid momentums like I was used to, I have to sneak writing snippets of scenes during my lunch breaks to produce another book.
…which is good and all, if only I have a lunch break.
To be fair, I officially have my lunch break from 12 – 1 PM every day. In reality, however, I would spend most days monitoring the development progress of my team, or working on my side hustles because I could always use some extra cash. Nowadays, I usually just sneak lunch in-between meetings or discussions. And my meals range from a couple slices of apple to hard-boiled eggs.
And yes, that means I hardly have time to write at all.
By forcing myself to write regularly on my blog, I was hoping that I could at least sneak some writing practice every week. And since a blog post will never be as long as a novel, I would probably be able to sneak some writing sessions during the weekdays to prepare for the weekly releases.
And so I tried.
How did I manage to keep on doing this
Let’s get this thing sorted: even if a blog post is considerably shorter than a novel, blogging regularly is freaking hard to do, especially for someone who has never done it before.
There were moments when I just wanted to skip writing for the week. There were moments when I utterly hated whatever I was writing for that week’s blog post, but I trudged on just because I despised the idea of giving up more. I’ll be frank: this whole blogging business had been 30% cheery and 70% forcing myself to write even when I was sleep-deprived.
Just starting is not enough; one must always have the drive to carry it through until the very end. Here are some of the things that always helped me remember why I started the blogging challenge. These are the reasons why I managed to pull through, despite the overwhelming odds.
Reason #1: Supports from loyal readers
For the longest time after I decided to write regularly on my blog, nobody commented on my posts.
And when I said nobody, I meant nobody.
It was disheartening, of course, to do your best and write the most interesting blog post you could think of at the moment, only to have nobody recognizing your hard work. Fortunately for me, I was already used to having little to no readers in the first place, so I kept on writing while trying my best not to think about it too much.
It wasn’t until I posted several new blog posts, however, when readers started to find me.
At first, one of them commented on one of my short stories. Being pessimistic that I was, I thought that it was only a fluke; the reader would soon forget about the existence of my blog, and my blog would be devoid from future commentaries before long.
But I was mistaken. Not only did the same reader comment on several of my future blog posts, I also witnessed how I slowly, but surely, gained loyal readers who left comments and likes on my posts. Some of them, as I later found out, didn’t comment on my blog directly, but had been following my blog almost devoutly every week, and reached out to me through my social media (Twitter, Instagram) to let me know how they’ve been looking forward to my posts every week.
These precious readers I’ve amassed might very well be one of the most precious things I’ve ever had the honor to experience. And I am truly humbled by them.
Nowadays, whenever I feel too tired to write blog posts after a coming home from my day job, I think of these readers who have been supporting me. I think about their encouraging words and how they are looking forward to reading my blog posts.
I think of them, and I find the strength to write on.
Reason #2: Escape from reality
With just how stressful I get from my day job, it is no secret that I tend to leak some of my negative emotions on my blog posts. I’ve talked about dealing with grief, for example. And I’ve also expressed my disappointment with myself when faced with failure.
These are real things that happened to me, and writing them as blog posts had been my way to vent. Every time I write about things that bother me, it feels like I’m letting go of a bottled-up emotion that’s eating me from the inside. And not only have this blog become my shelter, but it has also become my support system.
And so I’ve come to a point where I could almost always write for my blog. During the happy times, I would have no problem whatsoever with writing a new blog post. And even during the not-so-happy times, I treat blogging as an escape; as writing my way out of the darkness and into the light, metaphorically speaking.
Reason #3: Control over content
One last thing.
Unlike writing a novel that has a clear-cut plot and series of scenes, or an anthology that has a concept or a theme to it, I never treat my blog like it has a series of rules I have to uphold.
Of course, there are some things that I would never do on my blog, like writing controversial contents or flaunting debauchery and hedonism like some sort of a hidden propaganda. But at the very least, I never restrict myself from posting a certain type of blog post this week, and then another type for next week.
If I’m in the mood to share my personal experiences this week, for example, I would write just that. If, for example, another week I get the inspiration to share some personal tips on writing fiction, I would also just do that. You can see the categories listing on my navigation bar somewhere that I have quite a wide range of writing “types” that I post on my blog: personal essays, short stories, poetries, writing tips, etc.
The thing I love the most about blogging is, perhaps, the fact that I have complete control over it. Not only has my blog become my author platform, but it has also become a place where I could just genuinely be myself. Some people might be able to express themselves in visually engaging photographs, and they might like Instagram for that.
But for me, writing has always been it.
Writing has always been how I express myself best. And blogging, I feel, is one of the best ways I can think of at the moment to express myself on an online platform. Here I can truly be myself, and that is perhaps the biggest contributing factor why I ended up getting addicted to blogging.
Perhaps this is also why I managed to blog regularly for over a year now.
And you know what? I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Thank you for reading my blog post, everyone!
I’m hoping that I can continue my blogging streaks for 2019 and the years to come. But I also feel like I would need a short break to readjust myself sometime next year. I was thinking of a month off—not that I wouldn’t post anything on my blog during that time period, of course; I was thinking that I could make do with posting some pre-written short stories and poetries during the time I’m on my break.
Do let me know what you think about that arrangement in the comments section below!
I know this is a bit late, but Happy December, everyone!
I will be posting new content every Saturdays, be it writerly stuff, or just things that I like to write about. This includes my own stories, information about my books, and things that interest me. Keep yourself updated by following me on Twitter and Instagram.