Monday, February 2, 2015
Travel Link-Up: The Unexpected Benefits of Blogging
I started writing this blog in 2010, but I didn't start "promoting" it until, maybe, a year or so ago.
What do I mean by "promote"? Well, I mean doing things like: tweeting links to posts, creating a Facebook page for my blog where people could effectively subscribe to and "like" my posts, signing up to Bloglovin' (another subscription platform), and joining blogger communities like Zomato, where I could meet other food-obsessed bloggers like me.
At that point, I was only very barely beginning to think of myself as a blogger. Before then, I'd shyly describe it as a "you know, a sort of thing, that I've got going on the side." Isn't that crazy? I wrote for four solid years and never thought of it as legit blogging.
I sat in a roomful of bloggers last weekend who've been blogging for 6 months, 1 year, or 2 years (at most) and not a single one of them hesitated to describe themselves as bloggers when introducing themselves. Yet, I did.
What was my hestitation?
I so wanted to be taken seriously. I still do. Truthfully? I was embarrassed by the "blogger" label. I thought that it'd incite a lot of eye-rolling and dismissive hand-waving. Because, you know, nowadays ... everyone has a blog, right?
And then there's my "real" job. I really like my job in publishing, and I'm so grateful for it - I know that hundreds of other applicants would love to be in my position and to have had the career trajectory that I've had. I know that I'm lucky to have gotten where I am without having to do a single stint of unpaid work experience or internship.
But maybe you've guessed from reading this blog that maybe - just maybe - my day job isn't everything.
And once I allowed myself to accept that?
I became a blogger.
I started writing posts like these, and made myself more vulnerable to my audience. In doing so, I started to build my readership, which inadvertently began a dialogue in the comments section of my posts.
And let me tell you: that's been one of the most rewarding benefits of blogging. I've told you time and time again: reading your comments makes my day. Hearing about your personal experiences, or how my story has reminded you of yours is a phenomenal bonus I receive from blogging.
And when I started following, chatting and conversing with other bloggers, well, then, I hit the jackpot. The blogging community is incredibly supportive. I've met some terrific bloggers that I'm now lucky to call friends. You know, when I was lying awake in bed at my parents' house this past winter break, mentally preparing myself for staring at the seat in front of me on the plane 72 hours later, my heart sank at the thought of leaving the comforting surroundings of my family home and returning to a grey, cold, and unfriendly London. But then I remembered that I had brunch planned with Rebecca of Runawaykiwi and that Robin, who pens the beautifully-written Second Floor Flat, was just on the other end of an email if I wanted to talk, talk.
And my heart lifted a bit. It lifted a lot, actually.
So that's definitely one of the most surprising benefits I've discovered about blogging: I didn't expect to make so many new friends. Friends who are incredibly generous with their time and friends who are incredibly generous with their knowledge. Friends who are incredibly generous with their kindness.
The free meals, products, and PR parties? That's all icing on the cake, for sure. I'd be lying if I didn't say I enjoyed those "benefits" very, very much. But the friendships?
Just ... amazing.
Becoming a blogger has been a humbling experience. It's made me realize that, while my experience may be unique, there are thousands of other writers out there expressing the very same things I've strived to express in a thousand, beautiful different ways: love, heartache, wonder, worry, amazement, and excitement.
And yeah. I'm a blogger.
Photo by Emily Tapp, taken at About Time Magazine's SETSessions. Check out other bloggers' inspiring stories about the unexpected benefits of blogging on Emma, Kelly, and Rebecca's blogs.