This is something I wrote last year for a fellow blogger — sharing it now to hopefully encourage anyone who wants to write but is too wracked with self-doubt to start.
Whenever people tell me that they want to try blogging but they’re not sure if they can do it, I always share this bit of wisdom from a very unlikely source: Ryzza Mae Dizon. It’s something she said in passing when someone complimented her dancing, and I don’t think she even remembers saying it now. But it has stuck to my mind ever since I heard her say it and I’ve always found it inspiring.
She said: “Hindi ako magaling. Makapal lang talaga ang mukha ko.” (I’m not good, I’m just gutsy.)
What I’ve learned about life is that talent will only ever get you so far. Conversely, a lack of talent will only hold you back for as long as you let it. What really counts is your attitude — your willingness to put yourself out there and work for what you want, even if you’re not sure what people are going to think.
In my blogging experience (such as it is!) “attitude” has required three things: courage, principles, and accepting who I am.
Courage. Blogging takes bravery! Many of my friends and readers have been to way more places than I have, and I know it’s presumptuous of me to ask them to read a travel blog by a person less-traveled than they are but…makapal lang talaga ang mukha ko! 😀 What have I got to lose, right? Also, I realized early on that I am not as good a writer as others — as much as I want to, I can’t do the sort of emo writing that seems to be popular with the artsy crowd. I can only do my style of writing and I have to be content with that. So, even if you think no one cares what you have to say, or you don’t write well enough, or, for travel blogs, even if you haven’t been to that many places, if you want to start your own blog then do it. Stop wondering what your friends are going to think and just do it. Anyway, it’s not like you’re holding people at gunpoint and forcing them to read your blog.
Speaking of which, it’s also important not to get discouraged if only a few people read your blog at first. I know it can be disheartening to put so much of your heart and soul and self into a post and have it be read by only a handful of people but…it happens. A lot. Unless you have the benefit of a popular last name, or you’ve got tons of friends (or people wanting to curry favor), or, I don’t know, you work the circuit really well, you aren’t going to automatically shoot to the top of the blogger Billboards. So forget all that for a bit and just write. Write and write and write, and eventually your efforts will start to pay off. (And in the meantime, if it helps your self-esteem, think of yourself as a starving artist. 🙂 You’re brilliant — the world just doesn’t know it yet.)
Principles. A lot of people have been very successful at making money out of their blogs and so many of us go into blogging hoping that we will also be able to earn from it. Certainly, that’s one of my goals (though honestly I haven’t quite figured out how to do that yet). But I think it’s also important to set standards for yourself.
I remember searching for printers in Cebu, and I came across a website for “Cebu Printing Services” claiming to be “Cebu’s No. 1 Printing Company” — only there were no printing services being offered, just printing-related blog posts with embedded hyperlinks to sites selling, um, PDE5 inhibitors (look it up). I don’t want to judge, and some people might argue that those links don’t hurt anyone, but — speaking for myself — that’s just not something I’m willing to do. As a blogger, you have to decide for yourself where you want to draw the line. In my case, I think it’s important that people who read my blog are able to trust me, so I decided very early on that I won’t allow misleading links, or write good reviews for bad services. And while I try to make my posts interesting, inspiring, and/or helpful to others, it’s a matter of self-respect that I don’t write, for the sake of going viral, what this article calls “aspirational porn.” I tell people they can make their travel dreams come true, but I also make sure to tell them about the work (and sometimes luck) that goes into it. The last thing I want to do is to raise people’s expectations only to let them down, or “inspire” them to be irresponsible and selfish.
Identity. Figure out who you are and work with that. Me, I’ll never have the coolness factor of other bloggers. I’m not someone who quit work to travel all around the world. I’m not someone who has managed to make a living out of traveling. I don’t look good in a bikini, can’t even do a decent jump shot…basically, I don’t think people will want to be me. I’m just an ordinary person, so I’m sticking with that, hoping that my blog will somehow resonate with people who also feel ordinary and encourage them to do not-so-ordinary things. I don’t know if I’ve been able to accomplish that, but sometimes people tell me that my blog inspires them to travel, and that makes me very happy.
Putting yourself out there in blogging
© Small-Town Girls, Midnight Trains. All rights reserved.
wonderful and inspiring post!
Thank you! xx
So inspiring. Sometimes you just really have to take a leap and be confidently beautiful with a heart. Hahaha. Seriously, you just have to do it and continue doing it for you to get better at what you do.
Yes! #confidentlybeautifulwithaheart 😀
Let the passion be the inspiration, ika nga. 😀
Hi. I just wanted to say thanks, real quick, for the comment on my blog=) I made the entry private so I couldn’t reply there. Let’s be millionaires! A friend of mine once said to me “I don’t even need to be that rich. I’d be happy with 90210 cast member money.” Cheers to that.
These are pretty much the thoughts that go through my mind when I write on my personal finance blog. There are so much more qualified people than I am to write about personal finance, yet here I am polluting the internet with my thoughts. Eh bakit ba, kung gusto ko magsulat?!
Kapalmuks lang talaga 🙂
So inspiring, ate! 🙂 Magpabaga na kog nawong. haha!
Haha! Go Gay!! 🙂
You are one of the best writers I know! Your writing is flawless! I suck at writing and it takes me weeks to finish one blog but I blog for my health (suffering from early Alzheimer’s…ok maybe not that drastic lol)! And I agree it takes guts to put everything out there that’s why not too many people know about my blog. It’s (almost) my secret, only one friend knows
I love this post Gaya!
Awww thank you Boots, that is a really nice thing to say! I hope to be taken seriously as a writer as a someday — sshhh, that’s my secret ambition 😀 — so thank you! <3 Early Alzheimer's a/k/a senior moments? 🙂 We're all going there! I'm already starting to be forgetful of some things. You're right, anything that helps us exercise our mind will help, and of course, it's nice to be able to someday look back on all this stuff we're writing right now. You write well yourself, you know, I feel like I'm right there with you when I'm reading your posts. Here's hoping we continue putting ourselves out there and that it'll be a rewarding experience. xx