My bff, whom everyone in the group including herself acknowledges has a poorer grasp of the english language, has a blog that keeps piquing my interest despite not updating it for more than a year.
Here I am reading her old posts for the nth time, hopeful that as my browser loads her blog, there might be something new. There isn’t. Yet I read anyway, laughing at the same ol’ sentences that I’ve read over & over, reconnecting with every re-read.
HOW THE HELL DOES SHE DO IT? How does she succeed at being such an interesting writer without needing to be an ace in the language itself? How does she capture my attention with 600 words and no accompanying pinterest-worthy photos or simply by writing about what she feels like?
These were just some of the questions that I’ve been asking my sifu (chinese word for “mentor”) of late.
For the longest time, ever since I decided to open up my blog to a wider audience apart from the friends and family who have been my first readers since 2008, and more recently to advertisers for engagement opportunities in the past year and a half; I’ve been struggling to identify myself.
There is a hint of envy when I can place most people in the various blogger groups that I belong to into some sort of identity. The homeschoolers, crafters, cookers, bakers, photographers, reviewers, fashionables, awesome all-rounders, good writers, outstanding individuals. Yet for myself, I can’t say the same. Perhaps the next time I receive an email for a blogger engagement, the right question I should be asking instead of “more details please” should be how did they think I would be a good fit for their brands in the first place. PR companies, are you ready for this?
So back to my conversation with sifu. An esteemed blogger himself, one that I respect and used to want to keep my distance from, told me that it’s starts with writing for yourself first. Only by finding yourself through your writing do you find your readers. And because you will not be the same you tomorrow, it is a constant process. No wonder he is where he is today (a good writer) and I am where I am (bottom of the blog chain, confused).
Sifu then asked if I currently like what I read (on my blog) or if I am bored; and that perhaps I should start writing something I know I will go back and read again and again even though I wrote it myself; an activity that I used to do rather diligently. Except that I lost that spark along the way.
I took some time to read my old blog posts. The ones that particularly stood out with its descriptive words and carried so much life in them. They were the same ones that received many positive emails and encouraging comments from readers who resonated with my thoughts. “See?” sifu said. He was right. It had nothing to do with being grammatically correct or writing every post in a certain structure, but had everything to do with the stories I wanted to tell and how they were being told. Once again, I was grateful for another of sifu’s “pointing me into the general direction to find the answers I need” eureka moments.
SO back to the task at hand. When Shermeen from meeningfully asked if I was gamed to share about my writing process as part of a blog hop, I thought it was a timely opportunity to get started on that journey towards finding that voice & identity.
I got to know Shermeen from the SMB community – one that I’m happy to be a part of, and first met her at an impromptu lunch gathering together with Mabel and Adeline more than a year ago. With our kids about the same age, the 4 of us clicked pretty quickly before realising that we had a lot more in common. A lot of Shermeen’s posts strike a chord with me and I appreciate how open she is with her feelings on the blog towards similar situations that I often find myself caught in.
So on to the 4 questions which I’m supposed to answer:
What am I working on?
Too many things.
There’s the identity bit where I’m learning to look at my life and tell my story differently. The self-esteem exercise which I’m challenging myself to start doing more of and hopefully improve on. A blog design revamp which have been work in progress for the last 4-5 weeks and we’re still at phase 1 because of my indecisiveness (so many things I want to incorporate while keeping it minimalist). I’m just thankful to be working with one of the most patient designers I’ve ever met.
There’s also a brand engagement post which I’ve been sitting on due to a huge writer’s block in the way and another offer on the plate which is very tempting especially since I shop there except that I’m pretty strapped for commitment and time at the moment.
How does my work differ from others in its genre?
Despite sharing stories about my parenting experiences and on Liam, I still don’t see myself as a parent/mummy blogger. There is a good mix of bloggers in the family and parenting genre that I read frequently and look up to, hence I don’t see myself being in that category due to my varied topics and lack of parenting content to share. I do have a bigger interest in lifestyle topics that I used to write more of pre-motherhood and I hope to grow the blog back towards that direction once I settle in with our 2nd chungkin in a couple of months time 🙂
I don’t have a focus per se and my thoughts can get all over the place. Sometimes you hear about a new cafe, my travel adventures, a new beauty product that I’m in love with. Sometimes you see my various outfits of the day that I enjoy mixing & matching, my photography which I really need to catch up on and products of simple baking recipes. My readers enjoy reading snippets of my everyday life and most of them have actually become my friends over time 🙂 When I ask them what they like about the blog, most respond that they get to know more about me and what goes on that I may not share during group conversations. There are also other readers who read the blog because they can identify with me on other levels – trying for a family, deciding between staying at home or going back to work, looking for a pre-school, simple recipes for those who have no cooking basics.
Why do I write what I do?
Because I would like to remember a particular moment/event, capture an emotion when I felt a certain way and revisit the younger me from time to time. And because I tend to blog mostly based on mood, it’s interesting to see how I’ve grown over the years through impromptu posts and words used. This blog is definitely more than just a space of chronicles, it’s one where it helps me to grow in confidence, self-improvement and thought process.
How does my writing process work?
Hmmmmmm. It always starts with a thought that I can’t get out of my head or a photo that makes my day. With the thought I usually draft it either on the laptop or phone just to capture the essence of what I would like to share and that usually takes about 4-5 drafts/revisions (I tend to struggle with post endings because obviously I didn’t think of it when the thought first appeared). With the photo, it’s so much easier. I upload it via the wordpress app, type a few lines to go with the photo and publish it almost immediately (only to realise grammatical errors and typos but oh well…I do my best).
When it comes to sponsored reviews (which I’ve done less than the fingers on one hand), I often try to write it in line with my “voice” and language. I’m try to avoid using “fact sheet” as much as possible and try to express my experiences in writing as how I would naturally converse about it to anyone else.
I am considering a few suggestions such as having a calendar of sorts and listing down topics to write about ahead but we’ll see how that goes since I have been enjoying blogging spontaneously and will most probably continue to do so.
I hope you enjoyed reading about what goes on behind quirky affairs.
Next up on the blog hop is someone that I’m a fan of. Her style is often chic and effortless-looking, her personality is infectiously bubbly. She always looks good, and I admire her for managing work and parenting so well. She’s one hot mama that I aspire to be more of. She’s none other than Flo from flomummy! AND…she does these amazing makeover workshops where she teaches you simple makeup and dressing tips that can make a huge positive difference to the lives of us busy mums! I can’t wait to read about her writing process too!