Taking Back My Corner on the Internet

A while back, I first posted what my blog title and tagline mean. I always wanted my blog to be a bank of my reflections, a space where I can express myself without being interrupted, which is always the case whenever I talk with somebody (except for my SO, who seems to wait for a few seconds after I stop talking before he replies, which I find endearing).

However, one big obstacle in running a personal blog is how to make it appealing to others while still using your own experience and thoughts as fodder for your posts. I mean, this is no longer the early 2000s when online journaling was popular and everybody was interested in what everybody is up to. Now, the Internet has spared a small percentage of bloggers who can still pull this off; the rest of us now seek our audience on Twitter and Facebook. I, however, am staying in WordPress, where there are many personal bloggers who are doing well.

Another thing I’m struggling with, though, is accepting my story, all the decisions I made, and all the events I’ve encountered that led me to who I am and where I am today. Because here’s one big disclaimer: my life is boring. I know this fact and I am trying to accept it, and I also know how this came to be. So why am I still adamant about putting up a personal blog, when I can barely find time to write and I don’t even have a good enough topic to write about? Well, I have one reason:

My life is not over. I don’t think it has even begun yet. I am in my 20s, I should have more control over my life by now. I have the power to make it more interesting. And I thought writing about my journey towards interestingness can resonate to those who also feel stuck. This may be my writing space, but I am hoping to be read and to engage in conversation with other people, too.

I hope you join me on this venture and share your thoughts on whatever I post, even if it’s bad–even if it’s so terrible that your comment might make me quit blogging for good. I promise I will make this worthwhile.

Let me hear your story

What made you start blogging? How long ago was it? Do your motivations back then still drive you to keep your blog alive?

Look Who’s Back

LOOK WHO'S BACK

Hi guys. I have been in a dry blogging spell lately, so I joined Blogging 101 to get some inspiration. As usual, I am late in participating, but I’ll do as much as I can before the course is over.

This post, in particular, is a response to Blogging 101, Day One: Introduce Yourself to the World, which was published last July 6.


My name is Nelle. I am turning 24 years old in August. I have a lot of interests and I love trying out new things, but I don’t really get to talk about them often.

I used to keep my own journal where I would write religiously every day. However, soon I got tired of it. It was like talking to a wall. When I put up my blog, I not only got to write what I wanted to, but I also got to interact with people who read my posts as well as with other bloggers who publish their own.

I discovered blogging when I was around 10 years old, but I didn’t start my own until I was 12. I mostly wrote about what happened on that day. It sounds boring, but back then my audience was my classmates and friends, some of whom also blogged about their daily experiences, and I loved sharing my adventures and reading about theirs.

Now that I’m older, I want to keep my blog personal, but this time I want to reach out to a bunch of strangers all over the world. It is a desire so daunting that I still have no idea how to do it, which is why I haven’t really blogged in a while.

When I started blogging again last January, I got on track to building what I thought was the blog I wanted. Since I was jobless for a few months, I increased my posting frequency from once a week to three times a week, and I also started categorizing my posts and have different themes each day to be more organized. However, my Internet connection started to suck and then I got a new job, so I wasn’t able to keep up.

Now that I found some time to blog (hello, lunch break), I have done some evaluating and I want a do over. I feel like I’ve gone through enough blogging identity crisis and it’s now time to figure out who I really am and what I want this blog to be. I am thinking about giving my blog a makeover, so you might see some changes in the theme, the sidebar content, and the sections at the top of the page. Heck, I might even change my header. Aside from these, I am also planning to make (and keep) an editorial calendar and an idea bank so that I’ll always have something to post.

On this blog, you’ll read mostly stuff about my recent thoughts and reflections and my memories of a distant past. Sometimes, you might also read about my latest challenge (cough, weight loss, cough), adventures, and whatever else I’ve been up to.

By the end of this year, I hope to have fully identified my blog’s focus and keep working that angle. I also hope to get used to writing and blogging everyday.


MOTIVATION MONDAY: Give All You Have to Life

Quote taken from Goodreads. Photo taken from Unsplash. Edited using Canva.
Quote taken from Goodreads. Photo taken from Unsplash. Edited using Canva.

Some of us are optimistic that we will have a good week ahead. But there are others who are worried about the challenges they will face this week, whether it’s exams (like my brother), a huge meeting at work, or something else they have been worked up about. Whichever category you belong to, give it your best shot; don’t hold back. Good luck, and I hope you all have an amazing week.

MOTIVATION MONDAY: Live your life, or live to repent it

Quote from Goodreads. Photo from Unsplash. Designed using Canva.
Quote from Goodreads. Photo from Unsplash. Designed using Canva.

In the 21st century, nobody–neither man or woman–has an excuse from finding their happiness. This week, start that project that has been on your mind for a while now; go where you have always wanted to go; do not be afraid to ask for what you want. There is no promise of next month, next week, not even tomorrow, so start living.

HOW ABOUT YOU: What are you going to start this week?

Late Writing Prompt #2: How To Deal With Boredom

If you could slow down an action that usually zooms by, or speed up an event that normally drags on, which would you choose, and why?

The Daily Post, 1 November 2014

Because I have a short attention span of 5 minutes, I easily get bored with almost anything. But there are some events and tasks that I can barely endure, like:

Writing the first paragraph. Whether it’s starting a new blog post or a feature article, I take too long in actually starting it. When I wrote this particular post, I spent half an hour debating on whether to put up the writing prompt in quotation format or make a graphic for it. Then I spent the next half hour making the graphic, and when I finished, I decided to just quote the question instead. My next problem was how to start my answer, and so I gave myself a few minutes to try it, but I ended up just staring at the screen.

Washing dishes. Even though I know that it takes me less than 20 minutes to finish, I still hate doing it. As much as I can, I try to pass this chore to someone else, but it almost never works.

City traffic. Here in the Philippines, the traffic situation in Metro Manila is a disaster. Major roads are constantly congested by private vehicles, jeepneys, buses, and trucks. So many of these drivers do not follow traffic rules, resulting in accidents and traffic jams. To make things worse, the MRT, which is a rail transport along EDSA, is in a state of disrepair. The trains often break down and they are far behind on their maintenance schedules. Instead of benefiting from faster travel, commuters are more inconvenienced by such neglect.

I try not to travel farther than Makati City, which is a 30 minute- to 1 hour-drive from my house. Thankfully, everything I need is in my city, so I don’t always have to go as far to run errands, get a pedicure, or go shopping.

Even though I wish for a fast-forward button to get through these trying tasks, I have learned to cope with them.

When I’m having a hard time writing, I set a 5-minute timer and write anything I can think of, whether they are random sentences or words that do not make sense together. When time is up, I give myself a 5-minute break before going back to see what I wrote. Most of the time the stuff I write are what I really wanted to say, so I just choose which ones I like most, then I continue writing based on these. While this is still time-consuming, it helps me stay on track.

In doing menial tasks or being stuck in traffic or long queues, I listen to my favorite podcasts. Since I have something else to distract me, time doesn’t seem to go as slowly, and my day is not ruined.

HOW ABOUT YOU: How do you cope with a boring task or event that seems to drag on? Does it help speed up the time?

MONTHLY META: A February Roundup

First of all, I still don’t have WiFi at home. What I do have for now, though, is this unpredictable LAN connected to my brother’s computer, which I can only use for 5 hours a day at most. While this may be a lot, I used this time to work on paid writing projects, so I never really got to draft any post. Of course, I did not think about writing on any of my numerous writing apps (even just MS Word or something) that I can access offline. This is because I kept procrastinating and hoping for my WiFi connection to start working again. But since I am trying to discipline myself, I need to force myself to find other means to write and stick to my blogging schedule.

Anyway, this post is mostly about celebrating what this blog has achieved, and February was a surprisingly great month for AMO.

Stats galore

In January, this blog received a total number of 32 views from 11 visitors, which was already good in a personal blog’s standards, especially since I only published 4 times that month.

In February, however, it got a total number of 149 views from 49 visitors, after publishing 8 times. This is a personal record, as I have never gotten so much love from fellow bloggers and curious visitors. A big thanks to my Empire Avenue buddies, who not only visited some posts, but also shared them on Twitter, reposted on their own blog, and even subscribed to AMO. If this isn’t proof that engaging with others won’t grow your blog or website, no matter what it’s about, then I don’t know what is. I’m also grateful to other bloggers I follow, who also took their time to visit and leave comments. Knowing that there are people who read the stuff I write is encouraging.

New weekly feature

What I didn’t get to announce in the last Meta post was the other new weekly feature, Motivation MondayYou will see this every Monday except the first of the month (which is reserved for Monthly Meta), and it’s usually about a motivational quote from someone I know (like my Dad) or from a famous person, followed by some insights from yours truly. I chose Monday to be something inspiring because it’s the worst day of the week for most of us–after just a short two-day weekend, Monday suddenly arrives and we are then forced to go back to the grind. I hope this feature will make your day a little brighter. So far, from the views they are getting, you guys seem to love it. Thank you for your wonderful feedback

Also, if you are from the Philippines or Australia and are confused why you see this post on a Monday afternoon instead of Monday morning when it’s ideal, I actually schedule it to be posted on a Monday midnight US west coast time, since most of my readers are from there. This will be the same for my other weekly features, they are published on midnight in the US. If ever majority of my readership suddenly changes, then I might reconsider changing the schedule.

February’s must-read

Here are my top 5 posts from February. Please check them out if you haven’t yet:

  1. MOTIVATION MONDAY: What is stopping you from getting what you want?
  2. The Sins I Haven’t Committed
  3. What I wanted to be when I grow up vs. what I am now that I have grown up, part 2
  4. What would your mental checklist look like?
  5. MOTIVATION MONDAY: Two ways of spreading light

One last thing…

If you have read this far, thank you. As a reward for your commitment, please enjoy this funny comic about The Sims, one of my all-time favorite games:

Posted by yrbff @ Tumblr

Don’t you wish the last panel was true in real life?

MOTIVATION MONDAY: Two Ways Of Spreading Light

There are two ways of spreading light: to be the candle or the mirror that receives it.

I saw this quote on Facebook once. I forgot who posted it, but what I remember was the comment she added. It was something like: “Let’s all choose to be the candle!”

While it’s awesome to be the source of light (or kindness, or creative ideas, or delicious recipes), what’s wrong with being a mirror? What’s wrong with being a metaphorical mirror, when it helps spread the light, whether it’s emulating the acts of kindness you have seen, supporting the creative ideas you have heard,  or trying out the delicious recipes you have found and sharing what you made with others?

It’s great to aspire to become a leader, we are all encouraged to dream big. But what if you’re not there yet? Are you going to give up? Are you going to stop trying? Are you going to try putting out the light just because it didn’t come from you?

Remember that there is always another path to get to where you want to be. I believe that we are all destined to be leaders, but in different ways that we may not expect or imagine. So when you feel unfulfilled, try to reframe your mindset and ask yourself:

How am I spreading the light today?

What would your mental checklist look like?

This post is a (late) response to the writing prompt Connect the Dots from The Daily Post:

Open your nearest book to page 82. Take the third full sentence on the page, and work it into a post somehow.

The book I am taking the sentence from is 344 Questions: The Creative Person’s Do-It-Yourself Guide To Insight, Survival, And Artistic Fulfillment by Stefan G. Bucher.

Photo by Nelle Z. 2015.
Photo by Nelle Z. 2015.

What would your mental checklist look like…

I do not trust my memory, so if I had to make a to-do list in my mind it would only say one thing: “TYPE WHATEVER YOU ARE THINKING ABOUT ON YOUR PHONE.” If you check out my phone’s Notes app, you will see it filled with random stuff that were important to me when I logged them but makes no sense to me now.

I like how the quote fits in with today's theme.
“Funny how sometimes you just find things.” – Tracy. I like how the quote fits in with today’s theme. By Nelle Z. 2015.

However, I do not rely on my phone for my daily to-do list. Despite being technically inclined, I still prefer to write by hand all of the important stuff, such as schedules, meeting notes, ideas, and checklists in my notebook planner.

Even though putting all of your notes in your phone is more portable, my writing on a paper is more about experience:

  1. I love the smooth texture of high-quality paper;
  2. I love the soft scratching sound my pen makes while it glides on the page;
  3. I love marking my notes with colorful markers for annotation ; and,
  4. I actually like my teeny handwriting.
A sample of my writing, also weak evidence that I may have mild OCD. By Nelle Z. 2015.
A sample of my writing, also weak evidence that I may have mild OCD. By Nelle Z. 2015.

So no mental checklists for me, thank you, unless you want me to forget what I need to do after 5 minutes.

…with no budget?

Keeping myself organized with lists is one thing, but with budget, it is a separate issue. Since I am currently unemployed I do not have any source of income, but I still have bills to pay. Fortunately, I still have some savings that can tide me over for up to six months, but I hope to have a new job (part-time or full-time) before my balance reaches zero. Without a budget, it is no longer a matter of staying organized; it becomes an issue about surviving.

But this question is about work…

I am not an artist, nor have I had any clients that give me a budget to finish a project for them. Right now, my client is myself, and my project is to get a job that can pay my bills or, even better, I can stick with for a long time.

Do you make mental checklists? How do you envision them in your mind?