The unexamined life is not worth living ~ Socrates
Sometimes we need to stop the mantra “go, go, go” in our busy lives, in order to look around,
on what happened,
And wonder what went right, what wasn’t right…
or someone out there,
are crying out for our attention,
To see that human emotions are so fragile,
like the seesaw,
moving up and down…
It’s been over a month since EnjoyYrJourney.com went live. I decide to write this post to reflect upon my blog journey.
One month seems, well, like nothing, especially when you compare against the average career life of 20, or 30 years.
But, somehow, the word “first” makes this period so special, this experience so unique for me.
You’ve experienced so many things in life up until now,
How many “first” times have you got for those things or activities that you involved?
How many “first” loves have you got?
How many “first” kisses have you given/received?
How many “first” days at your dream job have you got?
And yet those first times, in some way, we will never forget,
That’s why, I want to write about it.
I want to seize the experience, this moment,
Zoom it in,
And reflect on it,
When the ideas, the emotions, and the feelings are still fresh,
Before they gather dust because of daily worries and trivialities,
and before the light gets dim.
And, since I started EnjoyYrJourney.com to fulfill my passions for writing and personal development, I plan to keep this work for as long as I live.
Thus, I want to capture this month, put into my journal, so I can go back and review it after 1 year,
or 10 years,
or whenever seems to be the “right” time for review and reminiscence (you know those times, mostly when we’re about to quit something, give up trying).
Anyway, enough rambling.
I don’t know about you, but as for me, this first month was truly scary. So, please forgive the whining.
I. My First-Month Blogging Experience
Before starting EnjoyYrJourney, I thought that,
writing a-few-thousand-word articles was hard,
that finding interesting ideas to write was hard,
that writing 5 hours every day was hard.
Strange, I’ve found none of those things hard.
Of course, they aren’t easy. However, they are not that difficult as I’d imagined.
Ironically, the one thing I find it hard is the development of the blog.
i. The technical part
Which WordPress theme should I use
How to set up security, email, newsletter, etc.
What plugin/widget/… to install
How to hide/display certain features on the site
How to add a drop-down list (I still haven’t figured it out)
Which page should I create for EnjoyYrJourney, and how (Still learning, though)
What’s difference between tag vs category, and which one should I use
Should I spend a month or so to learn CSS, PHP (Well, it seems to take at least that much time before I can understand what the heck other developers/bloggers are talking about in WordPress forums)
ii. The business development part
What’s my content strategy (philosophy, style, areas to focus, how articles link together and support my philosophy)
How to get traffic (honestly, up until now, I’ve been mostly talking to myself. You wanna join me?)
What is SEO and do I really need it
How to guest post
Which social media network should I focus on
Should I use my personal page or set up a business page on Facebook
What type of monetization do I plan to use
and many more that I’m not yet aware
I knew from the beginning that there are lots of things need to be done in addition to hosting and bringing EnjoyYrJourney live, but I didn’t expect that many.
Moreover, as I intend to be in the blogging business for as long as I live, I want to know as much as I can from the inside out. Thus, I refrain from hiring any freelancers or using paid services in the design and setup, unless they are absolutely necessary. That means I’m on my own, I have to do every single thing by myself.
What’s worse? I don’t know anyone in the industry, who could at least show me briefly about the things I’m heading to, and what to expect beforehand.
Even worse, the internet is flooded with tips/tricks/hacks, rather than comprehensive guides that are tailored to my situation.
You know the type.
5 must-have plugins…
6 Strategies to launching a blog…
32 Tips that got me 1 million views…
The ultimate 57 point checklist before…
10 Most common mistakes bloggers make…
Honestly, they are all good advice,
Just not for me,
Or whether they’re suitable for EnjoyYrJourney, that I’m unsure.
Unfortunately, the way people market those articles, make them seem like “can’t miss/must read” advice. One issue led me to several articles to
skim go through.
Well, the result was that, instead of following the planned daily timetable, in which I reserved 1 hour daily for studying the art of writing, I buried my head over dozens of articles about blogging and WordPress design.
Perhaps you might notice a disturbance in my posting schedule last month. Up until mid Jan, I spent most of the time on writing. But after that, I devoted considerably more time to reading about WordPress and site development.
I thought that the more I read, the more confident I would feel about this area.
Ironically, I felt totally incompetent, and overwhelmed.
Let say someone inspires you to live a successful life. So you’re in search for guidance (I hope it’s me you’re looking for).
And if you google “how to be great”, you’ll be flooded with 519 million results. Thus you’re understandably enthused, turned on, and excited.
And if you devour article after article, tip after tip.
You’ll understand how I felt.
You get it.
Truly incompetent. Totally overwhelmed.
What would I do?
If I’d listened to the prophet of the doomed, by letting those “10 mistakes to avoid” articles scare the hell out of me;
If I’d wanted to do every. single. damn. thing of the “10 things that successful bloggers do”.
Actually, I did do a few things, but they were less than what I’d expected.
Before I knew it, I suffered from “paralysis by analysis”, by falling in love with those “Do this & Beware that” guides.
My friend, if you’re venturing into an area that is totally new to you, suppress the desire to learn everything about the subject.
Beware that, on your search for the best advice or guidance, you become a philosopher yourself. Becoming a philosopher is fine, if giving advice is your day job. But becoming an idle philosopher will also prevent you from making any progress on your journey.
Adopt the attitude “Learn as you go” instead.
Now, after hindsight, I realize that, behind my tendency to seek too much advice from the experts in the field was fear.
I’m afraid that EnjoyYrJourney may not amount to anything;
I’m afraid that you guys may treat all the ramblings on this site, to be nothing more than bullshits, or, at best, the murmurs of a psycho, living a dream inside his own head;
I’m afraid that I can’t earn sufficient income from blogging;
I’m afraid that I don’t gather enough confidence, to tell people the truth of what I do for a living,
and then not be able to stand the “sympathizing” look, the understanding nod, that they give me back as a response for their assumption that, blogging is my fancy way of saying that I’m unemployed, and that all I have is a hobby.
But those things, they’re no big deals, for me. I’ve been familiar with them. I can handle that.
But I’m afraid I won’t be able to stand the disappointment that my family may have about the journey I took, if this thing doesn’t take off.
My friend, it’s always sexy to read about how wonderful life would be like,
and imagine how happy you are,
once you start following your passion, pursuing your dream.
But the romance won’t last long, after you lose sight of the shore.
Soon, self-doubt and fear will set in.
If we want to speed up our journey and reach the destination, we must learn to deal with our fear.
Feel the Fear . . . and Do It Anyway (Susan Jeffers)
I love this quote by Susan Jeffers, who made a great audiobook with the same name. That’s exactly what I did.
But how to do it despite of our fear?
Well, unless you listen to the audio (and no, no commission for me here), the answer’s gonna be the topic for another post.
All I can say is that, I knew far in advance that fear would become an inevitable companion early on in my journey, and since I didn’t want its company renders me so nervous that it urges me to make a U-turn, I decided to “burn the bridge” by quitting my job for blogging full-time.
The “I’m afraid of this, I fear that” and the overwhelm-ness did paralyze me some time, made me procrastinate, and delay doing what I was supposed to do.
But since I had no way out, I kept going forward, did whatever I was capable of doing, and fixed my mistakes along the way.
Most businesses stay in survivor mode during the first year.
And what condition do you expect during their first month?
and information overload.
That’s the main theme in my first month blogging experience.
What’s more? Another manifestation of self-doubt is jealousy.
I felt jealous anytime I dropped by a new blog of another fellow just like mine. Somehow, I always found better things compared to EnjoyYrJourney.
I felt incompetent each time I visited a popular blog, and wondered how long it would take me to reach their level.
Instead of using those examples as a source of inspiration to affirm my future success, that if they could make it, I can, too; somehow, it appeared to me that their success would mean less room for my success, that the only way for me to go up is to put others down.
I don’t know where I got that idea. For a while, I really felt ashamed of that.
II. What My Experience has to do with YOU
So, I’ve just outlined the main issues that I encountered last month. The first month was very emotional for me.
Mind you, I haven’t truly overcome all of them.
In fact, some, like self-doubt, I believe every blogger, or people in other fields, will have to face occasionally, no matter how far they journey.
I’m only one month in, so I still have a long long way to go.
How to avoid feeling overwhelmed?
How to avoid the fear?
Again, a wrong question doesn’t have a right answer!
How to avoid falling down,
when a baby learns to stand?
You get it.
Besides, a one-month experience doesn’t qualify me to offer any suggestion to overcome those issues (I do in fact have a few useful things, but let keep them for another occasion 😉).
Instead, what you get, are these:
1. You chose this, so stop whining!
The moment you stepped out pursuing your dream, you’re on your own. Nobody asked you to do this.
In fact, up until then,
We’d lived our whole lives taking suggestions, suggestions that were really commands in disguise.
We’d been used to conformity, and slavery, in exchange for what we thought we really wanted.
We’d worked hard trying to become somebody, finally realized it’s a “strange” buddy, residing inside our physical selves.
We’d been buying into the wrong dream, the “someday dream” (read about mine here), when we finally quit work & start enjoying life.
We’d been following the wrong plan, whosever the f!#k plan it is, we don’t care, as long as it’s not ours.
We’d been sick and tired,
of working on a job that we neither hate, nor love;
of not giving a damn about the everyday things that we do, which weren’t our passions, nor our dreams, yet must pretend that we did.
2. You’re on your own, yet you’re not alone
To take the road less traveled,
To charge your own path,
You’re alone, and you’re not alone.
Yes, strange as it may sound.
You heard my story. And my story isn’t unique.
We’d stayed too long in our comfort zone, and our outdated education system has f!#ked us all up.
We hope that, on our way out,
somebody will hold our hands and gently show us the way;
or at least someone, who had been there before, left a step-by-step guide, so that we can follow.
You know, pretty much like the way we studied in schools: Module 1 – Elementary, Chapter 1 – Introduction to…
The truth is, none of those are available (if you’re in doubt, feel free to continue my search 😘).
And so, we must get used to trials and errors.
are NOT special gifts reserved for us the common folks.
The talented, the genius, the successful, and self-made, own them, too.
So, if you are in pain, then honey, welcome aboard!
3. Learn to embrace the experience, instead
As I’ve said, there’s no sense to try to avoid the fear, the self-doubt, the overwhelmed-ness.
Because if you do, you will never learn, what it’s like
to stand on your own two feet,
to step out into the unknown,
because you never truly lived.
However you felt,
Whenever you’re tempted to give up,
have sex with it,
enjoy the moment,
.time first your it’s ‘cause
P.S: There’s no sense to try to avoid failures, because mistakes and problems are inevitable in life. But don’t fret! Learn to become an awakened dream-walker, so that you can make such things work in your favor. Here’s how.
If you benefit from this post, share it with your loved ones, so that they benefit, too. When somebody shares, everybody wins!
and until our paths cross again, enjoy your journey!