From 2010 to 2016, writing and blogging were an integral part of my life. My blogging journey of six years gave me global recognition, several accolades, and helped me forge strong connections with thought leaders from across the world (from all walks of life and all age groups). It was instrumental in helping me carve a unique personal brand and brought me opportunities to inspire and create a larger impact in several communities. Indeed, it gave me a mini-celebrity status in select groups. I can also recount numerous instances when my identity as a blogger far over-powered my identity as a mother or a working professional—both of which are a significant part of my life.
While there were many highs along this journey, my love for blogging did come at a price. Sometime in 2016, I was compelled to review my personal and professional priorities and consciously decided that I would focus on only a select few. As a result, writing/blogging fell down my priority list. Before I realised days passed to months and before I knew it, a year elapsed and I did not blog much.
I did not realise the number of people who followed and valued my writings until I stopped blogging.
In all this while, what changed? The time I used to invest in the process of blogging and all that it entailed was free for me to focus on my priority list. That was good because I was eventually able to focus on what I wanted to achieve for this phase of life, and that has held me in good stead! The other noteworthy change was that the process of (real-time) feedback for my ideas, thoughts, insights, perspectives, writing and creativity through reader comments and engagement completely stopped. Interestingly, the number of writing/blogging requests for contributions from leading media houses I received during this phase was overwhelming. I did not realise the number of people who followed and valued my writings until I stopped blogging.
What did not change? My observations of life, people and situations and the insights and analysis that went on to construct the content for my blogs continued. Only that their permanent abode was my mind, and they were not inscribed or published. Try as hard as I wished, I was unable to blog with the same zeal, focus and rigor of the past.
In short, I took a year of exile from blogging. If you are wondering why I am sharing this personal narrative here, it is simply because this one year has taught me five unforgettable life lessons.
So here goes:
Lesson 1: Make time to do that one thing that you truly love doing, even if it is just for yourself
I cannot fully explain in words what writing really means to me. If you have a love for the written word, you will know what I mean. I truly love writing. It brings clarity, focus and a creative outlet to my thoughts and emotions. It defines me and it completes me in more than one way. While the time away from blogging served me well on many counts, there was an indescribable void that I felt in my life.
If there is one thing that summarises my blogging journey and exile – it is this. Impermanence is the only permanent aspect of life!
We all have different things, which define us, give us joy and which complete us. For some it may be in art, for some it may be sport, for some it may be conversations, for some it may be music, for some it may be dance, for some it may be yoga or meditation, for some it may be building a business, for some it may be learning/doing something new, and for some it may be the process of creating something unique.
My lesson was that it is important to create time to do that one thing that you truly love. So, first find that one thing which you truly love doing (even if it is just for yourself). Once you do discover it, make time to do that one thing on a regular basis. It is powerfully energising and incredibly fulfilling to do what you truly love.
Lesson 2: Starting the journey is important. You can figure the course of path along the way
I started writing at a time and phase of life when I needed an outlet for my thoughts and emotions. Blogging was the canvas for my creative expressions. I started my journey with a clean slate, open mind and willingness to learn. I cannot say for sure if the path found me or if I figured the path along the way. Suffice to say that, one thing led to another and the path evolved.
Many times in life, one will never have the full picture or complete information to make informed choices. You have to take a leap of faith and begin. The key is to start and be open to change course along the way to see the magic unfold.
Lesson 3: Self-driven skill development and continuous learning will reap manifold benefits
Looking back, one of the best parts of my blogging journey was that the focus on continuous learning and skill development was completely self-driven. There are so many nuances (technical, creative, promotional) that go into building a successful blog, and keeping in alive and kicking. One of the reasons I am incredibly proud of what I achieved in the blogosphere was because the path charted out was designed completely by me. A lot of it was trial and error, and ensued learning on the job. For e.g.: Any blogging concept, tool, hypothesis or mantra that I came across, I would spend hours in understanding its nuances and find ways to apply it to see it in action.
If it worked, I reaped very visible benefits. If it did not work, I reaped intangible benefits because I knew what did not work and why. Both were immensely valuable, as over a period of six years, I truly understood what it takes to run a successful blog.
Self-learning, self-driven skill development and continuous self-reviews will bring your way unimaginable returns, and all contribute to continuous growth!
Lesson 4: Once in a while, try something new to challenge yourself
Starting a blog was a challenge in more than one way. It is unnerving to put yourself out there in the public eye. The reality is that it is a big bad world out there. On one end, readers can be ruthless in their words and comments, and on the other end, they can completely blow your mind with their reactions and responses to how your words have transformed their thinking and life situations. They can also be incredibly supportive and wonderfully encouraging. It is the law of averages at play, as with any creative expression, be it a movie, a music album or a book. Again, I have had my share of both—the highs and lows. If I have to summarise, overall my readers have been kind. In fact, I know my words have inspired and changed many lives by compelling people to think, introspect and open their minds to fresh and unique perspectives.
Looking back, one of the best parts of my blogging journey was that the focus on continuous learning and skill development was completely self-driven.
That said, my blogging exile was again a challenge of sorts. To consciously stay away from writing and blogging again tested me on very many fronts.
The good thing about challenges is that you always emerge stronger and more self-aware at the end. So once in a while, try something new to challenge yourself. You never know where it takes you!
Lesson 5: Impermanence is the only permanent part of life
Nothing truly lasts forever. Good, bad and ugly. The seasons change. Our reasons change. Be it success or failure. Be it people or perceptions. Be it recognition or accolades. They come. They play their part. They are gone.
My blogging journey opened many doors and windows. It took me along courses of life which I would have never ventured in to. Each journey and destination that I reached taught me about myself, the art and science of writing, people and life.
And if there is one thing that summarises my blogging journey and exile – it is this. Impermanence is the only permanent aspect of life!
So now that I am out of my blogging exile, I start a new chapter in my blogging journey and hope to tread along new paths and reach new horizons!
Have any tips, topics or tools I should explore through this phase of my blogging expedition? Leave a comment for me.