After the hiatus…?

How many times have I taken a blogging sabbatical?  It happens all the time.  I allow the real world and work to take control of my life and the things that make me happy take a back seat.

Well, if I intend to be the boss of me eventually, if I intend to be responsible for my own time, then I need to take control of things don’t I?  Besides, whilst paying for my own domain name isn’t exactly breaking the bank (thank you WordPress for making this financially accessible!  You guys absolutely rock!), there must be some sort of return of investment!

So I am back in the land of the blogging!

Watch this space…again!

Oh and PS, thanks for sticking with me!  Mucho appreciated!❤️

Helloooooo dear readers!

Ooooh apparently, on Tuesday, 18 October, I had 64 views on the blog.  64!  That’s the highest number I’ve had for quite a while.  I’d like to think that apart from my most popular post on salt and chilli belly pork, I’ve shared something else interesting!

readerspikeThanks to everyone who came by and read my musings.  Please leave a message as I’d love to hear from you! 🙂

 

Writing it out

Emma Gannon is my favourite millenial (let me just say that I’m not entirely sure I am using this term correctly, I think I am but if you disagree leave a comment and let’s discuss!).  Mostly because she has done what I’ve always wanted to do.  She has taken a passion for writing and communicating on all possible media (print and social media and now she has this killer podcast and amazing book!) and has turned that passion into a career.

emmagannon-ctrlaltdeleteShe is one of a handful of superwomen that I follow on social media, mostly because they inspire me.  I mean hello, they’ve accomplished what I wanted to do ages ago (when I was bright-eyed, bushy-tailed and less disappointed with the world) and they are so much younger than me!  I know people always say 40 is the new 30, and I am right there, just over the threshold (I turned 40 this year) but there are days when I think about what I need to learn, what I have to do and I wonder if I’ll ever get this particular ship out of this harbour.  I know the inertia that I’m feeling is something that only I can overcome.  I’ve got to light that firecracker under my backside and I’ve got to start moving (literally and figuratively!) if I want to get to where I want to get to.  I have a plan in my head but a plan isn’t really worth anything if I don’t attach any things to do and action points to it.

First thing to do is to create an environment where I am doing things that will get me to where I want to be.  I have to create a positive go-getter frame of mind.  I know that the day job is important at the moment because the day job will help me fund the activities that I need to participate in to get to where I want to get to.  I am reminded of Emma Gannon’s podcast episode with Paulette Perhach who talked about the importance of the side-hustle and how important it is to keep hustling.  I have allowed myself to wallow in the wishing stage of this whole endeavor so really, I haven’t been hustling as yet.  But hustle I will and hustle I should!

I have been wondering about my blog, why it hasn’t really taken off in the way my previous blog did.  I had people reading my blog, commenting on my blog, actually following my blog.  I lost that when I moved into a different blog hosting platform (Blogdrive did have a community and people actually read other people in Blogdrive) – this is not to throw shade on all the people following my blog; to you lovely lot, I am forever grateful.  I’m not assigning blame.  I just think my blog was stuck in a particular kind of blog theme where people shared their feelings to try and find validation.  We all want that all important thing: validation.  But it’s also important to know that people also want to read inspirational stuff, aspirational stuff.  Because if you boohoo and rant all the time, you bring your readers down with you.  It’s okay to vent, but I think it’s also important not to overshare your emotional and psychological baggage.  I think the audience isn’t as receptive to that anymore.  There has to be a balance between saying it like it is and depressing the heck out of your readers!

The quote below is a screen grab from Emma’s blog entry about Sharing Less.  It resonated so much.  And yes, I am going to write because I have something to say and I have a great story to share, not because I need validation.

emma-gannon-quoteOh and I know that I’ve started to view my writing differently because every time Alan asks me “are you sure you want to blog about that?” these days, I no longer feel like I am being attacked.  I stop and think about what I really want to say.  I don’t say this enough but thanks Alan♥

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To write

When I was little, I sat next to my Tita Migen’s portable Olivetti typewriter and lovingly trailed my fingertips on the keys.  I wasn’t allowed to use it.  I was told that it wasn’t a toy.  My aunt was a writer and she wrote short stories and articles for various women’s magazines in the Philippines.  One of her poems (it could be more than just the one, I can’t remember properly) was published in an anthology of poems written by the great and the good of Philippine literature.

At 9, I wrote an updated version of The Little Match Girl for our school Christmas party.  I remember that I called the main character Marina.  I don’t even know why I called her that.  But my “writing” the script for the “play” necessitated making several copies of the script.  So my aunt relented and allowed me to use her typewriter.  I loved it.  I loved the clickety-clack sound the typewriter made as I copy-typed my handwritten script (I was a two-finger typer, of course!).  I loved the smell of paper and onion skin (this was of course the mid-80s) and the way you had to be careful because you needed to make sure the carbon paper wouldn’t smudge the onion skin and your fingers.  I loved it.  I loved putting my words down in typeset.  It was the most exhilarating thing I’d ever done (not too hard to top as I was, after all, only in third grade).

Whenever I was asked what I wanted to be when I grew up, I always said I wanted to be a doctor.  But writing always niggled at me.  I always asked myself “what if I could write for a living instead?”

One summer, I think I was thirteen or fourteen, having read all the summer reading books (Nancy Drew, Sweet Dreams teen romances, the classics, of course) I had access to (I daren’t attempt to read any of my mum’s Mills & Boon books because I was told those were for older readers), I took one of my composition notebooks and started writing a story.  It kept me out of trouble that summer!  After reading what I wrote, I covered the notebook in wrapping paper and plastic cover and promptly forgot about the story.  Years later, my sister told me she read my “novel” and she said it was good.  My sister is the writer in our family, so I took that as a compliment!  I also fancied myself a poet (yes, I didn’t know whether I wanted to write poetry, prose or opinions!) and wrote stream-of-consciousness poems in a brown wire-bound Hello Kitty notebook which I bought from a bookstore called Alemar’s (don’t ask me why I remember those details, I just do!).  I’d love to read those poems again.  I’m sure they’ll be cringe-worthy but it’ll probably be a good laugh!

I am thankful that blogging has become a platform available to everyman.  Because it has helped me indulge in my creative efforts.  Not that I have actually written another story, short or otherwise, since my last foray into novel-writing.  I’m just thankful I can write and send my thoughts out there.  I may not earn my living from my thoughts but there is a certain satisfaction in being able to write down what you’re thinking and sending it out into the cosmos.

I would love to earn my living just talking about what I think about things.  I would love to be able to express my opinions and make a living out of that.  Ha!  Does anyone want someone with verbal diarrhea?  I know we all have to be very PC these days, and admittedly, I can be extremely un-PC, but I would love to just be able to talk about anything and everything under the sun!  Or write about it!  And, of course, get paid for it.

waiting to writeI’m putting it out there.  I’m sending it out in the universe.  Because I want to do something other than sit at a desk and work as an executive assistant.

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Looking around

I used to have a lot of time reading other blogs.  I miss it.  But as with everything, growing up has this really strange ways of changing one’s priorities.  I was quite the voracious blog reader and I used to visit blogs and put my two cents in (because I always thought one’s opinion was always welcome…I mean hello, why post a blog publicly and allow comments, right?).

Times have changed.  Sometimes I am saddened by the fact that I no longer seem to have the time to do the things I used to love doing.  But I did promise myself that I would make changes to my current behaviour patterns because I noticed that I wasn’t, really, very happy anymore.  I didn’t feel very creative anymore.  I became caught up in what I thought were more adult things to do (make dinner, clear up, laundry, ironing, vegetate on the sofa staring somnambulistically at the telly or whinge about how tired I was).  I think it affected my appetite for life…either in real life or online.  I was quite social.  I realise that now, I am making myself sound so old!

Anywho, the next Blogging 101 assignment was to visit the neighbours.  To read what people were writing, to get inspiration.  I laughed because the assignment gave me permission to be nosy!  And well, to look at other blogs so that my blog would know what it wanted to be when it grew up!

One of the blogs I came across (thank you Stylist!) was Sara Tasker’s blog Me & Orla.  I can’t remember how I came across the Stylist article.  She’s one of those amazingly creative people who have managed to quit the day job and do what she loves because of Instagram.

MeandOrlaThe blog layout is amazing in its simplicity.  It’s crisp and clean.  Because she takes amazing photos (hence her success on Instagram), the photos take priority.  I love “the voice” of her blog.  When you read the words, it’s like you’re included in this weirdly personal conversation.  I like it though.  I’ve also downloaded her pdf on her virtual Instagram retreat.  I love how some of the new internet creatives are so generous with their experiences.  Some people won’t share because they want to keep the niche they discovered on the great WWW their little secret monopoly.

If you have time, go and visit her website!

I might do this on a regular basis.  Look at blogs and write about them.  It’s good for content plus, it’s the perfect excuse to be nosy!  Not that I really need an excuse.

Who am I and why am I here?

I’m late to the Blogging 101 Party but I thought I’d still work on the assignments.  I need to redirect my blogging efforts and relight the blogging fire so to speak.  So in this case, this start is better late than never!


Those two questions are probably the scariest questions a blogger can face…well, to me it’s very scary.  Because sometimes, I forget to focus on the who and the why.

I remember starting a blog on another blog host site.  It was mostly a journal for me.  I place where I wrote about my rants, where I made fun of people who made grammatical mistakes, where I talked about me.  I’m not exactly sure that’s where I found my voice…if I’ve ever found it at all.  But I’m a lot more serious about this blog.  Because I think I’m much more selective about what I write and share online.  I find that as I grow older, I’m more sensitive to how what I put out in the universe affects other people – ripples in the water, and all that jazz.

So, why don’t I just write my thought down in a journal.  I don’t know is the answer to that question.  Sometimes it’s just knowing that you can send things out into cosmos and somewhere someone goes, “Oh I get that completely!”  I think it’s a deep-seated human need to fit in, to belong or just feel like we’re not so different – am not entirely sure that that’s a good reflection on my individuality because it speaks volumes about my need to conform to the mores of society!

I write because I want to talk.  I think I write because I want an audience.  But at the same time, I sort of want the imagined anonymity.  I mean I can hardly be anonymous if I use my photo as my Gravatar image, now can I?  But it’s the ease of putting stuff out there.  Of seeing if anyone finds what I have to say interesting.

I also want to talk about my food journey.  I love to cook and bake and I want to share what I’m learning.  Food for me isn’t just about the physical nourishment.  It also holds a lot of happy memories of family and friends gathered around a table.  Food is an intrinsic part of my growing up, so being so far away from my family, a way for me to reconnect and cheer myself up.

I also love to talk about Filipino food, which I think is a long-ignored Southeast Asian cuisine.  I thought if I wrote about Filipino food then people would see a new facet about the Philippines.  I want to get people talking about Filipino food.  I mean I know that Anthony Bourdain and Andrew Zimmern have both visited the Philippines and they rave about Filipino food.  So we have been featured on TV.  There are a lot of tutorial videos about how to cook Filipino food floating about on the internet but I want to add my voice to that.  I want people to know how good Filipino food really is.  We need to be as known as our other Southeast Asian neighbour’s cuisines:  Thai, Malaysian, Indonesian, Vietnamese.

I have no idea how the blog is going to help me turn my food passion into something that I do everyday.  If that is even possible (yes, I know it’s been done, but in this saturated market, can I carve out a little niche for me?).  But I’d like to find out what is out there, if there are opportunities.

I think the first goal is to connect to other people.  See blogs that I have a lot in common with, actually read them, learn from them.  Refine my writing style.  Find my voice.  Fall in love with blogging again (I used to blog everyday…sometimes even more than a blog post a day!).  Find out if this is something I want to take further of this will evolve into something else.  I want to hear from other people.  I want people to come to the blog and say things, react to what I have to say.  If it’s negative, please be gentle, but thoughts are welcome!

I’m excited again.  That’s a brilliant start.