Blogger Question

Bloggers, here is a question for you:

Do you ask questions at the very end of your blog posts?

Always? Or only when you genuinely want to know the answer?

When I started blogging years ago, I never asked anyone any questions.

I blogged mostly for myself and even when I started blogging for the sense of community and knowing that other people read it, I still didn’t do it. I didn’t need to do it. Because without even asking them the people who wanted to say something would still leave their comment.

But then the blogging community boomed. There are more blogs in the blogosphere than ever. “Reader engagement” has become the main goal. ” You are none without your readers” has become a cautionary tale. “Build Your Tribe” has become a money-making marketing mantra. And I am not even going to touch the constant “reminder” to build a mailing list dished out by every single blogging guru I know.

One of the tricks, I mean methods, they teach is to ask the question at the very end of a blog post. To engage the reader to leave a comment. You know, to build a community, as they say. So a few years into my blogging journey, I started doing just that.

Not only had I been writing a post and ending it with comments, I even went as far as going back and adding questions at the end on the old posts too. Just in case anyone went back that far to read them and somehow inclined to connect with me to comment but not sure how to start because I didn’t ask them any questions to initiate the conversation.

Spoiler alert: hundreds of crafted questions later. None ever answered any. But I still follow the formula. Writing a post and ending it with a question.

Even if the questions are not well written, well placed, well asked, it’s always well-intended. 

Until one day I woke up during this pandemic (of course, it must be during a pandemic because when else would my brain have the time to think about all these things) and decided to stop asking a question on every single blog post. Not only that, me being the Virgo that I am, I went and wiped most of the questions I posted in my old blog posts.

And let me tell you I have asked some fucking cringe-worthy questions. I have asked people which fish market they go to buy their seafood on at least ten different posts. No wonder none left any comments. 

If you ask me why I did it — as in why I wiped the questions at the tail end of my posts — I can’t really say why. Or whether it was even the right decision for my blog. The only thing that I can come up with right now, while I am typing this, that might not even be the right reason, is I feel like not asking the question at the end of the blog post, unless I really want to know the answer, give back a bit of authenticity to the original act of blogging. Gosh, I am clearly rambling.

Do you think it’s important to ask a question at the end of a blog post?

— see what I did there??

1000 Posts Later

I counted today (as an accountant it has been ingrained in me to count for fun), between this blog and Kulture Kween, I have written over 1000 posts.

As a late-bloom-blogger I have contemplated when to stop blogging as I have always believed that it’s not a forever thing. At least not for me. And one day in 2010s, I made a pact with my tired-of-blogging self that I am allowed to stop blogging once I passed the 1000 posts mark.

1000 posts seems like a significant enough number for me to refer to myself as a blogger.

After all, doesn’t it take 10000 hours to master something? 1000 posts means I have written for half of those hours. Does this means I am allowed to feel accomplished in blogging?

You would think that too, wouldn’t you?

I am feeling nothing as such.

First of all, I have called myself a blogger since I published a one-paragraph post in 2007 titled The Girl Behind The Blog. Here is a snippet of it:

I am the girl with her glasses and scrunchie, who sits on the corner of a coffee shop with a MacBook and a cup of tea, looking all busy but yawns now and then. This blog is my view of our shared world, my thoughts and myself. It’s filled with stories about friendships, experiences, dating, mistakes, family and, of course, love. It’s a goal in progress for me, to practice and be a better (and ultimately well-known) writer.

Zero originality. But it’s at least something. Also, I have so long stopped wearing scrunchies. Thank God for that!

Secondly, I feel far from accomplished. One thousand posts might seem a lot. But a 1000 posts with the majority of it being half-assed posts doesn’t seem all that great —especially when compared to the bloggers who I admire.

Maybe then I told myself, I should strive from another 1000 posts (this time no half-ass-ing) before calling it a day or a decade.

Japan Train Station Film Photography

A Personal Blog Might Be The Answer

I have been ignoring the notion of keeping two blogs simultaneously for the longest time. I pushed the idea almost immediately when it sprouted in my mind. Tbh, I think the idea could have never been my own, as it’s just beyond me why people would keep two blogs at the same time.

Abandoning one and starting a new one — with a new look, new niche, new topic of interest or new name? — sign me up. I am here for it. And I have done that plenty in the past (RIP Tr4velGeek, ForeignGeek, NomadWitch, JoyMagick, TarotKween, DaysofW, and QuarantineBuddy).

But never keeping two blogs at the same time.

I didn’t see the point because I could write whatever I wanted in my one blog. Until it was pointed out to me, by a “blogging guru” if I want my blog to grow, it’s best not. Because you know, niche and all. So I weeded out the KultureKween blog, removing anything that is not within the cultural niche.

A year ago, I asked a tarot reader to read about my blog. It was the first reading of many on the same topic (yes, I am obsessed enough with my blog to get multiple reading for it).

I don’t remember much of her answer, most probably because I couldn’t resonate with it. But there was a part where I complained to her that felt like I can’t write about other things other than culture, how that thought crippled me, and I ended up not writing at all.

Sometimes a trip to a beach is just that, you know, a trip to the beach. I want to be able to write about it on my blog without constantly trying to tie the experience from a cultural angle”. I mumbled to her.

She pulled out a card and suggested the obvious:

“Why not keep another blog on the side?”

I peeked over the card, The Temperance.

At that time, I had just started learning tarot reading and Temperance was (and at times still) a card that I have a hard time understanding. Balance was the only thing that came into mind.

Maybe” I answered her noncommittally, because the truth was I came to her because I was tired — feeling dragged by the current blog. Therefore, having another blog, a second blog, seemed like going in the opposite direction of what I wished for: to draw joy from my passion.

Fast forward to a few months ago (read Covid Diary: 6 Months), when I sat on the bathroom floor, feeling panicky for not keeping a diary to record my life during the early stage of Covid.

The midnight mild anxiety attack stemmed from reading people’s Covid diaries. I felt a pang of jealously.  Not of their experiences — but because they recorded their thoughts meticulously.

Dawn O’Porter even managed to write and publish a contemporary memoir about the pandemic, titled Life in Pieces, during this pandemic!

The next day, 8 August 2020, I paid $4.99 to Apple and jumped into the Dayone app. I spent the next week painstakingly copying the drafts I have kept in Evernote there. From then onward, I restarted diarising my life. Sometimes it is just a one-worded entry. Other times it goes on to a length of a blog post.

Though I didn’t notice it immediately, keeping a diary has been another anchor for my mental health well-being during Covid. Keeping a journal and updating it regularly pushes me to observe and write more. Soon after, I read Buy Yourself the Fucking Lilies and was inspired to write morning pages daily. 

These were the things that restarted my passion for writing anything and everything I wanted. It’s not in a noncohesive morning pages kind of way, but more like it might not be great, but still shareable kind of way.

That’s why I started Kovfefed. Well, it was Kovfefed.wordpress.com at first. I told myself I don’t need to pay for yet another blog if I can commit to writing on it daily for a full month.

That was two months ago today.

Kovfefed.wordpress.com turned into just Kovfefed sometime in between when WordPress offered 50% off of their paid plans. I subscribed to the cheapest one so that I can upload more photos. I also changed the Libre theme (which layout I loved the most) to Seedlet (which has the pagination at the bottom). It’s not the best, but that’s the only free one. One day, if I commit to daily writing for a more extended period of time, I will treat myself to Gema, the sexiest theme on WordPress.

Meanwhile, I also managed to dump all unrelated-to-culture posts which I removed from KultureKween to Kovfefed. These posts ranged from the time I started my first blog when I moved to Singapore 13 years ago to the current happenings.

I filled the archive with my tarot notes, obsessive thoughts about blogging, jobless rants, travel photos, shareable morning pages, random musings and snippets from my diary. Some just with a one-word and picture or even just a title (for now. I plan to fill it later).

Unlike Kulture Kween where I feel like I have the obligation (and I say that as a term of endearment) to write about culture-related posts, Kovfefed is more like my blank canvas. A fun, creative outlet. 

My goal for KultureKween is to learn about culture by sharing it with others in writing. My goal for Kovfefed is to write and to practice my writing. And I can write whatever I want. Things I like, things I hate, and everything in between. That has been liberating.

And now, the actual point I wanted to make when I started writing this post 15 minutes ago, I can’t believe it took me this long to realize that having a personal blog is one of the best things I could have done for myself. If you are stuck with a writers’ block, consider that it might not be you, but it’s what you are writing about. And maybe a personal blog is the fix that your mind seeks.

Nomad Witch

I decided to get a new blog name for my 10 years of blogging and 4 years of Foreign Geek.

It was not a well-thought decision, per se. I haven’t even registered any of the social media, but I feel like it could be what I need to lift me from this blogging rut I have experienced for almost a month. I am not going to delete Foreign Geek.

It’s my brand, and who knows how long will this witchy infatuation last, but if it does, I might rebrand the whole Foreign Geek to Nomad witch.

Maybe this is me growing up. Maybe this is me being more real. Maybe this is me finding my second/another true voice. Maybe this is just a summer flight or, in my case, winter madness.

Whatever it’s, let me try this. I might like it. I might not, but let me know about it. And once I am done.

For now, I am just doing what I love doing.

Adventuring.

I also want to shout out to Call Your Girlfriend podcast. Of all the podcasts ads I listen to, their was the one that got my attention and inspired me to start Nomad Witch on Squarespace. So thanks to them.

Good night and blessed be.

#BlogEverydayinSept

Today is the last day of #BlogEverydayinSept. I made it, you guys! I wrote more than twenty posts this month. That’s something new for me. I am a teeny, tiny, proud I passed the challenge. I also learn something, other than travel I do like talking about myself. #narcismalert.

The last prompt is an interesting one. It’s about the blogging community in my city, which I believe is essential. Also, it’s one of the reasons why I started blogging, to belong to a tribe, the one that gets me.

In April this year, I found a blogger meet up in Singapore, I had a grand vision for it, but unfortunately, nothing much happened because the dream wasn’t followed by efforts. I really should stop being lazy. Anyways, it didn’t grow as much as I wanted it to be. In the end, I met a blogger, Liz. That was the highlight of my blogging community lives in Singapore. Hi Liz!

Blogiversary Year 7

I started blogging on 27th August 2007 (exactly 7 years ago today), inspired by a classmate Vi (who later became my best friend) blog which was written in Chinese.

My first blog was titled ITravelIBlog (it’s now password protected and I don’t have the password). After ITIB, it was Travel Geek (a weirdo who loves to travel) which morphed to Foreign Geek (a weirdo, who lives as a Singapore expat, who loves to travel).

Stop Blogging?

Fellow bloggers:

Have you ever wanted to stop blogging?

I had a strong urge to quit and just abandon the blog.

It was a mix of tight schedules, work obligations, and a lack of practice. I was too tired to write after work or class, had no inspiration, and convinced my writing was deteriorating. So I stopped for a while, or maybe I felt that way because I stopped for a while.

It didn’t take long for Fafa to notice and put some sense back into me. I have put so much effort, and I still have unrealized goals related to this blog, including being invited to the White House by Madam President Michelle Obama.

So, In June, I made a pact, if I don’t write 10 posts, I am going to take the default, abandon the blog and take up another hobby, like scrap-cooking, which essentially scrapbooking delicious home-cooked food pictures.

The pact might feel stupid when I look back someday, but it was exactly what I needed. I wrote 10 posts and back on being an amateur blogger, but with pride and dreams.

I also blamed the I-don’t-feel-like-writing for my current layout, designed by yours truly. I changed the theme to spice things up, but instead, with village idiot level technology skill and blind eyes for design, I ended up with something I don’t like. The blog needs a makeover, and I finally decided to throw in the towel on my design attempt and get professional help.

We are still in the early stage of it, as early as figuring out what’s a mood board and how to choose colors that don’t make my blog looks like an Indian wedding. Please hang in there through this ugly transition; I promise the blog will sport a new outfit before its birthday next month. 

Blogiversary Year 6

You guys, I realized recently that I have been blogging regularly for some time now. It’s big for me because I have been committed to something for the longest time—longer than working as a professional ghost hunter and making babies on SIMS back then.

I have had blogs before with sporadic posts, mostly about being a Amma’s girl and drinking coffee from a noodle bowl. I am still the same girl; the bowl is still there, but this time I stick with a blog for years, and I have spent good hours writing and sharing readable posts instead of watching 30 Rocks Marathon in loops.

I have been blogging while being in the sky, inside the bathtub, from hotel rooms, train, bus, bed, at 2 AM, on New Year’s Eve, when I was sick and during office meetings. I love it! Writing gives me joy and stretches my mind. From this blog, I have connected with so many amazing people out there. It’s like joining an awesome sauce tribe.   

Some say only a small fraction of bloggers will become “successful” and make money from blogging. People say the same thing about being a trader, only 2% of us will earn money, and the same goes for being a writer. At this rate, it feels like anything we do, we won’t ever be as famous as a celebrity sex tape, but that isn’t it, is it? Who defines success? Our success? I don’t start this blog-hopping to get fame nor money; I have a job that I hate for it.

I blog because it makes me happy. And writing regularly is worth celebrating, so I celebrate it, with other best things in life: candles, cheesecake, and Fafa.