No matter what fear we wish to face — writing or otherwise — we must first recognize its root. In many cases, our fears stem from beliefs not about who we are, but about who we’re not. We’re afraid of overcoming something or pursuing our dreams because we just can’t fathom that we could ever be the kind of people capable of achieving those things.
~ What Are You Afraid Of?
Sometimes it’s all about taking that first step: believing in yourself. I’ve held back for so long thinking my drive and my dreams are not enough… But life has a funny way of taking the reins and leading you to where you should be.
Earlier this month, I was lucky enough to snag a slot in the free blogging bootcamp led by Lois of We Are Sole Sisters and Aileen of I Am Aileen. I got an email inviting me to sign up and who am I to say no to that opportunity? It came at the perfect moment, right on the heels of me leaving the corporate world to figure out a life of passion and purpose.
There were more than fifty participants in the week-long workshop, and we fell in one of these categories: starting a new blog or rebranding and revamping. I’m smack in the middle of it, as I’ve been blogging for years but this one is fairly new and I need to whip it into shape.
In the course of seven days, I gained five valuable lessons applicable not only in blogging but also in life:
Tell your story and tell it well
The first few activities helped me figure out who I am and where I’m coming from as a blogger. I’ve always said that this website is more of a passion project, to showcase my love for traveling, writing and photography. I also want to connect with people through my interests, but for that to happen, I have to (sometimes shamelessly) put myself out there.
I also want to, in a way, give back to the community that gave me so much. Back when I was having a hard time last year, one of the things that got me through was reading travel blogs of independent and inspiring women who live a life of adventure. I consumed their compelling stories, admiring them for how they escaped their routines and fears and how they lived bravely and passionately.
I wanted to be one of them. I promised myself I will be one of them.
And now that I’m making my way to where I want to be, I want to be the one who tells you it’s okay to feel stuck and to feel lost because it’s also the way to get found. I want you to know that it’s normal to hope for something better, that there is something better. And I want this blog to be the blog that makes you get up from that cubicle and book that ticket to your dream destination. I want to light that fire in you and make you see not just the light, but your light.
Create your online brand
In today’s day and age where almost everyone has a Facebook, Twitter and/or Instagram accounts, it’s important to create a “brand” that will best present you to the rest of the world.
It is important to remember though, to stay true and authentic to who you are. Speak in your own voice, share your own thoughts and create content that you can be proud of.
One of the hardest tasks I had to do for the bootcamp was to come up with a logo. I struggled with finding the right inspiration, since I’ve always liked keeping it clean and simple. I decided to stick with typography for now and I eventually found a font that spoke to me – it’s close to my handwriting, but a little whimsical. That became the catalyst for my blog’s new look and layout.
We also had to map out our plans for our blogs – what direction we wanted it to go, what kind of audience we hoped to attract, the overall look and feel of our websites. It was fun to brainstorm with a bunch of strangers-turned-online friends!
Find your tribe
We come from all parts of the world, and yet we’re all coming from the same place of wanting to put our own stamp in this digital world. We each had different stories, dreams and perspectives, but everyone was (and still is) very much supportive of each other. We got to bounce off ideas, feed on each other’s energy and inspire one another. And sometimes, that’s all we need really: to find a set of friends going through the same journey as you are to give you that extra push you need.
Learn from the past
I’ve lost count on all the times I kicked off a new blog, only to let the momentum wane and the purpose forgotten. I initially started blogging as a way to document my high school life and I kept it until I hit college, posting daily accounts of how I was feeling or what I did that day. And then I tried my hand at fashion blogging (that didn’t work out so well because it was expensive and I grew tired of dressing up) and dipped my toes in travel blogging (I struggled in finding my voice). While I don’t necessarily think they’re huge mistakes and my past blogs did feel authentic to me at one point, they didn’t really show the best of what I can do in the manner I’m most proud of.
But earlier this year, I made the conscious decision to get better at this. I wanted something that I can truly and proudly call my own, something that showed the best of my writing and the things that I passionately burn for. Aside from starting a new blog, I traveled solo, signed up for writing workshops, read travel anthologies, daydreamed about longterm backpacking… and quit my cushy, glamorous job in PR. I’m now working my way towards a digital nomad lifestyle, one that will hopefully sustain me holistically and financially.
Go all out
I’ve had self doubt for so long that being proud of what I’m capable of doing just didn’t come naturally. It’s not that I’m insecure, it’s more of… Shy and scared, I guess? Writing demands you to be real and vulnerable, and I initially didn’t want to put myself in that position.
And now here I am, feeling bravest in all my 25 years. I still have a long way to go but I’ve gone this far and surprisingly enough, I’m no longer scared to try. I’m chasing these dreams and possibilities with nothing but the belief that I can make them happen.
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What I’ve shared with you guys is just a teaser of what to expect from Blog Launch Love but if you want the full-on experience and mentoring, you can sign up for their wonderful services. Visit their website here.