I lost count how many times I’ve said this: I have a love-hate, on-off relationship with blogging.

A part of me sees it as a personal expression of my creative pursuits, thoughtfully shared to friends who know me offline and online.

A part of me sees it as the huge advertising platform that it has become, where I can wittingly reach a greater number of people. Probably, gain a little more by turning a personal hobby into a small profit.

Blogging has indeed grown into a field with success formula for those willing to build on hobbies–photography, makeup tutorials, traveling, etc. I’ve read a number of blogging tips advising bloggers to pick a theme and stick to it. If you’re into OOTDs, post about it as frequently and regularly. Soon, you’ll have fashion brands collaborating with you. If you travel a lot, share your itineraries, budget hacks, and coolest photos. Soon, you’ll get asked to feature hotels, travel agencies, or even an airline! Oh, imagine the perks!

I really admire those who have worked hard to build an audience and are reaping the fruits of our generation’s virtual world of business, education, and almost everything we can think it to be. I wish the same thing would happen to me (if only I would write consistently).

When I committed to blogging again (and more) this year, I tried to follow the “formula” to gaining more readers turned blog traffic. But doing so would sometimes conflict with the “un-themed” topics I wish to write.

I want to write and take a stand on my country’s issues these days. But that would be too political to mix with travel stories. I want to write about the questions I have yet to find answers to. But that would be too strong for those who do not share my faith, and too weak for those who do.ย  I want to write about my frustrations, lessons, and musings as a young professional in a world where people screw you just for having convictions. But that would be too personal in a world of confidentiality clauses et al.

And that is where all the words get blocked. I fear too much about what the readers would perceive, I begin to filter out my genuine expressions and thoughts. Then I wonder where has the creativity gone. I listen more to what will bounce back even before I let a word out.

I realize I am measuring blogging success wrong. Follower counts and sponsored posts are merely icing on cake. The real deal, the stuff that makes an artist fully satisfied is the ability to let words flow, organized into something that would benefit one, two, three, or more people outside herself. Being able to make sense of the unheard tangled thoughts and getting it published is success in itself.

So to my dear writer self, blog outside the box. Let the numbers follow or not. Just don’t sleep on your drafts. And find that your voice may be too faint for the overpopulated word wide web, but it will always be enough for those meant to hear (read) it in their silent corners.

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