What I really gained in my second year of travel blogging

Making Year 2 of travel blogging a breeze…

January 2018 was devoted to positive plans. March 2018 was centred around picky possibilities. But by May 2018, as the countdown to my second blogeversary (and coincidentally my 100th blog post) started, I was slipping into a whirlpool of diabolic doubts. Four and a half months to go, and all I had to my credit were ‘minor milestones’ (ok, not so minor brand collaborations). I could feel a sense of urgency haunting me night and day. How was my Year 2 of travel blogging going to be bigger, bolder, brighter than Year 1?

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Conspiracy theory

All was not lost. June-July delivered a series of pleasant surprises. A Sunshine Blogger Award dropped into my inbox. My blog was listed in the IndianTopBlogs. Massive viral-like traffic came from unexpected sources, pushing my current 6-months stats higher than the entire last-year total! Incredible India shared some of my posts on social media and published my article on Meghalaya on their newly revamped website. And just a week short of my second blogeversary, AirVistara carried my article on Salzburg in their in-flight magazine. Phew!

Was the universe conspiring to create happy twists and turns in my favour. Was it the result of my extra vigil for any possible opportunity and persistent follow-ups on every connect? Or a mix of both? Either way, all the gifts that had got delayed in the mail were being delivered one after another. I was finally listing a chain of ‘major milestones’ that had been eluding me. Can you feel vindicated, excited, relieved and ecstatic at the same time? Yes, yes, yes and yes. Suddenly…an epiphany! No undermining the ‘major milestones’, but there was something more intrinsic that had pushed Year 2 higher than Year 1. Much like the first year of trial-and-error, year 2 was packed with conscious choices and priceless learnings. Introspection time then. Three takeaways…

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1. BIGGER by choosing to say more of ‘no’: Year 1 is all about gluttony, isn’t it? You’re grabbing every promotion thread you can lay your eyes on, working compulsively for 10 hours daily, 7 days a week, pouncing like a hungry lion at every social media window that dares to cross your line of vision. Chasing every beep, tracking each notification. Crazy routine and never-ending flood of interactions, all justified in your adrenaline-pumped blogger psyche as necessary evils to contend with, till your eyes pop out of their sockets at the end of yet another luminosity-screened day. By Year 2, you’ve slogged enough to be able to afford more of ‘no’. You make choices. To sift the essential from the excesses. To allocate specific days and time slots for promotion. And to ban them from creeping into your writing schedule. You say ‘No’ to the green-eyed greedy monster.

No prizes for guessing the results. Actual blog writing gets the bigger share of the pie. Working smarter makes time for more writing, more quality writing and more peace of mind for quality writing. And the traffic? Unaffected. With the right choices you lose nothing. Except the garbage.

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2. BOLDER by choosing to know what to say: The more you read other people’s travel stories, the more you get influenced by them. Correction! The more you read other people’s travel stories, the more you become sure of how to position your own content. Like my niece’s fave quote…“No one ever made a difference by being like someone else”. My game plan? Using an extra day (or two) to arrive at the central idea of each blog post. With an added bonus…more blog loving. Comparing Klimt with Mucha or exploring the hidden blueprint behind Hindu temple architecture spiked up my right-brain way longer than a traffic spike could. 

Expert travel bloggers advice you to find a niche to stand out from amongst millions of travel blogs. Translation…get bolder, unafraid. How exactly? Quit looking for guide books, tips and tutorials, because no one has your answer, except you. Now I know why they recommend you to ‘write for yourself’. Preferably using the tone and expressions that make you ‘you’.

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3. BRIGHTER by choosing to write first, edit later: The mantra of every writing wizard. And now mine too: ’Write first, edit later’. Yeah right, if only it were that simple. Actually…it is! Its a lot like living in the moment. Enjoying the raw, bumpy ride of the words filling up the screen, instead of visualising the last sentence. Forgetting the language, ignoring the expression, skipping the perfect synonym. Expressing the essence of the thoughts that are brimming in your mind. Sketching out that first rough skeleton. Undone. Incomplete. No one is watching you while you type in the first draft, so how does it matter if its not immaculately worded? Chances are you’re not a fan of it yet. But keep your inner editor nazi at bay, no matter how strong the itch to interfere is. Save the fancy trimming for later. (Preamble: It is important be master of Point 1 first.)

Rewriting the second draft is a cakewalk and the third will probably take a few minutes. Effectively, it calls for practice in wearing two separate hats, one at a time…writer first, editor later. Guaranteed to lead time by half. 

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Chalking out my own unique

What’s a breeze for one, may be a lull for another. My secret formula during my second year of travel blogging has been to decide my own tempo, goals and milestones and to stop being pressured by trends. Travel blogging is as personal as my thoughts. And that’s how my path has to be. Unique. One-of-a-kind.

 

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Making Year 2 of travel blogging can be a breeze with the right choices based on one's own tempo, goals and milestones. #travelblogging #travelwriting #blogeversary #travelbloggingtips #travelbloggingadvice

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40 thoughts on “What I really gained in my second year of travel blogging

  1. Congratulation on a successful second year of brilliant posts. I love how you have discovered your unique voice and the way to make that voice sing. I so enjoy reading your words on a regular basis. I also really appreciate this insight into your thoughts and perspective on a second year. We are now entering our second year of travel blogging, and we have been re-focusing on what makes us unique and how to create the best posts we can create. I think some of the points you have expressed here are exactly the things we have been ruminating over for ourselves. So thank you once again for your brilliant words and honest heart.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. First of all, congratulations on reaching those milestones! You are absolutely correct that it is better in so many ways to work smarter, not harder – although it is easy to understand why that first year is so frenetic and all consuming. Best wishes for Year 3!

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  3. It sounds like your hard work is paying off and you are getting more milestones tick tick tick. Great news. I agree that as one blogs for longer, you learn more about which opportunities to say yes and which to decline. And how to best balance your time so you can invest enough energy in creating high quality content! I’m over 9 years now so it’s a constant learning curve.

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  4. Congratulations on your year two! Its a journey for sure isn’t it? It is so true the old adage that completely applies in blogging – smarter not harder. Keep on saying no and challenging the things that work for you and don’t! Safe travels and happy continued blogging.

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  5. It is good to occasionally stop and look back. It was great to go into year 2 with so many accomplishments. I totally agree with your comment about saying “no” and prioritizing your time. In the end, your blog content is most important. I try to do my first draft when we are travelling. As you say, let the words flow. When I get home and sort pics I can then go back and edit, add and delete. A little perspective from the trip also helps me.

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  6. Well done on your two year anniversary! I enjoyed reading your article and seeing what you have achieved. I really liked what you said about it being our own path, as it is, it is not a race. You need to be unique to be yourself that’s how you get anywhere. Good luck with year three.

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  7. This is a lovely post – so inspiring! It sounds as though your success was well-deserved. I’ve started saying no more often, and it’s already reaping rewards. Sound advice!

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  8. It looks like your hard work is paying off. I can’t agree more with you to write first then later edit. I have started doing that. It helps a lot. Sometimes you have great ideas when you write it down you can give it a better shape later

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  9. I have been investing quite some time in my blog in the last few years, but after reading that you spend 10 hours a day, 7 days a week on your blog- I feel inspired. There is so much more to do, and obviously, it requires more time. I also started to write first, edit second, and even though it feels very rough at the beginning, after a couple of edits things start to fall into place.

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  10. Congrats on completing second year of your blog. 🙂 🙂 100 articles means that you have been averaging one article a week which is just awesome. Good luck and best wishes for many years of blogging.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Congrats on completing two years of blogging. Have always enjoyed reading your posts. They have always been posts with a unique and fresh perspective Also great to hear about all the accolades, I am sure there are many more waiting in the wigs.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. I know what you mean, I’ve had my blog for 3 years, and it’s only in the last couple of months that suddenly everything seems to be going my way at last! I totally agree with you that you have to take time to find your own voice, your own way of doing things, and when you have the confidence to do that, you’re golden!

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  13. Congrats! for completing 2 years of blogging with so many accomplishments. Your article is very inspiring for struggler and newbie bloggers. It is very good that your article got published in Air Vistara magazine.

    Liked by 1 person

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