Since I was about 9, I have been writing in little diaries. I cringe at how dumb I sounded when I read them now, but I have always been my harshest critic.
In 2004 I started having a diary online at blogspot. I just wanted to try out this new blogging thing everyone was talking about it. Being neurotic, I worried about who would accidentally get to read my private thoughts if the privacy settings were hacked into. Ultimately people I did not want reading my private thoughts did and that’s why I now find freedom in being anonymous. Also the people around me prefer to remain anonymous too, so if I am out, so will they, by default. It allows me to talk about my screwed up mind, no holds barred and I am saving so much on therapy.
My cousin told me to get on WordPress way back in 2007 and I set up an account. But back then, WordPress looked so hard to use compared to Blogger. I abandoned WordPress and only came back to it in 2010. After a while I got used to it and was impressed at how much more sophisticated it was.
After being unemployed and always knowing that writing is my addiction, I toyed with the idea of writing for a living. Well I have been actually building castles in the air and dreaming about it instead of doing anything concrete, like I tend to do. Having seen blogs jumpstart lives is an inspiration. Gretchin Rubin’s Happiness Project became a book. An early blogger from 2001, Julia’s blog became a movie with none other than Meryl Streep staring in it (Julia and Julia). It can’t get any better than that! But I know mine is just a little voice in the vast ocean.
I grapple with these thoughts when my cousin encouraged me to monetize my blog:
1. When you are providing information for free, why would anyone want to pay for it?
2. How do I do it while still remaining anonymous?
3. How do I do it without putting off the reader with ads, because I am put off by excessive ads myself?
4. How do I make a living through blogging? (I’ve heard that the best way is to sell a product on your blog like a book you’ve written or start an Etsy shop or to use your blog as a portfolio). I have always dreamed of being my own boss and then I wouldn’t mind working 24/7.
I experimented with Nuffnang ads on an old Blogspot account, but I have yet to see any money and it’s quite annoying, those flashing ads. You clock up a measly $1 a week at best, with traffic of about 50 visits a day. But I tell myself not to complain – it’s better than nothing. At the moment it’s nothing though as you can only cash out when you reach S$50 and have to pay a dollar of administration fee. I am getting quite frustrated and impatient with it and am much prouder and put more effort into my ad free blog Tiny Island. Seeing the ads on my blogspot blog made me unhappy. It sort of ruined the writing for me and I found myself not bothering as much.
My cousin kept telling me to get my own domain, but I am so paranoid. I am afraid that with one click of the button everything will disappear. All those memories down the drain. And that’s what the blog is to me – my days – my memories and thoughts. Not only is WordPress free, it has grown on me. Having wordpress in the address is a cool factor I find hard to let go of.
Recently I’ve been immensely inspired by 365days2play and Creating Objectives I decided I will take the plunge myself. But I will keep Tiny Island as she is – my haven. I will start a completely new blog on a domain from scratch, but it will be a niche blog about how Singapore really is from the point of view of an insider. I must thank Canadian expat blogger Maria for encouragement and inspiration as well.
Right now my head is swimming with information overload and wondering if I have wasted money on this experiment. When I am faced with the technically unfamiliar, it can be quite daunting and a nightmare. It will take some time for me to figure things out. Once I do, I am sure I will get a huge sense of satisfaction. I hope then to share what I’ve learnt with anyone out there who wants to take the plunge as well.
I still haven’t figured out how to ad watermarks to photos or design a header, but I suspect that I would need photoshop for that.