Hey there! Thanks for sticking with me and reading Part 2 of my reflections on penning 500 blog posts. Cos guess what? Here we are. This is it. Blog post Numero Quinientos. Cinquecento. Fünfhundert. Femhundra. 五百.
Last week, I began reflecting on how far I came when I realized this would be my 500th blog post. Then, I had mused about my two lead cornerstone content areas: Autism and Parenting. Today, I’m going to wrap up my reflection by touching on what I’ve learned through posting about the other three cornerstone content areas in my blog.
Then let’s go!
3. WRITING Blog
When I started blogging in 2019, my blog posts looked like diary entries with long paragraphs and little attention paid to layout and appearance. There was also little by way of polished writing craft, nor universal truths for readers to parlay.
Before long, I realized that no one wants to read rambling diary entries. Not even the diarist himself! As such, I set about unlearning and relearning the craft of writing for an audience other than myself. In short, to write better blog posts.
I took up writing courses, both pre-recorded and live-streamed. They taught me to hone my craft and master the art of writing the personal essay, which arguably is one of the best genres of writing for novices like me to train in, and develop excellent writing skills.
Along the way, I’ve shared what I’ve learned and how my writing has evolved. I’ve talked about completing the first draft of my book-length manuscript and also the rewrite processes I employed. I do all that to inspire others to write, to learn from other bloggers, and to chronicle my journey as a wannabe writer. And maybe someday a published print author as well.
I’m happy to say the craft of writing is like the deep, blue sea — vast, mysterious, and bottomless. There’s still so much to learn, and so much more to share in many more blog posts to come.
4. POETRY In Motion
Funny how some things from your younger days stay with you even now. Like memories of your first crush (I was 12), or the first time you had to spend the night in a dark forest alone (15).
When it comes to school though, a couple of lines from a poem I learned when I was 13 — called Missing by British poet John Pudney — still sticks in my mind now, despite the intervening decades.
It kicks off with these cryptic lines: Less said the better / The bill unpaid, the dead letter.
And another, ominously called The Shroud by local poet Wong May, began: The little childish delights and happiness / Is taken off….with the old school uniform.
I don’t know why, but these launched me into a lifelong love and fascination with poetry and its often arresting rhythm, and how it can convey volumes of poignant meaning with the fewest possible words.
For the longest time though, I felt inadequate about creating my own poems. Each time I tried, they somehow came across as nothing more than cheesy rhyming couplets that best stay inside my head so no one else sees them. I felt I had no mastery of the craft and no business at all to dabble in something people associate with the likes of the great Yeats or Whitman.
Still, something about the sheer power of the written word in poetic form haunted and even taunted me. Daring me to write them down for the world to see. And so I capitulated three years ago with my first poem celebrating my 20th wedding anniversary. Not long after, I decided to take the plunge and permanently add poems to my blog’s bag of cornerstone content on a weekly basis.
I’ve not looked back since, regularly tapping inspiration for my creations from a broad spectrum. Ranging from masterpieces by literary giants like Dickinson and Shakespeare, to even commonplace stuff like milk and music. That’s the beauty of this literary genre — inspiration can come from anyone, anything, and from anywhere!
Each time I finished a poem, there’s such a strong wellspring of joy and delight at my simple accomplishment that I can scarcely breathe.
Admittedly, many of my poems are still very much cheesy rhyming couplets. And I still agonize now and then over publishing them, fearing sniggers and brickbats. But over time, I’ve come to realize that not a few of them resonated with my readers. In fact, I generally get more “likes” for my poems than I do for my essay blog posts. So I learned something. Even if my poems don’t bring me literary credence, they bring me and my readers no lack of joy and delight.
Thus, sniggers or not, brickbats or not, I shall continue to emote through poetry every Monday in my ongoing series called My Monday Metrical Musings, now clocking its 140th poem.
5. LIFE Blog
Here I best come clean.
Conventional wisdom in the blogosphere tells writers to stick to one cornerstone content for every blog, especially if one wishes eventually to monetize the blog. But the contrarian in me wrestled mightily with this. What if I have no thoughts to commercialize my site or chase after followers? And what if I have more than one area of lifelong interest? What if I can’t afford the time and resources to pay for, and maintain, several websites to talk about each of these interests separately? And what if along the way, my interests grow and expand, or morph and transform?
Most of all, what if I just want to write what I want to write. Whenever I want to write. To whoever I want to write.
So I decided to “cheat” and declare that my final cornerstone content in my blog is simply about LIFE.
This way, I can write just about anything.
And indeed I have. From book and film reviews to issues of loneliness and suicide to friendship, and even social trends like China’s version of quiet quitting. Oh and a very recent one about life lessons learned from, of all things, renovating toilets!
There’s just no end to the things I can blog about under a catch-all content area like LIFE.
Two years ago, I wrote myself a letter. There I reminded the “future me” why I started this blog and what I should never forget when I hit 500 blog posts.
Well, the “future” is here! Now I do indeed have 500 blog posts firmly in my pocket. And I believe the future that’s still ahead for me as a writer is looking brighter and clearer.
I’ve proven without a shadow of a doubt I can be disciplined to stay the course. That I am more than able to churn blog post after blog post for my chosen cornerstone content areas on a regular schedule. Without fail.
So to my dear readers, thanks for your support thus far. I will continue to blog and hopefully interest you — and maybe even enthrall you — with my weekly musings. For another 500 blog posts. And counting.
ONWARD! Adelante! Avanti! Weiter! Framåt! 向前!