Our First Century: Lessons from 100 posts

Blue Lake, Tongariro Crossing

When we began this blog, we had doubts about our ability to sustain it. Now we have hit the century, so with a glance over our shoulders, here is our guide to the highs, lows and blind alleys of blogging.

1. Blogging can be “wide and shallow” or “informed and deep”. Originally we conceived of this blog as a potpourri of things we liked: we imagined something like a magazine featuring our burgeoning photo archives and our love of travel, ex-pat life, food, reading and design. Hah! Not too much to take on that wasn’t already beautifully covered by several million blogs on each subject. Which leads to:

2. Learn from your “audience” and embrace the freedom to reinvent and grow. After the stony silence greeting our travel posts (Croatia, New Zealand), cultural observations (ex-pat TV, language), restaurant reviews (Scotland, Italy), and book reviews, we found that the photography posts took off ultimately getting “Fresh Pressed“. Through this organic trial and error method we listened and evolved into a (mainly) photo blog —with an iPhone vs traditional theme—while still keeping our voice and enjoying going off topic when we feel inspired by, say, New Zealand architecture or New York mores.

3. Blogging can feel like shouting in the dark at times: times when you haven’t posted for a while, times when you try something new that falls flat, and times that the post you worked really hard on, your pet post, your favourite(!) turns out only to be loved by you.

4. Blogging is a bit like high school; don’t worry about likes, followers and other statistics—just be yourself. If others like what we do, that’s good, but it is not our primary goal. Blogging is not a job (unless of course it is your job). It should be fun and it is good to remind yourself this regularly as it will take a while to put your name around in blogworld. Which, paradoxically, leads us to:

5. Discipline is important. If you don’t post regularly, even your friends stop visiting. Everyone has dry spells—the weekly photo challenge can be a life saver when you know that you have to be regular, but ideas are thin.

6. Blogging is a great way to push yourself to try different approaches to photography, writing and presentation. We have learned a lot from others—styles, techniques and ideas. We have tried to soak it all up.

7. Blogging is not a one way street—it is about community. Community was the last thing we expected to gain from blogging, but it is by far the most enjoyable and rewarding part of this venture. Go out! Read! Comment! Engage! We “met” a lot of talented and established bloggers who helped us find our way in our first lonely months. Eventually we built a virtual community with bloggers whose approach and inspiration resonates with ours although we may not have a common niche.

The words of advice and encouragement from people we’ve never met, but “know” and consider friends have cheered us and kept us going through troughs of self-doubt. This is the most unexpected and most enjoyable aspect of blogging for us. We’d love to give a shout out to some of our mentors and inspirations. If we could have been a great travel blog we would have been Gallivance,  an ex-pat life blog: Wine and Cheese(Doodles), food: This Sydney Life, and reading: Acid Free Pulp. These blogs inspire us with their quality content, singular voices and generosity of spirit. Thanks for making helping us through our first century!

Parting shots—our favourites from the first 100 posts.

goat_tethered

Mrs. DW:  Tethered ram on  Eid al-Adha, Tunis, Tunisia

self_portraits

Mr. DW:  Selfie taker, Lincoln Center, NYC

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