A year ago (14th December 2016) I decided to do something I had been so reluctant to do for a very long time:
I launched my blog and made a commitment to writing.
Reflecting on these past twelve months, I’ve learned so much more than I expected to. Writing down my thoughts and sharing my views with you all has been an eye-opening experience. So, looking back, here are my key takeaways:
It’s harder than it looks.
First thing’s first.
I have so much respect for those of you who are putting out consistent content. Honestly, trying to balance this with work (whilst I was on my placement year) and now during my final year at university has been much more difficult than I expected. That being said, it can be done. There are plenty of people who successfully strike that balance and still produce consistent content at a high standard of quality – I guess I’m not quite there just yet.
I will be though.
Coming up with creative topics, interest-grabbing titles and relevant photos can sometimes take much longer than it needs to. What I realised early on was that because I was so committed to posting regularly, I ended up sometimes posting blog articles for the sake of it. It got to the point where, at times, I was writing about topics that I wasn’t wholeheartedly passionate about. I was just producing for the sake of producing. So now I’ve stopped myself from doing this. It wasn’t working for me. Now, I only write when I have a strong reason to share thoughts on a particular topic of interest; because that’s when I know I’ll be able to write at my best.
The lesson learned here though is that to be successful at something like this you have to be committed, driven, patient and have effective time-management skills; all of which are key qualities to take forward in any challenge or endeavour.
Your impact matters.
“The effect you have on others is the most valuable currency there is.” – Jim Carrey
To be honest with you, I really underestimated how much of an influence or impact I was able to have on the lives of others. I’ve been taken aback with some of the feedback I’ve received from some of my blog posts – it’s been so motivating to hear that something that I’ve written has had a positive effect on you. Believe me, I don’t take it for granted at all. It makes my effort seem worthwhile. I’m sure that other bloggers/content creators can relate.
Recently, as you may know, I published an article on male mental health in which I opened up about my own battles with anxiety and depression (https://dannynaqvi.com/2017/11/07/opening-up-dealing-with-depression/). Of anything I’ve ever written, this was the standout piece that seemed to have had the greatest impact. I felt so humbled to receive messages from so many of you to say that, as a result of the post, you felt comfortable to approach your family, friends or even the doctors about your own mental health. I’m so glad that it inspired confidence and hope.
This entire experience made me realise that although my blog is relatively very small (in terms of views and following), it can still make a difference. So for any of you reading this that currently run your own blog, YouTube channel etc. please be very conscious of the underlying truth that the content you produce can have a real effect on others; make sure that it’s positive and ensure that you strive to add value. It will pay off, I am certain of it. Even on social media platforms, your followers consume the information and content that you publish – even if it’s just a tweet. Positivity is contagious, as is negativity. Be mindful of this.
Creativity is confidence.
What do I mean by this?
I used to be reluctant to even start my blog, let alone write about some of the more sensitive topics that I’ve shared with you all over the past twelve months. I was very conscious about what people would think and say about me – I was afraid of the criticism and anxious about “online hate”. Social media can be a nasty place at times and some people can experience very tough circumstances online.
Of course, there were negative words and some harsh comments left under my blog posts and across other social media platforms about what I was trying to do. Let’s be transparent – blogging isn’t the norm. For some people, they think it’s “weird” (I use this term very loosely).
“Who does he think he is?”
“Why would he do that?”
What helped me to look past the negative comments was to firstly focus on the overwhelmingly vast amounts of positive feedback and support that I was being given by so many of you. At the end of the day, what’s one harsh comment compared to one hundred supportive comments?
Becoming thicker skinned and less concerned about negative feedback has opened me up to become much more confident in myself. I now care far less about online hate – I’m much more self-assured in what I’m doing, who I am and who I aspire to become.
The worst thing you can do is given in to the background noise and to stop doing what you’re trying to do because of criticism. The best way to overcome it is to ignore it and continue to do what you’re doing. That’s exactly what I did. Don’t like me blogging? Well I’m just going to continue to post more and more articles until you lose the energy to shoot me down.
So I strongly encourage you to take that first step. It will be the best decision you make.
Want to open a business? Start it.
Want to start a blog? Go for it.
Want to launch a YouTube channel? Do it.
Share your skills, your ideas and your voice with others. You never know how far it can and will take you. You never know what doors it can open; there are an infinite number of opportunities that can become available to you as a result of that first step.
Even if you fail, go for it. What do you have to lose, money? You’ll get that back. Ultimately, you would have gained so much experience and an invaluable set of lessons that you can take forward with you. Every experience you go through is an opportunity to grow, never take it for granted.
So to summarise:
Was starting a blog easy? Of course not.
Was it worth it? Most definitely.
I promise you that this blog will only continue to grow in its reach and impact. I’m so excited to see this evolve into something bigger over time and, believe me, I’m in no rush either. I will happily wait patiently to let this take its course. I’m building a platform that will hopefully be long lasting. I’ve still got so much to learn and so much to do – that’s absolutely fine with me. It’s about the process. It’s about the experience.
Finally I just want to remind you one last time: Chase your goals and passions relentlessly with a focused drive, persistence and diligence. Be open to trying new things and don’t be afraid to fail, it’s the best thing for you. Trust me.
Here’s to a year of blogging.