Regarding My Hiatus

Over the last couple of months, I haven’t published any blog posts on here. I had a hiatus on here that just, kind of…happened.

I didn’t plan for a hiatus, but one just naturally came about as I figured out how (and if) I can balance this blog with some new responsibilities I now have. They are wonderful responsibilities, I might add, but responsibilities that also take up some portion of time as well.

While dealing with these new tasks (not to mention being sick twice, which delayed my posting here, though it wasn’t COVID either time, thankfully), I’ve been figuring out whether, and if so, how, I can balance this blog with everything else I have going on. I wanted to wait to post again with an announcement until I figured that out.

Thankfully, I have figured out that I feel I can continue on with this blog. However, unlike in the past, there will be no scheduled rhythm to this blog. I will just post when I feel that my schedule and energy allow.

While this is not what many blogging experts suggest,[1] allowing me to not follow any set schedule will give me the flexibility to post when I am able, and not post when I don’t.

So now you know what’s going on, and why I’ve been on hiatus!

[1] And yes, I know I will be ignoring some advice I wrote in a blog advice post I wrote some time ago:

A Return to Blog Advice: On Blogging About Topics Different from Your Blog’s Original Focus

When I started writing blog posts about blogging advice, I didn’t necessarily anticipate it getting interrupted on multiple occasions due to choosing to write more about how I am faring and how my part of the world is faring with a global pandemic. But alas, it happened.

And the fact that things have happened in the way they have over the past couple of years (as well as the fact that this blog wasn’t designed originally with the intention of writing any sort of blog advice) made me think of how many bloggers often end up blogging on topics different from their blog’s original focus.

Let me start by saying that if you have a personal blog as opposed to a business blog, you theoretically can blog on just about any topic you want to. I can theoretically blog about gardening[1] and a blogger who has a blog focused on gardening can theoretically write a post about basketball.

However, some of us, myself included, have blogs that were at least originally designed with a particular focus in mind. Therefore, for people like me, there is a valid question that comes to mind: If our blog was designed to focus on a particular topic, should we even allow ourselves to blog on topics different from the original focus?

If you’re looking for a definitive answer from me, you won’t get one in this post. Instead, what you’ll get is a few questions to keep in mind before deciding:

  1. Are you passionate about the topic you want to blog on? If the answer is yes, even if the topic is on something different from your blog’s focus, then you are off to a good start.
  2. What is the purpose of writing on the topic you plan to discuss in the blog post? Note here that the purpose can be to help others or yourself in some way. However, if you have no purpose for writing a blog post that veers from the main focus of the blog, then you should ask yourself why you’re even going off-topic from your typical focus.
  3. Are you worried about whether your readers will be interested in what you have to write about? If your blog has/had a particular focus, some of the readers subscribed to your blog likely subscribed because they were interested in the topics you blog about. If you start blogging about topics different from what readers came to your blog for, there is a chance you might lose subscribers. If you are not at peace with that possibility, then you should think long and hard about whether you want to blog on a topic different from the blog’s original focus.
  4. If you happen to have any sponsors for your blog, do those sponsors want you to blog a certain amount on certain topics? This is not something that I, or most other bloggers, have to worry about because most of us don’t have sponsors. But if you have a sponsor, you will want to really make sure that you don’t have a sponsor that requires you to blog a certain amount on the blog’s focus (and if you do, then make sure that you fulfill your sponsor obligations if you don’t want to lose your sponsorship).

Ultimately, all the questions I raise here come back to one fundamental question: If you blog on a topic from your blog’s main focus, will you be a happy blogger? If so, you can be a social justice blogger who talks about gardening, a gardening blogger who talks about basketball, or a basketball blogger who talks about history—letting your imagination run wild, in the best of ways, in the process.

[1] I actually know very little about gardening, so the chances of this happening are unlikely, at least at the moment.

Blog Wrap-Up: Calendar Year 2021

As I’ve been doing the previous couple of years, I am doing a blog wrap-up post for 2021.

Much like in 2020, in 2021 the COVID-19 pandemic has significantly affected what I blog about as well as how I blog. As the theme of this blog is talking about injustices we may be blind to and/or blindly commit, there were (and are) a number of injustices related to the pandemic that I decided were worth talking about here. Additionally, as the pandemic situation has changed, for me personally and in my hometown of New York City, I have changed the extent to which I post updates about the pandemic (at times posting weekly, at times not posting at all, and more recently posting monthly about the pandemic). When I started this blog, I did not anticipate that, in some ways, this would turn out to be a personal diary for an area slammed by the pandemic (and slammed especially badly in Spring 2020), but here we are.

However, probably the most challenging thing for me with this blog has been in covering some issues that were important to talk about, yet delicate and sensitive. Topics such as the January 6th insurrection, the trial involving the police officer who killed George Floyd, critical race theory (posts that I literally spent months writing, editing, and perfecting), and more were all important to talk about, yet were all difficult to write about in their own ways. I can only hope that I’ve added at least a bit of insight into discussions about these topics and more, especially in a political, cultural, and social environment that has felt very fragile at times in the past year.

That being said, it’s not any of these posts that have caught so much attention, but instead my post on “Simone Biles, Sexual Abuse, and Mental Health.” That post has nearly 100 likes and over 40 comments as of the time of my writing this and continues to get likes—not that blog post statistics are the be-all and end-all, but when I was writing this post I had no idea that it would resonate so much with so many people. Granted, I think that Biles’ experiences have resonated with many people, and the popularity of this post is only a microcosm of that fact.

Speaking of my writing getting recognition, I should take some space in this post to recognize the fact that Sakshi Shreya at Art Enthusiastics nominated me for the Sunshine Blogger Award. While I do not write blog award posts anymore as I used to, I appreciate the nomination!

I know that I’ve spent most of this post talking about my own blogging for this year, but I do want to thank all of you, my readers, for reading my posts, liking them, and leaving engaged comments. While I don’t want to get fixated on views, likes, and comments, I am always happy to see others engaged with the topics I write about here, some of which can be sensitive and difficult to think about, talk about, and yes, even write about.

And on that note, I wish everyone a happy, healthy, and safe holiday season.

I will not be publishing any blog posts next week.

A New Feature at the End of My Blog Posts

When I started this blog, it was with the goal of educating people on injustices we may be blind to and/or blindly commit. However, in recent months especially, I’ve been thinking about whether education all by itself is really enough.

Now don’t get me wrong—I wasn’t considering abandoning my blog after all the work I’ve done over the years. Nor do I think that education is unimportant—it is important that people are educated on issues of injustice so that we can address the issues within ourselves (If I didn’t believe that to be the case, this blog wouldn’t exist!). Yet, at the same time, that education is only of limited use if we only keep the impacts of said education to ourselves. Simply put, education of oneself without doing anything else doesn’t cut it. It doesn’t change anything or anyone other than possibly ourselves, and it certainly doesn’t lead to the sort of large-scale changes that are needed to address large-scale issues. For all that one might feel virtuous for being more educated on matters of racism, sexism, ageism, or any other number of things, it takes more than one virtuous person to see the changes one may desire to come to fruition.

I therefore found myself thinking much more about how to turn education into action and how to further amplify the voices of those who are working tirelessly on various issues of injustice. Of course, that action can take multiple forms. Sometimes the action is in donating to an organization that would use the funds to work on systemic changes. Sometimes the action is in giving volunteer hours to an organization looking to achieve systemic change. Sometimes the action is in being a volunteer to knock on doors, attend protests, or call elected leaders to hold them accountable for something. The sort of help that is needed in advancing a cause varies from organization to organization and from movement to movement, but one thing I can assure you of is that there are many ways to turn education into action. I just needed to find a way to share with others where we can turn education into action.

It was through this thinking that I came up with a new idea for my blog: with blog posts where it is clear that one or more organizations are looking to address a particular injustice/injustices I am discussing, I list those organizations at the bottom of the blog post.

The new practice is intended to serve people who may be passionate about a particular injustice or set of injustices after reading one of my posts (or reading something not on my website) but are really unsure of where to go next. By having this new practice going forward, I hope to provide a place for my readers to go beyond the “like” button for my blog post or the comment section (though I certainly welcome “likes” and comments).

My hope in having this is that what I will do from now on can be a resource for people who want to turn education into some form of action. While yes, this blog is and will continue to focus on educating people about injustices, I also want to be sure that my readers have the ability to act after getting educated. After all, education only reaches its maximum usefulness if you use it to educate others and/or take action yourself.

Blog Tips: My Blog Isn’t Getting Much Traffic. What Should I Do?

A few months into my blogging journey, I had a post published on a Tuesday at noon (as I usually do). And then…hardly any traffic came to my blog. By the end of that Tuesday, my blog had just four viewers for the whole day, two of whom were me—me visiting my blog on my phone, to make sure the post came out okay on phones, and me visiting my blog on my laptop, to make sure the blog came out okay on computers.

So, to those of you who are frustrated because their blogs are not getting as much traffic as you had hoped, I was once one of you. Therefore, I hope that my past experiences with disappointment from low traffic will be of wisdom and even encouragement to some of you.

I will start by saying this—if you’re discouraged with your readership when you’ve been blogging for 12 months or less, please be patient with yourself. Building a loyal readership takes time, and if your blog is just a few weeks or a couple months old, you have likely not blogged for long enough to have cultivated that loyal readership. For many bloggers, that sort of work takes years. So please, don’t give up when your fifth post only has four readers, with three of the readers being you and your parents.

If you have been blogging for over a year and you still see little or no traffic, ask yourself the following questions:

  1. Do you publish your blog posts on a regular basis, at least once every other week?
  2. Do you have relevant images on your blog posts?
  3. Do your posts use tags? (And, if you’re not sure what tags are, the answer is likely no, and feel free to ask me about tags in the comments section below.)
  4. Do you share your posts on social media?
  5. Do you interact with other bloggers by commenting on and subscribing to their blogs so that you see the bloggers’ posts?
  6. Do you make friends and family aware of your blog?

If your answer to any of these questions is no, then you are not doing enough to grow your blog audience. In coming blog tips posts on this blog, I will talk about why doing each of these things will help you grow your blog audience.

However, even if the answers to all these questions are yes, you should see whether you are having any issues with the content of the posts themselves that may be turning readers off. Issues with posts that turn readers off or keep readers away from your blog (speaking as a reader myself) include poor grammar, bad spelling, incorrect facts, a lack of focus on your topic for your post, and a lack of direction on your blog (example: if you go from talking about basketball to talking about politics in your hometown).

Hopefully, the above paragraphs provide bloggers with some ideas on how to grow blog traffic, if someone is struggling with it. That being said, if other bloggers have additional tips on growing blog traffic, feel free to comment below!

Please note that in observance of the 4th of July, I won’t publish a post next week.