Day 1 of this #30DayAfriBlogger Challenge is about our blogging journey. I think it’s a great place to start because it encourages me to reflect on where I’ve started and see how far I’ve come….
My first post on this blog was on November 5th 2014….my second, January 16th, 2015. And that about sums up what my blogging journey has been like. A lot of picking up and dropping and picking it back up again. This year, I told myself that if I didn’t take my blogging more seriously, I would need to quit. But I don’t plan to quit. I plan to focus and give it my all! Hopefully, I’ll emerge into 2018, a beautiful butterfly of wisdom and wit, presented on this blog in a beautiful and engaging way. Without further ado, here is a “little” synopsis of my blogging journey and what this September blogging challenge is all about.
Why I started blogging.
Looking back at my notes, I first wrote down the idea for my blog on June 29th, 2014 at 4:03am – because, let’s be honest, most great ideas come in the wee hours of the morning. But I feel that I had been mauling it over a few hours…or days before I ever opened up my computer to type out something.
That summer, I was living in New York (Harlem to be exact). I was still reflecting heavily on time in Senegal and knee deep in my research on Senegalese migration narratives. It was also the summer I started working with Face2FaceAfrica and when I made my first group of African friends raised in the U.S. – suffice to say, it was all Africa, all the time. But not just Africa, but African excellence, exposure to the term Afropolitan, cross cultural Afro-centrism; it was Black, Beautiful and o so enriching and empowering. It was an extremely formative summer for me as a young African immigrant woman. And as I prepared for my final year of university, I had a lot of decisions to make as I headed out into the real world.
I wondered how many other young third culture and Afropolitan women found themselves at these same crossroads…unsure of the next steps but excited for what laid ahead. I reminisced on all the amazing opportunities I had had (getting scholarships to go to my dream school, co-starting a organization for Africans and African enthusiasts on my campus, getting funding to carry out a research project I was passionate about, and getting a scholarship to study abroad in Senegal and learn Wolof, and so much more).
Putting your story out there for others to consume is very vulnerable task…it has to be done with love and care because if you’re not doing it for a genuine reason…it will seem draining.
Thinking about how I negotiated all that and the plans I had ahead for myself, I knew it was time to share my story with the world. I couldn’t be keeping all this information to myself anymore. I wanted to help other young women like myself who might not have grown up around other Africans; I wanted to help other third culture kids who were negotiating multiple cultures and I wanted to inspire other young men and women that were trying to make the most of their gifts and talents – regardless of their circumstances.
But also, I wanted the blog to be a fun, friendly place to look for advice on: clothes, studying, cultural tid-bits and of course, lots and lots of motivation.
Sharing my story and creating a community where people could come together and discuss all that and more seemed like the least I could do with all the experiences, opportunities and talents I’ve been given. Mostly I just wanted to share my story, in hopes of inspiring others and validating their journey…and maybe even validating my own journey to myself.
I wrote down what I wanted the blog to encompass and some ideas for content. I wrote this quote, big and bold to capture the essence of FindNkem:
“Feeling at home anywhere – but a little out of place everywhere. “
I found some musings on August 8th, 2014, that show to me when I decided that this would be more of a lifestyle and personal blog. I talked about how my experience in most things (returning to my predominantly white school after studying abroad in Senegal, the way I experienced NYC, etc) was all part of my “Life as a Child of Diaspora” (not saying this was my original blog name idea…but…). So rather than just the tough topics of discovery and cross-cultural happenings, now the blog would encompass a little bit of everything I loved, touched, came across and experienced.
(Well actually, my very first blog ever was a travel blog from when I studied abroad in Senegal. I believe it’s still live here. Maybe one day I’ll move those posts here.)
The ups and downs of my blogging journey
After getting a Fulbright to study in France, I thought more about turning the blog into just a travel blog, but I knew I had more to talk about than just my adventures….but because I was always traveling and it was starting to be what I was most knowledge about, I kept writing about my travels over other topics. That’s how FindingNkem has now morphed into the travel and lifestyle blog it is today.
Over the course of 3 years of “blogging” I’ve published 46 posts which is an average of 1.35 per month. The worst part is that I once counted, and I have almost 80 blog posts that have been drafted outlined or otherwise, in the pipeline to the written. This is not where I want to be at all…and therein lies my biggest problem with this blog: consistency. I pick it up and put it down so often, even I’m getting tired. I want it to be a consistent aspect of what I do. I don’t want to just half-ass it anymore.
I often ask myself what is holding me back from going all in with my blog and dedicating time and effort into it like I should. (It’s really easy to say, oh I was busy, oh I didn’t have time…but the truth is we always make time for things we care about or feel REALLY need to be done). I think it’s two main things for me: sheer laziness and self-doubt.
The sheer laziness simply comes from not making time, not organizing and scheduling properly (or in my case, over scheduling and then not sitting down to do the work I just scheduled myself to do!!). It comes from expecting motivation to magically show up every day, when discipline is the only thing you can count on to get you through anything you’re passionate about.
The self-doubt comes from a few places, but perhaps the main one is looking around the blogosphere and thinking “wow, am I really adding anything of value that hasn’t or couldn’t be said elsewhere?” Today the blogosphere is so saturated that I often fear I’m just adding to the noise. I often wonder what new knowledge and insight I bring. I certainly believe in what I’m writing and I think it’s interesting and useful information…but is it information that my readers can ONLY get here? I’m not sure. I try to remind myself that even if the information is similar, my take on it and my voice is unique. That helps many days, but not every day. All I can do is keep pushing forward and always remember why I started blogging in the first place.
All I know is that if I do want end up giving up one day (which I don’t plan to), I want to know for sure that I gave it my all.
Recommitting to blogging
Like I mentioned at the beginning of this post (that was so long ago now…wasn’t it?), I told myself it was this year or never! I’m very tired of ‘starting over,’ (so stop quitting! – as the saying goes). My long pauses make me uncomfortable and make me feel very unhappy with myself.
I either need to be all the way in this blogosphere, or all the way out. No more lukewarm blogging, no more doing it only when I feel like it. The few times I do blog take up way too much of my time for me to not take it more seriously. It got to the point where I thought, if I’m not serious about this thing, then I’m just wasting my time. Besides, I don’t like to do anything half way. Like ThinkPoppy once said:
“So you either decide to to be all the way in, or simply get all the way out. The last thing the world needs is another halfway blogger, pushing out mediocre halfway content, only half of the time.”
I feel like I should frame that quote because I’m certainly not trying to be that person and so it’s time for me to start blogging like I mean it.
This is part of the reason why I decided to do this blogging challenge. To throw myself in 150%, that way come October, hopefully, I’ll be so used to blogging being a part of my daily life; it won’t feel like the thing I just pick up from time to time anymore.
Essentially, the #30DayAfriBlogger challenge is a group of mostly Zimbabwean bloggers working through a list of topics throughout the month of September. We all have to write on the same topic each day, but of course we can put our own spin to each theme of the day. It forces us to write daily, share our work, and interact with other bloggers – encouraging and supporting each other along the way!
I’m looking forward to sharing more with you all the rest of this awesome month!
In addition to the blogging challenge though, I also have a few posts that I have been SLEEPING on for at least a year, that need to go up NOW. So some days will have 2 posts…no fret. I’ve recently changed my blogging subscribing platform to MailChimp. So for the duration of this month, you will get weekly updates with a synopsis of what I’ve written for the week. I respect your inbox as much as you do, so you’re welcome! If you’re not yet subscribed to the blog please do so by using the form below or to the side.
If you can’t wait for the email update to know what I write next for the blogging challenge, you can visit this page each day from 12pm and hopefully see a new post! If you don’t….feel free to bother me. Thanks!
Where am I taking this blogging thing?
So I’ve talked a bit about what made me start my blog, but why do I continue blogging and where do I see this blog going?
Ultimately I want to build a community that caters to conversations around cross-cultural communication, migration, the latest Afropolitan news and cultural happenings around Africa and the diaspora (although that might end up in a different platform, focus is important.…but this is a start). I want a place where we can talk about chasing our dreams in a culture rich world and telling our stories authentically.
In addition to inspiring others through my story and building a community that supports each other in their dreams, I’m also hoping that this will be a platform that showcases my knowledge and experiences in the fields of Afropolitan culture, cross-cultural communication and travel. With the plans I have for my future, I need to start using my voice to talk about the topics I’m passionate about and have a platform that amplifies and highlights that. And I want to improve my writing and find an outlet for my creativity!
One thing I’d like to see on my blog in the near future is writing more things in the “education, career and organization” category of the blog. My tips on planning have always seemed to do the best so there is clearly a thirst for more information in regards to that. My problem is half the time, I don’t even know how I do it. So I plan to spend more time reflecting, analyzing and honing my study and organization habits to help others do the same.
At the end of the day, the main goal of this blog is to help others feel inspired to reach their fullest potential regardless of their circumstances and that simply isn’t possible without proper planning and motivation to work hard and push forward – so hoping to bring more posts regarding that on the blog.
I also have a series planned about migration narratives (clearly inspired by my research), where I’ll bring you all awesome stories from around the diaspora – because why learn from me alone, when i could bring in other awesome voices and insights!
If there are certain topics you’d love to read more about/know more about, let me know. This month I’m doing a series (3 parts) on applying to fellowships post university so definitely stay tuned for that by subscribing to the blog here:
If you read this whole post, you’re the real MVP! Or my mom…hey mom! Just kidding, mom doesn’t read my blog unless I ask her to!
Don’t forget to subscribe to the blog so you be part to the developing journey of this blog…or watch as I crash and burn in my umpteenth attempt to “recommit to my blog!”