I am sitting on the verandah of the Phong Nha homestay, with a view of the rice fields and mountains looming under a cloud of haze in the near distance. This has been my home for the last two days. It has been exactly a year since the first post on Curated by Cammi went up, so it seems fitting that on this 1-year anniversary, I am doing what I love most: travelling, exploring, seeing, learning.
Blogging hasn’t been a smooth and easy ride. What originally started out as a passion project has morphed into various iterations: side project, hobby, hindrance. You get the picture.
My interest, or motivation rather, in this blog wanes like the phases of the moon. During some weeks, my interest is a manifestation of the full moon taking up the entire night sky; during other weeks, my interest is a mere sliver, barely projecting any light.
I’m a quick results kind of person. I like to get rewarded for my efforts now. So typical Gen Y of me, I know. So when my Instagram followers aren’t growing, when I’m not reaching millions of readers every month (okay, maybe that’s a tad unrealistic), when brands aren’t knocking down my door to work with me; well, it can be a little disheartening. And what starts out as a project fuelled out of passion becomes a project devoid of any passion.
There probably isn’t a week that goes by where I don’t say to the hubby: ‘There’s no point in continuing this blog. I’m not getting anything out of it.’
But, see, that’s the thing. I am.
Sure, this blog isn’t sending me on all-expenses paid trips around the world, but it’s still my baby, a baby that I’ve nurtured into life. Its growth may be a bit stunted, but, hey, I’ll still always love it because it’s a product of me. It’s a running repository of my thoughts, opinions and experiences.
I was so hard on myself when I wouldn’t post consistently, but because I was putting so much pressure on myself to write, I wasn’t feeling inspired to write. And because I’m not a natural writer—words don’t just flow out of me—I rely heavily on inspiration to write something that I care about, and, ultimately, something that I’m proud of.
Writing ’10 things’ listicles can be fun, and they’re the articles that people gravitate towards (my post ’12 trips to take in your lifetime’ accounts for 90 per cent of my traffic), but these don’t inspire me. The type of writing I love to do is where I share my thoughts and musings, where I am seeking answers along with the reader. However, these aren’t the type of posts that drive traffic to my blog, so there became a tug of war between the writing that I like to do and the writing that I think I should be doing.
I’m going to stop putting this pressure on myself to churn out ‘click-worthy’ posts and to keep up my ‘social media presence’ because this isn’t why I started my blog in the first place. I wanted to be able to share my thoughts and feelings and to really connect with people in the ways that I have connected with other people when I have read their writing. Although, admittedly, it can be easy to get sidetracked and to let travel envy take over you when you see bloggers on Instagram being sent to all far corners of the world.
I started this blog as a passion project, and that’s what I need to keep fuelling: the passion behind the blog, the desire to share my experiences and to create something that I am proud of.
I don’t know where this blog will go in the future. I purposely called it ‘Curated by Cammi’ and didn’t pick a name associated with travel because I wanted to have the flexibility to write about different things—I may not always want to write about travel. I do know that at the end of the day, it will still be all me, a curation of the things that I care about.
Going forward, these are the new rules to which I will abide:
- Don’t feel guilty if I don’t post every week, or if I don’t post on social media
- Write a mix of ‘just-for-me’ pieces as well as informational pieces
- Stop if it’s not fun
Thanks for reading, folks. I can’t wait to see what the next year will bring, but I do promise that there’s going to be some incredible adventures involved.
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