Tag Archive: writing and blogging

Looking Back: Things I Learned Through Blogging

The year was 2011.

I was quite restless with work and the usual routines of my life. And then my friend told me I should try blogging. She cited that I have worked as a writer and editor for many years anyway so why not try blogging. You can also earn from it, she added.

Back when Friendster was still up, I had a couple or so blog posts there. I remember enjoying the process not only of writing but also of choosing a photo to go with my post. But we all know that Friendster, unfortunately has bid farewell to the internet, even  if it was a pioneer of sorts in social media.

I also went on try some blogging with the free sites provided by Blogger and WordPress. As far as I can remember, I think I did not surpass publishing more than five blog posts. And so when my friend said I should go try blogging, I was hesitant whether I could last writing, maintaining it. But this is where the difference lies now, with this 2011 blogging talk with my friend. She said I should buy my domain name and have my blog hosted online for a fee. Yup, no more free sites this time. From that time on, I am still in the blogging world. And I currently have 6 blogs!

So looking back, here are 3 things I learned about blogging which I think can be applicable as well to our life 🙂

When blogging comes with a price, you tend to work harder on it and stay with it. Well, this is true for me. I know there are others who diligently work on their free blogger or wordpress blogs but that did not work for me. Because I shell out some amount yearly for my domain name and hosting, it makes me think that I am wasting my money if I don’t make an effort to work on my blog. It’s the same thing with how we value things in life that are free or are easy to get and those that take our time, effort, resources to get or build. This can be easily observed with seminars and trainings that are free compared to those which are paid for. As a facilitator for some of them, I see a difference in how the participants value what they learn.

There is always something to learn in blogging. By way of blogging, I learn a little bit more about marketing and using the varied social media channels. Ten years ago, while I was still based in Thailand, some friends from the UK already introduced me to Facebook and I began using it then. But it was through blogging and making new contacts that I learned using the other social media channels. Add to that, the usage, of course, of hashtags 🙂  Life is like that, too, isn’t it? Sometimes we think we know enough and then we are brought to situations when we realize how much limited our knowledge is and then we start learning some more.

Learn from others but create your own path. Just by reading the blogs of others, I already learn so many things. I am not just talking about the information or story they share but also what makes their blog attractive to readers or not, what are the useful or unique features that their blog has. Their blogs make me think and reflect how I can better improve my blog. Bloggers have different dreams, purposes, too for their blogs, for themselves. And I have my own, too. I know what my blogs are for, what I want to reach and where I want to limit myself. Of course, this is also true in life. While we all have a birth date as well as date of death, what happens in between is really up to us. Or should I say, between us and God. People do not carve our stories in between those dates. While we learn from them, it is us who live and learn and embrace our stories and our lives’ purpose until that end date.

This November will be my 6th year in blogging, counting from my first blog, Steps On Air. Overall, it has been a great blogging journey with many unexpected blessings. And for this, I also give thanks to the Author of Life, the Living Word, who has seen me through as I try to write from my own little corner in the vast universe.

Taking Online Courses While Working from Home

Okay. I should add something to that title — even if you are not working from home.

If you are interested to brush up your skills or learn new things, consider taking online courses or MOOC (Massive Open Online Course). And in the process, earn a course certificate, too.

There are several MOOCs you can access online such as Edx, Future Learn and Coursera. I have tried an Edx course a couple of years back but I was unable to finish it. I then considered Future Learn and Coursera. I decided to proceed with Coursera because they have specific courses which interested me. And because I truly enjoyed my 1st course with them, I have gone on to finish two more! Here are the Coursera courses with which I have earned course certificates as of this writing:

  1. Understanding Memory: Explaining the Psychology of Memory through Movies.  I took this course to brush up a bit on my Psychology major (I finished BS Psychology in the late ’90s) and because I love movies! The course, created by Wesleyan University, was great! I enjoyed it and helped gave me the confidence that I could indeed finish an online course 🙂 In fact, I finished the course within a month! I started this on May 28, 2016 and finished it by June 10.
  2. Leadership in 21st Century Organizations. Feeling a bit more confident after finishing my 1st course, I then proceeded to take another course. This time, I chose this leadership course to learn leadership principles and to keep up with current leadership trends and practices. I also chose this course as I was thrust into a leadership role in a non-profit organization and I knew I had to level up! The course, created by Copenhagen Business School, did not disappoint. It was very refreshing as the course included role play scenes of organizational challenges and how to deal with them. I have to admit, though, that this course took more effort to finish than the first one! It was enlightening but I felt it really asked a lot from me as a student. I started the course on June 17 but got to finish it by December 16, the actual deadline in completing it! Whew! Thank God, I still managed to finish it 🙂
  3. Introduction to Search Engine Optimization. I’ve always thought of taking a course on SEO to further enhance my online skills and decided this is the course to take and finish this year! I wish I could say that this course, created by University of California, Davis, was easy but I found it rather challenging. Perhaps it’s my age (?) struggling to learn new concepts including technical things about SEO. Thankfully, I managed to finish the course just a couple of days ago, on June 6 (I started it in April). And this is just the first of the 6-course Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Specialization. And so, may God help me indeed, to stick to finishing all courses by October!

 photo notes-macbook-study-conference_zpstvnhfzt3.jpg

Now, should you consider studying with Coursera to further enhance your learning and skills, here are some things to consider:

Learning Method. There will be video teachings, reading and forum discussion. There are also assignments!

Course Deadlines. Upon your enrollment or purchase date of the course, you will be given a deadline to finish the course or earn your certificate. Based on the courses I took so far, 6 months was the time frame given to finish the course.

Payment and Financial Aid. Courses are FREE! But if you would like to earn a certificate, there are fees for the course. You can also avail of their financial aid to cover your course fees. Paying for a course or availing of their financial aid can prove to be an extra incentive or push in finishing the course 🙂

Perhaps, it’s also time for you to consider taking an online course! It’s time to brush up on your skills or do something to challenge yourself mentally. You can also take a course on something which you just enjoy learning about but never had the time or budget to do so before. You can always try a free course first to get a feel for it and then consider enrolling if you would like to have a course certificate.

May we never stop learning in this journey called life 🙂

Summer and Poetry

Summer is here in this part of the world 🙂  And to celebrate the season, I would like to share here a poem from Louise Gluck about summer. Here it is:

Summer

Remember the days of our first happiness,
how strong we were, how dazed by passion,
lying all day, then all night in the narrow bed,
sleeping there, eating there too: it was summer,
it seemed everything had ripened
at once. And so hot we lay completely uncovered.
Sometimes the wind rose; a willow brushed the window.

But we were lost in a way, didn’t you feel that?
The bed was like a raft; I felt us drifting
far from our natures, toward a place where we’d discover nothing.
First the sun, then the moon, in fragments,
stone through the willow.
Things anyone could see.

Then the circles closed. Slowly the nights grew cool;
the pendant leaves of the willow
yellowed and fell. And in each of us began
a deep isolation, though we never spoke of this,
of the absence of regret.
We were artists again, my husband.
We could resume the journey.

Couple Standing in the Seashore Hugging Each Other during Sunset

As for me, I have decided to “resume” my journey of writing poetry again. Although I have never really stopped, I have never seriously considered publishing my own poetry collection. Well, some of them have come out on magazines and anthologies but not in a book as my own collection. So that’s a project I hope to pursue this year and hopefully, God willing, have the collection ready for publishing by next year. May it be that we will not indeed forget the artists and writers in us 🙂