…later, it’s that time of the year again. That time when I write the annual blog anniversary post, a report card of the blogging year gone by. Every anniversary post is as much about acknowledging a personal milestone, as it is about taking stock and the 7th blog anniversary post is going to be no different.
Every blogging year has been unique with its own set of highs and lows, challenges and surprises, achievements and lessons learnt, etc. The 7th year of blogging has been no different and yet, it stands apart from the previous years of blogging.
I know, I tell that every blog anniversary post. But, believe me, the 7th year of blogging has been different in a very unique way. It has brought me back to the beginning of the blogging journey I embarked on this day in 2010.
In other words, I have come a full circle, back to where I began 7 years later. Let me elaborate.
Regular readers of this blog will be familiar with the story of how this blog began and the journey so far. But for those who have joined me recently, let me give a quick recap.
“My Favourite Things” was the result of boredom, and some good-natured nagging from a dear friend —Deepa Bhalerao —who said that I should be writing. When I started blogging, my initial plan was only to write about my travels, but the blog had a mind of its own and other things got added in bits and pieces over the years. Today, while the bulk of my posts are about my travels, I also write about books, music, art, and the city I’m based in, Mumbai (though to be honest, I have hardly written about it this year). I had a brief fling with restaurant and film reviews, before realising that we don’t understand each other very well and decided to amicably part ways. But my relationship and engagement with ‘art’ is growing and I know that it is here to stay on the blog.
The first year of blogging was an exciting time of finding my feet in the blogging world, while the second year was a heady and wonderful year of peer recognition. The third year of blogging was the year of reality check in the form of severe writer’s block and coming face to face with negativity and bullying in the blogging world. Year four was all about facing extreme blogging fatigue, wondering what to do, and slowly reclaiming the pleasure of blogging. Year 5 was the most relaxed year of blogging, where I did what I wanted to do, while Year 6 was a strange and challenging year where I swung between Not writing for weeks and writing like my life depended on it.
And Year 7? It was a regular year filled with lots of travel and new experiences, lots of learning and personal discoveries, a deeper engagement with art and aesthetics. It was also the year where I finally changed my blog url from thatandthisinmumbai.wordpress. com to sudhagee.com, after a lot of procrastination.
This was the public side of blogging. Behind the scenes, was a year of contemplation and growing disconnect with the changing environment in travel blogging and the larger blogging community. This disconnect had begun a couple of years back, and I had tried to cope and adapt, but soon realised that a travel blogging world ruled by listicles, how to’s, sponsored posts, cliques and groups promoting follow-for-follow, like-for-like, share-for share, etc. was not for me. Neither was influencer (I abhor that term) driven travel engagement, strident calls for monetisation or the race to get invited to FAMs or Familiarisation Trips organised by tourist boards.
I decided to become an ostrich, i.e hide my head in the ‘sand’ hoping that this was only a phase and things would change for in a couple of years. I continued doing what I wanted to do, but that didn’t help either. The disconnect only increased and thoughts of quitting blogging occupied my thoughts more than planning a schedule for the posts I had to write.
And it was on one such day of “to quit or not to quit”, that I realised how I had strayed far away from the initial purpose of blogging — to write. Instead of focusing on that, I had trapped myself into doing something that I did not want to do or be someone who I couldn’t be. Sure, I enjoy appreciation as much as anyone else, but that but that was never the reason I wrote or blogged. I wrote because I wanted to and also because it kept me sane. Everything else, like getting followers, likes, shares, comments, etc. was secondary.
The sense of relief I felt that day was enormous. and everything fell into place. I felt like a new blogger who is starting from scratch. This is what I meant when I said that my blogging journey had come a full circle, and I’m back to where I began 7 years back — excited, eager and looking forward to a new innings.
So, that was my 7 years of blogging with 512 posts comprising 4,61,996 words, 53 videos, 2 audio, and 3,299 images, have elicited 6,00,680 page views, 12,833 comments, and 90,309 spam comments. I’m all set for Year 8 of blogging and see what it has in store for me.
Will you be there with me, dear reader? 🙂
PS: A big thank you to every single person who has liked, read and shared my posts. Thank you for being part of this journey and thank you for the encouragement. 🙏🏼