living, writing

12 Things I learned from a Year of Writing Online

birthday-1073573_1280In a few days, the hongkonqueror will be one year old. Like many avid readers of others’ blogs, books and articles I used to believe people write because when they have something specific to say.

But sharing thoughts or stories is only part of the picture. The process of writing and publishing online holds a completely different set of rewards that I had not expected when I wrote my first post in January 2015.

 

Here’s what I learned in a year of hongkonquering:

 

  1. I commit to my own ideas and to my readers, not to clicks. This is my focus and the reason I write.
  2. I am glad I learned about traffic and search engine algorithms. I will continue to put this knowledge to a better use in 2016, but it is a completely different job than writing.
  3. Starting out in the print media decades ago gave me practice in learning from editors about the importance of a good editorial process.
  4. The discoveries I make when I dig into my personal thought process give me the material and purpose I work with, and nothing can replace that process.
  5. Although I write based on personal experience, I research where it will add to the credibility or relevance of a subject.
  6. Writing – next to yoga practice and dog walks – is the best way to tidy up my mind. It is endlessly liberating when I feel I have captured a complex issue and defined my relationship with it.
  7. Speaking of relationships: my connections with people have become more distinct and deliberate since I’ve been working on the hongkonqueror.
  8. I have grown a completely new appreciation for other writers of blogs, books and articles.
  9. Surrendering to the writing process brings unexpected results: PLAN B would not have happened the way it did if I had not connected to stories of single expats.
  10. I arrived at the conclusion that expatriatism is much more a mindset than a technicality or a circumstance of living. Some people never become expats when living abroad, and others started out as expats even at home. I will explore that subject in 2016.
  11. Gratitude to readers triumphed over fear: online publishing can be intimidating. But the feedback I get from readers is far more rewarding than the occasional criticism.
  12. Writing on the hongkonqueror has given me the writing routine I need to work on a novel… I have started in November and it wrecks my mind. It’s not a piece of cake. But it has become an integral part of my day.

I actively want to encourage readers who feel they want to explore writing. Here is a place to do this. Setting up your own blog can be – whilst easy in theory – a big job. It takes time. Check out the hongkonqeror’s writing challenge and publish your work here – that way you can explore if you want to take your writing further.

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