Africa Arts/Culture Reflections Speaking

13 Things I’ve Learnt In My First Year (sort of) Of Blogging in Malawi.

Exactly a year ago, 30 April 2017, went live to the world. If you have been following me for a while, you probably know that I was previously blogging on my WordPress site with the same name. So in a sense, I wasn’t launching anything new, for me, it was more of a step into obeying God but also trusting him with what he has given to me. It was challenging my self to live a full but emptied life, to never have the “what would have happened if I gave it my all” question. It was me bringing the little money, resources, skill and ability that I have and saying “Here I am Lord, do with it what you may”.

In a lot of ways, this feels like a God-given dream, I was looking at the ideas I wrote down in my journal a year ago, and for the most part, I don’t even think I fully grasped what I was writing. It feels surreal seeing how things have happened and God has orchestrated so many things. It makes me excited to for the future and what God will do but more than anything I am excited to see what God will do in my own heart through this journey. When I started blogging 4 years ago, it was to share my personal growth and experiences, none of that has changed, having this blog gives me an opportunity to take a look into my life and appreciate God through the highs but also the many growing pains.

So today is not just about celebrating being online, but also celebrating the past year of growth, and trust me 2017 was a year full of growing pains. I get asked often about blogging, so thought I’d share some of the lessons I have learnt in this 1 year of blogging fulltime (and 4 years), although it’s not my fulltime job, I try to give it full-time level effort, so allow me to use the word full time

1.    Just start. I often have people ask me about blogging, and perhaps the most important advice I can ever give anyone is just start. It is as simple as going to and registering your name, writing an introductory post.

2.    Consistency is everything. This is probably the second most important lesson on blogging, when I had my WordPress site, I blogged when I felt like it. We often hide behind writer’s block and excuse our laziness. Moving to really changed me to be consistent, because I spent money on it LOL! But also because I felt God was calling me to be a good steward, believing that this is a God-given dream means I have to play my part to be faithful. My faithfulness should not be dependent on how many people read, but why it is that I write. Which leads me to the next lesson.

3.    Write for an audience of one. This is more of a heart issue than anything else, I know my own heart and how often times I can get lost in stats, followers and goals. I constantly have to check my own heart and if I am seeking validation from these things, although its good to have affirmation it’s even better to know I am ultimately my validation comes from God. So whether I get 1 view or 10,000, it’s not going to validate me more or less. One of the ways I often keep myself in check in this area is praying over the blog and putting all posts and plans in his hands before anything else.

4.    Write down goals. Keep them SMART. Acronym: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timely. I spent some time today reflecting on the year and celebrating milestones, taking lessons from the goals I didn’t meet but having them wrote down keeps me in check and accountable. It also makes the go-getter in me excited to pursue them and work hard towards achieving them.

5.    Discipline is key. Without discipline there is no consistency, discipline is being able to do things even when you don’t feel like it. I have learnt to do things simply because they are goals I have set and they have to be done regardless of how I feel. The trap is always waiting for the inspiration or for the creative bug to randomly hit you, I have learnt that most times you gotta chase the creative bug and force it upon yourself. I mentioned earlier that I put full-time effort in the blog, one of the ways I do that is asking myself “if I got paid to do this, would I not write because I don’t feel like it?”. Often times, we do stuff for our 9-5 not because we particularly like to, but because we have to and that is discipline. Imagine if you put in the same discipline in your side hustle!

6.    Collaborate. Collaboration makes blogging fun for me, and it is something I am looking forward to doing more this year. We go further together. Especially since content creating is still not a huge thing in Malawi, we need each other to grow. I wish we had a more connected community of writers, blogger, youtube and creatives in general. But maybe one day. My favourite collaboration so far has been with Cube Communication who are responsible for how this blog looks and everything about it being on the internet, if you ever need a website or branding hit them up. Working with my friend Rodney for Merch has been fun, worked with Polycarp/Studio Oxygen for some video content I am working on currently. Collaborating also compensates the things you are not great at, you cant be good at everything.

7.    Don’t think about money entirely. Honestly, you probably won’t make money in your first year of blogging in Malawi. You might not make money from blogging at all in Malawi. I haven’t made money from the blog directly, but I have been able to “make money” from opportunities that have come from the blog itself so I don’t know if that counts. The point is, if you get in it to make money you will probably quit sooner or later, although I do believe you should have a monetization plan as one of your goals. I might take a while for things to happen but if you consistently work on building your platform and making great content it will be easier to have opportunities to make money.

8.    Don’t be scared to carve your own lane. If you are reading this and are an aspiring blogger or blogger (or content creator), you probably have read a lot of blogs on how to blog. I personally find it difficult to take most of the advice I find on American blogs because for the most part Malawi doesn’t function the same way. The past year I have done a lot of figuring out what works for me, and sometimes that means carving out your own lane. There isn’t only one way of doing things, you can be a niche blogger like me or be a fashion blogger, or beauty blogger. Figure out what works for the context and audience you have and try to do it to the best of your ability.

9.    Blogging isn’t the end goal. Some people actually consider blogging a dying medium, which I find funny because I don’t think blogging has even peaked to its potential in Malawi yet (not sure if it ever will). Like every other internet platform, you can’t build your whole life around it, because these things always die/evolve. But rather think of how you can use it as a platform to highlight and elevate other things you do. If you are a stylist, fashion blogging is a great way to highlight your work, if you are a makeup artist blogging or YouTube is a great way to highlight what you do. If you are a writer like me, blogging is a great way to get better at writing and publishing your work.

10.    Give people your unique perspective and story. If it wasn’t for this, I probably would not be writing or blogging. I believe we all have a story to tell and something unique to bring to the internet space. This is why I personally want to see more Malawians creating content and sharing how they experience life as a Malawian. Find the one thing that makes your voice different and needed, and build what you do around that.

Bonus Lessons.

11.    Make Mistakes, give yourself room to grow. A lot of experiments have happened this past year, I have enjoyed trying out things and seeing what works. I have succeeded at some, and others have been Ls, but the only Ls I take are lessons. Have fun with it all, otherwise what’s the point!

12.    Connect with people. The greatest blessing that blogging has given me has been the ability to know and connect with people I would have never had. The people have ranged from fellow writers to some of my personal heroes. I love building relationships, so being able to do that through this platform is a great blessing. I am always encouraged and blessed by some of the messages I get in my inbox or whats app once in a while, and better yet, the people I get to meet in person. If you are one of those, I am grateful, please don’t stop

13. Never stop learning, the world is changing, pick up new skills. Never stop developing the skills that you have, grow, grow, grow!

I am no expert blogger, I don’t have it all figured out but I hope some of these things are helpful! Is there anything you want to know about being a blogger or Internet content creator? If you are a Malawian Blogger, what have you learnt so far about blogging in Malawi?

Let me know in the comments sections or on my social media, I am @iamnotagoddess on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

Grace and Peace Fam,

Thank you for rocking with me for one year! It’s our party!

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  • Reply
    February 22, 2019 at 4:13 pm

    Enjoyed reading this! Thanks Dee 🙂

    • Reply
      March 6, 2019 at 7:52 pm

      Thank you Agnes

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