Lessons Learned After 100 Days of Blogging

Hello, triple digits. Nice to meet you.

A little over 3 months ago, I started this blog as a way of sharing my journey abroad and my journey to fluency in multiple languages, but I have found myself drawn to write about much more.

Perhaps the post I am most proud of is Your Time Is Now, not because it got the most traffic or comments, but because I feel I really wrote it from my core. I hope you will take the time to read it.

Even though I only recently started this blog, I have had the great privilege of being named as one of the 40 Flightsters You Should Know About, and guest posting for Matt Koenig over at 1 Year Sabbatical with the juicy post: How To Go Abroad In One Easy Step: Get a Freakin’ Departure Date. (Thanks Matt for the opportunity!)

Along these lines, I would like to share with you some of the lessons I have learned in blogging over my first 100 days.

1. People are doing really interesting things.

Randy the Yearlyglot says some really insightful things, like “You learn what you do.”  (Take that to the bank when it comes to learning anything, especially languages!) This is a guy who becomes fluent in a language every year (which would explain my interest), and includes loads of good advice about language learning. You should check him out if you haven’t already.

Matt at 1 Year Sabbatical is preparing his family for a long journey overseas. I am interested to see how he will pull of the whole project from start to finish, especially since he is a family man with a full-time job. He has posted some really great content and I am looking forward to having a look at the sabbatical trailblazing guide he hopes to put out this year!

These are just two examples of people who are doing really cool things, and sharing them with the world via blogs.

2. You can actually get to know the people doing the really interesting things.

It has been great connecting with Matt, Jenny, and Jason, for example, outside of just blog comments. I think connecting with people via Twitter (hint, hint) might be as important as responding to comments, and I think Skype calls are currently a very undervalued method of building relationships. Being able to chat a little bit with some readers or fellow bloggers really increases the relational aspects of the online world. If you haven’t yet Skyped with someone, you should make it a point to do it.

3. Write something worth reading. Take the time for it.

Like I said above, I really put a lot of heart into Your Time Is Now, and I am really proud of it. Even if I got no subscribers or income from it, I am glad to write it because maybe it will inspire someone to do something they wouldn’t otherwise do. I am really glad to have posted that content, just because.

Also, I put considerable time into my post of the 5 Emerging Blogs in Adventure and Life-Style Design. There are many list-style posts out there, but this one gives you a really good overview of some really quality reading material… Especially Lach’s fear catalysis. 😉

4. Write what is on your mind.

Even though I have only posted about once per week, I am happy that I have mostly steered clear of blogging fluff. I wrote about actual experiences of mine: the questions I had for experienced travelers, ways that slow your progress to fluency, and accomplishing my 2010 new years resolution. I have written about the paradox of motivation and two posts so far about my time in Colombia: one about my travel mistakes, and the other a short narrative about a taxi ride in the middle of Bogotá.

In all of these I have earnestly desired not to add to the shallowness that is much of the internet today, and that I notice on many websites… I actually think internet users are becoming more accustomed to shallow content, but the important lesson remains:

Write what you are thinking about. Try to to add something to the reader they didn’t have before they read your post.

5. Eat an elephant one bite at a time.

In some ways, I feel I am behind on my blog. I know there are good strategies I should be implementing–I have a to-do list of things I want to get to in order to build my blog– but I have to remember that I cannot do all these things at once. I have other interests, and as the saying goes, “You can only eat an elephant one bite at a time.”

I don’t know about you, but I DEFINITELY can only eat an elephant one bit at a time… And I can only build my blog one day at a time… So, I do thank you for reading this post and taking the time to holler out at me in the comments or on twitter.

If you have been around in these early days, rest assured, I know who you are, and I deeply appreciate you. 🙂

  • Thanks for the mention, and for the kind words!

    I especially like #2 – you really can get to know the people doing interesting things. In fact, the whole reason they start their blogs (at least the ones worth reading) is because they (we) want to help others do interesting things. I live off of comments and emails from people who tell me “you have inspired me”, and I gladly take every opportunity to meet those people! I think the same could be said for most of the bloggers I know of.

    • Ryan

      You are totally right, Randy… Some of my favorite messages so far have been the ones that said “you have inspired me.” If nothing else, it does really good stuff for my soul.

      Have really enjoyed coming across your blog, man!

  • Hey Ryan! Thanks for the mention my friend. It’s been awesome getting to know you and following your big adventure in Columbia. For me starting a blog was all about a creative outlet for what I was considering doing with my family and a way to meet incredible people. I feel like i’ve accomplished both.

    BTW…I’m interested in seeing how I pull this 1 year sabbatical off as well.

    • Ryan

      Matt, I am really looking forward to hearing about your new experiences and how you end up pulling the whole thing off! Glad you are documenting a lot of your journey.

      I’m really glad we’ve connected. Here’s to more new and exciting experiences and getting to know really neat people!

  • For me, the biggest thing about blogging is being myself. I love blogs where I can see who the person is and I think I come across on my own. I love the ‘Your Time Is Now’ post…I have my own story in this vein that I’ve been thinking of writing about. You’ve inspired me. Cheers!

    • Ryan

      Cheers, Gillian! I agree, it’s so important to be yourself on your blog. You’ve got to have that spark in your writing.

      Let me know when that post of yours goes live! 🙂

  • I’m all about quality vs. quantity when it comes to posts. I write one post a week and then the other is a picture from my travels. Due to the fact that we haven’t left on our trip yet, I would have to say that it is a pretty good run so far! I’m sure I’ll have content coming out the wazoo when we leave.

    • Ryan

      Erica –

      I too have liked the pace of one post per week. It seems to fit me most of the time, and It’s really cool you are adding photos as well… I hope to do more of that as well, or maybe throw a video into the mix.

      Keep me posted on your trip!

  • Happy anniversary. You’ve certainly been busy these past 100 days. Congratulations on all your blogging milestones—not to mention actually getting to Columbia! 100 bites in and still going strong! It’s been great getting to know you these past few months and I really appreciate all the support you’ve so generously given. Speaking of under-utilised communication tools—when are we going to hook up on Skype?

    • Ryan

      Thanks, Lach! It’s been great connecting w/ you as well.

      Oh, and let’s definitely make Skype happen… I just sent you a DM.

  • Good job on your centennial (is that right?) days of blogging. I learned similar lessons as well from blogging. One of them is the fact that social media has proven to be a necessary, but probably my least favorite aspect of the whole thing.

    • Ryan

      Thanks, Jill! And I agree that social media seems to be getting more and more necessary… I like to think that in the middle of it, we can find some really cool people to get to know, even if it turns out we “have” to do it. Cheers!

  • Hey Ryan, I’ve had similar experiences as you, in the blogging World. The greatest thing is, the connections that I’ve been able to form with some bad asses like your self. By the way, we should skype it up, nicklaborde is my user name. Not only you Ryan, but any one of your readers, feel free to hit me up, I wanna hear your story.

    Keep rockin it out.

    • Ryan

      Oh, snap… I was just called a bad ass… and, by another bad ass… I am putting that on my resume. 🙂

      Would love to catch up w/ you on Skype, Nick! Have really enjoyed finding your blog.

  • Congrats on the 100+ post milestone, Ryan!

  • Oops, just re-read. 100 days. Still super awesome . . . wait until it IS 100 posts, another reason to celebrate!

    • Ryan

      Haha… thanks Mark! Looking forward to the 100 push-ups as well 🙂

  • Ryan,
    Just came across your blog today via Randy and Twitter. Great work. Fun to see someone who has been at this for about the same amount of time. I will be continuing to follow and especially am interested in your language learning journey. Keep up the great writing. – Aaron

    • Ryan


      Thanks for the comment and for dropping by. Learning languages has been no small task in my experience… looking for all the help I can get! 🙂