Finally! After years of blogging, I am able to participate in a blog link-up. I’ve always wanted to join one but never really found the right link up. But now, thanks to fellow blogger Louise, I am in one with other Pinoys in the blogosphere. For the first volume of the #YouBlogYou series, us bloggers answer 11 questions about our blogging stories. Here is mine.

#YOUBLOGYOU VOLUME ONE

1. What inspired you to blog?
I’ve always kept a diary of some sort while growing up. We had journaling projects as early as the 2nd or 3rd grade and it was something I fell in love doing. Well, it was mainly because I loved writing already and writing about things that happened to me became an outlet for my thoughts and feelings. And then I discovered the internet and I started journaling/blogging online. Blogging was to me, at first, just journaling. It was during my planning stage for my Eurotrip that I decided to take it seriously. I was looking for advice online on how to go about the visa application and planning for the trip itself. I was frustrated because there was no one place where I could find all the useful information I needed. They were scattered in forums and in numerous blogs that were already left to rot. Most of the blog owners didn’t even bother replying to the readers’ comments. So I decided to write about my own experiences and to reply to as many people as I can. I wanted to “pay it forward” by helping others with their visa applications and with their other life experiences as well. I mainly just wanted to share my experiences and my tips and tricks about anything and everything. And so, this blog was born.

2. When did you start blogging?
I first started blogging with Xanga. I think this was still during my highschool days. Then I moved on to writing on the Friendster blogs, then on Multiply, then on Tumblr, before finally settling with WordPress. It was around January or February 2013 that I actually bought my own domain and set-up my self-hosted blog. It was first called “Bubble of Blah”, just a random name I came up with. Then I changed it to “Kristine Can” and now it’s “Kristine Camins.”

3. What’s the topic you enjoy blogging the most?
I enjoy writing about travel a lot. But the thing is, I don’t get to travel often these days mainly because I had a knee surgery and I have another one coming up. And so I wrote about my knee surgery in the hopes of reaching out to other people who are also going to have the same surgery. So that’s my number 2 favorite topic. Another would be tech. I’d like to think that I work in the tech industry (being an IT auditor and all) and so I also write app reviews. I’d like to add more tech topics in the future, especially since I am studying coding with Team Treehouse.

4. How long does it usually take you to finish a blog post?
It depends. Some blog posts take an hour or two. Some blog posts take a couple of days. I usually just squeeze in blogging after work, in between study sessions, and on weekends. A blog post usually gets completed over several days. But if it’s a sponsored post, I always finish it within the deadline.

5. If you were to name three (3) goals that you want your blog to achieve next year, what would they be?
First goal would be to get more traffic. Last November 2015, I got around 38,000 views. That’s a very small number compared to the traffic other blogs are getting. I admit that I haven’t been promoting my blog that much. So that is something that I really need to work on to achieve more traffic. My second goal would be to finish fixing my old travel posts. I’ve moved domains twice in the past and having attempted it on my own, I ended up with lots of blog posts with missing photos. I am targeting to finish fixing all of my old blog posts by the end of the 1st quarter. My last goal would be to be able to work with more brands. This year, I was lucky to work with the awesome guys from Pocket Earth map app and with the kind Sangjun Lee of OneDay Hanbok. Next year, I hope to be able to reach out to more brands that I love and share them with more people.

6. Does your family know about your blogging career?
Yes, they do! 🙂 And they are very supportive of it.

7. Which blog or blogger inspires you the most?
These are the bloggers who I love and inspire me to do better:
Jon Morrow of Boost Blog Traffic: This guy is straightforward and full of awesomeness. Why? Because he manages to run a blog and teach people about blogging while in a wheelchair equipped with voice-activated shotguns. Yeah, he’s the king of the blogging hill.
Regina of ByRegina: She is my favorite infopreneur and if there’s someone I want to be like in the blogosphere, it’s her. I’m all about information and sharing information and that’s what being an infopreneur is all about.
Leo Babauta of Zen Habits: The simplicity of his website is what drew me to Leo Babauta and his works. There are times when I feel that there’s too much going on around me or that I am disappointed in myself because I gave in to negativity again. That’s when I visit Zen Habits and sort of get “virtually” detoxed. I always leave his blog a little more positive, a little more hopeful.

8. What is the greatest achievement your blog has received?
My blog hasn’t received any awards nor has it been nominated at the very least. But I believe that it has achieved what it was originally established for, to help people. I get comments and emails from people thanking me for the guides about various visa applications. I have people telling me that they were successful in applying for a visa. And I want to reach out to more people and to help them with more things. Another thing that it has achieved for me is giving me more friends. I have met people through this blog that I would have never met in real life if not for it. (Shoutout to Patty again! 🙂 )

9. What is your best viewed post?
According to my stats, that would be the How to Avoid the Laglag Bala Scam at NAIA. I basically put together a short guide about how travelers can protect themselves from this scam. This is still going on. People are still getting caught with bullets. It’s not as noisy in the news as before due to other things being reported about but this is still ongoing and so far I am not seeing any reported solution to it yet.

10. If you were to give out three (3) pieces of advice to newbie bloggers, what would they be?
First, find your voice. I blog how I talk. That’s my voice. I’m not snarky or sarcastic; I can’t manage that. I’m not poetic. I’m just me. I like to keep things simple and clear but there are also times when I sound stern. Mostly, I like to keep the tone of this blog warm and casual. People come here for guidance and the least I want to do is scare them away with snarkiness. Now I’m not saying being snarky is bad. I also read blogs with snarky tones because I find them witty and fun to read. But most of all, it’s because the blogger shows his/her genuine self through his/her voice. And people like those who are real. Don’t be afraid to be you.
My second bit of advice is don’t compare yourself to other bloggers. You don’t know what their journey is all about. Sure, you see their filtered, flatlay photos that are just to die for. You see their perfect little planners and their perfect little lives all going as planned. But you don’t see the sleepless nights and the hardwork that goes into making one blog post. They may be going through tough times, too. Don’t be envious of their $50,000 per month income reports. Instead, use these as goals. Think of how you can also achieve what they have achieved for themselves. Most of these bloggers are generous with their advice so read those too and apply them. Just remember that every blogging journey is different.
Lastly, don’t be afraid to reach out to other people in the blogging world. We have a comments section for a reason, and that’s to share our thoughts and feelings about what we just read. It won’t hurt to thank the blog author or to express your disagreement in a respectful way. Blogging thrives on a two-way communication between the blogger and the reader. If another blogger’s advice helped you, show your appreciation. Build connections, build friendships.

11. If you were to give three (3) pieces of advice to yourself as a blogger, what would they be?
Don’t beat yourself up about blogging. Some days, you just don’t have the drive to blog and that’s okay. Tomorrow is another chance to do better.
Not everyone will like you or what you write about. It’s fine. You don’t have to be the darling of the crowd. You just have to be you.
Don’t forget to have fun. When blogging becomes stressful, take a break and breathe. Relax. Remember why you are blogging in the first place. You’re already stressed enough as it is with work. Keep blogging a fun activity for you.

There you have it guys and gals! Want to grab our link up button? Here it is:

You Blog You

Want to share your answers to the questions above? Post it down at the comments section and let’s talk. 😀

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