What I’ve learned from a year of blogging

I started this site, I think in comics, exactly a year ago today. It started as a place for me to vent my usually incoherent ramblings about my life– but since then, it’s garnered a couple dozen readers, a few thousand views, and even a post that went minor-league viral.

Spectacular, I know.

Regardless, I’ve published 126 posts this year (including this one) which, to me, is a surprisingly large amount. How did I even find the time to write all of those? What did I even write about? Did I gain anything from all of that work? Well, in all of this writing and drawing and blogging, I had to have learned something, right?

Right?

1. How to draw really fast

Between this blog and Minus One, I’ve had to draw a ton in this last year. Specifically, drawing with a tablet directly into Photoshop. Drawing with a tablet feels much different from drawing on paper, mostly because of the disconnect between hand and image. (You draw on one surface, but it shows up on another) As a result, I used to be very very slow and shaky with my tablet. But since all this year I’ve been all

I’ve gained the skill of

Despite all this, though, I haven’t become any better at drawing. Only faster. I’m afraid to say that in this coming year I will still continue to look like a misshapen munchkin.

2. I need to call my parents more

I say this because this happened once:

Yeah. I’m a bad daughter.

3. The internet is a big and scary place

So I started this blog for myself, but at the same time, have tried to promote it. I started a twitter, and a tumblr, and a Facebook page, but to be honest I have no idea what to do with them or what the proper etiquette is or how to make them equally fun and engaging. I am not social media savvy. 

More recently I’ve been posting my blog onto Reddit (while trying to follow reddiquette– I post other links too!) and people there aren’t afraid to be honest. It’s not a bad thing– people often offer tips and advice and corrections which I’ve found very helpful. You just have to have a thick skin sometimes. And I haven’t been trolled yet… knock on wood.

4. Even my parents read my blog. I have to watch what I say.

There are people who blog anonymously, or sometimes not anonymously, and treat their blog as the great confessional. And there’s nothing wrong with that. As for me, though, I have family and friends reading my blog. Therefore I’ve established a two rules for myself:

1. Ask before writing about someone else

My college friends can attest. I’ve often asked them permission to write about something before writing it. It would get awkward if people had to tiptoe around me, afraid that what they said was going to be blogged. The very last thing I want to do is to hurt, embarrass, or offend anybody from a post, even if it makes for a funny story. So it can’t hurt to check. Anyway, when I ask, the answer is usually

2. Don’t say on your blog what you wouldn’t tell someone in real life

I have bad days too. I’ve been tempted to write some emo posts. But I don’t enjoy getting all teary on people in real life, so there’s no reason I should do it here. Nobody wants to hear that.

These are my own rules, though, not anybody else’s. Some bloggers are fueled by writing about controversial topics, or by lambasting others, or by passionately writing about their greatest hopes and fears. I’ve seen these blogs, and tons and tons and tons of them are absolutely brilliant. But that’s not me.

5. Everybody’s life is interesting, if you spin it the right way

I know I’ve been to Japan and Germany, but usually my life is pretty ordinary. I go to college. Study. Hang out with friends. You know, normal stuff.

And there have been many, many times where I’ve been struck by the dreaded

What I’ve tried to do, then, is to find humor in everyday life. Like riding elevators. Or getting a helmet. Or having allergies. Not all of these posts are that hilarious, mind you. But it’s made me look at my life differently– to see how the mundane can, actually, be a funny story.

In other words, maybe my life isn’t so boring after all.

And that’s what I’ve learned after a year of blogging. And now, on to the next year!

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22 thoughts on “What I’ve learned from a year of blogging

  1. Happy blogaversary, Vy! I love, love, love your blog. 🙂 Great points you’ve made here, too. ❤ cannot wait for what this year has in store for you!

  2. Hello. I suppose I’m a new follower for your blog now, since I have been coming back once in a while to read your posts. 😀 Just been lurking for now though and finally I’m commenting something.

    Well I suppose what I should say is that I really enjoy your blog and hope you will enjoy blogging in the future since your posts are very interesting and funny to read about. It’s good to read about everyday life sometimes and there really can happen a lot in peoples lifes when you think about it.

    Have you ever considered making a small publication about your strips here by the way? Just came to my mind.

    My english isn’t the best so I might make some errors but hopefully I get through what I’m trying to say. 🙂

    • Thanks for reaching out and commenting! I love knowing who’s reading my blog and responding to what people have to say.
      People have suggested that I try to bring my strips to publication somehow, but to be honest I have no idea how to go about it. The cartooning industry is incredibly competitive, and I’ve always felt that my drawings are too poor to be fit for publication. But I really should look into it. Do you happen to know anything about it? 😛
      And I’m really glad you enjoy my blog! I’ll do my best to keep writing good posts in the future 😀

      • Hmm. Well, some people in my country, that enjoy and want to do comics for example make either homemade little magazines that can go from…well even about 8 pages to 50 and even smaller than A5 paper to A4. They just use ordinary paper you can buy from markets and print it themselves or go to a printing company that prints it for them. This will take some money of course.

        Then they go themselves for different kind of exhibitions that have something to do with comics. You can rent your own table in these exhibitions and when people come looking what you sell and get interested in they buy their work.
        I suppose there must be some kind of comic exhibitions in where you live too?

        They have to decide themselves too how much they want to sell their work for and there isn’t going to be that huge amount of money from the sales usually but for example an acquaintance of mine usually says she gets her food money from it. Or more like: “Yay, I get to eat today!” xD But when they sell some of them, people get to know their work and usually buy more from them and the word spreads etc. But as you said this is a very competitive industry.
        People I know usually go to these exhibitions for fun too and they usually get to see some friends and buddies that they haven’t seen for a while.

        That somewhat sums that up I think. I think if one did want to sell their work in a bookstore their work would have to be a little more finished and requires much more work but the above works pretty well too…but I think the cartooning industry isn’t so large in here what it is there so the situation is probably quite different now that I think about it. But everyone has to start from somewhere. 🙂

        That took some explaining it seems and nice amount of text but well I will look forward to your new blog posts in the future then. ^__^

        • Wow, that’s actually really awesome– I’ve never heard of anything like that before! There has to be comic exhibitions somewhere around me, I’m sure. I know around Boston, where I live, there are lots of independent comic stores that promote local comic artists. And I know independently publishing comics is on the rise, as high-quality printing gets better and better. I should try it! I’m definitely going to look into it in the future. Thank you! 🙂

    • @ Kilma: “My english isn’t the best so I might make some errors but hopefully I get through what I’m trying to say.”

      Your English is very nearly perfect; I would not have guessed from reading your comment that you are not a native speaker.

  3. First, congratulations on one year! I am a relative newbie, having started my blog in March.

    Second, I love your blog. You are clever and funny, and you write so well that it’s always a pleasure to read, regardless of the subject matter.

    I agree with all your points. Don’t ever assume that someone won’t read your blog. I was shocked when I was talking to a manager at work, here in Japan, and she said “yes, I know, I’ve read your blog”. “WHAT?” “HOW?” I was very glad that I had a policy of never mentioning anything about my work in my blog, even though a lot of what happens in the Japanese office workplace would be very interesting for people back home.

    And yes, you can make ordinary life interesting; you are a natural storyteller. I will be reading and enjoying. But if you have any more to say about Japan and especially about learning Japanese, please go ahead and post about it, as it is a subject close to my heart and I think you have some insightful things to say about it.

    All the best for another 12 months!

    Dara

    • I understand the feeling! I’ve had people walk up to me and tell me they’ve read my blog, people who I didn’t expect to read it!
      And I’m flattered! I’m really glad you enjoy my blog. I’m thinking about writing more posts about Japan in the future– perhaps now I’ll do it! 🙂

  4. Congrats on your achievement! For me blogging is kind of a personal thing so I’m stuck in a paradox. I use my real name and stuff on my blog. I really want to be able to share it with people I know but I’m uncomfortable with people I know reading my writing for reasons that are completely irrational. I will keep in mind that one rule that you should ask before writing about someone. I usually write about myself but sometimes I get ideas from stuff that my friends say.

    By the way, we have the same name but spelled differently 🙂

    • We do! Are you Vietnamese as well? 😀
      The reason that I have that one rule, actually, is because I used to quote my host sister a lot on a previous blog I wrote. (I studied abroad in Germany last summer) My host sister read it and would jokingly mention how she couldn’t make sarcastic comments anymore, since I would quote her. Because of that I decided to ask before writing! Even so my friends are still a huge source of ideas.
      Happy blogging! 😀

  5. Hey there. I guess I’m your new follower here. I found your blog through reddit………One Piece reddit to be exact >_<III. From here :

    My first read would be your one piece post of course. And being a fan of One Piece, I'm not really that surprised by the popularity of it. But what made me want to follow you are your comic strips. I freaking love it! XD

    Your drawings are simple but it really gets the point across, and it just made me smile just by seeing it. I really appreciate how you can just explain what you're trying to say with your drawings. 😀 I am into drawings in general, but it's just a hobby for me. And for some reason I can't draw simple character (weird right?)

    Anyway, all the best to you in your current and future endeavours. 🙂

    Sarmad

    PS: If you don't mind me asking, how old are you? I'm just curious, seeing you already had a degree and currently doing your master. I'm 20 years old btw. 🙂

    • Hi there! I’m a long-time lurker of the One Piece subreddit, so I was super surprised/flattered to see my comic linked there! I’m glad it led you to this blog.

      Drawing is hard! Everyone has their strengths and weaknesses. I can draw simple cartoon people, but when it comes to anything else, I need a lot more practice. Keep on drawing and I’m sure you’ll improve! ^_^

      I just turned 23; I went straight from undergrad to my master’s program. I like it a lot, the only flaw being I don’t have enough time to update my blog 😛 I’ll have to find more time to draw!

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