13 years of trial and error with blogs.

I had a few blogs before this one picked up pace and I will let you know why I think this one is finally working. I have been blogging and creating content since 2007, along with my Flickr account, I used to talk about my passions, such as travelling and photography.  It was a difficult time, most likely because I didn’t have a laptop or the internet speed required to keep the flow of the post, sometimes I think that at 21 years old, my voice and expectations were limited at that point of my life, I saw every dream I had falling through the cracks because of my financial status.

Working for the Lonely Planet Magazine was one of my early 20’s biggest dream

Working as a National Geographic Photographer was once my dream job, I also looked into writing for Lonely Planet guides and some other travel publications. Once again, I didn’t have a writing/communication degree, I was still working on my hospitality management bachelor’s, which I naively thought that would allow me to travel around the globe, to be adventurous with a camera while writing about it. The only thing this degree allowed me to do, was to be the front of the house employee, and work like my life depended on it. The first blog I had was called “Where the hell is Joana?”

“Where the hell is Joana?”

I created the blog in 2007, clearly inspired by the cartoon “Carmen San Diego”, so I could post about my experience with my internship abroad in Black Mountain, North Carolina, instead of sending emails for my friends. At that time Facebook was still not even close to being popular and abused by civilization, especially in Brazil, which only picked it up in 2010. (I had a whole 3 years of pure fun before the anarchy started.)  

The blog was full of widgets, like music, translation, photos on the post from the trip, a carrousel of nonsense. It was also written in my native language, Portuguese. That’s where my main problem came from. The moment people who knew you forever realize you are telling a story about something they are familiar with, they jump in and feel like judging what you are writing about, also who are you writing about. My biggest problem was with my mom. I couldn’t write anything without her nagging me, saying I was being over dramatic, she would not like her or my dad being exposed. Well, their story is kind of my story too, sorry. She would write me a long email or send me a message on MSN Messenger (remember that?) for me to delete certain things, or whatever she interpreted wrong. Censorship.

The time passed, I wrote less and less, in a blink of an eye, I was back home. Where the hell is Joana, well, she got back to her boring old life in Brazil.

I tried to keep the blog alive and I wrote a little about my experience in Australia, in 2010, but after that I let go of the idea of having a blog.

“What a Bao Asian”.

I love food and especially Asian cuisine. I worked for almost two years in a Macanese/Portuguese fusion restaurant the first time I lived in Chicago. Learning about their food, eating habits, and ingredients got me fascinated for the flavors and the creations on the menu. I have never been to Asia, by that time I decided I was going to create a food blog about Asian cuisine, I was living in Marietta, GA. Yeah, it had everything to work, but the only thing that worked was my Pinterest Board, with ideas of what I could cook, in order to post on the blog. I think I had two or three posts. It was incredibly hard to find Asian ingredients in Atlanta, my kitchen was tiny, and once again my mom made fun of me for creating a delusional blog. More like Julie Powell without succeeding. 

“Waitress in Wonderland”

I was furious with a comment I read on a Facebook post, from an acquaintance in Brazil, where she yelled “I rather be unemployed in Brazil, than be a waitress in someone else’s country.” Oh! Hi there! I live in “someone else’s country” and I’m a waitress, that doesn’t disqualify me from anything, in any possible matter. That doesn’t erase who I am, my goals, or what I want, because of the type of job I have to pay to fulfill my livelihood. I didn’t reply on anything, because it was not something related to what I posted, so I decided to create a blog, about how even though I was working as a waitress, I could still travel and have a fun life. My intention with that blog was eventually turned into a student travel blog, where I would go around showing cities that you could study abroad here in the United Stated. I once again, focused on the Brazilian audience and even though the website turned out pretty cool, I was paying the domain and the host for no reason. I was not traveling either. The travel blog without traveling was like the food blog without food. I got super sad when I deleted it, so I decided to apply for Creative Writing school. It was the way I found to keep my creativity flowing and my brain to not go down into a deep dark path.

“Live Out Loud Too”

In the middle of my Creative Writing for the Entertainment Business degree, I felt the need to share how it was like to be a writing student, with English being my second language. All the trouble I had to go through, so my story could make sense, while still working at a hotel, focusing on the speed of the classes. During the school, I really didn’t have time to write about how it was to be in school. Very seldom, I passed by on the website, and posted something about my writing for comics class, or my transmedia projects, so I could keep myself motivated.  For almost two years, I had no audience. This time I made sure to write in English, keeping my native language people exclusive to Facebook and Instagram. The blog turned two in May.

Live Out Loud Too turned out to be a space where I can have my voice heard, like I mean it, loud. I want to have my opinions validated too, and not set aside, because I was not born and raised here.  It’s a space to talk about change and take risks, like switching careers, or job positions to something you always wanted to, in your mid 30’s or later. It’s a space where I share my work, my ideas and opinions about starting over as a writer, following my dreams.

Getting the bull by its horns with my own hands and inspiring people to do the same.

The reason why I think this blog is working, first of all, I don’t write in my native language. I focus on the language and the country I live in. Second of all, I have a way to promote my posts, with different media outlets, such as Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram, to grow my audience. I don’t use Facebook for that at all. At this point, I rather deal with judgmental people I don’t know, than the ones I went to school with. Third and last reason, I found my niche. I write about being a struggling writer, trying to make it work with a huge leap of faith, that someday I will finally finish the web-series I have been working on forever. By the way I finally have a logline! I will write more about it next post.

Stay Safe!

JG Snelly.

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