Friday, July 05, 2019

I think I can blog again

2008 at my first ever bloggers conference at Singapore with Erica Paredes and Alodia Gosiengfiao. At this moment, I never even considered that my life would be changed by blogging forever. It changed my career trajectory, it saved me and my family when our magazine careers died, and it gave me so many friends (and haters!). Blogging has given me so much, and taken so much, but now I feel I can take it back again. 

Remember blogging before 2010? Before Facebook, which everyone with a blog and website now needs to promote, we bloggers relied on word-of-mouth and Google. I'd get maybe 300 views a day and I was happy. People who came upon my blog were usually people who were just like me—weird and too honest—and the kindred spirit made me feel not so alone in this world.

Facebook changed all that. Plus all the exposure I got as a mommy blogger back in 2012. I started racking up to 60,000 page views a month. While the audience was much bigger, they were also not my people and I got a lot of negativity in the comments. It was strange because I was getting a lot of love from brands, hence the blog became a business; but I was also getting a lot of hate from strangers. I kept blogging because the money made it possible for me to stay home with my kids—that was the most important thing. But my heart was heavy and my mind not so healthy. And though the income was welcome, I also realized I couldn't be so honest anymore because brands like chirpy, I'm-so-blessed, oh-so-positive mommies. They didn't like honest mommies who struggled with despair, exhaustion, and the fact that marriage and motherhood can be so damn hard.

Looking back, I don't feel any anger or resentment towards the brands that helped me or the people who hated me. It's a business so you have to respect the arrangement. It's a public platform so you gotta deal with people who don't like you. That's all. I think I have a healthy attitude now because brands have shifted their attention to Instagram and bloggers like me don't matter anymore.

And what a relief hahaha

Yes! I feel relief! I don't have to check my stats anymore! I don't have to blog when I'm lazy and tired just to keep the audience engaged! I don't have to entertain. I can just live my life again and share what I want again and I can say bad words and bad feelings and basically be... authentic.

Yes, that much-abused word. I like to think I remained true throughout my blogging career. What changed would be if before I would say what I think and feel—and I can be mayabang or mega nega or depressed—I had refrained from doing that. Actually, I still did write a lot of blog posts that were far from happy-happy-joy-joy. Motherhood was really a bitch to me. I love being a mom but it's fucking hard and maybe because I didn't want to be a mom, I had a harder time with it. But I couldn't really say that, you know? It's not... advertiser-friendly.

So I just focused on the positive even though I was going through post-partum depression and my marriage was going through hell. Hindi ko naman tinago yun. Diba I still wrote about those years? But I wrote about them when I was out of it na, so that may positive spin pa rin. You know, "I went through shit but I came out of it victorious and here are 5 lessons I learned and this was brought to you by Brand A." Hehe

I tried to be authentic and honest all the time. I hope you agree.

But I'm also past that, that feeling that I need to write for you. When I blog thinking about the sponsor and the reader, I fail me. I. Fail. Me. And when I'm unhappy, I can't make anyone else happy, right?

I am so grateful to my sponsors and to my readers but it started getting scary when readers got angry at me for killing off Topaz Mommy ("Yan na nga lang binabasa ko, kukunin mo pa!"), for not posting about my kids anymore ("Madamot ka!"), for not blogging when they wanted me to ("Mommy, wag kang tamad."). I went through a few years wondering if I should do what my readers want—sing and dance, offer my kids as entertainment, share the most intimate parts of my life as a pastime. And I decided, as I watched vloggers do stunts to rack up views, and bloggers renovate their houses to be Instagram worthy, and influencers get into debt just to have a social media moment, I decided I'm going to just be me. And if people think that me is boring, then so be it.

And as if to make me feel better about my decision, the strangest thing happened. I got into the PR business and learned—now that I'm on agency-side—that brands don't like blogs anymore anyway. They prefer Instagram and you have to have at least 10K followers to be even considered. I only have 8K followers. And then readers also prefer Facebook and Instagram now. They don't like clicking links or even visiting #linkinbio. There are no readers anymore. People don't like to read, and they don't like blogs that have loooooong posts like this. So I guess my blogging business is dying haha

I say this with a truly relieved heart. Sure, I was sad. But I can claim my blog again. I can say shit and fuck again. I can even maybe not blog anymore. It's okay. It's okay. My blog can be what it was like way back before 2010 when I just rambled about my dumb thoughts and silly observations of life and the universe, when I just shared my eBay finds, when I talked about movies I watched without trying to list down 5 lessons learned so I can be "inspirational" and it's such a relief!

I know you understand because only my Loyal Readers are around to read this anyway. You who have stuck around for years and years, through my many incarnations, and my many many confused, angry, depressed posts. That's why I feel like I was ready to write this post because I know you'll understand that I may have pulled back, I may have shown you peeks instead of the whole show, I may have done what I could to make brands and my readers happy, but ultimately you understand that I need my blog to be my own space. And you're the kind of reader who respects that.

That's why I love you and I'm so grateful for you all. You guys inspire me to still keep blogging! Even though I've wanted to quit so many times! So many other readers told me to do this, do that. But my Loyal Readers just stayed and read and encouraged and even criticized, but always I felt your open mind and welcoming hearts. Thank you.

I think I can blog again, the way I used to. And I hope that's okay with you, too.

*photo by Ashley Gosiengfiao

22 comments:

  1. Waaaa I felt giddy reading this post! So giddy! I’m excited for you. I’m excited for me me ~ as your reader! Haha!

    I laughed extra hard when I read “bitch” and “fucking hard” hahaha!

    Let’s do this! ����

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    1. Haha dibaaaaa? Ganyan talaga ako magsulat at magsalita pero iniwasan ko for the longest time kasi bawal yun hahaha

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  2. always loved reading your long posts..been a silent reader even before you got pregnant with vito :)

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    1. Oh thank you! I do appreciate all of you who have seen me grow up and thought that I'm still an okay person throughout all those changes =)

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    2. Same here.. Ever since becoming a mom myself, I had silently followed your journey to motherhood. Mas gusto ko yung long (and honest-to-goodness) post mo than the sponsored ones. Kaya medyo naglie-low ako ng pagvisit sa blog mo.. But glad to hear that now you are back! Cant wait for the upcoming post! Thanks for coming back. :)

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  3. You make me want to blog again. I have not blogged in a while now because i got distracted with facebook, instagram, youtube and life, in general. Keep writing, Frances.

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    1. Let's do this! Let's all write again =) Make the world a better place again =)

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  4. Came here to give you a virtual hug. Although some readers are too lazy to read (I hope it makes sense) please continue blogging.

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    1. Yes, I get what you mean. It's very discouraging for bloggers when the stats go down. Parang bakit pa ako magsusulat kung wala namang nagbabasa? But marami pa rin naman kayo. Pabugso-bugso. Actually, dumami nga kayo hehe But I look at the stats maybe once a month na lang and nagugulat ako na marami pa ring tumatangkilik =) Salamat!

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  5. Wow, 10 years ago we were in Singapore for the Nuffnang Blog Awards and we had a talk about something that struck me back then. For some reason, I can't remember what it was all about lol. I am not as active in blogging in my personal blog as I used to (nawalan ng gana sa sandbox brrr), but I am also not active in gaining followers on social media. I learned long ago to decide if I will take blogging/social media as something entirely a business one of not. I chose the latter and balancing can be a struggle. I am thankful though that my niche blogs are earning pa rin kahit di natututukan. Anyway, welcome back to blogging mamsh! Pa-raket naman dyan haha

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    1. Oh my. Ano kaya yung pinag-usapan natin? People tell me that a lot, that they remember something I said. I should keep my mouth shut haha

      Yes, business takes a lot out of the spontaneity of blogging kasi your content becomes controlled by your sponsor. So dapat talaga pinipili natin brands that we believe in. Which I did naman! Pero syempre may mga language and topics na tayong dapat iwasan (sex, politics, the hard parts of life, etc). So okay na rin ang non-profit blog =)

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  6. We’re ready for it, Ms Frances! The world needs more of your authenticity, and less of the cookie-cutter, perfectly curated, carefully packaged “influncers.” Who all look and sound the same. ��

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    1. I knooooow, right??? Same white houses, same beaches, same wavy blonde-brown hair, same poses, same everything! Pati flat lays iisa itsura! And nahalata ko lang yan nang nag-PR na ako kasi I tried to recall if this influencer posted about something and I can't recall who it was exactly kasi pare-parehas ang itsura nila hahahaha

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  7. Omgggg I am sooo excited! I dont know why haha, wala pako navisit na blog like yours. Nagiisa ka Miss F ❤

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    1. Thanks! Gusto ko yang observation mo! I don't care if I'm not the most popular blogger, I just want to be radically different from everyone else! =)

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  8. You were one of my inspiration when I started writing again after a long long time hahahaha.Sa school paper pa ata ako huling nagsulat. Kaya super excited ako for you Ms. France nakakaaliw din magbasa kasi NG mga real talk. Thanks for inspiring me and other people. Hope to see you again soon

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    1. Salamat, salamat! Iba talaga ang support mo sa akin, Jean. Grabe ang appreciation ko.

      Hindi ka pa pala nag-email sa akin. First Top Fan kita sa FB, diba??? Claim your prize!

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  9. Cheers to long reads, Frances! :)

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  10. Hooray for this long yet honest to goodness, post. I've read this already last weekend, maybe but it was during a quick break from household some chores, so I just hit the "love" button on your FB post hehehe.

    Going back to traditional blogging was also a trending topic with some mommy blogger friends last week. We were talking about doing a 30-day blog challenge, blog hopping and comment exchange.

    ibang-iba na kasi talaga ang blogging ngayon, kaya sabi mo nga, sa true to life, ayaw na ng companies makipag-deal sa bloggers. at yan ay dahil marahil sa mga self-proclaimed influencers na yan nainis na ang ibang PR companies.

    mas masaya ang blogging 10 years ago. :)

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  11. Hi Frances, It's me, your former roommate during the 2009 Nuffnang Blog Awards in Singapore (SexyNomad was my blog then). We both didn't want to have kids then. But look at you now, tatlo-tatlo pa! Ikaw na! Ako nga isa lang pero parang too much na, hahaha! ^_^

    On a more serious note, I must admit, I'm a silent reader of yours. Being an introvert, I rarely comment when I do visit blogs when I have the time, pero nitong huli... this last year siguro... before this intimate blog post of yours, mejo hindi na ko bumibisita... especially when I noticed na parang puro sponsored posts na sha (sorry!) Kumbaga sa TV, kapag commercial na, nililipat ko na channel sa iba, lol! Being a diarist myself, I personally prefer to read blogs that are not "commercialized". Although I understand that that is not anymore the trend these days lalo na't you made blogging your business pala. Preference ko lang naman like how it was in the good old days of blogging. But since I read this particular blog post of yours, natuwa ako! Sana tuloy-tuloy na! Mas mapapadalas na dalaw ko dito. Expressing one's self through his/her blog is priceless. We should never put a price tag on the things that genuinely make us happy. And if that is blogging for you, then go for it! Happy blogging again, Frances! :D <3

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  12. Loyal reader here! Would prefer lengthy fun-to-read blog posts to IG posts anytime :)

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  13. Fraaaan! Huwag ka pa-kahon sa rules. Ayos lang yan! Bukas makalawa iba na naman na flavor ng “influencer” ang hanap nila. Pana-panahon. Basta tuloy ang sulat para tuloy ang saya/ginhawa/kirot/pighati na dulot nito sa’yo. Marami kaming nagbabasa ng mga likha mo kahit ano pa yan. :) Welcome back to blogging for you.

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Thanks for dropping by my blog! It really means a lot that you spare the time to read... and comment!