Wow 2018 just flew by like that. It’s almost 4 years since I graduated from the University of Manchester, it’s been more than year since I moved to NYC. Oops, I digress. This post isn’t supposed to be about me rambling and reminiscing the past. Anyway, here’s the serious topic – it’s been 4 months since I started blogging and since it’s the end of the year, I’d just like to share my thoughts on how the journey is coming along.

Just so you know, this is a really honest, sincere post.

Starting howivebeen.com

was COMPLETELY out of the blue. I mean, I’ve thought about it but I never thought I’d actually DO it. Long story short, I had ZERO confidence. But I had enough. I moved to NYC and have no friends, all I do is work, sleep, watch countless mukbang and Dr Pimple Popper videos on Youtube, Netflix.. anything that describes a working couch potato.

I was also fed up of family and friends sending text messages like “hey, how have you been?” or “hey, how’s NYC treating you?” and what’s worse is they don’t reply me after I write a 10k word dissertation sharing how my life has been. That’s when I decided that I want to start a blog to share my memories and how I’m doing in NYC. Not just for them but also for myself. Hence, the blog name howivebeen.com.

Learning

about starting a blog wasn’t easy but it was fun. I’d head over to a public library almost every night and patiently read about getting a domain, using social media to reach out to others, how to get themes on WordPress, so on so forth.

And because I still am not confident enough, I didn’t want to share my blog with my friends and family yet, I told myself I’d do it when I’m ready and confident enough. Funnily, this blog is supposed to share how i’ve been doing but it seems like I’ve taken a different direction and I’m just happy doing what I’m doing – writing for myself and for other people instead. But of course there are a couple of really close friends who know about this blog and have been really supportive, thank you <3

My first step

pay for a domain, get a theme for the blog and set up separate social media accounts. Check, check, check.

Next,

Social media started taking over me. I’d be on Instagram every minute I have, I’d be keeping up with the Kardashians tweets every day, making sure my Pinterest is active (Tailwind is seriously amazing, it’s my only social media account that’s really doing well lol) and being obsessed with stats and numbers.

I used to be catching up on news about the economy or the latest scandal Mark Zuckerberg and Sheryl Sanberg is facing, tech news etc. on the subway on the way to/back from work but now, I’m dedicating every second to checking my stats and tweeting about the weather. Even at work, I can’t get my mind off these numbers.

Can’t get off my phone even being on the moon

What am I doing wrong here?

Why do I have so little Insta followers after 4 months? The numbers don’t seem to be increasing. What am I doing wrong here? Am I not pretty enough for my posts to be visible??

My WordPress views.. omg the numbers are just embarrassing. How do I improve my content? What am I doing wrong here?

She started her blog/Twitter account just 2 months ago and she’s got 2k followers? What am I doing wrong here? Not tweeting enough? Not engaging enough? I just don’t have enough time to be on Twitter.. What do I need to tweet about??

Everyone seems to be making so many friends just by blogging, I still have zero. I’m back to square one where I have no one. What am I doing wrong here?

That’s all I could think of.

Until

I shared all these – exactly what you’ve just read – with a close friend who has been nothing but supportive even before I started this blog and what he said hit me hard. I couldn’t get his words out of my mind ever since.

“Didn’t you want to start a blog as a hobby? If you’re letting it stress you out like how your full time job is, which is not supposed to happen, then it’s no longer a hobby.”

I started writing with no intention of making this a business (but who knows?), I wanted to share the places I’ve been exploring, things I’ve been doing, what I’ve been experiencing. There’s always something to do in NYC and this city is my content!

Times Square, NYC
Welcome to Times Square

So,

I’ve decided to take a step back. Do what I’ve been doing but as a hobby, trying too hard just makes me look desperate and I don’t want to look or be desperate lol. It’s human nature to compare, to chase numbers, to want to achieve something but it’s eating me up.

So what if I don’t have 1k followers on Instagram and Twitter? Just 60 likes on my Instagram posts? No one commenting on my blog posts?

Take a chill pill, Shuana. It doesn’t matter. Well, it does matters, I always compare myself to others lol and it’s because I have no confidence in myself. I’ve been struggling with that for many many years, envious of others for achieving something (happy for them but envious), bitter about the pain I’ve been through in my past – all the negatives that I’ve faced.

In 4 months, I managed to get 150 followers on Twitter and none of them are my friends. I learned what Tailwind is, I’m still learning about Google Analytics though lol. I see many lovely flatlay photos on Instagram and it’s motivating me to learn how to be more creative. These are my achievements. I totally sound like a loser trying to console herself haha.

17.2k impressions in the last 30 days doesn’t seem too bad, does it?

But I just want to tell myself, it doesn’t matter. And it shouldn’t. Just continue having fun.

Thank you 2018, hello 2019.