Side Effects of a Year of Blogging

A refection on what a year of blogging has taught me

By Millie O. Symns in Reflections

December 28, 2022

We are here!

We have made it to the end of the year! (just barely 😅, it has been a wild couple of months)

I started the year challenging myself in many aspects, but one key goal was to push myself creatively and professionally by creating a website that I would regularly update with blog posts on my musings and learnings. For this challenge, I settled with a blog post a month of whatever came to mind. I am quite proud of myself because I managed to pull that off! (Outside of November because life happens, but 11 out of 12 is pretty freaking spectacular!)

To close out the (first) year of blogging, I want to reflect upon the overall experience. While I learned some technical things, I also learned some things about myself. I guess these are the side effects of consistently doing something, no matter how good or bad you are at it.

Five things I learned about myself (and in general):

1) How to develop my brand

The core goal for creating a website and blogging was to put myself out there more on the internet. I was procrastinating heavily on this because the internet is a wild place, and I needed to figure out where to start with sharing myself as a professional human being in this space. However, writing blog posts and then pushing myself to share them on LinkedIn and Twitter helped me develop my voice and clarify a picture of what I want to bring forth in the internet spaces.

Pre-website me would put on a front of what a professional in the data analytics space looked like, but post-website me cares a lot less about presenting what I think is right and just being what I should be. I have connected with more people and organizations that match my vibe this way.

2) My niche is big-picture thinking with a sprinkle of data

This was more of a confirmation than a discovery. Looking back at my posts, I loved reading my philosophical thoughts on data work and team structures.

Even my coding-heavy posts would have a lightness to them because, sure, I will code something out that would be useful, but it is caked between my big-picture thinking on the world. I didn’t intend for that to happen, but very glad to see that is what I created.

3) How to maintain a website using R and other tools

Don’t ask me to teach you because I will undoubtedly divert you to other brilliant resources on how to do this. But I know enough to make one and keep things from breaking, so that is a win!

Before blogging, I had no idea what it took to build one, let alone create content every month. AND have friends and other folks who look forward to my posts. Who knew?!

4) I am pretty creative

I don’t look back when I write a post. I write away, I proofread a little (you’ll find typos, but you know what I am saying 🙃 ), and then I doodle on my iPad to create a picture with my post. I don’t plan any of this because I wanted this to feel as low-stakes and free-flowing as possible so I wouldn’t stress out about it.

Looking at my doodles throughout the year, I see myself improving and building confidence in my art. Also, from post to art, I write whatever comes to mind and let it be, which takes skill and creativity. I am rightfully impressed with myself.

5) I am actually a great writer

Funny enough, from college on, I struggled with writing. I was good at comprehending text and talking about it, but I felt self-conscious about writing. In high school, I excelled, but at college, everything revolving writing quickly crashed and burned in my first year. I was in a “special” English writing course and on the academic watch for my technique by going to the writing lab every week.

Because of my first-year experience in college, in grad school, I quickly took advantage of writing resources there and worked closely with an English professor for all of my papers. I wrote like I spoke, like the daughter of immigrants, so I sometimes mix around prepositions and syntax, missing words, and lots of repetition (and still do). Thank goodness for AI technology and software like Grammarly.😮‍💨 With a blog, it is nice to see my writing blossom outside the academic space.

What about next year?

Next year, I may or may not keep with a monthly blog post since I may be busy with other projects, but I am so glad I did this year. It might become an “every other month” type of situation. We’ll see what adventures are in store for me. If you got ideas, let your girl know!

📋 Also, if you want to push me to apply to do a lighting talk or some presentation at the Posit conference so your girl can afford it and have a reason to attend, here is your invitation. External motivation and peer pressure generally works, especially if you remove barriers for me to say yes. LOL 😆

Have a fantastic and happy holiday. And a happy new year! Here’s to 2023 being the year of growth and blessings!

Posted on:
December 28, 2022
5 minute read, 891 words
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