Blogging. Few people understand what it is exactly. In most cases when you even mention that you have a blog, names like Cyprian Nyakundi, Robert Alai, Tuko and Ghalfla come up. Like this is only the blogging, read gossip, that people will define you with. The disgruntled lot. Those who write on other niches are not even recognised. The same way Daystar University Alumni Journalists face criticism is the same way bloggers are generalised.
Some believe this particular world of online content creation is only relevant to a few. Other will say bloggers are only online noisemakers and not doers. Well, in the first place if no one wrote about it, then you wouldn’t know. You would only rely on newspapers. In this day and age, they face sensitization and only write and say what you need to know. The rest becomes ‘of no importance’. Before we move on to why I started blogging and how one can start a grand blog. Publishing long posts or threads on social media (Facebook, Twitter and Instagram), is also blogging – microblogging. Only that your content belongs to these companies and stops being yours once published. We forget that these services are free and when you are not the consumer you become the product and you can be sold (case in point; Cambridge Analytica).
There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you. – Maya Angelou
I started blogging in 2012. This was after spending time in Tsavo East National Park and coming back to the city under the sun. I wondered if people will ever know how amazing elephants are and whether they will ever get to know about them in depth. Not from a mzungus perspective, of course, but from one of their own. I had a lot of stories to tell about my experiences, so the journey began. Then life happened and forgot I ever started the blog. The name Nyika Silika has stuck with me and I’m even struggling to remember the first name I first gave the blog. I did write once in a while when I felt like I needed to share something. The day I read my first post sometime last year I almost cringed at how grammatically incorrect everything was (it has now being edited).
Fast forward to 2016 when I realised blogs are amazing. I read plenty of Kenya blogs and can certainly tell you this trend is way in already in the country. There are few Environmental blogs in Kenya, so getting the inspiration to continue with mine did not help the situation. But then again, you don’t wait for inspiration to find you. You need to go out and look for it. Ask and you will receive. When I let the universe handle the details, I came across two amazing International Nature blogs; Common by Nature and James Borrell (coincidence on the name). The two inspired me every step of the way. I went on to observe their blogs, consuming their content every day and getting the inspiration needed to move from a WordPress hosted blog to a Self-hosted blog.
Even though I did all this, I still needed a why. I did not want to start all over again and stop. Then it would be a waste of time for not only me but my website developer. I’m very particular about wasting other people’s time. Simon Sinek has even emphasised the reason Starting with Your Why gets you where you want. The why keeps your customers. The why keeps you going even when all the odds are against you.
My why is as simple as sharing my knowledge. The knowledge that not many people know and understand. This was after I realised most of my friends (those who are in totally different fields from mine) always wanted an explanation to why this was happening to the environment and why they should care. A valid reason right there to start a blog.
Over time, my why has been to share conservation stories others don’t get to hear of, showcase Kenya’s beauty and diversity, write about people working in the conservation arena and conservation projects that people need to know and best of all, have a platform where others can share their opinions, stories, images and amazing pieces.
Blogging is an art and still is a science. Sometimes you have to discover every inch of your blog set up, including the HTML (coding) bit. It is always a learning experience. You will also meet people in the online world that will inspire you.
Definitely, my number one place my content creation bug comes from is nature. Everything that surrounds me that is God’s creation is an inspiration. This includes even human beings.
Kenya has amazing content creators who will drive you to create more always. Sharon Mundia of This is Ess, Silvia Njoki of Style by Silvia, Nancie Mwai, Lucia Musau, Fiona Okadia of Amira Africa, Mutua Matheka, Ben Kiruthi, Shiko Nguru of The Green Calabash and Samoina Wangui of PPD Island. Notice that I did add creative writers like Magunga and Bikozulu. Sometimes a read them but my short attention span betrays me. The list could fill a thousand pages on the Kenya content creators that have inspired this blogging journey. These bloggers are not only the best in their niches but among the countries best bloggers. Their level of consistency will push you to create and even not sleep until you have published your piece. When you look at the content Sharon Mundia did in 2015, she actually published every single day. That is a total of more than 365 posts in one year. Also, most of these bloggers have no background in journalism or writing on what they pursued at their tertiary education levels.
International content creators such as Gary Vaynerchuk, Casey Neistat, Jay Shetty, Prince EA and Lilly Singh are amazing online ‘friends’ I follow. These guys work so hard every day, make your life seem so boring and get your sorry self to publish even when you do not feel like. For all these amazing content creators, it is not where they are now but where their journey began that gets me going the most.
Writing has become something I do every day. Whether it’s 100 words or 1000 words. Every day is a writing day. Whether it’s a weekend or the holidays; still I write. Writing keeps me company and calms my nerves down when everything else seems to be way overwhelming. I never thought I could actually write until I began. To get to know how you can be great at blogging, read the second part. I have realised we have short attention spans and this post is already long.
Featured image: Rock Hyrax from Tsavo East National Park – own.