Tuesday, 9 June 2015

Inspiring youths - Life of a blogger

I spent a lovely evening with a group of 14-year olds, sharing with them what the job of a blogger entails. This is part of their school's leadership program, to allow the students an opportunity to chat with a working adult about their career.

It is heartening to discover that schools take the initiative to plan and organise such relevant enriching sessions for their students and I was more than happy to volunteer my time.
Sec 2 students
It was nice to see teenagers sitting through 2 hours of a meal, asking pertinent questions and listening attentively. These were some of the things they wanted to know about blogging:

How do you gain readers?

You have to write things that people would want to read, that they would find value in. Be it informative, interesting, thought-provoking, humorous or sharing the 'in thing'. As friends start to support and spread your posts via social media, it will grow from there.

There are many blogs around, so it is important that you find your niche. (I went round the table asking them about their interests and gave suggestions from there.)

Do you run out of things to write about?

I don't! Probably because I love to talk so much that I have lots of things I want to say and share. And the fact that I have 6 kids ranging from 2 to 16, gives me lots to write about - from discipline, to fun activities, to tackling our education system and much more. In fact, I was so busy replying texts from friends asking all sorts of questions with regards to their children that they suggested I put it all down in a blog, and that was how I got started.

However, I've heard that bloggers, like other writers, do get into a rut and run out of things to write about. If you are passionate about an area, you will naturally want to read, explore and discover more about it and the more you get into it, the more angles you have to talk about. And to constantly get inspired through reading other people's writing to ponder and come up with refreshing ideas.

Are your husband and children supportive of your blogging?

Initially the hubs was sceptical, wondering what sort of a job that was, but now he is supportive and also provides me with photos I can use (as my photography skills leave a lot to be desired!) As for my kids, they are totally behind me in this because of the free things we are sponsored and the wonderful opportunities we get invited to like media launches. When my previous domain name disappeared and I was considering if I should stop blogging, it was the children who encouraged me to carry on.

Do you do vlog? (I had to clarify this, and they asked if I walk around my house videoing my kids and putting it up on my blog)

Definitely not. I am vigilant in maintaining their privacy as there may be stalkers out there. As all of you are young, you should also be wary of maintaining your privacy, as what you put up on social media will stay there forever and who knows what people could do with your personal information or photos.

If we don't like the service or product we are reviewing, are we supposed to lie?

I shared with them that such issues on morals and what we stand for will surface not only as bloggers, but also in other jobs as well, and it is important that we uphold our integrity and reputation. What I do is to be direct with my clients and usually they are understanding enough to respect my stand as a blogger with integrity. If I am uncomfortable with a client who wants me to write things which I don't believe to be true, I would rather drop the collaboration.

As we rounded up the discussion, I asked them if there were other careers besides blogging that they were considering and one said, "My parents want me to be a doctor. For my future."

Ah, typical. I shared with them my 101 Paths to Success series and told them that in today's career landscape, there are many other viable paths for young people to pursue, and they should start asking themselves what they enjoy and what they are good at, and not be limited only by the "doctor/lawyer/engineer" mindset.

Before you think I have anything against these professions, I better clarify that I do not, and am in fact going to include them in my success series. I just feel that it is sad if parents don't do enough research and and are not open to the endless opportunities out there for our current generation of children and simply dictate their career choices based on outmoded notions. How many times have I seen people who finally quit their professions and "do what they have always wanted to do".

I guess they could sense my enthusiasm about this series and commented that "you are so kind to want to help other people, why do you spend so much time doing it". I shared with them that when you reach a certain age, your focus changes and you tend to find joy in giving back. And when you find things which excite you, it will spur you into taking action.

At the end of the dinner, they asked if I was going to blog about the event, and I said I wasn't intending to. Then I realized that they were keen for me to do so. Such dears.

It is very refreshing to speak with young people and hear their viewpoints. Their energy and vigour also rubs off on you and I feel years younger! ;)


~ www.mummyweeblog.com - a blog on parenting 6 kids in Singapore ~

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