June 5th marked the one year anniversary of the first post on Yokkaichi Connections.
This blog originally started as a way to spread information about teaching in Japan and living in Yokkaichi. I used to joke around and tell my friends that when I started this blog the only people who read it were me and my mother. I don't know if she's still keeping up with the site, but we've picked up a lot of other readers since then!
Over the course of this last year, we've branched out in many directions and met a lot of amazing people along the way.
Here's my list of the seven things I learned after one year of blogging.
1. The community is AWESOME
When starting a blog, it's a good idea to look at what's already out there and what people are saying about the topics you are planning to write about.
I've come across a lot of great blogs and have learned more than I thought I would about teaching English, Japanese culture, and living in Japan.
Most bloggers are pretty outgoing. If you leave them a comment or ask them a question, they'll probably get back to you (unless they're just way too busy, but what do you expect for free?). The blogging community in Japan is full of motivated, positive people who love what they do and want to share it with the world!
2. You know more than others
All of us pick up different skills over the course of our lives. A lot of people sometimes feel like they aren't as experienced as others in certain fields or lack the knowledge to be able to teach things to others.
However, everyone is an expert in something. Surely, you have some story to tell!
If you take a look at some blogs and see something that hasn't been talked about, it's a good idea to write about it. Even if something has been written about before, you can put your own spin on it with your personal thoughts and commentary.
3. Others know more than you
On the opposite end of the spectrum, there are some people who think they know everything about a given topic. Although they may have a wealth of knowledge on a particular subject, this ultimately is a bad way to go about learning.
Once someone believes they know everything, they close themselves off to learning new things and growing as a person.
It's good to recognize that other people will know more about you in certain areas. You want to seek these people out so you can learn from their experience and help add to your own knowledge and skills.
4. People want content that adds something to their lives
Think about the hours you have in your day. How do you spend them? A lot of our time is consumed with work, socializing, and our day to day tasks like shopping, cleaning, etc. So how do you spend your free time? A lot of people like to read blogs when they have some downtime.
Whether it's for entertainment or to learn something new, readers want to read something that has value. Why should they read what you're writing? Answer that question and you'll be on the path to success!
Our most popular posts have been about living in Japan, ALT training, and getting ready to move here.
5. It pays to say "YES!"
Over the past year, I've had a lot of interactions with people online. Whenever they asked me if I'd like to collaborate with them, I said "YES!" And it's paid off!
Since starting this blog, I got in touch with the founder of ALT Training Online. After looking at my blog, he offered me a position running the blog on his site. I said "YES!" After that, I became the Community Media Manager of ALT training online. In this position, I've gotten to work with a lot of amazing people ranging from ALTs in Japan to professors in Scotland.
It has been a great way to pick up some new skills, learn more about my current field, and network with people in the industry.
Later, I started promoting my blog on Twitter. Craig Hoffman, the writer behind the popular Japan/expat blog Grey, Grizzled, and Gaijin, saw my posts and gave me an opportunity to write a guest blog for his "Lifting People Up In 2018" campaign. His content and support have been really helpful to me and I highly recommend that anyone who's thinking about getting into blogging in Japan check out his work!
Recently, I started working with a local volunteer group, Omotenashi-net Yokkaichi. They needed someone to make an English website to promote local tours for tourists visiting Yokkaichi on cruises. Naturally, I said "YES!" I've had the pleasure of working with and meeting more positive people in the community while networking and learning new things.
6. Good vibes rule
The world is full of hopeless negativity. People want something that will lift their spirits and inspire them to become more than what they are.
If you keep a positive attitude, encourage others to do their best work, and encourage yourself to do the same, you can accomplish a lot in life (while having a pretty good time, too!). Keep up the good vibes!
Remember that most of what happens in life is out of your control. What you can control are your actions and how to react to the actions of others.
Don't be one of those people that life happens to. Be somebody who makes life happen!