I had a blast writing this… and it’s been a minute since I said that!

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Hi there 👋

In today’s blog post I’m going to have a laugh about something completely off topic. Because that’s the joy of writing for your own blog. You can waffle on about something unrelated. Sure, people may click away. Sure, people may scroll over it.

But even then - who is going to stop you?

It’s my blog and I’ll waffle if I want to.

Ok. Now that I’m done rambling about the freedom of rambling (a pre-ramble, if you will), I’m going to ramble about “blogging.”

Today I logged into Squarespace to for the first time in…. well. It’s been a while. I’ve published one blog post in 2019, and that was on January 4th. And even then it was a REPOST of something I originally published in the fall of 2017. Busted.

Before that, my most recent post was my Holiday 2018 Gift Guide (yikes), and before that, it was “My Favorite Podcasts, in no particular order,” which was published November 1st, 2018. (Honestly tho, that post is lit and you should check it out.)

So yeah. You could say I fell off the blogging wagon.

I have the same excuse as everyone else. blah blah blah. Yes, I’ve been extremely busy, both professionally and personally, and all my writing time has been devoted to work-related projects. The thought of blocking out hours in my schedule to write a blog post on “What’s in my work bag"?” or “15 Productivity Hacks You Must Try” or “5 Must-Eat Restaurants in Cleveland” gives me hives.

Because it is hours. Despite what blogging naysayers think, blogging takes time and energy. Blog posts do not write themselves. Those comprehensive “guides” we all know (and use!) take hours and hours and hours to compile. I personally work on most long-form guides for weeks before hitting publish.

So no. I straight-up have not had the time to publish “guides.” But that’s only half of it.

When I started this blog, I wrote like nobody was reading. Probably because that was actual #facts. I didn’t have a ton of pageviews, but I didn’t really care. Instead of following some popular formula, I wrote to share experiences I thought could be helpful to other people. Like why I never rode on a motorbike. Or

My audience grew, slowly and modestly, but I continued to work at it because I enjoyed it. So much so, in fact, that I published content every day for two years. That’s right. Every day. for TWO YEARS.

Now I can hardly squeak out one post every quarter. Sure, I’m busier than ever, but that’s not the issue.

It all changed when I wrote a post that ranked #1 in Google.

You see, when I travelled through Southeast Asia, I brought malaria prevention pills with me. I didn’t take them often, but when I did, I would get vivid nightmares.

The medicine I was taking (Malarone) was new to the market, and supposedly didn’t have the infamous “hallucinatory dream” side effects that are often associated with malaria medicine. However, even though I was told repeatedly that this medicine “didn’t cause nightmares,” I was getting nightmares. Loads of them.

I thought this was odd, so I did what most millenials in my situation would do: googled it. Nothing came up. So I wrote a post about my experience.

To this day, that post is still ranked #1 in google when you search “Malaria Nightmares.”

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Once I realized how to manipulate Google to grow an audience, everything changed. I started writing for Google.

Instead of blogging for the joy of it, or to share experiences that I thought were interesting and could help others, I wrote for clicks. I wrote what I thought others wanted to read, instead of what I actually wanted to write.

And honestly… I was pretty good at it. I now have many posts that rank #1 in Google, and I get thousands of visitors to thegal-ivanter.com every week becasue of it. They are all looking for travel advice. In some senses, I succeeded. This is a great, marketable skill. I started in 2015 with the goal to have a popular travel blog, and now I do.

😒But … I completely lost the joy of writing on TheGal-ivanter.com. I burned out. I couldn’t continue producing the long, comprehensive “guides” that helped me rank in Google and grow as a travel blog. I didn’t have the time, and most importantly, my heart wasn’t in it.

Then today happened.

A few hours ago, I felt compelled serendipitously compelled to read one of my old posts from October 21, 2016: My Central Vietnam Hospital Experience

Reading that again after months of abandoning this blog literally pained me because the post was so… genuine. carefree.

The writing was helpful and entertaining… and there was no hidden agenda.

I remember writing that post. I remember getting home from the hospital and giddily opening up my laptop, eager to write all about the experience of going to a hospital in Vietnam. I wasn’t thinking about marketing the post. I probably didn’t even read it over before I hit publish.

Reading this post today encouraged me to log into SquareSpace for the first time in, yeah, months. What I found made me laugh.

At the top of my blogging section were drafts of blog posts I had abandoned in the past year.

I started these posts when felt inspired to share, and then stopped when I deemed they weren’t “worth my time” because they wouldn’t “help the site grow."

But reading them again made me chuckle because they are so good. And so genuine.

Here are some of my abandoned titles:
- Why do I love my Airpods so much?
- I’m dating myself - and that’s okay!
- Tips for surviving the summer with no AC
- Simple Ways to Trick People into Thinking You’re a Real Adult
- Weird Things I Always Pack… and idk why

The AC post, in particular, is gold:

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Anyways, I know this ramble sounded a little dark (that’s the problem with the internet - no inflection!), but it’s lighthearted, I promise!

I’m not going to make some huge promise that I’m returning to writing daily on TheGal-ivanter, or that I’m done writing for search engines. Neither of those things are true! The above = observations I had and felt compelled to share. In the future, if I’m inspired to write, I’m it will be for me, not as a marketing experiment.

It’s my blog and I’ll waffle if I want to….

Thanks for reading/skimming/scrolling to the bottom and clicking away without registering a damn word. I had a blast writing this… and it’s been a minute since I’ve said that!

In other news, 10/10 Madeline Quigley’s suggest you subscribe to my monthly email! I send it on the first of every month, and I promise it will keep you inspired for 30 days (or 30 seconds).

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HAPPY GALLIVANTING!