Rogelio talks about his blogging experience as Manly Curls turns 1 year old. Read ahead for his insight on his experience as a curly haired blogger and touching people’s lives!
Wow, what a first year it has been!
I don’t even know how to title this post. I initially was going to call it “My 1 Year Anniversary on the Blogging Battlefield” but then I thought that the word “battlefield” exuded negativity, which is quite the opposite of what I have experienced as a blogger. I’m going to leave it with a generic title for now as I write this post, maybe I will come up with a better title by the time I finish writing.
Some of the cool things I’ve done this first year as a blogger!
Where to start? Let’s go back in time to Tuesday 24th May 2011.
I pull my credit card out as I am about to register the name of my website.
“Manly Curls, you sure about that name, Rogelio?” I think to myself.
“Won’t people think this is some form of online gay dating site for men with curly hair?” I ask myself internally
“Nah, I like the name plus I’ll figure out how to get the message of the website across as I go along” I quickly re-assured myself
I knew in an instant that Manly Curls was the name of a future blog after Mizuki, the female newcomer in my About Manly Curls story, had touched a lock of my curly hair and proceeded to tell me how “manly” I was as she gazed at the curl in an orgasm-resembling manner. I had based this “website naming” decision even before I had seriously contemplated having a blog.
“This is going to be fun. Manly Curls it is” I tell myself.
Bang! I register the name Manly Curls. Next came the hosting and then building the site.
Whereas most bloggers prefer to spare themselves of any webmaster dramas and just go to wordpress.com and buy a cookie-cutter subscription and blog theme with an own domain name, I decided to do everything myself so I could learn the whole process from scratch. I’ve always been like that, for some bizarre reason I need to know every intricate minutia of anything I create (OCD, anyone?).
So, yours truly spent the next couple of days after the 24th May 2011 studying all tutorials he could get his online fingers on while tweaking HTML and PHP coding to try and customize the blog to something a visitor would at least not close away the browser from. Funny thing is that if you had asked me about HTML or PHP before the 24th, I would have probably told you they were the acronyms for some obscure Mexican drug cartels. That’s how clueless I was about this. Somehow though, I got everything running smooth in a couple of days, it wasn’t much of a problem actually. The big problem was this:
What do I blog about now?
You see, everything was up and running like it was business and I knew in the grand scheme of things what I wanted to blog about. I had the About pages written, had heavily modified the theme and put up the sidebars. Yet the frontpage was all blank. It wasn’t why I was blogging that was the issue, it was the actual what to specifically write about. Easier said than done, as I experienced.
That was all exactly one year ago, on the 1st June 2011. Since then, I have written 145 posts/articles, all averaging 1000 words, and quite a few exceeding 2000 words as they are actual articles written by myself (see an example here). They are quite specific posts/articles too, none of that “hey look at me, I am great” or “hey, buy this product, I just got paid to say it is good” sort of crap posts that many bloggers like to bore their audiences with. For the record, my first article was on leave-in conditioners.
Blogging has been, indeed, quite an experience. And it continues to be too. Before I started Manly Curls, I had never kept a blog or diary in my life, so keeping it constant when it came to blogging was initially a bit of a difficulty. It also doesn’t help that when I write, I write A LOT, so I end up many days spending a few hours writing an article that is in the 000s of words. I have gotten better at it, by all means, but initially I was lost in a sea of thoughts that I had trouble writing down in a synthesized manner. I also think bilingually, so sometimes I come up with stuff in my mother tongue which is not easy to transfer to English so as to write it down in English. As messy as it comes.
Blogging has helped me continue opening my eyes. I am a thrillseeker by nature which means I love experiencing, well, new experiences. Despite yours truly still being of a relative young age, this thrillseeking trait has allowed me to have accumulated quite a lot of life experiences so far as I have lived on different countries and made it a goal to meet as many different people/cultures/lifestyles as possible. As an example, it wasn’t until I lived in the Arab world and immersed myself in everything-Arab that I had a chance to truly know what is going on in there. I have had a chance to learn a lot and become a better human being, all while continuing to grow curly-shaped locks on my head.
One of my main goals with Manly Curls was, and is, to continue to expand my repertoire of life experiences. While I have taken quite a liking to blogging too, another one of my main goals was to spread the word and allow the rest of curly men to see a positive side to what many deem as negative. As I wrote in my good hair article (a +2000 word post!), curly haired men seem to think that taking care of their curls will involve becoming hair divas and eating chocolate bonbons while watching repeat episodes of Sex in the City.
Not at all my friend, and I am here to illustrate and tell you how to become a better man with good hair without emasculating yourself in the process. If it means putting up pictures of myself shirtless while lifting heavy stuff or as an Irish “Brokeback Mountain-esque” cowboy who gets the gurls with his curls, rest assured I will. And as our slogan says: “Curly hair is not a hairstyle, it’s a lifestyle” and for curly hair to precisely be a lifestyle it implies that you, as a man, take the bull by the horns and embrace your curls while you continue to strive to become a better man: in your career, your family, your relations, your looks, your free time and the many etc’s that make up your overall life.
It boils down to this: acknowledge your curls, do something about them and stop regarding them as some nasty follicular matter that unfortunately happens to grow on top of your head. Likewise, don’t become obsessed with your curly hair, learn how to make the most out of it and kick ass in the rest of your life too. Have better hair and become a better man, that’s how you should see it when it comes to doing something about your curly hair.
So far, I will say that my blogging goals have been achieved, although I see the whole blogging experience as a work-in-progress thing as well as a continuum of experiences. I have lost count of the number of emails/comments I have gotten so far asking questions or thanking me as my words have been of help and instigated people to take action. It really fills me up on a personal level to be able to add my grain of sand to people’s lives and help them continue to move forward in a positive manner. I have also lost count of the many people I have interacted with through blogging, from Xavier Gabriel’s curly haired boy inspirational story to the curly haired men who have so far shared with us their life experiences as curly men; it is not only me who lives his life as a curly haired male in a 21st century modern world. By the way, there are more real life stories coming up so keep an eye out and feel free to contact me with your story too!
I believe that for a succesful blog, you not only need to write useful content but you also have to give it your own personal touch. One thing I knew when I started Manly Curls was that it would not be another one of those blogs with either useless content or a blog that didn’t have a face and personal side to it. My body transformation or natural hair challenge are examples of how I have really emphasized this aspect (while I have removed my face from many of the pictures of those 2 posts, you can find my ugly face in much of my content such as here or here). On the other hand, one not so cool thing about this is that you become a public figure and you somewhat have to share your personal life, thus blogging is not an activity which is all “happy unicorns and colorful rainbows” and, certainly, not for all.
The blogging future for this curly haired dude? To continue to bring inspirational useful content for the modern male’s needs. That’s what I’d say in a sentence if I had to synthesize the answer and, just like I said back in January in this post, there’s quite a lot coming ahead. I really mean it, you better be subscribed by the time I first tell my subscribed readers what is to come! For what is worth, you can conveniently subscribe on the top right corner for a weekly content update, without having to worry about spam or having your email account sold to third parties. Of course, if you fancy Manly Curls you can Like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter too as I am active in these 2 social media platforms. I have yet to make something out of my Google Plus account though I have one too and I will be active there in the very near future.
Ok, ok, enough of the whole “subscribe to me” thing.
Looking back, I do not regret anything. I have learnt so much in this year from others and from myself, it really has been great. I have also learnt a lot when it comes to online stuff and now actually know how the internet world works. I used to be one of those average joes who thought that the Internet was an entity owned by Google or that having a blog was “piece of cake” (it isn’t if you want your blog to go anywhere!). Blogging has and continues to be a great experience, and the fact that with it I have been able to reach to so many people whom would otherwise never have been reached by my words is truly amazing. I’ve made it my goal to embrace the Internet like I truly meant it!
I am planning on writing an specific article on some of the things I have learnt from blogging, I think that would be a cool article for my first year anniversary too. For now though, I think that this introspective post summarizes and illustrates what this whole year as a blogger has been. And now that I think about it, since I have just used “introspective” in a sentence, I think I am going to title this post My 1st Year Blogging – “Introspecting” the Experience. You see, not only am I capable of writing +2000 word topic rambles, I can come up with post titles after I have written them too LOL
What a second year it is going to be!
All the best.