I can hardly believe it, you guys.. Today the blog turns one year old. ONE YEAR OLD!!
How surreal. From being a long-term, persistent lurker around the dramaverse, it’s now been a full year since I’ve been running this blog. Which, really, is the exact opposite of being a lurker.
What a turnaround. And I never even saw it coming, even.
So, so many thoughts, y’all.
I must say that I’ve grown very fond of the blog, even though blogging was something I sort of stumbled into rather than actually planned on doing.
Not only has the blog been a very real outlet for my urge to write, it’s been such a gratifying, surprising journey filled with things that I hadn’t expected.
SURPRISING THINGS ABOUT THE BLOGGING EXPERIENCE
1. Learning gets real
I’d never done anything even close to blogging before, prior to starting this blog. In my head, I’d guessed that running a website was a really technical sort of thing. In my head, I’d also assumed that running a blog would be a whole lot simpler than actually running a website.
While my assumptions weren’t quite wrong, I really expected this blogging thing to be way less technical than it is. I’ve learned so much, seriously, just from running the blog on a day-to-day basis. From learning to work the WordPress dashboard, to using various tools, to making headers, it’s been a whirlwind of acquiring new knowledge and skills.
I now kinda-sorta know how to use GIMP to do photo-editing, and I learn more with each new header that I make. And that’s a pretty nifty, useful skill I never thought I’d acquire. It’s been altogether surprising how much I’ve learned through caring for this blog.
2. Cyber friendships get real
When I dipped my toe into the blogosphere, I sort of knew that I would make connections with other drama fans in the course of exchanging thoughts and comments on the dramas that I planned to write about.
What’s taken me by serious surprise, is how real those friendships have become to me.
From fellow bloggers to twitter pals to regular readers of the blog, the sense of closeness that we get from one another has become increasingly strong and real.
As lives get shared in the course of all the drama-viewing & spazzing, we’ve gotten to know one another more and more, and I often find myself thinking of my “cyber” pals (quotation marks coz they aren’t simply so cyber anymore) when I see or experience something that I want to share with them.
Like the other day, when I got on my flight for my work trip to Hong Kong, and discovered that the in-flight entertainment system had the first episode of Grandpas Over Flowers, subbed?!? Man, I was so, sooo super excited and wished that I could squee through the episode with you guys.
When my sister had her baby, there were so many of you who expressed care and concern, asking after my sister, my flight, and my new nephew.
Of course, you guys also regularly show your love by either tweeting me or dropping by the blog to share goodies like photos, gifs, videos and articles with me, even if it’s not for a k-love that you share. The number of Gong Yoo and Woobie goodies I’ve received are dear to me not only coz I love (LOVE!) those boys, but also because of how the goodies were proffered so generously and sweetly by all my thoughtful friends.
And when I go for a stretch without chatting with you guys, I miss you. That’s definitely more real than cyber, imo.
Big hugs, y’all ❤
3. The community gets real
If I had to pick just one favorite thing about how the blog has evolved, it’d be how it’s become a place to hang out and chat.
Over time, comments on the blog turned into real conversations and I already really love that. And then, a marvelous thing happened. Suddenly, people weren’t just talking to me; they – you! – started talking with one another.
We became a community. Woah.
What blows my mind even more, is that the blog’s become a community where people get excited to see new joiners & welcome them on my behalf. kaiaraia and evez are like resident unnies on the blog, and it warms my heart SO much, when they welcome new commenters on my behalf, or answer questions on my behalf when they know that I’m on a work trip and unable to answer the questions myself.
Seeing them do their unnie thing puts a huge goofy grin on my face, and I love it. So. Much.
Thanks, you guys, for loving this place as your own. ❤
CHALLENGES OF THE BLOGGING EXPERIENCE
Much as I hold dear the great things about blogging, it isn’t without its challenges.
1. It’s a time eater
Hosting a blog takes way more time that I ever imagined. Seriously. The amount of time it takes to write posts, format them, upload screenshots and other photos, as well as check and edit everything, sometimes on top of dealing with lagging internet or a buggy WordPress interface is no joke.
I once almost lost 11,000 words of my Gaksital review coz of a problem saving on WordPress. Shudder. Thankfully, I managed to copy the draft off my otherwise frozen screen and paste it into a new draft. Phew. Or you might’ve never seen my Gaksital review, seriously. Coz I don’t know if I could’ve rewritten it all..!
You’ve probably also noticed that I make it a point to respond personally to as many comments as I can. I love responding to your comments coz it allows me to get to know you guys. It does take time though, and making time for this is part of the challenge of running this blog.
Sometimes it’s hard to keep up, especially when Real Life acts up.
I’m grateful, though, that you guys are super patient, not only with waiting for my responses to your comments, but also with my relative infrequency of posting. Thanks, y’all ❤
2. You watch a lot less drama
It’s one of those paradoxes that you don’t discover until you start blogging, really.
No one really tells you that once you start to blog about the dramas that you love so much, that it actually eats up many, many of your drama hours. From being a lurker who used to be up-to-date on all the latest dramas, I’ve become a blogger who’s behind on so many of the new dramas that I probably shouldn’t write a year-in-review post. 😛 I dunno. Maybe I’ll write one anyway.
Going forward, I really need to find a way to get more drama on my screen.
3. Finding a way to balance it all
A couple of months ago, I faced my first existential crisis as a blogger. Essentially, I realized that writing about dramas was a double-edged sword. On the one hand, it brought certain dramas to glorious, textured life. On the other hand, it killed a lot of the joy of watching drama for me, coz I basically became overly analytical without even realizing it.
I’m still experimenting with how I consume my dramas and how I write about them, as I search for that elusive Middle Ground that so many other bloggers are looking for too.
THOUGHTS GOING FORWARD
In my existential post, I did muse mildly about whether or not I wanted to continue blogging.
When I started the blog on a whim, it was an experiment. I just wanted to find out what it was like to have a blog, really. I figured that if it got too complicated or if I got too tired, I could stop at any time.
One year in, I’ve realized that it isn’t quite so simple anymore. Because of the community that the blog has become, it’s no longer just a place on the internet where I can post my drama thoughts. It’s become a place where friendships have become real; the fabric of the blog has evolved from being made up simply of threads of my various drama thoughts, to the interweaving of lives and relationships. And that’s something precious and meaningful that I can’t easily walk away from.
So I’m gonna keep on finding a way to figure out the challenges, while enjoying the awesome.
Let’s hold on together, you guys. Kinda like this:
Blogging has turned out to be such a huge adventure, that I thought I’d hold a giveaway to celebrate the coming-of-age of the blog which I never thought I’d have, but which I now can’t imagine not having.
Back in November 2012, I stepped out of the lurking closet on Stephanie’s blog Crazy for Kdrama to recommend a drama I really, really enjoyed:
That really is the seed that quite quickly sprouted into a whole blog. (You can read the origin story of the blog here)
So I thought Queen In-hyun’s Man would be the perfect drama for this giveaway.
Yes, I’m giving away a DVD box set of Queen In-hyun’s Man! Eeee!!! 😀
If you’ve seen the drama, you already know how awesome it is and how worthy of a rewatch it is.. And if you haven’t seen the drama, this is a great chance to check it out! (You can read the short-ish review that I posted for it, early in my blogging journey, here).
Box set specs:
Title: Queen And I (I don’t know why but some dramas get alternative names when exported to the Chinese market. Apparently Hulu also lists QIHM as Queen And I)
Language: Korean / Mandarin
Subtitles: English / Mandarin (I’ve checked and the English subs are good)
Discs: 4 pretty discs, each emblazoned with one of our 4 pretty leads
Region: All regions
Worth: S$49.90 (approx. 40USD)
Who can enter
So I wanted to find a way to open the giveaway to non-subscribers, yet reward subscribers for, well, subscribing.
Here’s what I’ve come up with: Everyone can participate!! Woot! If you follow my posts but just aren’t the subscribing kind, you’re welcome to join the giveaway!
As a perk, subscribers get an additional chance to win, yay!
If you’re not yet a subscriber and would like to be one, the “follow” button is on the handy side-bar to your right. 🙂
And yes, it’s open internationally.
How to enter
To enter the giveaway, share with us about your love affair with kdrama. Like, how you got into kdrama, what was your first drama, what made you fall in love.
Let’s have fun getting to know one another’s kdrama stories! Wheeee!! 😀
Giveaway closes 31 December 2013, 23:59 (UTC +08:00).