When I started my blog “Reading Ruffolos” four years ago, my goal was to document my journey in making bookworms out of my firstborns.
Scanning the first four entries of my blog, which were posted a few days after Christmas 2013, I was reacquainted to this young mother who sounded passionate — perhaps overly so — to teach her then three-month-old twins the joy of book reading and storytelling.
Back then, I did not have any idea about the technical side of blogging. But the eager mother that I was wanted to make sure that this part of my life will be well documented. I had overwhelming energy to write and share to the online sphere what I did and what I would do as a mother and reading advocate.
After endless hours of research and several nights of consulting/hounding my two friends, Jorly Maloloy-on (filmmaker and cinema operations officer of Oriente Theatre) and Verge Gamotan (co-owner of Dolce Casa and all-around tech guy/web designer, I finally took the plunge into the world of domain name registration and web hosting.
A previous part-time job taught me search engine optimization (SEO) and the power of keywords, so I had an idea on how to run content.
I tried to do this for a while, but after only a few posts, I got bored with the SEO formula.
In the US, I learned more about blogging as a pregnant continuing education student at Flathead Valley Community College in Kalispell, Montana. I was four weeks shy of popping Baby No. 3 while taking a course entitled “Blogging for Creative People.”
My teacher was a wonderful lady named Kathie Lapcevic, the woman behind Homespun Seasonal Living (www.homespunseasonalliving.com). She taught me how to monetize my blog, how to get free books, how to improve my layout and how to get around plug-ins.
I learned that it is fine to embrace the world of SEO but to always remember that original content is the game changer.
There was tremendous support from people around the world after I spent serious time in writing and updating my blog.
From being just a venue to talk about reading and storytelling, I rebranded the blog as my platform to share my thoughts and experiences on motherhood and womanhood. In between, I wrote travel stories and worked on reviews of books, restaurants and hotels. I gave my husband a chance to write about his experience as a daddy. I also assigned him to do reviews of products and services.
In the US, I became the spoiled mommy blogger. All sorts of free stuff arrived in our mailbox: milk, shampoo, clothes, food, books and . . . more books.
It was Christmas every week.
I learned that when you give honest reviews of products, there are companies which take time to get back to you to either extend their gratitude or correct their mistake. Some hire you to write for them. I did not accept any offer though because I had three children to manage and a master’s degree to complete.
I slowed down on blogging when we moved back to the Philippines because I went back to writing for a living on (almost) full-time basis. I still participate in some campaigns, but I am picky. I do not want to post nice things because everyone is doing so. I need to be honest and truthful in my posts.
I feel that there is too much fake news and pretensions online that I do not want to add to the clutter.
What I found really surprising and heartwarming is the barrage of comments in my emails, Facebook and other social media channels. When I opened up about my depression, a mother of two sent me a message to tell me that she was thinking of committing suicide and then she read my blog entry.
Another gracious lady told me that I’ll do just fine when I wrote about how paranoid I am about being a mother of three living in a foreign land.
I stopped earning material things out of blogging since I moved back here in the Philippines. But I have been so rich with feedback and support from mothers, many of whom I didn’t know before, who became my friends, confidantes and prayer warriors.
I’ve been hesitant to declare this but now I’ll say it: yes, I’m a mommy blogger.
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I’m moderating a conversation/talk show with Cecilia Manguerra Brainard at 5:00 p.m. today at the Ayala Activity Center as part of the Cebu Literary Festival. Miss Brainard is launching a new book “The Newspaper Widow,” so it’s going to be a treat for all Cebuano bookworms. See you![“Source-cebudailynews”]