An Open Letter To New Bloggers In Korea: Don’t Put Down Your Pen
Dear New Bloggers,
Congratulations on putting yourself out there and beginning your new project! I’m sure the emotions whirling inside of you are almost too strong to contain. I, myself, know the feeling which comes with starting a new blog to document your adventures in a new place. My first blog ever was actually started in South Korea, and I also went through all the mix of emotions. Excitement, inspiration, motivation, and (unfortunately) fear.
In case you’re wondering, no, that fear never goes away. You just learn to blog through it and live with it – especially in Korea, where so many expats have already blogged and made their mark leaving little space left on the map for further exploration. At times, blogging in Korea felt like that one awful scene in the movie The Truman Show when Jim Carrey’s character stands up in his middle school class and proclaims he would like to be an explorer like the great Magellan, and two sends later his hopes and dreams are crushed by his teacher who whips out a map and smugly tells him there’s nothing left of the world to explore. Yeah, blogging in Korea can feel like that at times. What’s worse? There are “old expats” in Korea who have absolutely no problem playing the role of that soulless teacher. They’re going to be the ones who make blogging in Korea an absolute nightmare at times. (And here you thought it was going to be people you knew back home who might ridicule your blog.)
These old expats are basically the equivalent of the “cool kids” in high school. These people are currently uninspired, so they work, make money, and troll other expats on social media platforms. They’ve lost their passion and loathe the idea that others might still feel inspired by Korea. So, what will they do when you, a bright eyed and optimistic new blogger, tries to venture into the world of blogging about Korea? They’ll ridicule you. They’ll laugh at your posts about popular cafes, common street foods, and guides to eating bbq, and they’ll do all this for no reason other than they’re bored with their “seen it all and done it all” life in Korea. They’re too cozy to leave, but so bitter that they stay and try to ruin the experiences of new expats.
How should you handle these grumpy perma-expats when you first start writing? Don’t listen to them. Don’t let them discourage you or your experience as a blogger in Korea. You’ve decided to take up this new project to document your own journey and share it. Believe me when I say that the people who do care about what you write will come.
When you receive that first bitter comment, just let it fuel your next post. Continue to write despite what they might say. Your project and your time in Korea is yours and yours alone. No one else can see the world through your eyes, nor can they describe your experiences in your voice. For that reason, I hope when a rude comment makes its way on your blog, you make the choice to not give up your project.
When I woke up one morning to a particularly nasty (and completely unjustified) comment on my blog, I wanted to quit. I felt small, insignificant, and foolish for trying to share with the world something that I loved doing. I opened my journal and wrote about the experience. That’s when it hit me. I love writing. Whether I quit or carry on with the blog I’m going to write anyway. It’s my passion and my obsession. It’s how I personally communicate best with the world. I may not be the best grammarian, my prose might suck at times, and I know damn well I’ve made embarrassing mistakes like confusing “their, there, and they’re” as I rushed to get my thoughts on paper. Who cares? It’s the thoughts that are unique to me that matter – just as your blog is special because you’ve documented thoughts that are unique to you. As long as your blog is sincere and true to who you are as a traveler and writer, people will see the genuine love and attention you give to it.
So please don’t put down your pen. You matter, your journey matters, and your voice matters.
A Former Blogger In Korea