CHUP is now three years old! What up what up.
People ask me on a regular basis what it takes to run this blog, particularly because I started it with a stated objective – to provide a more nuanced and balanced perspective on Pakistan. But if you had told me when I founded CHUP that I’d still be blogging and sleep-deprived three years later, I would not have believed you. [In fact, I would have said, “WTF, future self?!”] But here I am, and here are some survival tips and lessons I picked up along the way:
- Coffee. It is my lifeline. No really. Try juggling a full-time job and blogging/writing at night. Coffee is a freaking God sent. [My friend just sent me this TED talk by Ariana Huffington though, which is pretty fitting:]
- Ignore the trolls. No not the ugly cute trolls we were obsessed with in the 90’s that wore funny outfits and were somewhat creepy. I’m referring to blog trolls, i.e., the people who swim about the blogosphere and try to leech off your blog, using your site as a platform to irrationally insult you, other commentators, their mother, your mother…the list goes on. I used to be pretty tolerant of said trolls, thinking my comment section was like, totally, a democracy. Well it shouldn’t be. Those leeches will bleed you dry. So unless said comments are constructive, don’t approve. Annihilate the trolls.
- Blog posts you spend days writing may get 0 comments. Blog posts you write in 10 minutes on Zardari, Palin and potential hugging will get a zillion comments. Talk yourself off that ledge. That is just the way the universe works.
- Practice blog etiquette. Nothing pisses me off more than people who comment on my blog just to plug their own blog. Shameless self-promotion will not drive traffic. It will just get you bitch slapped. Also, if you derived an idea from another blogger or website, mention them, quote them and link to them.
- Only start blogging if you think you’ll still want to write about that topic three years later. If you are only mildly interested in the intricacies of Bieber fever for instance, your blog may die a slow death in a few months. Pakistan, fortunately (and unfortunately), is never boring to write about.
- Figure out your voice. When I first started CHUP, I was almost clinical in my writing – blogging about current affairs and yet very rarely infusing my own opinion in the posts. As time went on, shades of myself started to pour into my words. I am generally diplomatic, but I also find humor in the most inappropriate of situations (Politicians with hair plugs? Mushy on Facebook? Rehman Malik’s clown hair? How can you not laugh?). Your voice is what gives your blog integrity, what differentiates you from others, and what makes you unique.
- The haters are gonna keep sipping the haterade. I’ll admit it. I am an insecure blogger. Bloggers put our opinions on display for the world, and sometimes negative comments can destroy us. But what I’ve realized is that not everyone is going to love you, and people love to hate. I know, man. This post is increasingly sounding Dr. Phil-worthy. Sorry.
- I like my red highlights, ok?! I know some of you hate it. But it’s my blog, and I’m the girl who used to have 15 different kinds of highlighters and post-its. Piss off.
So, Happy Birthday, CHUP. It’s been a gratifying and fabulous three years, and I am constantly inspired by my fellow Pakistani bloggers, who truly put me to shame with their awesome snarky eloquence. I have also met so many wonderful and awe-spiring people in Pakistan through this platform, from filmmakers to t-shirt designers to social entrepreneurs. But most importantly, thank you, dear readers, for continuing to visit this blog. To this day, I can’t fathom why anyone other than my parents would want to read what I have to say, but you guys are really the reason I keep writing. Thanks, dudes.