Everything ‘Pawlean’: a 5-year reflection
It’s Pawlean’s birthday this month! 🎂
The humble beginnings of Pawlean
I re-launched my blog back on August 19th 2015 after disappearing off the blogosphere for a couple of years to focus on studying for my A-Level exams and getting into university. I needed the break, to be honest, I was struggling with balancing studies and my hobbies so I solely focused just on studying.
The nerves that I felt along with ridiculous excitement when hitting that ‘Publish‘ button on WordPress once again was so surreal. 🤩 Even though you may think that I’m a seasoned blogger, I still got nervous then as I do now.
It’s been 5 years since that day, and since then my experience online isn’t limited to blogging. Although blogging will always have a special place in my heart.
Today, I create videos on YouTube, engage with folks on social media platforms, chat to inspirational people and recently launched a podcast. I’ve enjoyed diversifying the things I create under, “Pawlean”! Heck, I’ve even be featured on other people’s (and organisations) creations because of what I’ve managed to create here.
(Side note: I say this quite a lot, but I wish that there was a different word to describe how the content I put out there and what I’ve built over time has become. None of that personal brand nonsense. I could go on about why I think “personal brand” is nonsense, but I would seriously derail the topic focus! 🤣 I prefer “online presence”)
I’m proud of what I’ve done here and hope to continue in the years to come. I don’t know what that looks like, but right now, I love what I’m doing here. It’s fun, it’s never a chore, it relaxes me and gets me away from the stresses of life even if it’s just for a short while. 😌
My ‘why’ behind Pawlean
Whenever someones ask me why I do what I do (some of these questions are folks that are genuinely curious about why I put a lot of effort in this, but some ask in a “where do you find the time, omg I’m eye-rolling-alot-kinda-way”) it always comes back to this reason: I fucking love it.
I love how much I learn from the process of turning an idea into something real and something that I (and others) get a lot of value of. During this process, I pick up skills in things that I would never really have the chance to develop otherwise such as podcast or video editing or writing to communicate to a specific type of audience.
I’ve also gained confidence in myself as my work continues to reach others who give me direct feedback on how I’m doing. Some of this is constructive feedback on, for example, the quality of my content which I take on and continuously improve upon.
As I continue to build on my skills outside of what I do ‘professionally’, I feel like I slowly become an all-rounded, mindful person which overall boosts my self-esteem and confidence. Because of my blog and everything else, I’ve gained confidence in speaking in front of others, being interviewed (for a feature or in front of a camera) and even writing technical documentation!
What I developed from each project
- Inspiring Figures: confidence in interviewing other people, connecting with others and communicating their story to my audience.
- Podcast: sharing thoughts/ideas in a different format to blogging, editing audio
- Videos: filming myself talk in front of a camera, using a camera, video editing
- This blog: writing, communicating ideas to others, organising content
- All of them: social media
What really is important
The self-development aspect of building an online presence is often overlooked. Everyone focuses on the number of views, subscribers or how their engagement is looking… I don’t look at ‘my reach’ or engagement too much – most the time, I only really look at the emails Google Analytics sends me every month and in December as I write my annual reflection. For me, this is what drains the fun out of creating.
What I do focus on is how I feel writing and sharing the things that I do. I love the rush of when I manage to time music correctly to a video clip, when I put the perfect picture in a blog post or when I get listen to my podcast after the final edit for the first time. Or when someone tells me that what they read/watched/listened to helped them get through a tough patch…
It’s truly a magical feeling and is the motivation behind everything by Pawlean and always will be. 💜
Some quick-fire facts
- My first blog was on Piczo, and it was about High School Musical and my favourite cartoons.
- I entered a Namecheap competition every single Christmas to hopefully one day get a free domain name from them. I wanted an official domain name after years of using random subdomains. My first ‘proper’ blog was called something like Promise 😂
- I found my love for developing websites because of my blog (hours of teaching myself the basics then attempting to create WordPress themes from scratch – good times), which eventually inspired me into my career in tech.
- Some of the friends that I made along the way since I was 8 years old are the friends I still speak to today. I know, wild. Who knew we’d all grow up on the internet together?
- My first visitor was definitely my mum 😆
Thank you again for the continuous support and for sharing my thoughts in pixels! 😊 Here’s a happy birthday to Pawlean later this month.