Friday, 22 February 2013

Breaking the Silence

This is only my second blog post in 2013. It has never been so quiet on my blog since I started it in June 2011. The reason is that I read an article Why Bloggers Fail and the article made me think. Derek Halpern says that "It turns out that most people who start blogs quit within the first 3 months." Well I am glad to say I survived the first 3 months! To tell you the truth this blog is nearly two years old.

So what made me think? He says most bloggers waste too much time creating new content. According to him "the secret lies in your ability to promote the content you already have". So I did a small experiment for a couple of weeks I did not create any new content and I just watched to see whether there were still people reading the blog. To my surprise there were still many people reading content, so that was a great discovery. The only thing I did notice was that there were nearly no new comments so that is a little sad. Maybe I should have done a little more to promote the content I already have.

I made another discovery during the time of silence on the blog. I discovered that when I was not in the routine of writing the blog it became more difficult to start writing on the blog again. It's a little like exercising when you are in the routine of going to the sports club twice a week it's easy to keep doing it but once you stop going it's harder to get the discipline and start going again.  

I have another dilemma. I have this dream that I want to write a book. I need to find or make some extra time somewhere. I have a job during the day and all my writing is done in the evenings or weekends. Maybe if I spend less time writing for my blog I will have more time to write my dream book. Do you have the same kind of problem? Do you have any tips?

By the way the dream book I want to write is about third culture kids. I need your help. What kind of book would you like to read on the topic? Do you have any thoughts, questions, or suggestions that could be useful for me? Please share them. What topics should be addressed? Or do you think there are enough books about expat kids? Please break the silence with me on my blog and let your voice be heard.

Ps. Let me share another secret with you. If you want more comments on your blog then leave more comments on other blogs and see what happens. I tried it and it works, but it requires some discipline and time.

Related Posts:
Book review of the book: Expat Teens Talk 
Interview with Heidi Sand-Hart author of "Home Keeps Moving"
Book: Emotional Resilience and the Expat Child
Third culture kids speaking "I'm not from Anywhere"
Book review of Expat Alien
Interview with Expat Author Apple Gildley (Adventures In Expat Land)


  1. Hello! :)

    Interesting post, about 'Why Bloggers Fail'. I've had the same doubts recently, about my own blog. It seems many people either 'visit' the page, or open it 'by chance' or worse, 'by mistake'. Still it is not common practice to leave comments. Wonder why that is so ...

    Anyways, I always like to visit your blog, as it does hit a nerve with me. Not as an expat, which I no longer am, but the idea of defining 'home' is always interesting. I enjoy reading about how people experience the moving around, and I am curious as to whether or not it is such a difficult word to define for them, as it is for me.

    Also, are TCKs fully aware of their THREE cultures? Or is there one that they understand (and perhaps 'lived') better?

    Hope this is clear, and that I have helped. :)

    Best regards,

    1. Hi Lucia! Thanks for breaking the silence with me. It is a lot nicer on our blogs when there is interaction. A friend of mine writes a Dutch blog and she says she gets even less comments on her Dutch blog than when she writes in English.

      Thanks for your encouraging words. Home for me now is the Netherlands, but recently when I was in Indonesia I felt so at ease. It felt a little like coming "home", while I had never lived in Indonesia but many things reminded me of growing up in Malawi, Africa (even the lovely bright flowers). I just love those bright colours!!!

  2. My tip is to create a list of the links to all the posts on your blog and then tweet them all out regularly. People need to be reminded of your old posts and it will increase your readership. Agree about commenting on other blogs - it builds good karma :)

    As someone who's married to a TCK and who only discovered he was a TCK late in life, I would like to see more written about older TCKs. There are still so many people out there who don't realize what an impact their mobile childhood has had on their lives.

  3. Hi Judy, thanks for your comment. I see you have changed your blog. It looks nice. Thanks for your tip about the list and regularly tweeting about it.

    Your comment is spot on because it's in the line of what I want to write about. The mobile childhood has a great impact, it still affects my life many years down the lane... I'm now reading "Gods of Noonday" a white girl's African life by Elaine Neil Orr. Interesting.

  4. Hello Janneke,
    Most books on TCKs tend to give advice on leaving home and finding a new life in a new country. For me the biggest problem has been bringing my TCKs home again. They didn't feel as if they belonged, they had forgotten how to write in their own language and felt their friends had moved on without them. It's been two and a half years and we're still struggling...
    And I do agree, in order to get more traffic to your blog you have to read and comment on other blogs. This however, takes a lot of time and dedication!
    Good luck with the book!

    1. Hi Maggie, thanks for your comment. I have seen that you manage to get lots of comments on your blog :).
      It's so true what you say that returning home is the most challenging. There's not so much written about that. It's actually most challenging because often we don't expect it to be difficult and that catches us by surprise. I hope your TCKs have had the worst after 2,5 years and that it gets better from here?
      For those who did not read it: check out the interview I did with Maggie in December 2012. It's interesting!

  5. Welcome back! I've been visiting your blog, but didn't leave comments as I thought that you weren't "there" as I didn't read any newer posts... Strange, right? I'm sorry for that.
    I find your idea about writing a book about TCK (or maybe TCA?) very interesting. There are many other books on the market, that's right. What I haven't found yet - but maybe you have read more than me on the subject - is, like "expatriatelife" suggested, something about the TCA's. Those who have been TCK before and are now TCA's. I would like to know more about how they consider their life. Most of the books are written from the point of view of not-TCK's or not-TCA's and always in comparison with the "normal" or not-(so much)travelling lifestyle. Being TCK's or TCA's is still considered "different", but this is not true anymore... Anyways, I'm very interested to know what you'll decide. And about the time-problem: why don't you write on your book during the weekends and still write posts during the week?

    1. Hi Expat Since Birth I see you are still going strong on your blog. Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment :).
      It's true that many Third culture kids (TCKs) have grown up and now are adult third culture kids (ATCKs) or third culture adults (TCA). There are a few books written by adult TCKs like the recently published "Expat Alien", Kathleen Gamble grew up in Africa and then became an expat in Russia. So like you she became an expat too.
      I think the number of kids growing up in other cultures or growing as cross culture kids will only increase, so I think it is a very interesting topic. Maybe we need to talk together more on this subject?
      Thanks for your writing tip!

    2. I would love to talk more about this subject too. I also noticed that there are some tips for parents of TCK's to prepare them for the frequent moves, but are there empirical studies about how children of all the different yeargroups react and cope with this?

  6. Hi there, welcome back.
    I too have taken a time away and Windmill.Fields was still being read and found. It made me think do my readers need me at all!
    Hence now the new blog with a direct focus.
    About the book I agree with above readers, something on adult TCK, most articles.are about children
    Ideas, How to re integrate into society, DH is finding it hard adapting back in NL

    1. Hi Rosalind, welcome back too. The new blog with the new focus? Do you mean the Two Little Monkeys in Breda? It sounds exciting!
      Thanks for your tips. DH is that your husband?

  7. That's very interesting! I'm new to your blog and happy to see some interesting content. Thanks for alerting me to that article about blogs - I have recently started my own blog about expats and intercultural communication and am still in the 'dangerous three months'. I can imagine it's important to keep blogging as a routine, or it falls easily by the wayside...

    In terms of topic – I know of one recent academic article focusing on the advantages of ‘biculturals’ for business success (Brannen, M. Y., & Thomas, D. C. (2010). Bicultural Individuals in Organizations Implications and Opportunity. International Journal of Cross Cultural Management, 10(1), 5-16). It would be interesting to also see focus on the advantages (A)TCKs have.

    As for your dilemma of writing a book vs. writing for your blog - isn't there a way in which you can combine it? The topic is the same, so maybe you can explore themes you'd like to put in the book in blog posts and then later you can rewrite them to include in your book - with having the advantage of comments and suggestions which can help you develop your ideas further. Hope this helps!

  8. Hi Marian, welcome and thanks for leaving a comment. I must admit I was rather passionate when I started my blog. I posted a new post every day for the first 6 weeks of my blog. Especially in the beginning routine is important, just keep at it.
    Thanks for mentioning an article, I will look into that. Finding a way to combine the blog and the book is a good suggestion. I need to give that some more thought.

  9. Hello, and welcome back again- I was actually thinking what happened to you? Yes, I was also thinking what makes some blogs popular and not others. I am not so sure whether that article is correct. I still think that content is important- because with time you get better, and noticed more (my experience!). Another thing is blogger facebook groups (such as the Multcultural kids blogs) an guest posts- helps a lot! As for the book, such a great idea! I post three times a week, but sometimes write only twice a week if I can't get new content together. I would love for you to write a TCK book! I like reading personal stories, together with some research. Yes, you could totally use your blog posts for a book-I also like the idea of a book that is comprised of shorter stories and articles. It could be about you= I think advice is easy to find, but personal stories are not...

  10. Hi Olga, I agree completely with you that the content is very important too! Maybe I should try the Multicultural facebook group, I see you are very active. I have read that posting 2-3 times a week is a good frequency, that was in another article, I did that for quite some time. Your suggestion is a good one to combine the personal stories with research. Thanks for the encouraging words.

  11. I totally understand and relate about the difficulty of keeping a blog up... Especially when there isn't much time to write! (I'm in school most of the day and am now in the class were we start having a TON of homework)and sometimes it's just a little hard to get the blog going because it seems that there aren't that many readers.
    Go ahead and write the book. There's no such thing as TOO MANY books on a subject! Maybe include how being a TCK helps reach success easily!
    Let's support each other. I'll comment regularly!

    1. Thanks for stopping by and commenting Veggie Polyglotographer. Good idea to support each other! I must hop over to see how your blog is doing. Keep at it. We need more TCKs writing blogs and books :).
      Why do you think being a TCK helps to be successful?

    2. Well, this one is pretty obvious, but speaking several languages opens up so many possibilities career-wise. And like your latest interviewee said, TCK's have different ways of viewing the world from more experience, so in most cases we are a little more open-minded (living in France but going to an international school, I noticed that about my TCK friends comparing them to my purely french friends). I think that career wise we have advantages!