Dear reader! Today I’m celebrating! Today I’ve completed my 30-day expat blog challenge! Thirty articles written in 30 days! I’m so proud (and also relieved!). It might not seem much… You may think, well, it’s quite easy to write one article per day, especially during a lockdown… Writing is not so hard; anyone can do it!
Well… it’s more complicated than that! And much harder than I thought, I can tell you that!
As it is the last article of my expat blog challenge, I wanted to share with you what I’ve learnt while writing those 30 articles as a beginner blogger! My God I’ve said it! I’m a blogger! Scary!!!!
Don’t worry I’ll continue writing every week! This is just the beginning!
What I’ve learnt during my 30-day expat blog challenge
When I started the challenge on 10th April, I had launched the blog for only 10 days! I had the basic structure laid out and a long list of articles topics I could write about. That was pretty much it!
This challenge has taught me quite a bit! And only that is a success for me!
I can pull out articles in English faster than I thought
As you may know, I’m French. I’ve used English during all my professional life and have lived for several years in English speaking countries. I’ve also studied English as a major at University. So I’m not a beginner at writing in English (even though my student time feels far away now). However, writing an article for a blog is not the same as writing a work email, talking to colleagues or clients, or chatting to friends on What’s app!
When I started I was afraid my English was not perfect enough. Yes, I’m a perfectionist… but this project has taught me that it is better to start and do it, than waiting to be perfect to maybe do it!
I’ve already had some nice feedback from native English speaking friends or friends used to reading in English, and it seems my English is good enough, with some turn of phrase a bit… French! Ah! Maybe it gives the blog some charm, what do you think?
I can learn the technical aspects of blogging and deliver with tight deadlines
I had published only two articles on the blogosphere before starting this challenge, so I still have a lot to learn about blogging such as writing while also taking SEO (Search Engine Optimization) into account, editing an article, illustrating it, promoting it…
It is not easy to do it all at the same time with such a tight deadline! The first two weeks were fine, but the rhythm got intense as I got a bit delayed (yes, I authorised myself some days off!). I’m happy I could catch up and make it on time!
Plan the articles helps creativity, but planning shouldn’t prevent spontaneity
The list of ideas for articles was a great base for inspiration. However, I find it essential to have the will to write an article. The motivation to be creative and authentic! So, many times, when I initially planned to write a specific article and sometimes even started to prepare it, I ended up writing another one I felt like writing more!
This is exactly what happened for the article “5 differences between French and Canadian high school“. Initially, I was planning to write about International schools in France! But it made me reminiscence about my own high school experience and the great time I had in Canada! So I followed my spontaneity and postponed just for a few days my article on International schools in France.
Things I want to improve
Even though I managed to write and work on other aspects of blogging at the same time of creating content, I now want to improve my blog. The more I research about blogging and web marketing, the more I realise I have so much to learn and to do!
Which makes this new adventure so exciting!
I think it is essential to keep on learning even as an adult. To get out of our comfort zone! This is something expats are experiencing every day!
Give a nicer layout to my blog
While doing some research on what other bloggers are doing and how they are doing it, I’ve seen some beautiful expat blogs that I follow and love such as the pure layout of Unintentionally Frenchified, or the very professional blog Oui in France.
When I first started, I found it extremely hard to choose the best Word Press Theme (the actual layout of the site). And not to delay further the start of this new adventure, I gave myself one day to choose! I think it is great I rushed this decision otherwise I may have never started! But today, I feel that I need to work more on the aesthetics of the blog. So this will be one of my coming objectives!
Promote my articles on the WorldWide Web
We all know how social media can be time-consuming! It can also keep us away from doing the actual work… well, they are also essential to a good promotion… if you know how to use them well. Which is not my case…YET! I’ll get there eventually, and this is part of my learning curve!
Overcome my fear of getting my face (and myself) out there
I haven’t shown my face on the Expat in France social media yet. Not entirely true as you may have noticed I’ve just taken a photo of myself to illustrate today’s article! This is something I’m a bit anxious about as I’m not so comfortable with the idea of personal branding. Who knows, this might change along the way.
Saying this, expatriation is a very personal subject and I also think that sharing my experience as a French expat or just a French person, can help you as an expat in France, or even French people to understand what expats are going through.
Find my writing style in English
Finding my own writing style is going to take a while, I know that. Especially that I’m adding an extra layer of complexity by not writing in my mother tongue. I’m also discovering that I enjoy, more than I expected, the exercise of putting my thoughts and tips on paper, or my keyboard! I’m very excited to keep improving my English writing skills. If you keep following me, let me know if you see an evolution down the road!
My expat blog challenge highlights
In a few words, this are the main highlights od this crazy expat blog challenge, I have just completed:
The article I enjoyed the most writing: Faire la bise in France
(Is it confusing for you as an expat?)
The article I enjoyed the least writing: The 2020 French tax season started!
(who likes taxes, right?)
The article that got the most viewers so far: How to benefit from French healthcare?
(and also the article I’ve shared the most of specialised Facebook pages. It’s great to see that it pays off!)
The number of pages views in the last 30 days: 886 views.
(Not too bad for a brand new blog with very little promotion)
How you can help me as my reader?
Help me feel that I don’t write into the void
First, I would like to thank the people that already encouraged me their own way, gave me advice, corrected some of my English mistakes, gave me constructive feedback. This is more encouraging than you imagine!
My first motivation for writing this blog is to help expats lost in Frenchness and red tape. I have myself experienced it many times in Canada, Ireland, Argentina, Spain, and Brazil… And today I also want to share my personal and professional experience with you, Francophile, expat in France, French people interested in cultural integration and discoveries.
I work very hard to create the best content I can, so if you like it or found it useful, please let me know, it will make me very happy and keep me motivated for more and better content.
How can you encourage me?
It’ll give you some ideas, they are very easy, free and take only a few seconds of your time:
- Give comments below the articles to show your interest and give feedback. It also gets the conversation started.
- Share my articles on social media or mention them to your friends to grow the community
- Follow me on Instagram: expat_in_france
- Invite your friends to my Facebook page: Expat in France
I would like to thank you all again! If there is no reader, there is no blogger!