On September 2, 2021, this blog (consulardiplomacy.com) celebrated its first anniversary. It has been an exhilarating roller-coaster ride, with big ups, deep downs, and sharp turns. It has been quite an experience!
First, let’s talk about the big ups.
Learning a new skill is always challenging but doing it alone in the midst of a pandemic turned out to be a highlight. Never in the history of humankind learning something new has been so easy. From watching tutorials to reading blogs about blogs, the only requirement is time and perseverance. Of course, a good internet connection and a decent computer are essential nowadays.
Besides, you can now set up a blog or webpage in minutes using website builders’ platforms — no need for coding or SEO expertise. Choose and click, and you are done in minutes. In addition, today´s online trends are moving towards the intensive use of visuals, so I became a graphic designer with the help of online services such as Canva.
However, as always, nothing is as easy as it seems, and you can get stuck very quickly, so never underestimate the value of an expert.
The acme of this year has been writing about topics that I am passionate about that hopefully could be interesting to someone. Some of the ideas for the posts have been in my mind for a very long time, but I did not have the platform to publish them either an instant to create them.
It also has allowed me to connect with persons and ideas that otherwise could have been impossible. And some exciting opportunities rose too!
Now, the deep downs.
As in any roller-coaster ride, the car rises slowly to the top, and then it flies towards the bottom in nanoseconds. Sometimes, blogging felt exactly like that!
Technology can facilitate almost everything, but once you are stuck, there is no way out. So, even after a year, I must confess that I am still struggling with some issues as basic as how to embed the link into a Twitter post.
Another issue has been the topics of the blog. While public diplomacy continues to expand rapidly in the academic realm and real-world practices, issues related to consular diplomacy have not moved a lot in recent years. Even Google SEO tools know that very few persons worldwide are searching the web for the term consular diplomacy!
The life of a budding learner without institutional links and passwords can be brutal; like a child with no money outside a candy store, you can see them but cannot eat them. Fortunately, I have been able to get some books and articles as a professor or sometimes have to pay. There are so many things open access, but there is still much more behind the paywalls of publishing mammoths. And if you are curious as I am, it can turn to be quite frustrating.
And there is also the issue of the almost insurmountable language barriers. One of the reasons I write the blog in English is because some of the accomplishments and experiences of Mexico are not known beyond my colleagues. But, by doing these, I am keeping people that do not speak it. As a compromise, I write in another platform a summary of my blogpost in Spanish.
There are always sharp turns in a roller-coaster.
Even the best-laid plan can turn south. When I write a blog post, I have an idea of the theme, but it gets complicated as I read and write, so there are sharp turns everywhere. Writers-block does exist, but not in the way I imagined!
Besides, life does not stop, so there are too many distractions, particularly when the specific blogpost is turning to be a hassle. The pantheon of dead blogposts ideas in my computer is proliferating rapidly.
And there are always surprises! A post that did not take much time could be a hit, while the most-researched piece, a big miss. Even a Twitter post that was written in a rush could outperform a supposedly well-though one. You just never know.
A year of blogging has been an exhilarating roller-coaster ride, and who does not like a good one?