I have previously written two blogs reflecting on ten-year milestones. The first, which was widely read and shared, was a reflection on the ten years I lived in Mogadishu. The second blog was about my ten years of teaching. Now, it is the ten-year milestone for my blogging journey. I thought it would also be appropriate to write a blog for this landmark. I published my first blog 10 years ago today – 15 September 2013. I reflected on my journalism experience. At the time I wrote and published that blog, I was a school teacher, not a journalist. I reflected on how, in 2008-9, being a journalist was my dream job but I ended up being a teacher.
The idea of becoming a blogger came to my mind in the last months of my 4-year undergraduate studies at Mogadishu University. The fear of being unemployed in the public and non-profit sectors after university graduation was intense to me as the unemployment rate was and remains high in Somalia. I thought that being a blogger and writing posts regularly might differentiate me from the graduating crowd and might increase my chances of getting employment opportunities. Despite this feeling, I had two main objectives for becoming a blogger. First, I wanted to use blogging to improve my writing skills. Second, I wanted to create a platform where I could share my thoughts and ideas with readers online in an organized manner.
I did not know the different platforms that I could use to create the blog site. I heard of WordPress.com from one of my university lecturers who was a blogger. I searched for the Platform and managed to create my first blog site (now deleted) www.mahadbile.wordpress.com. ‘Bile’ is the nickname my mother used to call me when I was young. I wanted to keep ‘bile’ affiliation with my name, but my grandfather’s name ‘Wasuge’ would replace it soon.
I did not have a mentor or someone who read my drafts before I published them. However, I developed self-discipline early on which helped me to keep writing. I dedicated an hour in the evening – between Maghrib and Isha prayers – to write the blog posts. In that one hour, I was not supposed to do anything else but write. I might write on a topic and outline a post in one night and write several paragraphs the following night. And I then used to spend several nights rereading, rewriting, and improving my early drafts. I did not have someone else reviewing my drafts, so I used to be the editor of my blog posts.
I did not have someone in my network who could help me with my drafts due to my limited network of writers. However, later on, in 2015, I got to know a Facebook friend, Abdi Mahad, who agreed to read and edit my drafts. His edits (using track changes) helped me a lot in improving my writing. I am grateful for his invaluable support in my blogging journey. He never wanted me to publicly thank him for his contributions to my blog posts. I hope he will see and read this blog.
In the past ten years, my blogging has significantly improved my writing skills. It became a measurement for me to evaluate the progress of my writing. I have never edited my previous blog posts, and I don’t want to do so. I want to see my growth through my writing. I want to go back and reread my published blogs later.
I did not have a special area to focus on in my blog posts early on. The key rule for me was just to keep writing and publishing blogs. I wrote about employment, my past experiences, my life journey, travel, youth, and other topics. However, my blogs later on leaned towards travel blogs and reflections on my personal journey. I wrote travel blogs of many cities in Somalia I visited. For me, blogging allows me to write and express my feelings, observations, and thoughts. And I enjoy doing this. A reader of my travelogues once recommended that I compile all my travel blogs and put them into a book – a great idea that I am still considering.
Blogging also enabled me to reflect and share my personal journey. When I wrote a reflection blog on my ten years of living in Mogadishu, it inspired youths who probably thought there was no quality education in Somalia, which I believe is not an excuse. I write and share my blog posts to share my stories and experiences with many Somali youths who can relate my story to theirs. I received feedback and text messages from youth who were inspired by my blogs. Inspiring the Somali youth is one of the reasons why I write blogs.
During the past ten years, I have made friends through my blogging. In 2016, while in the restaurant of a hotel, I was staying in Bosaso, someone in the restaurant called my name. I did not expect someone in Bosaso to know me. He was Abdi Issa, an avid reader who later became a blogger. He read some of my previous blogs. We became friends since then. I also got many other friends on social media through my blogging.
In May 2019, I upgraded my wordpress.com blog site into a website (www.mahadwasuge.com). The upgrade also enabled me to export all my previous blogs as well as to add my other writings and talks to the website.
The blog is a diary for me. It keeps me a lot of memories. When I travel to a city in Somalia, I write my observations while fresh in my memory. These memories would be lost if I did not manage to write. My reflection on my visit to Galdogob in 2014 was my first travel blog. I don’t remember all my observations, but when I reread that blog, I can vividly remember what I wrote and refresh my memory. There are stories and memories that I keep in my blogging. I want my kids to read these blogs when they grow up.
Although I did not get the chance to attend a blogging course myself, I have had the privilege to teach blog writing skills to youth in Mogadishu. Thanks to the SPA Center for Learning and Development flagship blog writing training course that is offered twice every year. I share my blogging experience, tips, and skills with youth who are interested in becoming bloggers.
The reason I was able to keep writing blogs in the past ten years is that I love writing about personal experiences and observations. The blogging is giving me the space to write and publish these experiences. And more importantly, it enables me to document important memories and inspire others. I look forward to writing my 20-year blogging milestone in ten years!
Did you read any of my previous blogs? And what were your takeaways? Share with me in the comment section.