Dearest readers: It’s time to make some noise. I’m delighted to announce that ririnagao.com is finally mine and would like to welcome you to celebrate this auspicious moment. The layout is a bit messy but don’t worry, I’m working on a redesign. I don’t mean to be that friend who invites you over for a housewarming party without tidying up the mess but I know you’ll understand. Now that I run a self-hosted blog, I wanted to share some thoughts, reflections and announcements.

1. Exploring various topics
Earlier in March, I started ririnagao.wordpress.com because I needed a creative outlet to talk about things that matter to me. The subjects ranged from learning user experience, living and teaching abroad, training for the New York City Marathon and other personal things. Writing drives me nuts but also provides me with a sense of comfort. I’ve enjoyed the process of putting my thoughts into tangible articles and expressing myself in an articulate and compelling manner. I’m still exploring my voice as a blogger and will continue writing on a wide range of topics. If you have any recommendations, I’m all ears.

2. Removing weekly reads
I love compiling together articles from around the web but I’ve decided to eliminate this segment from the blog. This was to stay as up to date as I could on trends and discussions around user experience, tech, design and entrepreneurship. At this point, I want to focus on producing articles of quality and in-depth writing rather than quick-hit commentaries. I want to go into deeper discussions on topics that I have opinions on. My Google Drive is full of drafts and it is getting out of control in terms of unfinished ideas that just sit around. With one less segment to worry about, I can focus on writing for the sake of giving my brain some clarity.

3. Redesigning the blog
My WordPress.com blog was run on an existing theme. It wasn’t the greatest but it was sufficient for what I needed. With my own domain, I control the design and I could not be more thrilled. I’ve created paper prototypes and looked up WordPress themes that I could install. Although I’m in UX, I’m not a visual designer so designing my page is a struggle. I was hesitant about launching this site without a good design but I’m too eager to wait. Plus, the core of my blog is my writing. That being said, however, if you have any experience with WordPress themes or can point me to useful resources, I’d love that.

4. Transitioning all my content
I’ve managed to import the content from my WordPress.com blog but I intend to keep it up for a bit longer until the transition is complete. Most images are uploaded to that platform and I know that once I remove my blog posts there, my pictures will also need to be re-uploaded. I was trying to figure out a way to re-link my content so that they direct you correctly. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find an easy way so I’m going through each and every post to manually re-link everything. It’s tedious and annoying but it’s not the worst thing in the world. I’m sure there is an easier solution but there’s a reason I’m not a developer.

5. Raising my voice
I know I’ve kept the tone of my blog pretty neutral. But here’s my confession: that’s not really me. When it comes to sharing my opinions and speaking my mind, I have no problem doing that verbally. For some reason, I still shy away from being bold and unafraid of stirring the pot in writing. My mind is fixated on the fact that verbally expressing myself isn’t nearly as permanent as having them in writing. I’m a confident writer but being brutally honest in writing gives me anxiety. But I’ve been meaning to step out of that comfort zone and now seems to be an appropriate time to pursue that.

I’m always looking to improve my blog so if you have any feedback or ideas, I’d love to hear them. You’re more than welcome to leave them in the comments below. Keeping up a blog has been mentally and emotionally exhausting but since I love to write, it’s a struggle that I enjoy. I truly apologize for the crickets around here recently. Transitioning to a self-hosted blog has been incredibly time-consuming. My top priority now is to create and launch a design that represents my aesthetics and just write, write, write!

Cheers,

Riri