My world has been through a lot of transformations over the years. This is even apparent in my life online over the last decade.
I first joined the web primarily to seek connections... friendships. And, to explore the possibility of sharing my writing to a wider audience. Within the first few months of being online in 1997/1998, I started to get writing jobs (both paid and gratis) while I was still living in Manila. It was such a rush. I then turned all my passion for creative and freelance writing in to my first official online project --- eWriteLife.com.
eWriteLife enabled me to connect with many fellow writers from different parts of the world. I made a lot of contacts and friends through that project. Many of them, I am still in touch with even after 10 years.
Through that site, I also found out how to run my first official online business. I learned to manage affiliate marketing, to run direct advertising (this was before Google Adsense was around), to sell products, and even to venture in to running online workshops. The site also received a few accolades, including becoming a finalist at The Philippine Webby Awards and being featured on The Reader's Digest (Australia).
It also helped me to gain a couple of other gigs - including landing a job as a Guide (Writer/Editor) at About.com for Language Arts for Kids (2000-2001). Then later, as the first Guide to Web Logs (2004-2006), when About became a company of The New York Times.
In my first role as an About Guide, I ended up concentrating on that aspect of my life while I was working on my Masters' degree in Applied Psychology, specifically on psycholinguistics. At the same time, I was getting used to living in Singapore and being a wife. My role then as a Language Arts for Kids Guide, my studies in psychology, and my new life in Singapore really worked well together. That's why when About decided to get rid of their Kids' Channel at the time, I was really devastated. I felt lost at the time.
But, instead of staying lost, I decided to try something different. I ended up taking a lot of art lessons at the time - through private tutorials, non-graded classes in art school, and various workshops. And somehow, I found myself reinventing my online world to reflect that phase of my life.
That's when I ventured in to exhibiting and selling art online. I gained a decent enough following to allow me to make a few hundred to over a thousand dollars a month through selling art in various places. It really amazed me when people actually wanted to pay me to own something I created. I was so thrilled when people started writing to me about my art - from the US, Australia, and Canada. I even had an avid art dealer collector from the Netherlands. Then, there was that very surreal experience when one of my art collectors in Singapore invited me to her beautiful home to have dinner. It felt like an out-of-body moment when I saw almost a dozen of my paintings framed and hanging in her posh condominium unit.
Of course, I loved it all. And, while I didn't know where I wanted to take my art at the time, I knew that art-making will always be part of my life, regardless of whatever change life may bring again.
And indeed, just when my art-making was in full swing, a few things started to change in my life again - including moving to a new country (Australia), the online art world transforming, and becoming a mum.
During that period of my life, art-making slowed down and I began experimenting with all sorts of blogging software and business ideas. Then, on a whim, I decided to apply to become a Guide again at About. That's when I ended up having another online reincarnation. This time, as a voice of blogging expertise.
That life brought on a new set of highs and lows. Once again, I loved being an About Guide. And, thanks to the growth of weblogs, I managed to go on an incredible journey.
As many of my current contacts know about this part of my online life, I ended up establishing my blogging network - AboutWeblogs. This then led to the much talked about merger with b5media. Of course, this meant I had to leave my About life once again, in order to start a new one with b5.
And yeah, the b5media ride was good for a while too. It led to all sorts of amazing things - from meeting so many great people to having so many incredible experiences (such as this, this, and this). Plus, a few other side benefits.
Now, I am going through another transition phase. I made the decision to go through another life change by going back to Graduate School. And, while most of what's happening in this new life is offline, I am beginning to see how it's slowly working its way in to my online life again. And somehow, it all seems to start fitting well together. I find that scary and exciting at the same time.
Yes, there's a new ride in town. And, I'm so loving it.
Difficult situations may sometimes appear to be the end of dreams at times. But, I've slowly come to see that they may actually open up to better dreams.
Isn't it amazing to watch what change can bring to our life?
Shai has been managing and blogging here at ShaiCoggins.com for 17 years. Here, she writes about creativity, productivity, and how to recharge for a better, happier lifestyle. She is the author of Today: Life Journal, Colour Bliss: Kaleidoscopes, and a little known children's book. A serial entrepreneur, Shai also currently runs Vervely.com, a boutique digital media agency offering online content, community, and conversion marketing services. Her blogging experience and digital work have been featured in various media, including being listed in Fast Company's "Most Influential Women in Technology" list. Originally from Manila, Shai lived in Singapore and the USA before moving to Australia with her British husband. They have two children, a pet bunny, and a rambunctious rescue Labrador.