Day 366? Oh. Hi, 2015.

Click “Add New Post.” Type “Day …” into title. Check off “365-Day-Photo Project” and “Blog” categories. Add “365 photo challenge” and “365 photo project” tags. Upload photos from Dropbox, or go to phone to edit photo(s) in VSCO Cam, export to Camera Roll, then open Dropbox app.

This has been the routine for each post. All 365 of them. And now, it’s over.

Sure, it’s true that I said I would continue blogging, if not taking pictures, every day. After all, I did it for a year.

Foursquare check-in
I tried.

But it’s also true that there were many days where I just took pictures because I had to, not because there was anything exciting that happened or worthy of taking a photo of. I “cheated” multiple times by taking photos of whatever was on my laptop and even taking a screenshot of my Foursquare profile, simply because I had no other photo. Pathetic, I know.

Now that I’ve completed the challenge, I am recognizing this habit I’ve developed—blogging! For 2015, I need to define a better plan than “continue blogging.” Unlike 2014, I will not center my posts on photos that may or may not be “good”—whatever that means. It’s too easy to just post a photo of my dog and call it a day, no matter how cute my dog is.

Occasionally, I would try to make my posts more substantial for readers, which included recreating elaborate and amusing dialogue while I attempted to find out the status of my McDelivery in Shanghai, and adding nearly 50 photos of a trip to NYC, along with a long-winded Facebook status all in one post. I had a lot of fun recording these memories—not so much organizing them all into one pretty post, but after all that effort, it always felt great to hit, “Publish.”

Of course, not all my posts were happy-go-lucky. I did my fair share of complaining, even about soup dumplings. And especially about Chinese.

No matter the amount of effort I put into my posts, I maintained a consistent following, which definitely made me believe deeper in the value of my project not just for my own, selfish reasons. I realized my mom, dad, and even sister all read my blog regularly. My friends would say, to my shock, that they also follow me (and all the craziness I spill on here?!).

It may be wishful thinking, but maybe this feeling of withdrawal would be felt not only by myself, if I decided to stop blogging completely, but also by my readers. Of course, I could never stop recording my life. In a way, I’ve transitioned from writing diaries on paper and in private Word docs, to…well, writing them for…the world to see. (If I never get a job, I know why.)

But isn’t this what the Internet has made us all become? Constant sharers? Sure, we may reveal immaturities about ourselves occasionally, but I believe that because I did do this project publicly, I grew up.

One aspect is due to the public nature of this project: If it weren’t for the fact that my posts had to look somewhat presentable, readable, and interesting, I probably would have gone the lazy route—take a photo and let it be automatically uploaded to Dropbox, soon to be forgotten. Instead, as mentioned in the beginning, I went through a quite lengthy process. As a result, most of my photos are edited with titles, alternative titles (gotta consider web accessibility—ahem, CS103), and captions, and my posts, especially the photo-heavy ones, follow some kind of orderly format. I’m hesitant to say they are well-organized.

King Parkway Hotel in Beijing
The cool lobby of our hotel in Beijing.

Another aspect is due to the blog post itself. Often times, it was not enough for me to simply post a photo and add brief commentary. If I didn’t have the excuse of school, internship, and catching up on four days of blogging because of a VPN-less weekend trip to Beijing, then I tried to do some deeper reflection. My logic was that if I was going to put in so much effort to blog, I might as well do more…?

Anyway, all of this is to say that I will try to concentrate on blogging with meaning and purpose—more specifically, blogging with reflection and lessons that would be valuable to both myself and whoever reads my blog. I’ve created value for myself, and I would like to create more value for those who have stayed with me for 365 days. Starting with today!

Frankly, I might lose readers. Or I might gain some. But I do hope to be less selfish in my blogging and therefore develop deeper reader engagement. I won’t deny that my life may seem surreal and exciting, but even I get terribly bored by it sometimes. You must, too.

It will be a challenge, and I’m certainly not guaranteeing fascinating daily insight, but with so much already to anticipate this year, I’m so down to try my best. Only question is, are you ready? 🙂