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Amazing! How Jama Jack became the country’s most popular young female blogger
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Amazing! How Jama Jack became the country’s most popular young female blogger

Yes, it’s been three years since that cold February morning when I woke up and decided I would start blogging. It dawned upon me late last night and I wondered at how time flies. It has been one very interesting journey, but I daresay it’s been worth every word, sentence, paragraph and post.

Writing has always been my favourite means of expression, and to this day, I still get mocked for choosing it over speaking at most times (I like to think I’m a great speaker when I take up that role too). My desire to write came from being a very introverted person while growing up, and so padlocked diaries and tiny notebooks were my best friends. It was an escape for me and a means of entrusting my secrets to ‘someone’ who wouldn’t share them… at least until the diaries got stolen or mistakenly opened.

I was - and still am – a bookworm too, reading anything I could lay my hands on - from newspapers to books that were way beyond my age and level. I would even pick up scraps of paper on the streets just to read what was written on them. I grew up to love words and wanted to write like my favourite authors. When I wrote essays in school, my teachers would call me back to ask if I had any help writing them. I am not tooting my horn. This is just to say I recognise the gift that I have and understand that it has grown into a passion and stayed a means of escape for me.

Linguere was born at a time when I had much encouragement to take my writing seriously. I was also inspired by another Gambian blogger, Jatou Gaye, who ran La Femme Noire and Anything Baroque at the time. I was intrigued by her posts and read all of them in one night’s sitting. Unfortunately, she stopped blogging and I bemoaned the loss of that Gambian presence on the blogosphere. This gave way to questioning myself and asking why I couldn’t keep that alive. The idea couldn’t have come at a better time and convinced that I could make it work, even when uncertain of the experience, I started Linguere, hosted on Blogger. A year later, I would move to WordPress and here we are today.

Jama Jack

It has been a truly amazing experience and I have learnt quite a lot within these three years. I’ve picked up tips on great blogging – how to create successful posts, how to get more traffic, how to stay ‘on top of my game’, the benefits of interacting with fellow bloggers and my readers and a host of other things. When I started blogging, it wasn’t so much for the attention it would get me as it was for my need to express myself and hone my skill. I ended up having both and am thankful for this. I’ll be the first to attest that my writing has improved greatly over the years and it can only get better from here.

It has not been all rosy. As a blogger, I’ve learnt to expect and accept criticism for my writing. It is definitely not easy, but I’m glad I’m open to it now. I’ve had my fair share of critics, though I must admit they are possibly the nicest ones around. I’ve gone through that blogger phase of writing a post and waiting to see how well it did and how many people it reached. I’ve caught myself getting excited because someone left a comment after reading. I’ve seen posts that I thought would do well go down the drain and others that I put half a heart into, do pretty well. I’ve been happy to open my social networks and see friends and strangers share links to my posts. As much as I’ve tried to make visibility less important in my pursuits, I welcome it now. I realised that my writing is usually very serious and carries important messages, as far as I know, and so it is important that it reaches as many people as possible.

Jama Jack

Today, I woke up to two messages on Facebook – one from an ex-classmate and the other from someone I do not know. Both messages left me teary-eyed and the senders told me how great they thought my writing was and how proud they were of me. The ex-classmate went on to add that he would be very proud to say he once sat in the same class with me. The second sender ended up asking for my number and calling me all the way from The Gambia just to say how proud she is of me. It is not the first time I’m getting these messages and I’m certain it won’t be the last, but it made me realise one thing. We never really know what impact we can have through our work, our actions etc. Some messages leave me surprised and thinking ‘Oh, s/he reads my blog too? Wow’. It was the same feeling when I met another classmate while on holidays in The Gambia and he asked ‘So when are we getting the next post on the Jollof Chronicles’. I didn’t expect that and was reminded that I could make a change through my blog, because people were reading and paying attention to what I wrote.

For these and other reasons, I’m thankful. I may not put up posts on a regular basis; I still struggle to keep my posts short and concise; I could go months with no attention for Linguere but I believe it is all part of this journey. I may not know everything there is to know about blogging, but I do not plan to stop anytime soon so there’s always time to learn new things. However, I’m not really one to stick much with the rules either and I believe one thing that makes Linguere different is the fact that I chose to do things exactly how I felt and wanted.

I’ve had readers from all over the world and I must say the interactions have been one of my favourite parts of my blogging experience. I’ve made friends whose contributions have been very meaningful. I’ve received much support from fans of the blog and admirers of my person. It could be very easy to lose myself in these acknowledgements, but I stay grounded and appreciative of it all. I thank you for reading, liking, commenting, sharing and subscribing. You all motivate me to write better. I am really grateful.

Here’s to another year of blogging, of sharing and interacting with you all. I hope we all live to see Linguere grow from this blog into the bigger platform I hope to turn it into. It began three years ago and shall grow over the coming years, by God’s grace.



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