In Conversation with: Thembi Terry Zulu
Zimbabwean blogger Thembi Terry Zulu is a copywriter by day and a sound sleeper by night. She is a freelance writer for various publications. Thembi hosts the web series, The Creative Collective: Blogger Series by TV Yangu and is going to have her own vlog on her YouTube channel.
What made want to start blogging?
I studied Journalism and Media studies and in my part year, I had to start and maintain a blog as part of my New Media course. The blog took off and gained popularity. I deleted the class project blog and started the addiction that would be the Thembi Terry blog. I started the blog because I had to, but I stuck to it because I really wanted to.
How did you choose what to blog about?
The story of my life is riveting and the little that I choose to share about my life, people found exciting. I don’t really like to read or to go out so my options were limited. I’m not very girly-girl so beauty blogging was out of the question. I hate clothes so fashion definitely wasn’t it. I became a personal blogger because there isn’t anything I know better than myself and my life. Maybe it’s the Leo in me being vain but writing about my life was the only option for me. I am highly opinionated and some of these opinions are entertaining. Being a personal blogger gives me the flexibility to write about a wide range of topics.
What do you hope people will take away from reading your blog?
My blog is the imperfection that is life. My tagline is, “Live vicariously.” I want my readers to be taken on a journey as they read my posts. For those 5 minutes, I hope they are immersed in my experiences and they feel like they were there. Under all the jokes and sarcasm, I aspire to get them thinking about the way they view certain things in life. Because underneath it all is a girl that walked this path and it isn’t just make believe. Some of the content will be great and the rest of it not so much but isn’t that the beauty of life?
Describe your blogging routine.
Weekends are usually dedicated to blogging but posts are drafted throughout the week. I’m a personal blogger so I write about life and experiences around me. I carry a small notebook where I jot down blog post ideas. I then draft the posts whenever I have free time. I prefer to type on my phone and then do the uploading on my laptop. Blog title images are done on Wednesdays. I take time to gather the images and then I design them online. I always prefer to have give or take 9 drafts in my dashboard.
What would you say to someone new to blogging or considering blogging?
Do it for yourself before anyone or anything else. Go at the pace that suits you. Dance to the beat of your own drum. That is how you’re gonna stay original and authentic. Make your own rules as you go but balance it out with being able to learn from the experts. Start with passion, put in the hours and it will pay out. Not all the benefits will be money but they are just as cool. Network with other creatives and collaborate. And if there is something that you don’t know, ask somebody who does. Google is your sensei.
Do you have bloggers that you follow, if so who and why?
I follow a large number of bloggers predominantly female. I like to know what’s out there and who is doing what. I have an insatiable appetite for the story told by women. I like to read clever content and stuff that makes me think. I follow female bloggers of every niche from the world over. I’ve come to find that taking time to read other people’s blogs and leave comments breeds reciprocation. So I am growing as a person and as a blogger.
Would you say there are downsides to blogging, if so what are they?
It’s not really a downside, but there are so many bloggers out there right now. You are competing for the same audience with global publications. So, for you to be able to capture their attention and retain it is a chore. For me, I took it as a challenge to get really creative and original so that my readers stay captivated. Because there are so many blogs, one can get discouraged and distracted and start feeling like they are inadequate. This then leads to them trying to copy someone else’s style and they lose their own voice and authenticity in the process.
From your experience, what have been the best memories of being a blogger?
The money! I never thought for once that this would be one of my several income streams but it’s a pleasant surprise. I love to write and the money is an added bonus. Everything that is on my list of things to achieve can be attained through my blog. It’s only a matter of time. I had always wanted to have a web series, so I pitched to TV Yangu and they gave me ‘The Creative Collective: Blogger Series show. This is my major highlight for this year for me as a blogger to be able to celebrate other bloggers in this new and exciting way.
What does blogging mean to you?
Blogging for me is an outlet. It’s like having an online diary. I write about things that are very personal to me and I hope that in sharing them my readers can relate, be inspired and entertained. I am shy by nature and can’t express my feelings very well verbally but when I write them down it just flows out of me. I live for people reaching out about how they have shared some of my experiences. Life by design isn’t all roses and my blog is the therapeutic way in which I deal with some of the things that I have been through. It’s helped me quit some of the unhealthy ways I had been coping with issues.
What opportunities has blogging brought your way?
My blog is a showcase of my capabilities as a writer. It has landed me most of the free lance jobs that I have with numerous publications. My blog has built me as a brand and made my name recognisable to many. I have had the chance to do new media training, network with the people/brands that I want to work with and to sit on panels as far as Nigeria. My blog made me into a social media influencer which also brings in some of the money. I get head-hunted for jobs. People email me about how they love my writing style and would like my services. And the cherry on top is that my blog got the woman I have deep respect for, to not only acknowledge my existence but to mentor me in my career which will only propel me further.
What/who do you treasure the most in life?
My sisters, the Zulu girls are everything to me. Having grown up sheltered, we were all each other had and we just click. We are a strange breed but we get each other. Their wisdom and maturity is always a shock to me. They weigh in a lot on the decisions that I usually make and are very supportive. Other people you can outgrow and grow distant from but never that with your sisters. They are all so different and they are very talented as well. They bring different perspectives and broaden my horizons.