The expiration of my website domain taught me to never be romantic

Of course not, I am not at all against the tender treatment of your partner. Romance — the “Uyiswidi lami lomkhumhlane” (get someone to translate that for you) sort of romance — is an awesome thing. Arguably the best thing that can ever happen to a person.

If I am honest, though, I truly suck at that type of romance.

Anyway, I digress  🙂

ThembaJay.com is one of the best things to ever happen to me. This is because I have always loved expressing myself through writing. At high school, I owned a notebook wherein I strung together sentences about everything I went through. You can liken it to a diary, coming to think of it. So, my website became an extension of who I am when I started it.

It is my digital notebook.

It also comes in handy as it helps me document my life, work and the things I go through and learn. As I learn, I process the learnings and then talk to the world about them.

Two years after starting the blog, I decided to buy a domain name.

But before that, here’s a back story. I built this blog site because a friend of mine encouraged me to do so. I had long harboured the idea of owning a blog to practice, refine and share my writing. However, self doubt nearly crippled me as I started asking myself, “Am I a good enough Writer to publish for the whole world to read?”. “There are many other talented Writers / bloggers the world over, are people going to listen to me?”

All that nonsense nearly cost me my love for writing and most crucially, the sharing of my ability with the world. From then on, I have had countless people approach me to consult and hold their hands through their journeys of starting their blogs. I have proven very useful to them because I have spent four years making mistakes, rectifying them and pretty much learning the process all by myself.

I always teach people that with our activity on online platforms, we leave clues about who we are, what we love and hate. We display our personalities, worldviews and our persuasions on different subjects. A blog is no less. I would even argue that it is an amazing opportunity to showcase the things you’re talented at (and perhaps those you suck at, too) and the value you can bring in any space you enter.

And ultimately, I offer them this advice: Use your blog to say what you feel, grow, have impact on the world, establish connections and market yourself.

The benefit for the people I work with is profound: I bring all that knowledge and learning to our conversations so they don’t have to spend years wasting precious time on mistakes that can be avoided.

How I Threw Away Romance

Two years later (this year), my domain registration was revoked by WordPress because I did not have money to renew it. I panicked. I thought about the consequences of the domain name being wiped off; it’ll be a struggle for people to find me; it’ll be an embarrassment when readers log in and are greeted by, “Sorry, this domain has expired. If you know the owner of this site let them know.”

After a lot of email communication with WordPress (begging them to grant an extension until I could pay them) I decided to cancel the subscription myself.

I thought. Why am I stressing so much over something I didn’t have before? I still had a functioning platform even without the personalisation. So, let me go back to thembajay.wordpress.com and I will buy the domain back later on (if it’ll be still available). Whatever happens, the writing has to continue.

Through this episode, I realised just how much we are creatures of habit. We live without something for a long time and at the prospect of losing it, we feel like dying. We don’t see ourselves living without what we didn’t have before.

In this case, cancelling my domain subscription made me toss out of the window my being romantic about which platform I use to tell my stories. The platform matters less than the story I want to tell. Actually, the platform comes second in the pecking order.

In the time readers could not log in, I decided to use my Medium profile as an alternative. (If you want to start a platform for your writing, please consider Medium. It is an exceptional product! Better than WordPress in many ways.)

I am now in the process of getting back my blog to ThembaJay.com . But for now, I only worry myself about talking to the world about what I see, learn, love and go through.