5 Tips to Blogging

In 5 months it will be 4 years since I started this blog – The Showcase. All I wanted when I started blogging was to dust the cobwebs off my mind at a time when I was sure I actually had crickets residing in my brain 😀 and to write about random things when I felt like it. The truth however, is I’ve gotten so much more. Okay, I think I just sounded like an infomercial right there, but let me explain…

I’ve met some very cool people, learned a lot about them and about myself; I think more clearly, and I’m  more mindful about my place and purpose in this world…Sound too fanciful? but it’s true! If any of you, my dear blogger friends  have felt the same way, please drop me a few lines in the comments…

Today with blogging being free/affordable there are millions of blogs and bloggers out there – On every subject under the sun. And then there are many bloggers who have, if you go through their blogs, written their heart out but have very scanty readership. As time goes by and their following does not go up proportionally they just decide to quit and shut down their blogs. If you are just starting off in the blogging game I’m sure you would’ve read umpteen articles on how to set up your blog and on SEO and how to tag your blog posts so that your posts show up on searches and you can draw more traffic into your blog.

Here are my 5 tips on how you can survive and succeed in the world of blogging without the dreaded burn out and to be the person of influence you were born to be.

  1. Write what you love  – A blog can be a great place to showcase your talents or to show the world what it is you are passionate about. Even if you are not an expert at what it is you love, the blog becomes an excellent platform where you learn more about the things  or areas that interest you. I for one find it difficult to zero in on one particular topic to write about, but its always nice to have a theme associated with your blog. Be it Fashion, Technology, Prose or Poetry because that way you attract like minded readers and persons who are interested in what you put forward and may even help you progress to the next level.socnet-07.gif (576×469)
  2. Network – No matter what you write about and how passionate and wonderful you feel about your writing if you have no one reading your blog even after you’ve chosen the right host and platform to present your work, it could feel like landing a gig at the Carnegie hall and playing to an empty audience. So in the infancy of your blog put the word out there about your blog and reach out to fellow bloggers. Collaborations are a great way to make your presence felt in the blogosphere.6a00e5521e0b2e883301538f8882da970b-800wi (800×239)
  3. Use proper tags– Tags are key words that will give readers an idea as to what your blog post is about. Tags are like labelling the jars in your pantry or for all you guys – your CD collection… Just makes those things more easier to locate. So for a blogger that means people who are looking for information on related content drop by and read your blog and therefore more traffic.such-a-pretty-label-cartoon-cjmadden.gif (467×547)
  4. Put out quality content – Check your facts and be authentic. Don’t approximate too often and never assume; as the saying goes – Assuming something is making an Ass of U and Me. Use original photographs or if you choose to borrow give proper credit and make your posts pop! Research shows, colored visuals increased people’s willingness to read a post by 80% (Source: blog.hubspot.com).cartoon6666.png (480×360)
  5. Show up and be accountable – I know I’m guilty of taking long breaks in between posts, but its always nice to set a schedule. Plan your posts ahead, draft them and set them for auto publish on days you can’t be in front of the computer.

Stay happy and keep blogging!!

Monday Rambles- What would you blog about? a.k.a The Magic of Writing

Good morning everyone! or Good evening or even Good night to some of my friends living in the different time zones across the world. Wherever you are I hope you are keeping well and have had a good start to the new week.

Its February and the climates getting better here at Salt Lake. Though its windy and slightly cold and gets even colder during the evenings, the weather is more enjoyable – children are out playing in the afternoons and I for one am loving the pops of colour in people’s outfits these days … 🙂

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So for today’s rambles I was just wondering, and this is a question to all my bloggy friends – How much time do you spend trying to finalize a topic to write about? Do you worry as to whether your readers will be able to relate to what you write? Do you consider the message or the values your writing will convey?

Since I’ve started my blogging journey I’ve come to realize how much we have in common with each other despite the geographical distances that separate people across the world. Emotions and feelings in writing are universal. We all have our peeves and frustrations and despite whats going on in the world around us we all want to be happy and successful.

I don’t know how many of my dear friends listen  to NPR (the radio channel) but there was this interesting interview with an African author last week about a new book which is an anthology of short stories by a group of young writers. She spoke about the literary scene in Nigeria and how the Western media bombards you with stories of war, poverty, child soldiers and human trafficking in Africa and how this book covers none of that. A group of young writers have collaborated to bring out a book which quite contrary to Western expectations of themes from Africa is an anthology of short stories on life – normal everyday life and the people who live it.

So the question is does writing on human emotions or people daily routine would mean that young writers of today are ‘disengaged’ from soceity? does it mean they are shallow or superficial? or does it reflect some sort of general apathy ?

Which takes me back to the literary movement of the 19th century where writers of the time propounded ‘Art for Art’s sake’ – that literature should be a means for self expression and not have a didactic and/or moral purpose or in our case a political angle. From a blogging perspective atleast in the blogs that I follow, bloggers are today using creative writing

1. As a tool for self expression

2. As a vent for inner angst

3. As a vehicle to spread the message of hope and faith

All reasons why people have been writing for ages, but that said, I guess we all realize there is a change in the way writers are choosing to express themselves in modern times. This is the ‘Age of Information’ and writers are opening up and and coming forward to share aspects of their life in a language that would otherwise be deemed taboo..So even if not all of us actually write about those topics, there is a widespread tolerance for that ‘no holds barred’ style of writing and presentation; which may explain the popularity of shows like Girlscreated and written by Lena Dunham.

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I got to watch back to back episodes of Season Two of the show on HBO a couple of Sundays ago. I must say, the raw and honest portrayal of the life and friendships of a group of twenty- something year old women, as they navigate through life coupled with their struggles with transitioning into adulthood was unique and refreshing like nothing you’ve seen before. The writing was bold and straight forward and the  feminist views presented in the series felt empowering.

However, there are scenes in the show especially the one where Hanna (played by Lena Dunham herself) plays ping pong with her much older lover (played by the dashing Patrick Wilson) in the nude, where you cringe and almost bury your head under a blanket.

Sure, nudity is nothing new when it comes to television, but the fact that Hanna is no super model and has the body of an average pear shaped woman – wide hips, flabby arms and all and yet so boldly throws her inhibitions to the air for millions to see, made me even more aware of my insecurities and how shy, self conscious I was…whether its a good thing or a bad thing – I’m still not sure…So by being blatantly open and by exposing every facet of an individuals personality both personal and public, Lena Dunham captures the zeitgeist of our times.

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In the meanwhile watch this clip from Girls Episode 2 where she meets an online magazine editor and discuss on possible topics she could write about… 😀

So what do you think writers should write more about? Should they write about their normal everyday lives or is it their responsibility to touch on important topics that have a more soceital or global impact? What do you like reading about?

Have a great week folks!!