• Read and Write

    Being Consistent : Is It Worth The Effort When Nobody Reads Your Posts?

    Being Consistent:Is It Worth The Effort When Nobody Reads Your Posts?
    Image Courtesy : Pixabay

    These days, traffic is not consistent in my blog. It has been low. When I say low, I mean really low. There are posts which didn’t get even a single push in the LIKE button. Having said that, I wasn’t getting tonnes of likes and comments in my blog earlier either. This made me introspect what I am not doing or rather what I was doing before with my posts.

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    Was I publishing posts on more interesting topics a couple of months back?

    Am I not socialising enough with my fellow bloggers as much as I should ?

    Has my writing lost it’s charm (only if it had any in the first place) ?

    OR, should I look for ways to somehow enlarge the visibility of the LIKE button more than the post itself ? 

    I have not reached any ultimate conclusion as my quest for finding the exact reason is still on. But there is one thing I have to admit. I have been blogging less frequently since last two months.  One or maximum two posts a week. Why? Well, let’s put it in this way….few important stuffs that demand more attention popped in my life exhausting me physically and emotionally. I was not consistent with my writing. And who doesn’t know if you are not consistent, then things can get more difficult for you? 

    Be it sweating it out in gym or writing your heart out, everything depends on consistency. You miss gym one day. The second day, you won’t feel like shrugging your laziness and getting inside your workout clothes. Same is with writing. You press the ‘pause’ button and resuming becomes the next daunting job. Ideas seem to loose interest in you and framing even a few sentences looks like a tough call. Although Writing Breaks Draw Us More Closer To Writing, but there is a limit to everything. And top of that, if you see nobody is visiting and liking your post, then writing suddenly turns into a less inspiring activity. 

    The situation gets worse when you have a self-hosted blog like me. You can’t increase your blog’s exposure by participating in the various alluring ‘tags’ that a particular blogging domain offers it’s own bloggers. There are prompts, but these are not always enough to gain some more visibility. Shared links on Facebook and even Instagram’s ‘Link in Bio’ is not that successful to fetch more traffic. 

    What should you do when such lows make an entry in your writing life? Quit writing? Shut your blog with an excuse of poor traffic? 

    Obviously……a big NO. 

    Rather….

    Never quit something which gave you confidence and even a little bit of peace at a certain point.

    Bring back your writing back in track.

    Don’t lose your patience.

    Remain consistent.

    I know it’s very frustrating when the story or the article, you have worked on for hours, fails to draw any attention (read: likes and comments). Every writer/blogger works towards building an audience. And not seeing expected results is quite disheartening. Appreciation indeed matters a lot for every one. Especially for those who has anything to do with creativity. But what should matter to you the most is your inner passion for the craft. 

    Tell me one thing. What made you decide to start your blog or try your hand at writing? For  millions of followers? For a heap of likes and comments? Of course, they come as a part and parcel of this whole blogging/writing business. But, this cannot be the sole reason behind the creative juices flowing inside you. 

    You write because you are passionate about writing. Am I right? Then please don’t leave your passion behind you just because it failed to attract some audience. Have patience, keep establishing new connections with other bloggers, engage with them more and above all……BE CONSISTENT. Write even if you mange to publish one post a week. And write with full honesty. You never know when things will start working in your favour.

    As for me, I will continue writing for the rest of my life. For I am not sure what else I am capable of doing apart from putting down my thoughts into words.

  • Read and Write

    Writing Breaks Draw Us More Closer To Writing

    Writing Breaks Draws Us More Closer To Writing
    Image Courtesy : Pixabay

    Writing breaks are an integral part of my life. So much so that I can bag an award for being more consistent in taking breaks from her writing spree than indulging in the actual act of writing.

    Feeling lazy to write today? No problem. Take a writing break.

    Just laid hands on an eagerly awaited incredibly interesting novel and life would look meaningless until I finish reading the story? Then what am I thinking? Take a waiting break for a couple of days and start reading the novel right now.

    Planned an outing with family when I should be working on the ending of that short story?What’s wrong with me? Is the story more important than my family? I can always sit with the story tomorrow. Take a break.

    There is a world TV premier for the movie that I missed to watch in the multiplex few months back. But I also need to submit the draft to the publication. So what? The last submission date is two days later. A break from writing won’t hurt my deadline. Let me enjoy the movie with some popcorn right now.

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    If you need to hire someone who excels in making excuses, then by now you already know whom to contact. I promise that you wouldn’t find anyone more suitable than me for this job. A demo of my potential is hanging right above.

    I agree of being someone who looks for an opportunity to take writing breaks. Although, I don’t let go of writing ideas when they decide to visit me, but keeping a distance from the writing desk has proved to be a good decision for me many times.

    Exercise can be pretty exhaustive. And, writing, in my opinion, is the most demanding form of workout. An hour spent in the gym will not make you as tired as sitting for even half an hour with pen and paper (or your laptop). But you cannot exercise throughout the day. Similarly, you cannot be a creative genius always as well. After all, there is a difference between creativity and 24×7 open restaurants.

    You must have heard and read a thousand times that consistency is the key to improve writing skills. No, I am not trying to mean the consistency level that was discussed in the beginning. The less you follow my example of consistency, the better. This is procrastination.What I intend to convey is that writing daily is the only way to improve your craft. You know the trick very well. At the same time, taking a little break too will not harm your creativity quotient.

    Of course, do not look for excuses to take a writing break like me. But do allow yourself some leisure time when things are not working out as planned in that blank (or half filled) word document of yours. I am afraid, simply staring at the page and pressing your mind for those exact words will not erase the writer’s block. Rather, shut down your laptop(if you can afford to do so) and try doing any one or all from the below :

    Grab a cup of coffee or tea.

    Enjoy some good music.

    Spend time with your family and friends.

    Read your favourite authors’ novel.

    Do some physical activity.

    Keep your brain’s windows open and let the fresh air in.

    Relax your mind.

    And then, you would soon find yourself bubbling with new ideas.

    I may not be the best illustration of someone who takes a break from writing wisely. Still, my hands itch during those breaks.

    On the first day, my mind roars I deserve a break.

    On the second day, it says so what if I am not writing today. What about those days when I had rubbed my bum on the chair and fingers on the laptop?

    On the third day, right after waking up, I long to open the laptop with no more lame excuse playing in mind and start working on a new (or an unfinished) post. Name it guilt or love for writing, nothing can keep me away from the writing desk anymore then. To my surprise, the struggle, I had two days back, with the story’s ending disappears like a magic spell.

    Friends, don’t feel guilty about taking small writing breaks whenever necessary. Those breaks don’t mean negligence to your art. Rather, they help you maintain your sanity and make a come back with an insuppressible zeal. You love to write. Correct? Then trust me. Forget writing breaks, not even the world’s most enticing and distracting elements can divert you from your goals.

    Moreover, if I can, then you DEFINITELY can.

  • Read and Write

    Did You Look Back At Your Published Post Once More?

    Did You Look Back At Your Published Post Once More?
    Image Courtesy : Pixabay

    Did you ever look at a published post of yours and felt embarrassed about it ? No, I am not talking about that very first post you wrote years ago. Having said that, to every blogger or writer, the first post undoubtedly holds a very special place. It reminds of the hope with which you started writing. You even laugh at the silly shape your craft was back then. But, year (or even month) old posts are not what I am concerned about here.

    On the contrary, I am talking about the post that you published this week or just yesterday to be precise. You wrote it with great enthusiasm, revised it several times carefully and finally hit the publish button. But….but….have you looked at it today? Of course. You must have. After all, it’s not possible for everyone out there to be an overconfident blogger like me.

    Taking care of all the nitty-gritty in the post always comes at the top of my writing priorities. But I don’t understand, how on earth, the very next day, I end up discovering in my published post :

    1 Spelling mistakes.

    Yes. Even an in-built dictionary in a powerful word processor cannot stop me from misplacing (or missing) the letters in a word. I am so overwhelmed about writing a topic at times that the words underlined in red get completely ignored. These misspelled words make me cringe after going through the post next time. They remind me that I am not here to become the Usain Bolt in the blogosphere. Rather I should not mind in taking some more time and relook at each word before hitting the publish button.

    2 Wrong words.

    Spelling mistakes are something which you can at least detect by seeing the red underlines beneath them. But the words that I have typed accurately yet they don’t fit well in my post? What should I do with them? Sea instead of see. Tail while I intended to write tale and last but not the least typing fishing in place of finishing. I need to have an immense concentration, a hawk-eyed scrutiny and a calm mind to pinpoint these minute gaffes.

    3 Poor Grammar.

    Only the proper usage of grammar can beautify a particular sentence. Else, it has the ability to destroy the entire post. An in-built dictionary or auto-spell checker can do very little in this regard. So, I tend to implement my knowledge of grammar carefully. Still heinous crimes such as Did he did the task well ? I are the happiest person in this world take place in my writing sometimes. These shameful mistakes often don’t get caught when I write the post and revise repeatedly on the same day. They come to my notice only the day after I have published the post.

    4 No punctuation.

    Punctuation often decides to act in it’s own free will in my posts. A comma appears when a full-stop is utterly necessary. The full-stop comes when there should be a pause in the sentence. But this is one mistake that I don’t feel much ashamed about. Maybe, I was too engrossed in the story or the subject matter to notice such mistakes. But that doesn’t spare me from the responsibility of taking care of the problem in the published post later on.

    5 Irrelevant sentences.

    Every sentence resembles a shiny diamond necklace when I am on my writing spree. In my opinion, I am kind of allowed to feel this way after pouring in a whole day’s effort on the keyboard. The 1000 word post has enough reasons to make me super-excited and publish it as soon as possible. Next day, I open the same post and find at least 100 words that add absolutely no value to the content. They are nothing but repetition of the previous line in a different way. And this realisation comes only after I adopt an impartial attitude towards the post. Taking out the now-appears-less-shiny diamond pieces from the necklace looks like an intelligent thought in those moments.

    It is quite natural to jump at your desk when an idea hits you. Even I don’t let go of writing ideas when they decide to visit me. Finishing a post on something close to your heart doesn’t take much time. For you have already felt and visualised the entire scene. But what I have learnt from my mistakes is one should wait for some more time before touching that Publish button.

    Thinking and writing at the same time can be a pretty exhaustive job for the brain. To burden it with another crucial job of revision right after you are done with your draft may not be a good decision. I would suggest you to take a little break. Grab a cup of tea and then come back at your desk. This will help you to find the five mistakes mentioned in this post much easily. And that too before publishing the content. 

    Read your draft again, again and again till you are unable to point out anymore flaws. And if you are not in a rush to submit your piece today itself, then please book the very next day in your calendar for revising it once more. The chance of rectifying the range of mistakes will make you feel glad for not publishing the draft a day before ! After all, you are here to write, share and connect. Not to create any world record of publishing the maximum number of posts in your blog. Remember?

  • Read and Write

    I don’t let go of writing ideas when they decide to visit me

    I don't let go of writing ideas when they decide to visit me
    Image Courtesy : Pixabay

    Writing has never been a sit-get the idea-write-publish job for me. Having said that, I guess it’s not that simple task for anyone either. Even before opening the laptop, I have to think, think and think harder to write even few lines. The act of thinking often takes much more time than writing and networking. First, think of an idea that I really feel excited to share. Then I try to fit in my audience’s shoes and figure out if this would appeal them too. If both these conditions work in my favour, then well and good. Else then I need to shake my idea basket once more and repeat the process. But this is obviously not as easy as it sounds.

    The basket shows up to have nothing inside it sometimes. It’s like searching for ingredients in the kitchen to prepare dinner and realising you have forgotten to buy groceries in the first place. This is one of the most helpless situations to be in. Therefore, keeping a regular check on the basket would ensure there is no dearth of new ideas to write about. But how to keep the basket full?

    I am not sure if this happens to you, but ideas don’t strike me when I am staring at the blank page in the laptop. On the contrary, an inspiring post, a story plot, an old memory worth penning down and many such random thoughts visit me when I am doing everything else but writing. What should I do in those moments? Should I wait till I grab the laptop? What if these ideas decide to be impatient and fly out of my mind’s window?

    A smartphone plays an important role in such situations. Got some ideas in the middle of an evening stroll?Or say, I am busy preparing breakfast or packing the lunchbox and a wonderful thought crosses my mind. But the domestic stuffs, that too deserve my attention, will make me eventually forget what I was thinking to write about later. Maybe, I don’t have the time to work on my ideas immediately but can’t afford to lose them either. To handle such situations, I note them down in my phone just like one uses sticky notes to remember the to-dos.

    Jotting down the haphazard but some fascinating ideas in my phone helps me to :

    1 Always keep my idea basket full.

    It is quite possible that the very same idea might look silly few hours later. But the probability of getting a wonderful writing plot has become higher for me after I started taking notes of my random ideas in the last few months. You cannot think of not-worth-writing-about ideas every time. At least, 2 out of 5 such ideas have the capability to see the light of the day.

    2 Maintain a distance from these two dreaded words – Writer’s Block.

    I don’t need to look out for writing prompts or bite nails to get writing inspirations. My phone’s notes has my own fresh ideas saved in it. Believe me, I have thanked myself a number of times for having this habit of scribbling few lines in the phone now and then.

    3 Never forget what I exactly tried to convey through my posts.

    For my notes save me the pain of thinking about the topic again. They help me remember and not to deviate from the purpose of my post when I sit down to write. For example, this post would have been forgotten long back had I not cared enough to list down the points a fortnight ago.

    However, I have taken a few steps backward while taking notes of my whimsical mind. A diary has replaced my phone’s position these days. And I must say, this age-old tradition of writing in the diary is a true delight. Yes, a diary may not accompany me most of the time like a phone can. But I am willing to nurture this habit for lifelong. Ironically, I am writing more in the diary than I had scribbled in my phone ever. No matter how many gadgets technology gifts you, the power of a pen and a paper will never fade.

    And if nothing else happens, at least your handwriting will get back in shape. Mine was a real mess when I started writing in the diary. It puts me to shame as my teachers always appreciated my handwriting. But I don’t want to put the entire blame upon myself. After all, the chance of writing on a piece of paper comes very rarely when you have laptops and tablets.

    Long story short, whether it’s a diary or a gadget, make it a habit to note down your random thoughts in them and add more potential to your writing. Good habits always yield good results and this one will definitely prove to be a game changer.

  • Read and Write

    Writing and networking: How do we keep a balance between them?

    Writing and networking: How do we keep a balance between them?
    Image Courtesy : Pixabay

    Is there any need to maintain a balance between writing and networking in the first place? This question might have crossed your thoughts when you read the title. Even I was also not ready to give the topic much attention few days back. Which blogger does not know networking is as important as writing? They go hand in hand when you want to grow in this vast blogosphere. But just knowing a fact is not enough at times. You have to implement it in reality. 

    There are days in my life when I only concentrate on my writing. For you cannot improve your craft unless you practice it daily. But in the process of honing my writing skills, I also ignore interaction with my blogger friends even though I follow a number of wonderful blogs. 

    Realising the mistake, I turn the focus towards increasing my social quotient. Spending time on the blogs, appreciating their beautifully written posts, saying a Hi to an old friend and creating new connection becomes my agenda for the next couple of days. I get so engrossed in socialising that writing, the sole reason why I am here, takes a backseat eventually. Long story short, I turn out to be a clear case of indiscipline. And without discipline, success always prefers to keep a dignified distance from you. 

    This post has been published in Medium. Find my Medium profile here.

    After doing an introspection, I realised one thing. Over the last few weeks, I was acting very strict upon myself and compartmentalising my whole day’s activities, especially my writing, into a certain time table. Discipline is necessary undoubtedly, but too much of anything is not good either. It kills the fun….the sheer joy of creativity. The whole process of writing, publishing and networking started looking like a daunting task to me. That’s when I decided to bring myself out of this mess and strike a balance. Here is what I plan to do :

    Set a priority between writing and networking :

    Writing will always hold the top position in my priorities. This is how it is supposed to be. Only involving in a discussion with friends throughout the day cannot do my job. Just like the way, I visit my friend’s blog, read an article and appreciate it, my friends too want to share their love with me. But what can they do if my last post was published months ago and they have already read it? I need to write down something in my blog at first. This is my main responsibility as a blogger/writer. 

    I can spend an entire day reading one interesting article after another. By the time I click Add New button in my dashboard, the day might be over. Moreover, I might feel too exhausted to write as reading even ten blog posts demands a considerable amount of attention and energy. 

    Socialise, interact, read more, read often. Reading and interacting opens our eyes. They pinpoint our areas of improvement. But, don’t forget to strike a balance too. Writing is an exercise for our brain. So, do this when you are feeling fresh and bubbling with ideas. You can always relax your mind later by enjoying the varied treats from your fellow bloggers. And how can you have a relaxed reading session? There comes the next point.

    Socialise with blogs that you really love to read :

    We all believe in Karma. Don’t we? Do good and good is bound to happen to you. Like someone’s post and that blogger will like your post. Follow a blog and you will gain a new follower. Tell me honestly. Do you always get a like for a like or follow for a follow in your blog? Can you enjoy reading a post under such give-and-take pressure? Things have never worked for me that way at least. My following always counts more than my followers. Am I ashamed of it? No. It simply gives me a message that I need to work more on my writing though. 

    However, if you really want to enjoy someone’s work, then first stop networking only to increase your follower count. You will not achieve much at the end of the day. Although I am using the word networking in this post, but I feel this sounds like a very professional word. As if I am doing some business. But I am not here to do any business. I am here to share, learn and grow with others. And this can only happen when I like/follow a post/blog only because I appreciate it…..genuinely. This will take away the stress of networking from my head. Then only I can start enjoying an interaction. I can even end up even learning few good things from another blogger which in turn will help to improve my writing in the long run. 

    Make the optimum use of your unproductive time :

    You can’t be productive throughout your day. Nobody can. I can’t. There are certain times of the day when I feel at the top of my creative energy. I can’t wait to sit with the laptop and write down the storyline that made me too excited to sleep last night.Whereas, there are times in the same day when even taking out the laptop from the cabinet itself looks like a mammoth task. I feel totally useless and unproductive. Now, it’s entirely up to me what I do in these unproductive hours. Watch a series in Netflix, see the same videos in Youtube for the nth time, play Candy Crush, scroll through Instagram or open the WordPress/Medium apps and read some blogs?

    The point is to be smart enough with time. Want to take a short break from writing? Not getting any ideas good enough to write down? Feeling lazy? It’s okay. But don’t let the time to fly away just like that. Open a blogging app in your phone, search the tags that match your mood at that point and read few blogs. Simple.How much effort does it take?This way you will utilise your time in the best possible manner. What’s more? This habit will help to revive your writing spirit and make you have a comeback at your desk with more enthusiasm.

    Writing and networking: How do we keep a balance between them?
    Image Courtesy :  Pixabay

    Writing has given a purpose to my life. It makes me believe that I am still capable of doing something good. In today’s date, I don’t know what else I can do apart from writing. One like, one comment from a fellow blogger makes my day. So, it will be a huge injustice on my behalf if I don’t give proper time as well as attention to my craft and the friends whose love and appreciation has helped me to make even a little progress in this sphere till now.

  • Read and Write

    Juggernaut Books: What does it do for readers and self-published authors?

    Juggernaut Books: What does it do for readers and self-published authors?

    JUGGERNAUT ! Few months back, I was idly scrolling down my Facebook timeline when this particular word caught my attention. Someone shared a page and it said JUGGERNAUT BOOKS. A curious me clicked the link.Honestly speaking, in spite of my curiosity, I didn’t have much expectation from the page. I have gone through Goodreads and many such online reading portals. In my mind, this page appeared as another example of old wine in a new bottle. After a couple of seconds, I realised the difference.
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    Of course, Juggernaut Books is another portal where one can access books(written in English and Hindi are available as of now)from all categories by various authors. Some you can read for free and some you need to purchase. But at the same time, it also gives readers the chance to read the books you have written. Yes, I am talking about self-publishing. You can publish your work here for free. 

    However, Juggernaut is not the only website that allows you to self-publish your work. Google Best Self Publishing Sites and you will end up with a list of various such sites. And there are chances Juggernaut will not appear in that list. Still, I would recommend the readers and writers to have a look at Juggernaut. That’s because sometimes small shops hold bigger surprises for us than popular shopping malls.

    Juggernaut Books: What does it do for readers and self-published authors?

    Juggernaut Books: What does it do for readers and self-published authors?

    The website’s pages tactile on almost everything that is happening in and out of the literary circle. Trending novels, issues which India and rest of the world are concerned about, books that have made their journey to the silver screen finds place here.You can purchase or Add to Wishlist the novel of your choice. 

    Juggernaut Books: What does it do for readers and self-published authors?Juggernaut Books: What does it do for readers and self-published authors?

    Now, here comes my favourite part of the website. As a budding writer, it gives me immense joy to see my work getting recognised. I self-published a story THE LEAP OF FAITH few months back which is now in Juggernaut’s Writing Platform Top Picks.Ratings, reviews by fellow readers and writers has pushed the story to this beautiful position. And what’s more? If your submitted story gets a good rating, then you win a contract with Juggernaut. Here are some of the lucky few :

    Juggernaut Books: What does it do for readers and self-published authors?If you have a good story and are interested in showing it to the world, Then I would say try Juggernaut. Signup to the website with new or Facebook credentials, go to Juggernaut Writing Platform and start writing by following the given simple steps. Before submitting your story, please read their Terms & Conditions carefully and make sure to not submitting a work which you have already published somewhere else. At present, they are accepting works in English and Hindi only. 
    Juggernaut Books: What does it do for readers and self-published authors?

    It’s not over yet. A writer’s block is like a nightmare to someone who loves to write. If you are going through such phase, then Juggernaut can help you in that too. It has Writing Contests & Prompts which can ease your writer’s block. Contests run throughout the year and literally every month for all genres.

    Juggernaut Books: What does it do for readers and self-published authors?

    Juggernaut Books: What does it do for readers and self-published authors?Juggernaut Books: What does it do for readers and self-published authors?

    You can also download the Juggernaut App from Google Play store. The support team can be contacted if you face any issue with the app or the website:Juggernaut Books: What does it do for readers and self-published authors?

    These are some of the important features of Juggernaut. So what are you waiting for? Read, write and Juggernaut 🙂

    Also let me know if you have in mind any such good self-publishing websites that is a treat for a reader and a writer like me.