Category: blogging

I am writing. Again.

I am writing. Again.

The beginning of a year has always filled me with new vigour. It seems magical somehow, full of possibilities. Each year I print out planners, set blogging goals and health goals. I make resolutions, some of which I even manage to stick to.

This year, however, has been different. Because I’ve done nothing! Nothing at all. I tried to plan. To write. I opened my laptop multiple times. I sat staring at it but I just couldn’t. I read articles and blogs in search of inspiration. That’s what got me out of my limbo in the past.

Curiously enough, this time the more I saw year-end posts and resolutions, and Word of the Year posts and Vision Boards, the less I felt like writing. Because, honestly, I have no goals for this year. That sounds terrible – like a lost directionless ship. Moreso when everyone else seems to have everything worked out neatly.

Perhaps that’s why I couldn’t bring myself to write. It isn’t a happy confession to make – that one is directionless. It’s like belittling the whole business of writing/blogging.

Then today I received a gift and a beautiful little note from friends from a blogging community which I am sort of part of – in a very peripheral kind of way. But that small note reminded me of the fact that I am a blogger. Goals or not, professional or not, good or bad, five views or five thousand, I am a blogger, I write. That’s what I’ve done for over a decade, not counting the years I did it for a living. There’s no way I could stop doing it.

And so I resolved to try again.

Each evening when I drop the kids for their classes I workout at a gym. Today I decided to dump it. I ditched my tights and tee. I picked out a gorgeous new top and my favourite pair of jeans. I put on some gloss for good measure. Then I did away with my gym rucksack, got out my bright red handbag instead and slid in my laptop.

Today, I was going to write.

The children looked on, a trifle puzzled. H, who can never hold in a question asked, ‘Where are you going  ma?’ ‘To write,’ I replied cryptically.

As they walked off to their class I headed for the smoky cafe I go to sometimes. It’s been an hour since I sat  here with a terrible cup of bitter green tea for company and I’ve got down a thousand words! Not all thousand are going to make it to the publish button, maybe none of them will, but the good thing is I am writing. Again.

The blogging world is vast. It is easy to feel lost and inconsequential, like you and your writing don’t matter (and maybe they don’t, really). However, one must keep writing with the hope that someday, some small piece of writing may make a difference to someone somewhere, that it might touch someone in a special way, bring a smile maybe, or a nod of relief and understanding. And for that, one must keep writing.

So here I am with my directionless rambling. Perhaps this will mean something to someone else feeling just as directionless. Perhaps it will make them continue on their path, like me, in the hope of better things. Perhaps, tomorrow I’ll find my goal and write something meaningful. But for now, this is all I have, this will have to do.

It’s International Blog Delurking Week

It’s International Blog Delurking Week

It’s the same time of the year again. Nah, not the time when you make resolutions – that’s gone already. Did you know Jan 17 was the Ditch your New Year Resolution Day? Yes it is, so there!

This is something else. Jan 12th to 18th is ‘coming out’ week. Not that kind of coming out. In blogging language it’s called Blog Delurking Week.

It’s the week I beg lurkers at my blog to come say hello.

So who are ‘lurkers’?

Well those are the people who read my posts but don’t leave comments, the silent ones, the ones I never get to hear from. It’s time to come out, people. Say a hello and maybe you could leave a word saying where you’re from.

For instance I’d say something like – Hi I’m Tulika from Pune, India (also Lucknow, Delhi, Bhopal, Mumbai, for those are the cities I’ve lived in). You may simply stick with your name and your current city, or just with your name or whatever else you are comfortable with.

Oh I know it is hard to reveal yourself. Did you notice this is the very first time in my 11+ years of blogging that I’ve used my name on the blog here. It’s strange that while I’m okay with talking about my personal struggles, my failures and disappointments, my worries and concerns, yet giving out my name seems like a big deal.

That said, it is good to finally do it. So there, I’ve made a start. Go ahead and speak up.

Linking up with Parul who is hosting the delurking party.

International Blog Delurking Week

International Blog Delurking Week

Hiya people,
Today I’m not here to talk about myself. I do that all the time, don’t I? But today is different. Today is about YOU.
This is blog-delurking week. Is that a blank look on your face? Don’t know what I’m talking about? The thing is – the number of people who drop by here for a look is way larger than the number who leave a comment – just a minuscule percentage do that.
But I’d like to know ALL of you – specially you the silent ones. If you’re one of those quiet lurkers, now’s the time to show up and say a hello. I’d love to hear from you even it’s just this one day in the whole year.
So come now don’t be shy. A simple hello or a hi would be fine. Of course, if you’re in a garrulous mood you could tell me something more about yourself – your family, your profession, a favourite hobby, a film you watched recently. Or ask me something, anything.
Or you could simply tell me what makes you come here (that essentially means you have to say nice things about the blog).
PS: This invitation includes family members and close friends too. Reveal yourself guys. I know there are some among you who never admit you read me but the one time I blogged about something I didn’t want my parents to find out – a rather scary car accident a few years ago – news reached them faster than I hit publish. So come now, own up, show yourself.

That’s all from me for today. Go on say something.
Learnings from the A to Z Challenge

Learnings from the A to Z Challenge

April might not be the next month but the sign up list for this year’s A to Z April Bolgging Challenge is open. You can take a look here. Isn’t that badge really cool? 

Last year after much coaxing and deliberation I participated in the Challenge. I shy away from everyday monthly challenges because, well because they require posting everyday for one whole month. By the end of the month you find yourself dying to get out of it and the quality of your blog posts goes down too.

However, the April A to Z Challenge turned out way more fun than I’d imagined.

Sharing some of my learnings from the experience. If you’ve done it before you know them all. If you’re a first timer you might find them useful.

1. If I were to give one single advice to a first timer at the A to Z Challenge it would be SCHEDULE YOUR POSTS. The Challenge isn’t just about writing. It is about visiting and discovering other blogs, about making friends and coming away with a wealth of reading material. If you have your posts all done beforehand you have the luxury of reading and commenting on other blogs.

2. KEEP THEM SHORT.. 300-500 words. This is a toughie for me. I found myself constantly struggling to chop my posts if they exceeded the 500 limit I’d set myself. However people are blog hopping like crazy and have many many posts to read. Keeping it short gives you a better chance of being read.

3. HAVE A THEME. It helps you focus when you’re in the ‘what to write’ phase. Contrary to what it seems, broader the canvas more confused your thoughts. What’s better, like many bloggers, it might result in a book later on. Last year I’d talked about 26 of my favourite authors. Before long people were trying to guess what the next alphabet would bring and then I started leaving clues and began to announce the names of people who’d guessed right each day. It turned out to be fun.

4. STICK TO THE CHARACTER OF YOUR BLOG. Make sure your posts resonate with the character of your blog. That’s one big mistake I made last year. I am essentially obsessivemom here. Of course I also have a passion for reading. People who dropped by only during the A to Z Challenge would assume this was a reading/book related blog. Once the challenge was over and I went back to blogging about the twins with an occasional book review thrown in they had a right to be disappointed. It would make sense not to deviate too far from the original character of your blog.

That’s it. Those are my learnings. I do hope I can push myself to take up the madness this year too. It’s fun in retrospect.

Do share your suggestions please, anything to make it easier, more fun. I could do with help.

Battling Bloggers Block

Battling Bloggers Block

 It seems the world is conspiring to rescue my blog from inertia. I’ve been trying to get back to posting regularly but nothing seems to be working. First I did a week-long Drabble Fest. I struggled to sit at the computer each day, posting my entries late into the night. Once the Fest was over I was back to square one.. Idealess, inspirationless.

Now I get a second chance…
Write Tribe asks us to list five ways to tackle bloggers block. If I don’t make use of this bit of introspection to help myself, I truly never will. So here goes…
The first thing I should be doing is 

Read read read

…blogs. I find reading other blogs often opens the floodgates of my creativity. Something somewhere sparks off an idea – an agreement, a disagreement an add on – And voila.. I’m off. Then there are times (like now) when reading doesn’t do it. So then I look for ..

Blogging prompts

Sites like Write Tribe throw up prompts which are a great way to begin that conversation with your blog. I often weave my current state of kind into the prompts. Not just is that a bonus but it also helps me open up my heart. And that’s how blog posts happen for me – from the heart. Less mind more heart!
If that doesn’t work either, I try a..

Free write

I often win my battle with the block by pushing myself to sit down with the sole purpose of writing. That in itself is a task – no browsing, no FB, no tinkering with the kids’ projects… just writing. It’s hard, often. However, once I make myself sit I simply write the day’s happenings. Mundane details like what I did, where I went, how I felt – a good meal, a nasty neighbour, a challenging day with the kids, a spot of good behaviour from them – anything can make for a post. Of course a bunch of such free writes never get to hit the publish button and languish in my drafts.  And that’s where I go scavenging when I’m at my wits end.

Going through my drafts

…and trying to rework them helps sometimes. Seen days or months later from a new perspective they throw up new insights. 
And my final astra against the bog block are

Listicles

.. articles written as lists. I try some easy ones…

5 reasons I love blogging
5 reasons I enjoy going to the gym
5 kinds of people I cannot stand
5 ways to handle cranky kids
And that normally does it for me.

Still stuck?

If my top five didn’t work for you, do check out Write Tribe for more bright idea from some of the most fabulous bloggers. Good luck!