7 Cs : Why I Love Write Tribe

imagesWrite Tribe is a motivation and support group for bloggers and writers. Since the day, I joined this group, there’s never been a dull moment. I love being a part of this group. Here’s why…

  1. Connect : Connecting with like minded bloggers who are passionate about the written word makes Write Tribe a cool group to hang out with.
  2. Creativity : This is the group which pushes everyone to explore new forms of writing. I so enjoyed Haiku, 55 Fiction and writing stories in 100 words. And even in a few words, it is amazing to see such diverse thoughts and creative posts, every time.
  3. Camaraderie : Blogging is fun with this group. Just today, when I wrote in the group, ‘last day of the fest and I am lost’. I needed just one idea to write today’s post and I got a dozen in a few minutes! This is the support, care and concern that I love here.
  4. Counsel: The Write Tribe blog and Facebook page regularly features tips and advice that helps us sharpen our writing even more. Prior to this group my arena for unaware and unknown things about blogging was very large. The gained knowledge and the practical tech information is certainly useful and helpful.
  5. Community : This writing group is more than just a place to write together for challenges and prompts. It is a community of birds of the same feather. It is a place which serves as a platform to share our work too.
  6. Challenges : Write Tribe believes in  keeping our grey cells actively engaged in blogging, so we have weekly prompts on Wednesdays and alternate Saturdays which gets our creative juices flowing and gushing.
  7. Corinne : …the woman whose brainchild is Write Tribe. Warm and always motivating, witty and mature, it is because of her mentoring and gentle nudge that Write Tribe is a wonderful and inspiring hangout for bloggers who love and enjoy blogging.

Are you a part of any community blogging platform? How is your experience?

I am taking part in The Write Tribe Festival of Words 1st – 7th September 2013.WTFestivalofWords

Images courtesy : Google Images

Thank you Richa for inspiring to write this post! 🙂

To-Do List For My Blog

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I moved my blog from Blogger to self-hosted WordPress blog on 19th June 2013. Since then it has been a roller-coaster ride with extensive traveling and everyday blogging challenge to exigencies of daily life. Though the move to this new home for the blog has been a smooth one and almost all the major things are in place. However, I feel that there are many things that can be categorized under work-in-progress on this blog.

After this challenge is over, there are a few things that I need to take it up on priority.

My To-Do list for my blog is:

  1. Due to paucity of time, between the two ie reading and connecting with fellow fest participants & responding to the comments on my blog…. I chose the former. So almost all the posts of the Write Tribe Festival of Words and a few other posts have zero interaction from my side and this is something that I am not liking one bit. I have to do this on a war-footing ASAP.
  2. During the transfer from Blogger to WordPress, the categories of some of the posts went missing. So that needs to be rectified soon.
  3. While I never thought about SEO on Blogger, WordPress has a SEO Plugin. I need to add the focus keywords, SEO Title and meta-description for all the posts  which would help in better visibility of the blog in natural or un-paid (organic) search results.
  4. Before I add the focus keywords, SEO Title and meta-description on all the posts, I need to read and learn about this techy thing.
  5. My OCD for cleanliness, some time back made me delete a folder of pictures on Picasa which had pictures uploaded on the blog. I thought since these picture were already on the blog, there wasn’t any need for duplication. It took me a week to realize that pictures I deleted on Picasa were linked to the blog so they got deleted from the blog as well. So, there are many Wordless Wednesdays posts which have no pictures now. I have an herculean task to search and insert those pictures on these posts again. While I may get most of the pictures on my system, there might be some pics which would have been cleaned from my laptop too. Wondering what I’d do about that situation…
  6. A friend suggested that I must have an ‘About Me’ page on the blog. I have been ignoring that for a while now. Guess, it needs to be worked on too.
  7. I guess, I can do with some beautification of my blog too, while I am at it.

Are there some things on your blog that are also in the category of work-in-progress?

I am taking part in The Write Tribe Festival of Words 1st – 7th September 2013.WTFestivalofWords

Images courtesy : Google Images

7 TakeAways From Blog Buddies

imagesI have been Blogging for more than 4 years now. And this journey has been quite eventful and fun with lots of learnings and loads of insights. I believe, blogging is all about interaction. As a blogger we interact with so many bloggers who share different perspectives and experiences, have different personalities and come from diverse backgrounds and cultures too. When we come across such disparate thoughts and talents our learning curve increases too.

Today, I list my 7 learnings from my blog buddies…

  1. Mrs Usha Menon, a 77-year-old retired educationist, started blogging in July 2011, though I have been reading her blog since September 2012… Oh, that’s exactly a year. And in this one year I have seen her evolve as she explored the art of writing a Haiku and stories in 100 words to poetry and prose. She is keen to learn and explore the various writing forms. Whenever she knows about any challenge or a writing prompt, she is an enthusiastic participant. Is there any age for learning new things in life? Thank you Ma’am for showing me that learning has no age limit.
  2. Whenever somebody comments on any blog post of mine, I get an email alert. One day, I got email alerts one after the other, every few minutes. I had participated in an everyday blogging challenge and somebody was commenting on my old blog posts. And the blogger commented on all my 30 posts at one go! Was I amazed? Thank you Reema for teaching me an important lesson that day.
  3. We all write posts on our blogs and we receive a lot of comments too. How many comments linger in our mind for a long time or bring a smile every time? Thanks Amrit for showing me how to connect with readers in a witty, interesting and conversational way.
  4. HTML codes and SEO business stump me. RSS, Trackbacks, I believe are other names for Greek and Latin. And as a Blogger you do face technical issues. A mail to friends and tech help pours your way. Thank you Corinne and Chicky for demonstrating that if you have knowledge, let others light their candles in it.
  5. George Burns said, ‘the secret of a good sermon is to have a good beginning and a good ending; and to have the two as close together as possible.’ One need not write long essays to get across his/her point. I learnt from Corinne that powerful messages can be packed in few words as well.
  6. Blog buddies from the virtual word can become a part of your real world too. Vinita, Smita, Rama, Chicky are a chat or a phone call away to share thoughts, laughter and smiles. We have some really interesting and stimulating discussions which goes on to show that it is good to rub and polish our brain against that of others.
  7. This blog is my space and I am so very proud of it. It’s a place where I can share so much and I have the love and affection of so many bloggers whom I have never met in real life. Their encouragement and advices, wishes and suggestions, help me grow and learn so much. Thinking about all the wonderful people out there who visit this space and thanking you all from the bottom of my heart for showing me that instruction does much, but encouragement everything.

What are your takeaways from your blog buddies?

I am taking part in The Write Tribe Festival of Words 1st – 7th September 2013.WTFestivalofWords

Images courtesy : Google Images

UBC Day 24 : Commenting Commandments

Here’s a Ten on Tuesday on a Wednesday!! Of course, I can do that! 😉

cooltext468162920Ten Commandments for Commenting

There is a similarity between blogging and a stage performance. In a show or a live performance, the appreciative applause, claps, whistles, catcalls, shouts, and sometimes rotten eggs, tomatoes and shoes are the barometers of a performance. When these whistles, catcalls or rotten eggs translate into words, they are known as the comments on our blogs.

Oh, there is no denying to the fact that we all love to receive comments on our blogs. Yes, even those, who say that “I write for my own self”.

We love to see the growing number of comments on our blog posts. A comment has the power to uplift our mood or to give us that happy feeling… or it can also make us cringe or even grimace! I am sure, we all have experienced these at different points of time. Based on observations and experience of reading and commenting on various blogs, I share the Ten Commandments for Commenting.

  1. Thou shalt read before commenting. You will not comment after just seeing a picture or the title of the post. By commenting without reading you are fooling nobody!
  2. Thou shalt comment sensibly. Your comments on a blog are like your business cards that you leave behind. They speak a lot about you. So, exercise your choice responsibly.
  3. Thou shalt add to the conversation. A ‘Good post” or “Agree completely” are the things of the past. Sharing what you liked about the article or adding an example from your own experience is a good idea.
  4. Thou shalt stay on the topic. Ok, you may like to comment about the grammar or the spelling errors, but it is important to connect with the post and be on the same topic while commenting. Starting your own discussion which is irrelevant to the post is not done.
  5. Thou shalt write comments that are easily comprehensible.  Since, one can’t see your expression or your tone while you are commenting, it makes sense to comment in a language that is easily understandable. Using short forms of words like ‘l8r’ or ‘beta’ or commenting only with emoticons can be avoided.
  6. Thou shalt respect : You have all the rights to disagree with the views shared. Agree to disagree, respectably. Remember, when you’re commenting on a blog, you are actually a guest in their home. Your comment on a blog should be akin to your discussion you have with your friends while chatting over coffee.
  7. Thou shalt be creative : Agree sometimes, it is very easy to give in to simply write, “Beautiful post!” or “A great post.”, as you can’t find something better to comment on a post. That’s the time to don your creative hat! You are a creative blogger, isn’t it!?
  8. Thou shalt refrain from overdose of flattery. I guess, this is self explanatory.
  9. Thou shalt not spam. Please (see, it is a request!) refrain from sharing ‘Vote for my blog here’, ‘Read my latest post’ or ‘Visit my site’.
  10. Thou shalt proofread. It is better to fix the typing errors while commenting. Remember, your comments are your business cards…

Agree with these commandments??

Let your comments flow! 🙂

UBC Day 5 : Live Blogging From Agra Station…

Hi from the city of the Taj Mahal. I am at Agra Cantt railway station, going back home from a 4 day workshop here. It is hot and humid and I can’t wait to sit in the cool comfort of the train. I am pretty early and the train is a bit behind schedule.

For the first time I saw a lady porter. Wish I could have captured her in my camera. A woman propably in her thirties, wearing a red kurta with the railway porter’s badge on her arm. A tough choice of profession for a woman.

The best thing I like about Agra Cantt railway station is that the overhead bridge connecting the various platforms has a slope and not the stairs. It is so very convenient. I wonder why there are staircases to connect the various platforms at stations when everyone travels with bags and suitcases here.

A lady came up to me to help her search for a call which she had received at 3.25 pm on her mobile. She explained that she is not familiar with new numbers and English. A good deed done for the day.

I am writing this post from my phone, which is a first for me. The sensitive touchscreen makes it a bit tedious to write a long post. I am writing this paragraph for the third time. Dont know where the earlier two attempts have vanished. Aah! Just did a bit of R&D and found both the earlier typed paragraphs at the end of the post!! Just remembered Smitha and Deeps who have been blogging from their phones from such a long time. Hats off to you, ladies.

While I was busy observing the things around me (you see, one needs to be vigilant enough to note the blogworthy happenings), I didnt realize that my train’s arrival had changed from platform no. 2 to platform no. 3. I realized only when the train was arriving at platform no. 3. Fortunately, didnt had to walk much to find my coach. What a bliss it is to be sitting in the air conditioned coach.

A family of 4 is sitting opposite me. The teenage sons are busy arguing over who would occupy the upper berth and who gets to use the Tablet first and have involved the parents in their bickerings too. The husband is super active while the wife is simply observing the 3 men without any expression. She smiled warmly at me after I had settled on my seat but has no smile or a word for her family. She is intriguing me. A beautiful and a well educated lady, she appears to be. One can never know what goes on in somebody’s head or what’s their true story. An hour into the journey and she has just murmered a ‘thanks’ when the younger son while offering a pack of biscuits to her said ‘ladies first’. And now she has gone off to lie on the side berth. She truly seems to be upset and/or unhappy. Ah! The travails of life.

Should post this now ASAP. Hope it happens without any hassle. Cant wait to reach home. KG is cooking an elaborate meal for us. Some nice food and a messy kitchen awaits me.

See you all on your blogs from tomorrow. Reading time now and it is time to be offline as ‘Ohh! Gods are Online’ . Yes, that’s the book I am currently reading.

UBC Day 2 : Why I Love Participating in Blog Challenges

Ten Reasons : Why I Love Blog Challenges

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This is my 6th daily blogging challenge. While I did the first 3 in isolation, the last 2 were done in a group. The experience of the last 2 everyday blogging challenges has left quite an impression on me. So, here are the reasons why I love taking up blogging challenges…

  1. Camaraderie : I guess, this is the foremost reason for doing blog challenges now. I simply love and enjoy the camaraderie of these virtual community events. The support from fellow bloggers and fun of flocking at each other’s blog is simply amazing.
  2. Active grey cells : Thinking about a new blog post everyday keeps the grey cells active… very active! Everything I look at, is from a blogging perspective, during these challenges. Also, these challenges certainly push me to think out of the box.
  3. Keeps me motivated : With a fabulous group of fellow bloggers to support and cheer you, who wouldn’t be motivated and excited to read and write everyday!!
  4. A good daily habit : “We first make our habits, and then our habits make us”, said John Dryden. Doing something every day is such a powerful way to form a habit and nothing is more satisfying and enriching than developing a daily habit of reading and writing!
  5. Develop a new network : I discovered a new set of bloggers during the A to Z Challenge and some more during the FMS May Photo Challenge. It is interesting to discover new styles, new perspectives and newer like minded virtual friends.
  6. A learning experience : Everyday one learns something new. A new outlook to an issue, some new blogging techniques, a different presentation, some interesting interactions… During the A to Z Challenge, I was amazed that a blogger (Bhavya) wrote a story from A to Z, while another kept the readers busy by getting them to crack codes and puzzles….
  7. A positive and much needed bonus : Yes, everyday writing has some positive effect on the overall writing style, or so I like to believe. 😉 Also it gives me some more clarity of thought and helps crystallize the random thoughts better.
  8. Crazy fun : Brainstorming over the phone or chatting on Whatsapp or discussing in a forum, interacting on the blogs is some crazy fun which I simply love.
  9. Challenging self : Martin Luther King Jr said, the ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge … and I agree with him. Only after we accept the challenges, we can feel the exhilaration of achievement and success.
  10. There’s something more… : The month long of blogging gives you some big and small, shiny and creative badges to display proudly on the blog. 😉

Do these reasons excite you to take up a blogging challenge next time?

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UBC Day 1 : Jitters and Japes

Last evening, we went out for shopping and my mind was on blogging. I was looking at things around me a bit deeply.

I believed that I’d get some food for thought at the aquarium shop where we had gone to buy some stuff, but all I got was some food for our fishes.

I looked on the passing vehicles and billboards with renewed interest, to observe something out of ordinary, but everything was prim and proper like the life our relatives expect us to lead.

I observed the customers at a retail outlet to find some unique behaviour or mannerism but they were as boring as watching the paint dry.

When KG was sharing something interesting with me, my mind was working overtime on remembering something else which could be blog worthy and I invited an exasperated look from him.

After an hour of surfing on the net and looking for blogging ideas / daily prompt suggestions, nothing really caught my fancy.

The personal deadline I have set for posting each day’s blog post is of 12.01 am, which is just a few minutes away, and the words that can describe my current state of mind in panic stricken.

It’s the first day of the Ultimate Blog Challenge. And I am clueless and lost.

Am I biting off more than I can chew?

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We Are Moving!

Very soon, this lil’ blog of mine will be moving to its new home http://shilpaagarg.com

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Currently, it is work-in-progress and believe me it is a lot of hard work.
This entire blog will move to this new address, so you will not miss any post.
Now onwards all new posts will be uploaded on this new address.
I hope your support n love will continue at my new home!!
See you there soon… till then, subscribe to it, bookmark it.
Please visit my new home… I am sure you’ll love it there too!!

Image Courtesy : Google Images

Why I Write…

I believe, I am a blogger and not a writer. There is a marked difference between the two, which has been beautifully elucidated by a dear blogger, Susan here.

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Of course, a blogger writes on her/his blog. So, here is why I write…

  • As life’s journey continues, memories may blur and the facts may be forgotten, I write to record the journey of our life and times. Reading the old posts give me that wonderful feeling of moving backward in time and making the past memories and moments come live in front of me.
  • Our thoughts are like water, they run continuously and may wander in any direction. I write to crystallize my thoughts. Writing crystallizes half-baked or unbaked thoughts, gives them form, and multiply the chains of thoughts in new directions.
  • When the words flow as I write, it soothes and calms me. Sometimes, what I write helps me to verbalize what I didn’t even know I was thinking. I write as it is a creative vent for me.
  • I write for Aaryan to read this account, the tidbits from our life, and construct the story of our life, learn and know our experiences, thoughts and views ‘then’ and memories, when he grows up.



This is in response to WriteTribe prompt and the Thursday bloghop #80 at the Writer’s Post.
 
Photo Credit: raventhird via Compfight cc

4th Blog Anniversary Today!

4 years and 562 posts later, with relentless support of the friends, readers and well wishers, the journey continues…

birthday4Heartfelt Thanks to All of YOU!!
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