#AtoZChallenge V for Vacant by @sulekkha

 

Vacant by Sulekha Rawat

Some days I think of a million things I could write about in my blog, but when I sit in front of my computer screen, I have nothing to say. My mind goes blank, vacant. I feel like a fraud, an imposter in a writer’s body. Aren’t writers supposed to be full of new and interesting ideas, ready to write up a storm at the drop of an ink drop from their eloquent pens?

Writing is easy: All you do is sit staring at a blank sheet of paper until drops of blood form on your forehead. ~Gene Fowler

People say, ‘An empty mind is a devil’s workshop’ but I disagree. I think it is a recharging station and after the de-cluttering and dusting off of the cobwebs from here, the mind gets flooded with fresh ideas. It is then ready to generously share them with the world. You have to safeguard your mind against the opinions of others and not let their thoughts get into your recharging workstation. The song from the movie, Amar Prem, starring Rajesh Khanna and Sharmila tagore, comes to mind, “Kuchh toh log kahenge, logon ka kaam hai kehna.”

You cannot please all the people, all the time so stop trying to do the impossible. Aim to walk on your path, keep your emotional balance and continue walking by putting one foot in front of the other. You will get there, eventually, so don’t lose hope. While you are on this scenic tour, look around and take in the sights. Don’t expect to see only the waterfalls, fairies, rainbows and lovely blossoms along the way, be prepared to witness a gory killing of a prey by the hunter, oil spills and also droughts. We are a sum of all our experiences, both good and bad, and with joy and sorrow chasing each other, perpetually; it is a mixed bag.

I know of writers who consciously empty their minds and let them be vacant briefly to allow new thoughts and ideas to fill them up. This influx keeps their writing fresh, lively and interesting not to mention a delight for the readers too. I take heart from these stalwarts and don’t panic when I wake up some mornings and have nothing to say to the world, I savor the moment and bless the Universe for giving me this opportunity to recharge my batteries.

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Blogger Bio:  Sulekha Rawat

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 Sulekha is a writer having an artistic mind with a scientific bent and is also the Co-Founder of Social Potpourri. A double Graduate, Bachelor of Science (BSc) and Bachelor of Library and Information Science (BLISc), with a Post Graduate diploma in Marketing and Sales, yet still not satisfied with all the learning, she went ahead and laid the foundations for her dream of becoming a creative writer by enrolling in the Advanced Diploma in Creative Writing in English. She has a side-kick named Sparky; her 11 year old Dalmatian who listens to her read out the rough drafts and gives her suggestions for improving them with a shake of her adorable head.

– Sulekha has co-authored a book of poems with her daughter and their book, A Patchwork Quilt, was launched in Mumbai on 8 January 2015. She blogs at www.sulekharawat.com

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Blog-A-Rhythm’s theme for the month of April is 

Blogging Bytes

Come back everyday this month (except Sundays)

to read 26 guest posts on facets of blogging!

#AtoZChallenge Unique ‘U’ by @vinodini

 From Pixabay.com

From Pixabay.com

Through my journey as a blogger, one helpful lesson that I’ve learnt is to have a ‘unique’ voice of my own that came across strongly as my individuality. So, how does one make sure that they have that ‘unique’ flavor in their posts? Would it make sense to read up a lot and observe various writing styles that writers adapt to put their thoughts across through their words? Yes, that’s one way to do it.

I’ve seen a lot of people writing blog-posts and write-ups, like they would write their school essays. Although, these posts are rich in content, they fail to interest me as a reader, when I’m unable to gauge a bit of the writer’s attitudes or thoughts that these write-ups seem to be devoid of. Please forgive the critic in me creeping up here, but honestly, if I needed to read information rich content I have the Wikipedia at my disposal just a click away. Why should I visit a blog or read a book that seems to state facts in the same cold manner that an informative website or manual should be able to do for me?  And then, I’ve wondered what has stopped the writer from infusing his ‘uniqueness’ in it? Is it the fear or self-consciousness of putting oneself out there to be read and judged for the thoughts that are expressed in the writing?  Agreed, one needs to shed a lot of inhibitions, especially when one gets candid through their writings. It surely is a big deal, but then isn’t that candidness about what makes each of us unique? By masking this candidness, we are merely stating or recording facts – and to me that is quite a mechanical chore. What’s the fun in writing something that doesn’t have a bit of ‘U’ in it?! As writers our passion for writing is further enriched when our true self is revealed through what we write and share which in turn, sparks into a healthy debate or discussion with our readers.

When I start writing, I write as though I’m having a one- on-one conversation with my readers, and that really helps. There’s no better way to make your write-ups ‘unique’  and original than by lending your distinct voice of expression to them that defines ‘U’ for what you are, what you think, how you see things and further translate it your own unique voice through your words.

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Blogger Bio: Vinodini Iyer

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Design and aesthetics rule my life. I’m a painter by academics, and a fashion and retail professional by experience. I thrive on meeting new people, exploring new places, cuisines and cultures. A gypsy at heart, I just can’t be pinned down by routine. I believe, a thought, an experience, or an idea is incomplete unless it is shared. I write to be read.

I am an aspiring writer who dreams of writing a book someday. Two of my short stories have been selected to be published as a part of anthologies. I write on myriad topics that influence my life….Art, Design, Aesthetics, Fashion, Retail, Travel, Nature, Music, Movies, Relationships, Parenting, Philosophy, Interesting experiences, Random thoughts, Photography, Short Stories. Poems, at my blog: http://vinodinii.blogspot.in/

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Blog-A-Rhythm’s theme for the month of April is 

Blogging Bytes

Come back everyday this month (except Sundays)

to read 26 guest posts on facets of blogging!

#AtoZChallenge T’s of Blogging by @swathishenoy26

T

Though I have been an ardent reader, writing is something that I picked up recently. But being on the blog-o-sphere for a year can teach you a lot of things.

One of the important things that I learned is ‘Selecting a Theme’. We are at the end of the A-Z Challenge. Many of us have used a ‘Theme’ for this challenge and already have experienced the benefits of it. Having a theme always helps us to focus. It narrows down the countless options we have and it’s easier to select a topic this way. When we know what to write, our thoughts are clearer and the posts come out more beautifully. Needless to say, it always attracts the readers.

‘Tweeting’ is another important aspect. With more than half of the world addicted to social media, it is the best way to promote your posts. It helps you gain a wide range of audience for your posts. Using the relevant tags also plays an important role. And when you use your theme as a ‘Tag’ to tweet your posts, it helps like minded people to find your posts easily, thus the post reaching its intended readers. It is a win-win situation for both readers and writers.

And another equally important ‘T’ of blogging is to ‘Truncate’ the posts. When writing the post initially, we tend to give away a lot of details, most of which is not needed. It unnecessarily lengthens the post and usually repels the readers during challenges like A-Z, when everyone is busy blog hopping. So, re-read your posts and truncate it, editing out the unnecessary details. Give a ‘Title’ which suits the post best and hints the readers what to expect while still keeping their curiosity alive.

Finally, never deviate from your theme. It’s not just about the theme of the challenge but also the theme of your blog(s). Every blogger has his/her set of followers, who read and connect with their posts. So it is important to stick to this theme even while writing for contests. Instead of promoting anything generally, try and blend it to according your theme. Don’t give up your original style. It helps retaining the existing readers and gain new ones. After all, we all love it when our posts receive some love.

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Blogger Bio: Swathi Shenoy

Swathi Shenoy

 Swathi is a 21 year old student, who is currently pursuing her degree in Computer Science and Engineering. She is a self proclaimed bibliophile and forgets the world around her when she dives into the world of novels! Writer, dreamer, singer, artist, travel enthusiast and nature lover – that pretty much sums up her for beginners. To find out more about her, visit her blog Flightless Bird thoughtful Wings (http://swathishenoy.blogspot.in/) where she likes to spend all her free time.

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Blog-A-Rhythm’s theme for the month of April is 

Blogging Bytes

Come back everyday this month (except Sundays)

to read 26 guest posts on facets of blogging!

#AtoZChallenge Sharing on social media by @shilpaagarg

“Love only grows by sharing. You can only have more for yourself by giving it away to others.” ― Brian Tracy

We all love sharing something exciting or funny or something that resonates with us, with our circle of friends and acquaintances. Right from a joke on the Whatsapp to a call for signing petition for a change in our society on Facebook to an interesting tweet, we like to share it all on the various social media platforms.

Our blogs which we mother like babies need all the love too and no one’s more happier than us when our posts get some encouragement. Comments on our blogs is one form of encouragement, the other form of it is when our content is shared on the different social media platforms viz Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn Google+ etc.

When I am reading blogs and I find something interesting or worth sharing, I do not hesitate to click the share button. And Twitter is my favourite medium to share content of bloggers in my network.

Usually, this is what I see when I hit the share button.

Tweet

And this really makes me groan!

As you can see, this tweet is not optimized with custom information. The tweet is missing my Twitter handle. In other words, this tweet would go in the Twitter la-la land and nobody would ever know about it. If I had customized it with my twitter handle @shilpaagarg and/or hashtag #BAR, this tweet would help this post have a better reach and engagement.

Since, I love sharing good content, so, I try to go the extra mile and make an effort to remember the twitter handles of friends who have not customized the share buttons on their blogs and add it myself in the tweet. For example, I know Elly’s twitter handle is @ellytreehugger or Tulika is @obsessivemom06. But sometimes, my grey cells go on a holiday without informing me. I remember sharing Inderpreet’s blog posts @indiwrites instead of @indywrites. @indiwrites must be really wondering about my sanity of sharing tweets with him/her. That’s another story that this twitter handle is hardly used.

To make long story short, it is important for us to customize our share buttons on our blogs.

The default share buttons at the end of the post on Blogger are simply redundant and one must simply do away with them.

Today we have a lot of plugins for social sharing buttons like Shareholic, AddThis  ShareThis etc which work on both Blogger and WordPress Blogs, while Digg Digg, Get Social etc are exclusive WordPress plugins.

You can select any of these plugins, I would recommend Shareholic though for its simplicity and ease of installation and convenience.

So, go ahead and customize the share buttons on your blogs. Believe me, it is a great way to increase traffic, reach and engagement. Did I tell you that  research shows that including a tweet button increases Twitter mentions sevenfold!! Now, isn’t that awesome?

What are you waiting for! Get going and start sharing!

Drop in a comment, in case you get stuck while configuring your share buttons. We’d be happy to help!

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Blogger Bio: Shilpa Garg

Shilpa Garg

Shilpa Garg is a blogger from the Pink City of India who is passionate about the written words, sweets and beautiful conversations that happen over a mug of tea. She loves writing micro fiction, book reviews and general observations of life, things and circumstances on  her blog,  A rose is a rose is a rose! Connect with her on Facebook, Twitter and Google+.

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Blog-A-Rhythm’s theme for the month of April is 

Blogging Bytes

Come back everyday this month (except Sundays)

to read 26 guest posts on facets of blogging!