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Archive for the ‘Get Personal’ Category

Hi guys,

If you had a look at my blog recently, you must be thinking, has this woman gone crazy?

From maryawrites to blogtherapy, to writinghappiness to maryawrites? AGAIN? (Sorry if you just subscribed in the past few days, this line shows the recent changes in my blog name- as you were.)

Allow me to explain …

I started my blogging journey writing as Marya Writes, here of course. I had no idea what I wanted to do and like most people I was drifting aimlessly. I knew only two things, I love to write and I love to learn.

I have been a corporate writer for a number of years, I have also taught Business Communication. While I (almost) knew I can write , I wasn’t sure if I was going to make it as a blogger. I still am not, but it doesn’t matter now. I WILL NOT GIVE UP. I will keep going no matter. This is just the start of my online writing career – something that I have been passionate about for a long long time but wasn’t able to pursue because of some deeply personal family issues.

But now I can, and I am.

So I have moved to my own site known as Writing Happiness – Writing for Web.

What better way to build an online writing resource than to go through the whole process yourself? And write about it when you still can – remember that is.

I want to thank all of you for your amazing support and kindness that you have provided. But wait, this is not the end. I am just moving to another site heheheh

Please go to www.writinghappiness.com and subscribe there. I mean it, I don’t want to hear any excuses. Please! *puppy eyes”

Actually let me make it easier for you, to show you how important you – my dear reader – are to me. I will spend my weekend manually entering hundreds of email addresses on my new site. All you have to do it confirm when you get the message in your email. Just letting you know so you don’t freak out. It’s not spam – its Marya. :)

Or, you could save me some of the effort and subscribe there. In return, WHEN I become a hotshot, I’ll still remember you …hahahahah … corny? Well the biggest problem with that sentence, IF rather than When.

Anyway ….

That’s all I wanted to say today. Sorry I confused you with all the blog name changes. I have slightly modified my blog focus so I needed something to reflect that.

One more thing, I have just started my writinghappiness facebook page. Could you ‘like’ it? I promise not to stuff it with information. I am not big on social networking but there are some less than pleasant tasks that every writer must do right? Social marketing is one of them.

As this is an email – from a friend to another – I have not edited it all at. It has turned out longer than I thought, as I do tend to ramble in my emails. All errors are mine. (Actually I couldn’t resist doing the spell check). All the useless sentiment is mine too.

This is my last post here. See you at Writing Happiness. :)

Cheers!

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Somebody asked me the other day, how long have you been blogging for? 

I am thinking they were trying to suss me out, to see if I have got enough experience to be dishing any kind of advice – much less blogging advice. 

My answer? A couple of months of actual writing – and 3 decades of building up to it

This is my story. 

Totally unimpressive highlights of my life, that have been totally significant to me – in terms of work, life and successes. 

My father was once in charge of a local library, he was actually a Naval officer at that time, and he had the coolest job on the earth. His job description meant that he would visit local stores and select books to be purchased for the library. He would also take his eldest daughter along, to pick all the books she liked for the children’s section. She was about 5 at that time. She also happened to be me! 

This gave rise to a major obsession with books, reading and life long learning. I remember sitting with books piled high and reading well into the night.  

As I got a little older, I started doing what every little girl did. Writing stories, pages and pages of them, which eventually turned into boxes. Not everybody does that? See, I didn’t know that. I wrote, and I wrote … and I never thought of making a big deal out of it. 

I ‘published’ children’s magazines from home and got everybody to read them and give cool testimonials on the back. I still have them. 

I started a library (of everything I owned) from home and kids from places far away – well not that far – came and borrowed books. A budding entrepreneur I was even then. Too bad, once when we were away, my library got broken into and more than half of my precious babies were taken away. I don’t know how long I cried for – then I closed my library. I was barely 13 then, I think.

And I wrote for every school and college magazine who would print my work. 

Two things were very, very important to me.

To learn about things, and to share them with other people, be it through creating own magazines, opening up a library, or writing for the local magazines. 

And then the magical world of web 2.0 was born – and I was hooked – for life

Nobody could drag me away from the online communities, forums and any place with the word ‘interactive’ in it. I was a participator in it all. 

I was lapping it up like my life depended on it. 

I was studying, writing, teaching – both online and in my real world. I did post-graduate studies in Law, Marketing, and Education. All the jobs I held had a teaching and a writing component. I couldn’t do it any other way. 

And all this while I did not think that I had to say something important to people like you and me.

And now I do. 

I have found a place. I love it when kindred spirits come my way and decide to stay.

I am building a community of people who are passionate about life, have a desire and will to succeed at whatever has caught their eye. They are full of integrity, and best of all they want to blog about it all. 

Welcome to my tribe

Here you would not find money hungry people, but people who want to work hard, and ethically to earn their living – and get rich. Whatever being rich means to them.

You would not see people who are all about the gimmicks, and about following the ‘in crowd’ hoping to cash on their successes.

Here are people who want to have a life with a purpose, and live mind fully. 

We all need such a place to hang out. Learn, share, blog

Welcome to WRITING happiness!

I am writing for your success.

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What is your biggest excuse to not post regularly? Bet I know what you’re going to say. 

What keeps you from actually writing something down? As soon you plonk yourself before your computer, what happens? 

Is it lack of time? 

Really? 

Well, funny I have the same complaint as well. And so do the hundreds of bloggers. Few lucky ones don’t. How do they do it? Well, the reason is very simple. They don’t get distracted. Heard this before? Don’t know why it doesn’t REALLY click in. It did for me yesterday. 

At my house, I had a fuse blown for more about two hours or so. I couldn’t turn the TV on, receive any calls and access the internet (which was probably the hardest). I went offline – and I went invisible.

So I sat down and wrote- and wrote- and wrote. 

We can see what had happened. There is a reason why I was able to do exactly what I wanted to do and even a bit more.

I was NOT distracted. 

I did not start my day by checking my email first. Believe me when I say this, nothing happened when I didn’t check my email in the morning. The world didn’t stop. The sun did come out a usual.

I did not spend hours looking at other blogs, and commenting on different posts. Thats all good but if I do that, then I am not working on my own blog. 

I did not have a quick look at my facebook. Now, I have only few close friends and family on my personal account, even that takes me away from work. A quick message here and there, maybe I’ll write a long overdue email to someone who just posted a quick update to their status. Hang on, might as well watch that youtube video while I am here. You get the idea.

I did not log on to twitter. I did not see who started following me, therefore, I was not enticed to click on their profiles, which could lead to looking at their blogs. I might have decided to follow them back and send them quick messages. It takes away time that I could use to finish my work. 

I did not turn the TV on and drift away by catching mindless piece of information.

I did not receive a long call from a close friend and end up chatting for 45 minutes. Nor was I tempted to make one.

I did not sit around feeling intimidated by the task ahead of me. Didn’t have to think, oh I can’t do this, it’s beyond me. Was that really the case or have I made it this way.

I had something to do and I did it. 

When you are working at and office, are you constantly doing things that take you away from work? I am guessing no – for the most part. Then why do we do it at home? 

Distractions are funny, they are small and seem insignificant. They come unexpectedly and when you start attending to them, all your planning flies out the window. And you are left wondering where all your time went.

You can beat them in 3 easy steps.

Get Organized

That’s the first step to having a shot at acheiving what you want in life. Make a list of tasks for the day and follow through. It’s that simple.

Yes, you will have to be very self-disciplined.  But that’s the whole point of it.

Prioritize Your Time

Make blocks of all the demands on your time that take you away from your task at hand –ie writing a new post. If it’s being on the internet, turn it off.

Set a time aside for checking your blog subscriptions.  Say 20 minutes. Even if you can’t read everything, you’ll probably find out that you did the thing that is more important at the moment. Writing a post. 

Do not go around commenting everywhere. Only comment if you genuinely have something to say, or praise the exceptionally well-written post. 

Check your emails together instead of checking throughout the day. Same goes for the phone calls, return them in bunches if you get many while you are working. 

And finally,

Stick To It

Would you be able to access social networking sites or tv at work? Do the same while you are working from home, its no different really. If you allow too many distractions, you will lose valuable time and end up accomplishing nothing.

I did it for one day. The goal is now to do it for every day of the week. No more lame excuses for why I did not publish three times a week. I have taken the first step.

What keeps you distracted from writing post regularly? Share your tips on how to beat these nasty buggers with all of us.

Subscribe to keep up with all blogging fun… :)

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It is after 3 months that I am logging in to my blog. 

Yes, I am alive. 

Yes, I went away for an extended holiday to my homeland. Yes, I went with the full intention of logging in as soon as jet lag wore off. Sadly it didn’t happen for me like that, nothing like that all.  

When you click on anything - except your own blog.

I do not know what happened, except that I was literally in a different world. I was in a world where we have maids doing practically everything for us. We have chauffeurs for our cars, we have tons of help in the kitchen – and for everything else imaginable. And no, one doesn’t have to be a millionaire to have all this. In countries like Pakistan, labour is cheap, and is easily available, and rest of the country reaps the benefits. And then I had actually people to talk to – like living things – my gorgeous family members.

So I got lazy.

And this is an understatement! 

To be honest, I did not feel like writing even though this is one of the things I cannot image not doing – ever. I felt out of groove, out of touch with reality. Surely this few weeks at my mum’s house is not real. I did not want to wake up. It was sooo beautiful.

Needless to say, I got back home, to a world of work and chores and responsibilities – and only person to take care of it all. Me. 

My depression wouldn’t go away. I knew there were things to be taken care of. Even the thought of picking up a book – my most favourite activity in the whole world – sent my spiralling in a pool of tears. I was questioning if there was a purpose to it all. I was so sad. You have probably been there, I am sure this happens to all of us once in a while – one doesn’t need a long overdue wonderful visit from family to go through this. For me, this is all too familiar and it’s a cycle. I have to ride it out or it won’t go away. Mercifully, it does, every single time.

My lonely blog screaming for attention!

Are you still with me? Yes this post is all about me, and it’s most probably really boring as well. What the heck, it’s not like I have a professional blog right? I can choose to be a little self –indulgent eh? Plus, I did not know how else to start. After each exhausting day, I was lying down in bed thinking about what to write. After a long leave of absence, I just couldn’t start writing about ‘how to write a killer post’ or ‘six tips to feel good’ or something like that which I am sure are very worthy topics, but don’t seem like ideal ones to a slightly depressed mind. YAY for slightly!

I was scared to look at my blog, fearing all the fellow bloggers to have given up on me. This is a very scary feeling, its not been long since I have become a ‘blogger’ and its no fun without having supportive, kind fellow bloggers who actually take the time out to read but – comment. Hope you are reading this.

Blogging is hard

So… last night I thought, why not write exactly about how I feel. So, that’s precisely what I have done. Didn’t seem too hard. Now if I can only start participating in other blogs, add new bogs that I haven’t gotten to just yet, go back to researching and learning a hundred things to make my blog ‘better’, and pick up a book … I will be alright.

I am sure there are million other things that one does when one is blogging, but they all escape me right now. I am sure they will come to me in time.

Have you ever taken a break from your blog? Did you find it hard to start again? Do share, as I can so relate right now. And I do need the support.

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1. I am fine tuning an idea for a niche. I am going to polish it, add few posts with the underlying theme and see how the readers like it.

2. I am going to post three times a week, and space them out evenly. Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays might work.

3. I am going to add all the blogs that I have bookmarked to my blogroll. This way people can see which ones I subscribe to and follow regularly.

4. I am going to organize all my blog post ideas. These are all over the place at the moment and I cannot seem to find anything when I need it.

5. I am going to learn more about SEO Search Engine Optimization

6. I am going to look at more widgets to add to my blog.

7. I am going to get my own domain name for my blog – maybe upgrade with word press, just so people know how serious I am about this.

8. I am going to write a free report for new subscribers. I will also mail this report to people who have already subscribed, just to say a special thanks to them. I really do appreciate you guys. :)

9. I am going to network more with other writing blogs and comment more often. I will also query blogs to see if I can guest post for them. Fingers crossed.

10. I am going to learn more about blogging, and share everything with my readers.

So what are your new year’s blogging resolutions? Please share, I would love to know. :)

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Free Writing Day

My husband wants to know what I want for my birthday. Actually that’s not my husband, my kids want to know so they can get their dad to buy it, even when the birthday has already passed. I have trained my kids well. 

The answer is a bit of a problem.

I am not a stuff person – stuff stresses me out. I believe most things are made to be admired, and NOT to be purchased and taken home. My philosophy is to live with the bare minimum in my house – with the exception of few things. 

I am not a collector. I hate wasting things so I try and buy things that I would actually use. For a girl, I have the bare minimum of clothes, shoes, handbags and cosmetics. This is not a joke. I seriously need to add to my wardrobe. Since I am not working out of the house at the moment, most of my clothes are on the brink of being ripped to shreds. 

I am not a jewellery person, or a toy-purchasing person either – much to chagrin of my kids. 

I am a book person though. My kids’ bookshelf is overflowing with picture books and my next house project is to line the wall behind the dining table with tall bookshelves. These will be eventually filled with photo frames, perfumes, and books of course. This can happen after I replace my dining table first, of which only 3 chairs remain. 

I collected perfumes. I figure these would look really cool on the display. 

So I have thought long and hard about for my next birthday gift. And I have got the perfect answer. I would like my husband to give me a Coupon for a Free Day of Writing – to be used on any day of my choice. 

I have a few ideas how this might happen. 

My most favourite activity - after rearing my kids of course!!

I would like breakfast served in bed, and while I am relaxing, my kids need to get dressed, their lunches packed and they are taken to their respective school/ daycare. Or hubby can take a day off and take the kids somewhere for the day. I write best in my home environment, that’s where I have home court advantage. 

I want a cleaner to come in and do their thing, while I do mine. 

I want to have lunch and snacks available for whenever I feel like eating. 

I want the kids to come home, get changed, have food and be entertained till 5 o clock. After that I am ready to resume mommy duties – whichever ones are left anyway.

On this day, I am not working (writing) 9-7, or even 9 to 6. Although my usual working day comprises of a 16 hours – at minimum – I would like to work from only 9 to 5. I am thoughtful like that. 

And I want this to be a Groundhog Day.

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Did I say that I am always the last one to arrive at the scene? Allow me to prove this point.

While looking at the freelance archives of Daily Writing Tips, I came across this great post – It poses this intriguing question – Do you write like Stephen King?. Don’t know about you but I clicked on it faster than my son could scream Noooooo.

There exists a great a site that anayzes your writing style. It uses some mumbo – jumbo algorithms, and tells you if you write like any writer from their list of 50. I couldn’t tell who made the list but has to be the best of the trade.

Here’s what you can do. Simply go to I write like and paste a few paragraphs from your blog, or any other piece of writing to find out your results. Do it

I submitted my Who cleans your pot? post and promptly hit analyze to find out that I write like Cory Doctorow… hmm… WHO?.

I write like

Let’s try this again. This time I pick Proof of the pudding is in the picture-ing. Still Cory Doctorow. I am impressed.

Hang on, I can click on Cory Doctorow. But that just takes me to Amazon. I find out that Cory Doctorow (pronounced /ˈkɒri ˈdɒktəroʊ/; born July 17, 1971) is a Canadian blogger, journalist, and science fiction author who serves as co-editor of the blog Boing Boing. AHA! That means two things, first that if I write like him, I have some – miniscule – hope of becoming a big shot. Boingboing is like the one of the biggest blogs out there, google boing boing and that’s actually the first thing that comes up. The other thing? – I know nothing about blogging!

Can I resist one more? Let’s do my first ever blog post I’ve got opinions and I am not afraid to use them. H.P. Lovecraft

?????

You know what, I don’t even wanna go there.

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