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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.

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… :)

Help with better posting?

Why is that some posts with really good content don’t get read?

1 Your Posts are TOO Long

Have a look at this post I did a few days ago.

Two words. Information Overload.

I was really excited to do this post actually. It took me about 3 hours to do this. I gathered all the interesting quotes on blogging, organized them. Then I had this great idea of putting them down as a virtual interview. Any blogger would be interested in reading that, right?

Wrong!

Who has time to read all that? It doesn’t look anything like a blog post, but more like a report!

I got carried away and forgot the most important (unwritten) rule for writing a great blog post – one that actually gets read. It needs to be short and sweet. It should not read like a book chapter.

Which sounds more appealing to you?

      4 things you can easily do to start publishing with wordpress

     42 things you can easily do to start publishing with wordpress

I am guessing most people would quickly click and read the first one. Assuming the writer doesn’t ramble too long, it should take a few minutes to read it.

What would you do for the second post. Two things If you are interested in the topic, you might bookmark it to read later when you ‘have time’. Or worse, make a mental note of coming back to it. No points for guessing how many actually manage to keep that promise.

With me so far? Some people strongly suggest making one point per post. I think you can do a few, provided you don’t go overboard with the sub-points you are making.

Secondly, if you think you have lots to say, split your post in few. This keeps the readers happy and also keep them coming back. Happiness all around.:)

2 Your Headlines do NOT Say Anything about the Post    

Headlines are extremely important for a success of a post. You might have spent hours working on a post but if the headline does not alert the reader to what is coming, it simply won’t get read.

One of my post has always been very popular. It always gets many clicks every single day. I suspect the reason adding to the clicks could be the headline?

8 Things you did not know about Pakistani Food.   What do you reckon?

Now look at this one.

Just some book for thought. Ouch!

Bad Bad headline.

Could I be any more obscure? What was I thinking? Would you be inclined to click on a post titled as above? Do you think any of these options might have worked better? (Right off the top of my head)

Perfect gift for someone who should write their life story

Writing an autobiography. An easy guide that motivates you to do just that!

3 Your posts are Not Scannable

When I first started blogging, I would write in the usual way, you know, writing in paragraphs. That’s what our English teacher told us to do and even as adults we don’t dare breaking this rule.

Well blog writing is different and your posts should be screen friendly – if you want people reading them that is.

  • Break up your writing into smaller paragraphs than you usually would. One line is acceptable as a paragraph in blog world.
  • Add headings, bullet points, and bold important bits that you want to attract attention to.
  • Make lists.

All of these make your post easy on the eyes.

So after saying all that, what do you think makes a post really appealing? Are you doing anything differently to when you started blogging? Have you made any changes to your writing style? 

      Subscribe to join my hobby bloggers club – even if you are writing for pleasure, doesn’t mean you can’t be good at it. :)

What makes one subscribe to a blog?

 
Every blogger wants more readers, and so when this question popped into my mind last night, as I was about to go to bed, I took notice.  As this kind of thing usually happens while I am already half asleep, I was grateful, and promptly jotted down some notes, hopefully like a true blogger!

Anyway, here are my top reasons which make me wanna subscribe to your blog, or not!

All bloggers want MORE subscribers!

 

What’s in a Name?

Apparently everything? If yours has caught my eye, then I am definitely going to click on it to see if your blog lives up to it. The hardest part is getting readers through the door, and guess what? by choosing a great name that is informative, and memorable – that’s done.

Would you check out 17000days, Men with Pens, the Happiness project, or be more with less , just to name a few?

Looks Matter!!

Never underestimate the power of the design, layout, style, arrangement of posts etc etc. In easier words, if your blog does not look professional, it’s not likely that anyone would subscribe. By professional I mean, by first glance people should see that you the author actually care about it enough to make it look presentable. Having clearly defined categories help immensely as well. Keep it simple, keep it professional.

I love the simple, uncluttered feel of Reading for Your Success, Write to Done and Copy Blogger.

Are We On the Same Page?

This needn’t be said. If I have spent a few seconds on the blog, it’s because I am deciding whether the subject matter is of any interest to me. So for instance, even if I have clicked on to a blog, if it’s a news or politics or technology or business, I am not interested, sorry guys. Its nothing personal. If it’s about fashion, celebrities, cooking, sport, sadly, I am not your target reader again. 

I also like to go narrow and go deep, like most readers. I will subscribe to blogs on writing, blogging, personal development, blogs that have quirky content. (Have you seen Lego a day?) Have a look at my blogroll, and you will see what I mean. I am actually updating that and will be sharing my newest finds with you. How is that significant for a blogger? Develop a niche and people will find you if they are interested in the topic you cover.

Every bogger’s dream, readers clicking subscribe.

 

Who Are You Again?

Most people, after spending a few seconds looking at your blog, (which covers the points mentioned above), generally go straight to the ‘about me’ section, and that is why it is soooo important. While this is not a deal breaker, it is actually quite significant.

I like to connect with people I like. And sometimes its a tad difficult when you don’t get to see the person who is behind all the fabulous writing.

A picture is often a sign of the blogger being friendly and open and – putting themselves out there – as they do with their writing. It’s not easy but it helps. Even face hidden kinda is better than no picture. Blog is not an online magazine, nor a portal of useful articles. People want to know you – picture helps a lot.

Checkout Tsh of Simple Mom here, Suzannah of Write it sideways here, and Katie of Momentum Gathering here. Gorgeous people, hence gorgeous blogs. 

Your style? I Like!

I love it when the author regularly replies back to reader comments, makes me feel needed.

I love it even more when once in a blue moon, they check out my blog, and I worship them if they actually read and comment – I know this has got nothing to do with subscribing, but I had to say that. Not sure about you-comment-I-go-over-to-yours-&-comment-back rule, but sure is nice to have big bloggers having a look at ours once eh?

Go on, click on it!

Sell Me Something?

Ok, I think it’s alright if you are offering an ebook for sale. But do I have to hire you as well? I might, except I am having difficulty finding anything of interest navigating through those 37 ads that are currently on your page. I understand blogs as businesses as well, but do you only want me as a potential buyer of your products or can I just enjoy your blog in peace?

Also, please don’t get preachy on me, doesn’t really help. Go here .. naah, can’t be this rude now, can I? heheh

Perfection is Overrated

Yes, good writing is extremely important, and so is content, there is absolutely no doubt about it. But think about it, who do we connect most with in our real life, the person who is perfect in every sense or people who are beautiful and imperfect like the rest of us? Same goes for blogs: I like to see personality, I like to see ooomph, I do not like perfection. Makes me feel ..not very good.

I am trying to figure out the direction of my blog, it is something I want to be able to do for a living eventually, something that combines everything I am passionate about – reading, learning, teaching, writing, blogging, connecting with people. So this is a ‘play’ blog for me, and while I am doing this, things evolve in their own imperfect ways.

If you want to join in the journey, please subscribe. Learn alongside me and keep letting me know that I am doing something right.

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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