” What I’m really concerned about is reaching one person.”
— Jorge Luis Borges
If we consider bloggers as writers, we can safely assume that the goal of a blogger is the same as a writer; To have their writing read!
When we write/ blog on a public platform, the aim is that people should read and benefit from our writing. It could entertain people or educate them. So it would be amazing if more people read our posts. But if only one person, the one who needed to read what we wrote, read our post then the purpose of writing is very much validated.
When more than one person reads my posts and comments on them, I feel that I am reaching out across the world to people who I probably would never meet in person ( except by a chance) and connecting with them. This is an amazing feeling and empowering too. The power of written words is immense and no one can foretell the impact it may have.
A few points I’ve learned during my blogging journey regarding the importance of what I write are;
Always stick to the truth, unless you’re writing fiction. Research your topic well and from multiple sources.
Convey a positive message whenever you can. Every situation has both positive and negative aspects, and concentrating only on the negative can have a depressing effect on the reader.
Be meticulous about your writing ( as much as you can) bad grammar and spelling can really distort your message.
Share personal experiences, it allows the reader to connect with you.
These are a few ways to reach out to the readers and connect with them.
10 – 15 assorted questions across a range of subjects once a week
01• Do you sometimes ‘just’ LIKE posts from those you follow but don’t often read the content, and if so, why do you do this? Is it a time restraint or something else that motivates this action?
Sometimes, when I am way behind in my blog reading due to family commitments, I do like the posts from those I regularly follow. But I do skim the content before doing that as there are certain things I don’t agree with or like!
02• What do you do with gifts you have received but have no use for?
I do regift them but make sure that the other person wants them. Mostly these are my kids or very close friends.
03• Have people become lazier concerning cooking do you think, or is it more a case of people not knowing how to cook? Is cooking considered a valuable skill by you?
Over here, we cook every day. Being lazy is never an excuse as food/ mealtime is special. The only times when we don’t cook is when it’s a weekend and we plan to order in.
I know how to cook but am not a great cook. There are certain dishes I make very well.
04• What news stories, in your opinion, have so far defined the 2020’s and what do you think they have taught us personally as individuals?
Politics, the war in Ukraine, increasing prices of everything, and increasing violence all over the world have made 2022 a year to remember with the hope that next year is an improvement. I’ve learned to switch off the tv when news show starts.
05• What would you never swallow even if you could?
Many things, including red meat, raw fish, organ meat… and the list goes on.
06• How many hours of sleep do you get a night, and how many hours do you think you need and why?
I try to get at least 7 hours of sleep. And that’s enough for me. Less than that and I don’t function at full capacity!
07• How important is it to you to have a clean house or environment to live in and does it have to be pristine?
I like a tidy and clean house, but it’s not something that has to be done right now. Tomorrow is good enough.
08• Could you give up your Smartphone and break your addiction to it?
Not at all! I’d be cut off from my family and blogging community. And won’t be able to pay my bills etc.
09• What have been five of your best TV shows from the dawn of dot to today? Why were they good?
I can never remember the names.
10• Why is life not a bed of roses but a bed of thorns? What makes your life good and or bad?
Life is what you make of it. And how you look at it. No one’s life is all tragedy or all comedy. It’s a mix and we need to be able to adjust to its different phases.
11• Toasted waffles or toasted bread, and why?
Right now; neither. I haven’t been allowed carbs since my stomach surgery. Maybe one day I’ll be able to eat bread or waffles!
12• How do you feel about the ageing process and you?
Aging is the price we pay for being alive. I think it’s a better option than dying young!
13• What is the last rebellious thing you did?
Got my stomach size reduced by half. I did this in hopes of curing my co-morbidities like diabetes, hypertension, and hyper-cholesterol! Weight loss is an extra benefit.
14• What would be your ideal ‘you experience’ of the following …. museum, theatre, spa day, bungee jumping?
Spa day, but if someone else is paying!
15• Could you easily step off the planet and away from society and your friends and being social and also away from the Internet for 12 months?
Nopes, I won’t for I can’t be away from my family, friends, and my blog.
Note: for my readers who do not celebrate Christmas, please consider family traditions for other occasions like birthdays (as my response is later) or festivals, celebrations or special occasions in your own country.
1.Do you have any family traditions?
We celebrate Eid twice during the Islamic year. On Eid-ul-Fitr, which is at the end of the month of Ramadan we have different traditions. We give each other gifts or gift money called Eidi. The children often get Eidi from their parents, grandparents, uncles, and aunts. It’s not uncommon for them to have accumulated quite a good amount of money on Eid-up-fitr. There is a tradition of inviting family over for a meal and often extended family is invited too.
2. With December on its way, have you ever been carol singing?
Nopes, never done that.
3. Do you decorate your home for the Christmas holidays?
On Eid, we clean our home and perhaps get a bouquet of flowers but no other decorations are done. However if it’s a child’s birthday, the parents usually make an effort to set a theme for the party and decorate accordingly.
4. Do you enjoy the Christmas rush for preparations and shopping?
As I mentioned earlier, Eid is after a month-long fasting of Ramadan. The most exciting thing about is that we can eat whenever we want. When I was younger I used to make a lot of effort for the Eid lunch. But now I’m more relaxed.
Our weather has finally turned a bit cooler. I enjoy snuggling into my blanket at night. There are flowers on my Clerodendrumvines
You have a dinner party and may invite four guests from the following categories one fictional, one dead and one alive, and a naked chef [wearing an apron only but no clothes underneath – or if you wish for whatever reason your chef can be wearing underclothes – pants/top].
Who will you invite to eat, and who will you ask to cook for your dinner party?
Some, but not all people have double standards. Saying things and expecting others to do everything right is easy. But when it comes to giving up something for the greater good of people, you’ll find them inventing excuses for themselves. These two-faced people invariably expose themselves.
What is your most unhealthiest but guiltiest pleasure and why?
Alas! I can’t have any unhealthy or guilty pleasures nowadays. I am allowed nothing sweet, no chocolates, no carbs. I can dream of eating dark chocolate but can’t do it in real life.
What is your process of writing a new post for your blog?
If I am writing for a prompt, I copy the prompt ( or questions as in this post) and start writing with the idea that comes in my head. I usually go with my first inclination. If nothing strikes my imagination, I’ll let the post stay in drafts till I’m ready to write for it.
If you were asked to create a Top Fifteen Book List holding books that you felt everyone should read at least once in their life and would never regret reading what titles would you include?
I am sorry that I’m unable to suggest books that everyone should read. We all are individuals with different tastes, different beliefs and different expectations from life. How can 15 books I suggest be the correct fit for everyone?
How important is it for you to know a person’s real name? [Be this online, off line, social media or blogging]
I have a very bad memory, so even if I knew the name of a person at one time, I’m likely to have forgotten it when I meet them next time. Very often I have had conversations with people whose names have completely slipped my mind.
It took me more that 2 years to remember the name’s behind the blogging titles. Now I know the names of most of the people I interact with in my blogging community. It’s good to know the names, but not very important. What’s important is to know the person behind the blog.
When at school what were your top five subjects that you were passionate about? Why was this – what did you love about them? Are those five subjects still present in your life today in any form?
I loved Maths. It was my all time favorite. After that chemistry, physics, biology, and urdu.
I was very good in maths. Seldom got less than 100%. In physics and chemistry I was good too. Would grasp the concept quickly. Biology was okay and in urdu I was good at memorizing the poem, ghazals etc. but my urdu handwriting was dismal.
Still use maths, doing the household budget. I have not used chemistry or physics, in daily life only if I’m teaching my grandson. Urdu poetry is still my favorite and I frequently quote it.
Are you a photogenic person?
Are you eager to appear in family or friend snaps?
Are there many photographs of you from and over the various stages and ages of your life?
I’m not particularly photogenic. But despite that I want to be photographed with the family on every occasion. There and many many photos of us stored in albums, envelopes and on hard drives. One day…… I will sort them all into labeled albums.
With regard to the paranormal do you choose to not believe because there is nothing to believe or because you feel it is safer to not believe?
Are you a non-believer or a believer?
There are all types of paranormal phenomena! Some I can believe by stretching my imagination but others are really not my cup of tea. I believe in djinns but not in ghosts. No to zombies, werewolves, vampires etc.
How are you with meeting strangers/new people who might or could become new friends? Is there a process you adopt to identify if they are the right fit for you?
I used to be quite shy. But gradually I’ve gained confidence to talk to new people. A few questions regarding their basic beliefs, their way of life, and how they deal with life’s challenges will tell me if they are my sort of people or not.
In the days before the internet, before WordPress, before Facebook and Twitter and TikTok and YouTube and binge-watching on Netflix; in the days before having the world at you fingertips with newsfeeds on mobile phones, before…well you get my drift…I used to devour between three and five books a week. Mostly novels.
With all of the distractions mentioned above, do you read books as much nowadays as you used to ten, twenty, or thirty years ago? Why or why not?
Let’s not go back not 20 or 30 years ago but only about 4-5 years. Before I started my blog, I was still reading a few books a month.
If I don’t find a new author, I’d re-read old favorites. Books have become quite expensive these days so I’d buy from old books stores or borrow from my aunt. She’s also very fond of reading.
My issue, as I see it that I like to read books from authors I know. Spending money on a book by a new author and then not liking it is a waste and I don’t want to do that. When my daughter gifted me kindle, it became easier to buy books that aren’t available in the stores here. I found a new writer, Louise Penny which was recommended by my daughter, and loved her books. I also found new writers via recommendations from my WordPress friends, some written by them like Paula, Jeff, Mason and Mich.
When I started blogging, my time for reading books was cut down. Now I only can manage one or two books a month. Some months not even that. There are a few half read books on my kindle that are making me guilty as I haven’t finished them yet. Marilyn’s 12 foot teepee and Ritu’s marriage unarranged are among them.
Reading books is great, but so is reading blogs. So I spent my time reading the blogs I follow. And of course writing my own posts too. But I do need to go back to reading more books.
1. As a child, did you prefer to watch TV, play games outside on a nice day, or read?
We were allowed to watch tv for an hour a day. The rest was up to us how we entertained ourselves. I played outside with my brothers, played with my dolls, and made clothes and jewelry for them too. I remember knitting a sweater, hat, and booties for my doll too. Reading was very much a part of my day. This all happened after we had done schoolwork. Surprisingly, we managed to fit a lot into our day.
2. What would you rather do now, read a book, watch a movie at home, dine out with friends, or go down the pub?
In the evening, I usually blog when at home. In the morning I sometimes meet friends for a chat or a meal, go shopping for groceries, or just laze around at home. My younger daughter often comes after picking up her daughter from school and we chat and spend time together.
3. Are you fashion conscious?
In my younger days, I was moderately fashion-conscious. I would follow trends within limits. Being somewhat of a tomboy, I was always clumsy so it mostly didn’t produce the results I wanted. As I grew older I have learned to dress smart, not fashionably. It works better.
4. Do you wear slippers, clogs or go barefoot indoors?
Slippers, always. Specially since my foot surgery.
Today I met the doctor for 2-week post-surgery follow-up. He was satisfied with my progress and has finally allowed me to have thick soups and puréed food like porridge. It’s such a heavenly feeling to have solid food inside of me.
“Being a good writer is 3% talent, 97% not being distracted by the internet.”
I wouldn’t give such a low percentage to talent. I think it is at least 50% and avoiding distractions is 50%.
It’s true that anyone can write. And we all do write all through our lives. School work, college work, laundry lists, grocery lists…… so on and so forth. But good writing is something else entirely.
For writing well we need to have a clear idea of what we want to say, use simple language and then write it so that anyone reading gets our meaning in the first reading. KISS- Keep It Simple Stupid!
As for avoiding distractions, it is easy enough. If you’re logged in to many social media sites, keep the notifications on mute till you are writing. It never does to keep on checking your Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram accounts while trying to concentrate and write something good. You can always go back later and check your social media accounts.
Have you ever been on an extended vacation/holiday road trip? If so, when and where and for how long?
I would call my trips to Seattle to visit my daughter and grandson as extended vacations. I’d normally go there for 3-4 months. But in 2020, I stayed there for 6 months ( minus 1 week) and my visa for that stay was about to expire when I got a flight out of Los Angeles, not Seattle to come back home. My daughter always made my visits special. She planned trips and got me presents too. 💖
When was the last time you visited an actual bookshop, and what, if any, new/old/secondhand titles did you buy?
I go to bookshops often. My mission is to buy books for my grandchildren. Small story books with lots of pictures. My elder grandson is now hooked on kindle and doesn’t want actual books.
How do you feel about the new WP Dashboard 7-day highlights Statistics?
I haven’t noticed it. Maybe it’s on the computer/ laptop version and not on the mobile version?
How do you feel about all the Russian nuclear sabre rattling?
I didn’t know what this was so checked it out just now. I don’t think that it will have any real impact as it is mostly fear-mongering.
If you could go back or travel to an age of your choice and live or relive a previous era for a day, what age would you pick and why?
I really don’t want to get back, just move forward!
Do you have a favourite coat? [Outdoor/Indoor/Business/Social] What makes it unique to you, OR is a coat just a coat?
I used to have a very nice Michael Kors black jacket/ coat when I was in Seattle. Over here we don’t need coats. And with our dress, a Shalwar kameez, a shawl, or a sweater looks better.
Do you enjoy learning something new every day or week?
Yes, I do. And blogging is the best way to learn new things every day.
Are you more comfortable in your skin today than you were in the youth of your yesterdays? Why and how so?
Oh yes definitely. I was given very good advice on my 40th birthday; “Don’t bother about people and what they think of you. Just do what you think is right”. Gradually I’ve adapted my thinking to this and now I’m not that person who was super-sensitive, nervous, and always worried about what others think about her and her actionsanymore.
Have you ever kept a hardback diary or a journal as opposed to an online digital one? When did you first start to journal your life?
Perhaps when I was a teenager. Not a journal persé but a diary to jot down poems and sketch in. Never recorded my life events in it.
How do you feel about Eggplant/Aubergine/Guinea Squash as a vegetable? Is it something you enjoy having in your meals?
I love it. In all its forms. It’s a great vegetable, low carb, full of iron and fiber. There’s a restaurant here that makes a fantastic aubergine salad. I love going there.
What film could you watch over and over again and why?
Not constantly. But I’ve watched the lord of the rings trilogy many times. It’s just so good. But there’s a gap of many months or a couple of years between the re-watching.
What concert, show, or event would you love tickets for if you could get them?
Concerts are not my thing. Can’t be bothered to be squished between a lot of people and loud music. I’d rather enjoy the music at home.
Would your teenage self be impressed with who you are today and what you have achieved so far in your/their life?
I think so. She would be impressed by my blog for sure. I am, even now!
Which online behaviours do you find the most annoying in blogging?
Not really! Hot weather may be more uncomfortable, but it doesn’t affect my mood. When my thyroid disease wasn’t diagnosed, I used to feel miserable in summer, sweating and getting angry about the smallest things. After my diagnosis and treatment, I turned human again instead of an angry Hulk!
2. If a stranger smiles at you or says ‘good morning’ when they pass you in the street, do you return it?
Oh yes, definitely. Unless….. it’s a creepy guy trying to be too frank! I also say Salam with a smile when I feel the other person is receptive.
3. If you had a choice of just one of these things to eat, what would it be and why? Chocolate, a sweet pastry, a plate of chips/fries (this is not a forever choice, just one instance).
4. If you could go back to when you were a specific age, what would that be? Why?
I am very comfortable in my skin right now. I would never want to go back to my past life. And though I have many old age ailments, the biggest benefit I have of my current age is that I’ve come to terms with what I am, and who I am and this is the best feeling in the world.
Today was day 8 after my surgery, and my stitches came out. They have healed well. I have to be careful how big a sip I take but the pain in my stomach is reduced to bearable.And I’ve lost 4kg in one week! Yay