Hello and welcome to Mom Blogger October on the Times of Amma. As regular readers know, the Times Of Amma community is all about inspiring Moms and building them up as they work on being themselves and Mothers. And so, this month is dedicated to featuring Moms who are working on being themselves and mothers, while expressing themselves through their blogs.
Today we meet, Anjana Dhanavanthan, mother to Lishaan (3 years old) and Isha (1year old). She is a science graduate who ended up taking up roles in fields that had nothing to do with dissecting a plant or a frog. Currently working at Soul Slings, she is a onetime radio jockey turned music production manager turned social media consultant. Born and brought up in Madras, she fell in love with and married her colleague from work and has recently started moving base to different cities in pursuit of a simpler life and more adventure. Having been brought up as a single parent child, she grew up as a fiercely independent person and those values shape her parenting style as well. She believes that baby-wearing is the key to a healthier and happier parenting lifestyle and that no two children are alike. You can follow her blog, The Lazy Parent here.
What was it that prompted you to become a blogger?
My best friend and I started ‘writing’, sitting in the back rows of our digital media design lab back in college in 2006. The blogging space was a new concept then and being a college going teenager, I had a lot of vent about. I started blogging as a means to express my angst and thoughts about things that I couldn’t discuss with family or friends.
“..So even I have finally managed to create a space for myself in the world of bloggers. I don’t know how to write a blog but for me it just a way to say what I want to “was exactly how my first post back in 2006 started. I guess I have stuck to expressing my thoughts over the years, with the core concept changing over time. As for blogging as a mother under the name of ‘The Lazy Parent’, it started as way to keep me engaged in a new city with a toddler in tow and new friends to make. When my son turned 10 months old, I started feeling like a parent in the complete sense of the word. I started sharing my not so perfect experiences and it just kept adding on.
Which has been your most memorable post to date and why?
This has been the most memorable post by far as the Lazy Parent.
Why? It came at a point when I was neck deep in post-partum anxiety and I had gone through a traumatic experience with an acquaintance. That incident became the breaking point for my confidence as parent. This post was me trying to gain composure and realize that nothing but my children are important. This post also was a coming out of sorts in terms of addressing post-partum anxiety. We live in a society that usually looks at such ‘issues’ as a taboo, but this post brought in so much of love and support that it gave me a reason to fight back hard.
What has the most memorable comment on your blog been so far?
It’s really hard to mention one comment. I share my blog posts on my personal Facebook profile and it is there that I have a lot of friends and people whom I only know as ‘virtual friends’ commenting and saying things that have encouraged me to write further. One comment that did take me by surprise was from my husband. He is the kind who cannot read the label on the backside of a shampoo bottle, but he read quite a few of my posts recently and sent a text that said “Ur writing gives more hope to others and creates positive energy”. I will pin that as the most memorable comment about my blog.
Have you ever been trolled? How did you handle it?
Fortunately, I haven’t been trolled. It is probably because my blog is at a stage where I am just bringing it out for the world to see. I am not sure I would handle trolling well though. I usually turn defensive and that might not be very good.
Have you ever started to write a post and then abandoned it? Why?
Several times! I am an impulsive writer. I don’t wait for a schedule or a routine. Sometimes it so happens that I begin to write something out of sheer reaction to some trigger and within minutes of putting it down on paper, I realize that it isn’t sensible or that it isn’t the way I would like to approach a certain topic. Of course, I have hit backspace on many a paragraphs and rephrased them keeping in mind how it would sound to someone who is reading it. I can rant, but it shouldn’t be gibberish that no one can understand, relate or respond to. If it is a spur of the moment thought, I usually send a lengthy text to my husband and get over that moment!
Do you stick to a regular posting schedule or do you post whenever inspiration strikes? Do you have a writing routine?
Like I said, I write impulsively. But recently, I am trying to build a schedule and a pattern to how I write. So, before I publish a post, it has usually been drafted, edited and revised at least once. I don’t edit to sugar coat stuff. I feel that revisiting a post usually brings about the same message in a clearer and concise manner. As for a writing schedule, I have never been a fan of it thanks to a writing assignment that I had undertaken a while ago. I had to submit articles every third day and I ended having a severe case of writer’s block.
Do you find it hard to get your voice heard in the crowded blogosphere?
If I look at numbers, popularity or the reach that some bloggers have, I would never be able to be myself on my blog. I have a small but steadily growing set of audience and I am happy to cater to their growing appetite. I don’t write to compete or bag awards. Of course, if there were a specific competition, that would be different. As for having my voice heard around the world of blogs, I am slowly re-establishing my space and am sure I will be heard for what I am. There wouldn’t be a need to amplify the voice.
Many say that blogging is dead thanks to other micro-blogging avenues like Instagram, Twitter and others. As the owner of a traditional blog, how would you respond to that?
While 140 characters can be a super exciting challenge to meet for any writer, the art of writing lives on thanks to blogs. If you grew up reading The Hindu, any other newspaper would leave you feeling unsatisfied. Blogging is like that! Also, spaces like Instagram and twitter are for immediate consumption, while a blog is for slower, paced out consumption. As long as there are people who love reading, blogs will live on!
Do you see your blog as a stepping stone to something else? Do you see yourself wearing the tag of 'blogger' five years down the line?
I would be lying if I said I didn’t think so. As they say ‘practice makes perfect’ and I am practicing for something bigger in the coming years. My blog space serves as a rehearsal spot, where I can play with variables and see what makes sense and what doesn’t. I am working to publish something in a couple of years. But the other venue my blog has opened up for me is to be of use to people. If my words can encourage and lift up lives, I would like to translate that to action as well. My phase with post-partum anxiety has shown me that there are several like me who could do with a few good words during moments of extreme stress. I hope to do something about that as well. As for being seen as a ‘blogger’, I don’t know yet. My tags have constantly been changing and labelling something makes it a permanent feature.
What tips do you have for other Indian Mom bloggers?
I have recently started reading a lot of Indian mom blogs and the work they are doing is fantastic. However, I feel that their voices should come together for something purposeful in the long run. Words have immense power and the words of a mother, even more. I see a wave of change in the way mom bloggers send out messages and I think we are coming together for something bigger and better for the parenting community.
You can follow Anjana's blog here.
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Click here for the 2016 edition of Mom Blogger October.