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 Mahak, mom to an 18 month old baby and blogger at Baby & Beyond. She says she is just another confused and overwhelmed first-time-mom. Mahak spent 8 years working in business and technology consulting, before jumping off the corporate ladder and landing headfirst into a life of pooplosions, 3 a.m. feeds, teething, colic, vaccinations and growth spurts. Her blog is all about sharing her parenting escapades, with a focus on natural and gentle parenting techniques, mother and baby product reviews, age-appropriate toys, books & activities and baby food & recipes. She also dabbles in fiction.
What was it that prompted you to become a blogger?
Way back in 2014 I had participated in a speed blogging contest which I happened to win. I had entered the contest completely unplanned and unprepared. We were given 10 prompts and in a span of 90 minutes we had to publish 5 blog posts and 5 tweets! I ended up winning the contest and getting quite a few encouraging comments on my posts. That planted a tiny seed in my mind about taking up blogging seriously. I didn’t entertain that thought again till last year when I quit my full-time job after becoming a mother. The initial few months of motherhood were very isolating for me, spending most of my time alone with my baby and not really stepping out and meeting anyone. I felt the need to write as a medium to communicate my thoughts and ended up starting a blog. I owe it all to that random unplanned event 3 years ago and to the encouragement from my husband and sister.
Which has been your most memorable post to date and why?
I wrote a letter to my baby when he turned 6 months old. It was a very emotional day for me and as I started writing, the words just flowed from my heart. The whole post was written and published in 15 minutes flat..no drafts and no edits. It is my most honest writing…what you read is exactly what I felt in that moment. You can read the post here.
What has the most memorable comment on your blog been so far?
The first time I attempted to write fiction, I was really nervous. I wasn’t sure whether I was doing justice to the character I was trying to portray. However I got so many comments from people saying that it reminded them of their own parents or grandparents and a lot of people even opened up and shared their own stories of love and loss. I had someone tell me they were left teary eyed after reading my post. I don’t mean to sound sadistic by saying that it was my most memorable comment, but it was really touching to know that my writing could connect with someone at that level.
You can read the post here.
Have you ever been trolled? How did you handle it?
Thankfully I have not. I have had a few people disagreeing with my views of course, and I am happy to engage in a healthy debate. However I have been lucky that so far it has all been in a respectful and tolerant manner and I have not had anyone trolling me.
Have you ever started to write a post and then abandoned it? Why?
Several times I have tried to write my birthing story but abandoned it. I have narrated the whole story in my mind hundreds of times, but I cannot bring myself to write it down. The emotions are so raw, I feel like my words will not do justice to them. I do hope to overcome this block someday because I want to write it all down before it becomes too late and the details start getting fuzzy in my mind.
Do you stick to a regular posting schedule or do you post whenever inspiration strikes? Do you have a writing routine?
To be honest till just a couple of months back I had been writing whenever inspiration struck. Now though, I am focused on growing my blog and I try to stick to a schedule as much as I can, with baby and work permitting.
Do you find it hard to get your voice heard in the crowded blogosphere?
It is definitely tough. There are so many talented and accomplished mom bloggers out there. I think the key is to find a niche. For some it is food and recipes, for some it is travel, for some it is health, for some it is Montesssori activities and so on. You may have a targeted reader base, but they will be the ones who genuinely find your content interesting and engaging. For me it has been natural and gentle parenting - breastfeeding, cloth diapering, babywearing. Also how you engage your readers, especially on social media, makes a huge difference.
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?
It is true, people are indeed preferring short micro-content to long-form content. Micro-blogs, micro-fiction, insta-reviews. In fact content doesn’t even have to be permanent, you can have stories that disappear within 24 hours! Although in my opinion, there will always be a place for traditional blogging. It is a form of expression and everything cannot be expressed within a word limit. In fact these social media avenues are opportunities to drive more traffic to the blog.
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 have found writing to be liberating, so I hope to continue writing in some form or the other. As of now I am just taking things one day at a time. Though I started my blog more than a year ago, I did not seriously focus on it until 2-3 months back. So in that sense it is still new and I want to see how far I can take it before I think about “what next?”
What tips do you have for other Indian Mom bloggers?
Write from your heart. There was a point when I wanted to monetize my blog and I started writing to please SEO engines and brands, but I did not feel connected at all to my writing and my reader base were also dwindling. Surprisingly from the time I started writing honestly about what I wanted to talk about, more and more readers started coming to my blog. That automatically brought with it the rankings and the brands too! So I want to say, just stay true to yourself.
You can follow Mahak's blog here.
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Click here for the 2016 edition of Mom Blogger October.