Soumya Mukerji : A journalist from Delhi shares her blogging experience

A entertainment-lifestyle journalist by profession & a writer by choice speaks out about her love for writing. She blogs for her love. She also holds good insight about poetries. She admires Indian poets like Gulzar and Vikram Seth. Other than her personal blog Nib ‘n’ Notes she is also part of two other shared ventures named Dewdrops and Writer’s Blend. She has been blogging for 3 long years & now many authors and poets are regulars of her blog. She has lots to tell about ups and downs of blogging as well as many good blogging practices that may help you being a successful blogger.

Some chit chats …

Soumen :  When did you start blogging and what made you start blogging?
Soumya :  I started blogging in September 2005 out of my sheer love for writing, and a wish to share life, observations, experiences and worthy information with others.

Soumen :  How many blogs do you have or write for currently?
Soumya :  I am part of three blogs — Nib ‘n’ Notes (personal), Dewdrops(shared) and Writer’s Blend , though the last has been stagnant for a while now.

Soumen :  How many hours do you dedicate to your blog every day? Are you a full time blogger?
Soumya :  More than dedicating ‘hours,’ I believe in devoting time to thought. That way, one always finds something to muse upon. I play journalist through the day, and my blog lets my other side breathe.

Soumen :  Three Bloggers whom you admire the most?
Soumya :  That’s a tough one, considering there are so many great writers in the Blogosphere. I admire every beautiful blog I stumble upon; I have no favorites.

Soumen :  Digg or Stumbleupon?
Soumya :  Stumble upon, as I just said.

Soumen :  Best movie critic or modern day poet according to you?
Soumya :  Unfortunately, I can never admire critics, since most are too cynical until it comes to themselves. Gulzar and Vikram Seth are two poet-writers I’m in awe of.

Soumen :  What would you suggest for a blogger, who has just started his blog?
Soumya :  Don’t live by others’ suggestions; don’t run after revenue from Adwords; don’t be pretentious while putting down your pieces — visitors can read between the lines and judge your intentions right away. Treat your blog like a sacred space; the clicks and honors will follow. The best approach, I feel, is Wu Wei, or the Tao principle of effortless effort — letting your self, thoughts and words just ‘be’.

On the blog…

Soumen :  Yours is a movie blog that is quite different from other blogs in the niche. Where do you find compelling content? What inspires you to write?
Soumya :  Being an entertainment-lifestyle journalist helps me find some of the stories, information and instances. Interacting with B-town biggies, authors and celebs is part and parcel of my job, but I don’t stuff my blog with frivolous gossip, rumors and pretty pictures. Until and unless there’s something noteworthy about what I know, I don’t hit the keys. One needs to determine their content priorities in advance — what is it that you want most — quality, quantity or clicks at any cost?

Soumen :  What do you think is most important for blogs — few loyal readers or large one-timers? What do you maintain to build them?
Soumya :  None of the above. What’s important is to provide good stuff to chew on — this’d automatically turn one-timers into regulars. Don’t forget to acknowledge comments, thank visitors for compliments and leave your footprints on their blogs — it’s like catching up with friends who came to look you up when you weren’t expecting it. That always feels nice, doesn’t it?

Soumen :  How does social media effect viewership? How do you market your blog?
Soumya :  More than ‘marketing’ per say, it is important to ‘share’ your blog. For instance, I’m least concerned with the money I make from my blog, but just to know it is being read gives satisfaction. Put up the links at as many places as you can — Facebook, Orkut, LinkedIn, GTalk — but avoid going overboard, else it becomes a blind spot. If your sole purpose of blogging is to make money off it, read up on ad incorporation and online sponsors, load it with useful info on a specialized subject and concentrate on community building.

Soumen :  Surprisingly, you are in the blogging world for more than 3 years, but are still sticking to the Blogger domain. Why haven’t you transferred your blog to your own registered domain? Is there any secret?
Soumya :  I think a personal domain is very different from a blog, and has a very different scope — it expands the horizons of content, serves as a professional mirror and appeals to an altogether different viewership. Blog servers like Blogger, Sulekha and WordPress are like a world unto themselves, and bind Blogizens unlike individual websites. Most often, word wanderers don’t step out of zones like these when they’re reading. So, I’ve never felt like stepping out of it, either.

Personal Experiences

Soumen :  What have been some of the challenges in those 3 years?
Soumya :  The biggest challenge has been to keep the spirit of the blog alive amid life’s chaotic calendar. There are periods of dormancy, silence and writers’ blocks, but I haven’t ever forced myself into populating the blog just for the sake of it. The most important thing is to keep the faith, and the flame will keep burning on its own.

Soumen :  What has been the most satisfying part of growing Nib ‘n’ Notes?
Soumya :  Being read, being appreciated and being here, today!

Soumen :  How has your blog audience changed over the years?
Soumya :  It has grown as I have — at one point, I had students writing back. Today, I have professionals, poets and other author/writers.

Soumen :  Your Biggest Blogging Success?
Soumya :  To be able to keep my integrity, and not sensationalizing anything, even movie news.

Finally she has some tips for you…….

10 commandments for good blogging:

  1. Remember that your blog is unique — don’t try to ape someone else’s, even in the least. If you’re about to start a new blog, refrain from reading others’ for a ten-day period before opening an account; that way, you’ll make sure the layout, content and style is purely original.
  2. Don’t upload stuff just because it’s been long since you put up an entry; this can lead to sub-standard quality.
  3. Reply to all comments and pay a return-visit to your well-wishers.
  4. Don’t use the blog as a means of self-appraisal.
  5. Blogroll as many good blogs as you can. It helps builds a stronger community.
  6. If you want to write about two or three specialized subjects, it is best to have different blogs for each of these.
  7. Don’t overload your pages with accessories, award emblems, chat boxes, ads and pictures – it takes away the focus from the real substance.
  8. Avoid using copied/extracted/excerpted content on your blog(s). God has blessed each of us with enough creativity.
  9. Every piece you come up with doesn’t have to be Shakespearean or prize-winning; it only needs to be straight from the heart. Write as you’d talk — don’t act pompous.
  10. Don’t forget to copyright (or left) your work. You might want to use the Creative Commons licenses

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