2018, another year comes to an end. How has my blogging journey been so far, I often ponder?
”Have you thought of blogging?” someone asked me a few years ago. I didn’t even know what a blog was, let alone create one. I baulked, shyly but firmly decide a blog will be born!
That brought a flood of questions to mind. Why write? Write what? Should I share my personal stories with an unknown audience? How do I create a blog? How to upload photos? What are the basic techno skills required? Writing demands a certain discipline and a focus. Am I ready to sit on the magic carpet and take my audience around the world?
“The magic of traveling is a change of perspective. The journey is more important than the destination.”
~ Maria Lehtman
Ottawa Market, Canada
Chinese lanterns at Chinese New Year, Singapore
A market in France
Finding a focus
The first daunting question before creating a blog and naming it was to find a theme or particular aspect of that interested or changed me! The numerous Kodak prints and Iphone photos covered in dust (in online folders) awaited proper organization. Phew!
Travel had taught us many a history, geography and cultural lesson. Should I write about people? Their language and peculiar accents? Should I write about cultures or some hilarious or scary incidents we encountered? While travelling, we often visited local markets to buy fresh produce, breads or local food. It proved a cheaper, healthier, novel experience each time, instead of a meal at a restaurant.
I had found a theme. Writing about markets seemed apt.
Often walking along the cobbled paths in European towns, or dragging my shopping trolley in Singapore was the easy way to reach the local market. So ‘walktomarket’ seemed an apt title. I choose wordpress for its simplicity and support in technology.
Singapore’s 5C’s: What it means at the Wet Market
Hyderabad Two Cups of Chai at Monda Market
Courtesy: Internet – Quotes on web writing.
Genre and Writing Style.
As the stories were my personal experiences, I adopted the narrative style, using first person while telling anecdotes. After studying the different writing styles, planning my layout (initially on paper, later more efficiently on the blog site itself) I slowly began posting online. But I soon discovered that to describe events or places in details, I have to use sensory language, make the place come alive actually. Was I able to deliver that to the audience? (Thank you readers for leaving generous comments sometimes). It required lots of writing and editing practice…and continuing determination.
Narrative writing is a way of story telling, personal, and yet conveying a moral or message. The reader must be able to learn, feel or gather a particular impression to remain interested. (Courtesy: Internet essays on writing.)
Throughout our life we learn from our experiences, and travel had given me a new perspective. THAT was the message I wished to convey. Thus my writing had to show that thought. I often had casual personal interviews with the cheese, bread or fruit or vendors while shopping. Including these was a wonderful way of projecting the human stories to a wider audience. Other creative ideas like captioning photos, writing postcard stories and leaving questions for the reader helped support reader interest. And that’s important.
A Photo Essay – Al Mina Market, Abu Dhabi
The story and planning
No work can be achieved without a proper plan or outline. Planning helps channeling of thoughts. In writing, after making a first outline draft, details are to be added.Then editing and proofing are next steps. Every narrative has a beginning, middle and end. Thus my narratives too required some structure. If I introduce a certain event or person, then at the end I must close this topic so. Learning to write, think and plan takes up energy, time and brain power, that at times left me happily exhausted.
“How should I introduce the place? Should I begin with an interview? Or describe the traditional attire? Whom should I highlight as main character? Should I focus on the historical aspect or pin point the road map for the next traveler?” So many questions to ponder and write about, to entertain the reader and keep him engaged in my story!
Mauritius – In search of an idol of Lord Ganesh
Read more to write better? What is a writer’s block?
Some days words would flow like a running tap, other times not a seed of thought crossed my brain. ”How can I be committed to blogging and my audience?” I grew worried. Days would pass without writing even two paragraphs! That’s when I read about a writer’s block.( Dictionary meaning: the condition of being unable to think of what to write or how to proceed with writing.) Doing regular exercise, going for a walk helped me not only to revitalize, but also to literally think on my feet! At times, I rushed home to put thoughts on paper (laptop) lest they evade me later in the busy humdrum of life.
“It usually helps me write by reading — somehow the reading gear in your head turns the writing gear.” -Steven Wright
To write better one needs to read more. To improve vocabulary, to get creative, to improve grammar…read! So to improve my writing I began reading travel blogs, books, novels, biographies -anything to keep my mind in learning state.
ME Time. Hobby Time.
“It is important to have a hobby. It not only keeps your creative juices flowing it increases healthy mental activity. It even reduces stress, depression and loneliness. The secretion of good hormone endorphin acts as tranquilizer and is calming when one is happily engaged in a hobby.” (Courtesy: Internet)
“Go away boredom and loneliness” I often found myself saying as blogging became my new hobby. As a beginner, I had to discipline myself to concentrate and write daily. “Yipee! another blog written and posted” I would cheer myself. “Has anyone left a comment yet?” Writing became therapeutic and I grew more responsible to my viewers.
Blogging provided me with ample brain food – writing, editing, saving my work, uploading and sizing photos, creating new sections and pages, adding widgets, changing the Header photo, responding to comments, visiting other blogs etc.
A new Category : World Palate Recipes was added to compliment my travel stories. Many a times our home kitchen was a culinary experimenting lab that reminded us of our different cuisines we had sampled across the world.
Ingredients for Til Gul ( sesame balls)
Parsi Sev (Vermicelli)
Colocassia leaf curry (Alu Patal Bhaji)
Finally, it’s been an interesting, enlightening and happy blogging journey this far. My aim of using the many photos and documenting some wonderful travel experiences has proved immensely refreshing and satisfying. I hope you have enjoyed reading my blogs.
For Year 2017 see here
Happiness, Health and Friendships
to all in the New Year 2019.