A two-month long extravaganza of celebrating the art of writing with the bloggers across India fetched 150+ entries and three of them came out in flying colours. Yes, We are talking about the Indian Bloggers Festival 2016.
With some unexpected delay, we had an enjoyable and inspiring conversation with the winners of Indian Bloggers Festival 2016. We are excited to share their experiences as a blogger and the passion for writing.
So, without further ado, read the conversation we had with Megha Sharma, winner in Short Story category and Fahima Yousuf, winner in Poetry category. Because of some reasons, we couldn’t get responses from Sapna Agarwal, winner in Satire category, but we equally congratulate her too.
In Conversation with the Indian Bloggers Festival 2016 Winners
1. Can you tell our readers about yourself and your blog?
Megha Sharma: About me, well I am a writing enthusiast from Delhi NCR who is currently pursuing English Hons. I am the kind of person who is telling herself a thousand quotes in her brain just by looking at a road.
And about my blog, there’s a lot to say. But keeping it short all I can say is, it’s a place where I am completely honest with my feelings, it’s where I learn about myself and help people learn their worth. It’s a place where I fulfill my passion and that is helping people.
Fahima M.Y. : I’m a 31-year-old enterprising mother of a darling 7-year-old boy, have started a career in academics, and am currently the Principal in a budding school. I love to read and write (obviously) and enjoy interacting with those around me. I try to relish each and every moment of life, learning the art of living and spreading smiles around.
2. Describe how did you first get into blogging?
Megha Sharma: I was in 12th trying to fight with my depression all by myself because to be honest nobody, call it my friends or my family was really convinced with the idea of it being too serious. At that particular time I was really at a zone when I realized all I could do to help myself was being strong, so that made me think that there are other people who are fighting through it and maybe they are alone too, so I started randomly writing self-motivation posts and people found it and liked it so eventually I became a blogger from a random depressed person.
Fahima M.Y. : Being limited for a long time to jotting down on scraps of paper, posting on Whatsapp groups and Facebook, I yearned to acquire a stable platform for my writing. Though there are many blogging websites available which are easily customizable and user-friendly, I kept putting off the idea of having my own blog due to busy work schedules and, I guess, starting trouble. Destiny intervened and I had a minor accident where I was bedridden for about two weeks. Sitting with my laptop with nothing heavy weighing on my shoulders, I decided to go for it and thus my blog happened.
3. What do you think is the best strategy that worked well for you to get more traffic to your blog?
Megha Sharma: Social Media and SEO. Usage of correct labels/tags and titles of your post can bring you a lot of engagement.
Fahima M.Y. : “How to generate traffic for your blog” tutorials highlighted posting on a regular basis and liking/commenting on other blogs. What I have learnt in my blogging journey is that when whatever we post truly reflects the thoughts of our soul and is for the liberation of the spirit, and if it can truly impact the reader in some way or the other, people would keep visiting the blog.
4. What do you think is the best service a blogger can provide to his readers?
Megha Sharma: I don’t know about service but if there is something a blogger can provide to his reader, whether it’s a technical blog, a fashion blog, a dating blog or else a literary blog is the truth. I have read some websites which just provides their readers with any kind of information on a subject and I research a lot so I know half of it is a lie but there are so many people who don’t and so they just fall into the trap. It really is disturbing as a reader or a fellow blogger. So I think truth should be the utmost priority for any blogger.
Fahima M.Y. : A blogger can provide effective content on contemporary issues from a layman’s perspective. People relate to bloggers as common people and acknowledge them as ordinary people who have an amazing eye for detail and a sound perspective.
5. How do you manage time to run your blog efficiently?
Megha Sharma: It’s really difficult as half of the people around you usually just think you aren’t doing anything serious so they make you be busy with other stuff. But I guess when you are really passionate about something you make time for it. I have seriously worked on my holidays as well to complete one of my story. A lot of bloggers do that.
Fahima M.Y. : The truth is I don’t have any set rules of time management on running my blog. In fact I’d love to contribute more but am unable to do so due to unsuccessful attempts at attaining perfection in what I write and my frequent visitor, writer’s block. Nevertheless, I try to take some time off during weekends and work on customising my website or adding posts that reflect my state of mind. One thing that I’ve learnt is that it’s best to avoid letting too much blogging take time away from your daily commitments; the more you blog when you aren’t running after deadlines, the more you can deliver good content.
6. Who has impacted you most in blogging and how?
Megha Sharma: There’s not really any person there are just problems and situations and life as a matter of fact. I think nothing can be a bigger inspiration for you than these things. Every problem I or someone I know has met with, have its impact on my blog.
Fahima M.Y. : There are some super bloggers whom I’ve stumbled on in Facebook and Google. What gave me the biggest boost is when I realised that most of them were busy professionals but maintained their blogs as pet projects and for the love of writing.
7. What was the most challenging moment in your blogging journey so far?
Megha Sharma: The most challenging moment I ever had in my whole life and not just my blogging journey was when I was going through a really difficult time and I had to help someone.
I was helping this girl with her family problem. I was telling her how to deal with it and at the end of it, she said “Thanks for making me smile. I am so sure you never cry, you are so strong”. And few minutes before she said that I was actually curled up in my blanket and my pillow was half drenched with my tears.
Consoling someone and being strong when you are actually in need of it yourself, is very difficult. After that particular day, I realised it will happen often and I have to be strong if I want to help people.
Fahima M.Y. : What I’ve felt more challenging than generating more traffic to my blog is actually building posts that are worthy of a good read. Many times, I’d started penning down a few lines only to shred the paper later as I wasn’t satisfied with my writing. To complete what I’d started and post it, shedding all inhibitions is the biggest challenge I’ve faced so far in my blogging journey.
8. What do you find the most frustrating aspect of blogging?
Megha Sharma: Most frustrating aspect is editing. We are writers and we have a really messy brain. There are always a thousand things bubbling in our mind when we are writing something. So when we edit it, there are more thoughts and it all creates a traffic jam in our brain because of which we ultimately end up backspacing half of it and writing something new.
Fahima M.Y. : I guess it is when I keep checking my blog stats frequently after publishing a post to see what people have got to say about it. The frustrating aspect here is when I seek the opinion of others to validate my writing expresses my sense of pride and need for recognition to some degree.
9. Is blogging your profession or just a hobby?
Megha Sharma: It’s just a hobby as of now. But if my blog will grow more and more of my readers will want me to continue, I will definitely make it professional and regular.
Fahima M.Y. : For the time being, blogging is a hobby, a very engaging one I can say. I intend to do some good writing and take it up professionally in the near future if God wills.
10. Tell me about your proudest achievement?
Megha Sharma: The first message I got on my blog forum. A boy told me that reading one of my article his attitude towards life changed completely. He told me about everything, how my article saved him from trying to commit suicide, how he realized that he should respect his parents, how he found love, how he started to like himself. It was such a proud moment.
Fahima M.Y. : When my posts set the reader thinking and accept the practicalities of life, it’s an achievement that I’m really proud of.
11. What are your future goals in writing Industry?
Megha Sharma: Well 5 years from now, I want to see a book on the BEST SELLER shelf of some fancy bookstore with “written by Megha Sharma” on it.
Fahima M.Y. : I want to keep delivering positive content and establish myself as a good writer.
12. What do you think of the scope of literary blogs?
Megha Sharma: It’s a little difficult to shine in the blogger industry if you are a literary blogger. As many people who read blogs online aren’t really into literature and those who love literature don’t really read online much. And I can’t blame them for it, the ‘Oh-so-good!’ fragrance of books is amazing. But with growing digitization and increase in use of internet, grounds of literary blogging will definitely bloom.
Fahima M.Y. : I feel literary blogs can give a fine insight into the power of the written word and the magic of linguistic portrayal of life. They can reach out to different people of diverse ethnicities and culture, instigating the habit of reading in many of them.
13. Do you have any plans to take your writing to the next level in terms of publishing a book?
Megha Sharma: Yes, definitely. It’s in my to-do list since my first poem. And I wrote my first poem when I was 11 years old.
Fahima M.Y. : It’s been my long-time wish to publish a book, depicting my reflections and observations of human emotions.
14. How do you feel being the winner of Indian Bloggers Festival?
Megha Sharma: Absolutely amazing. When I saw myself being mentioned in the tweet for a moment I was really confused because there was nothing mentioned in it except for the link to the article but then when I read it, it was such an accomplishment. It was the first writing competition I ever took part in.
Fahima M.Y. : It was a bolt from the blue, and something I had a hard time believing, in fact. I extend my heartfelt thanks to the Vowelor team for giving me a chance to prove myself as a satisfactory writer, and also for building confidence in me to aim for greater heights.
15. What do you think about Vowelor?
Megha Sharma: Vowelor is a great website. One can easily find any book, read from great bloggers and in fact write articles or stories of their own, all at one place. It’s a great platform for writers and readers. Easy to use and reader friendly.
Fahima M.Y. : I think it is a wonderful portal for bringing together the reader/writer community. Providing resources to read and write, it does a huge service to booklovers. Writing contests like Indian Bloggers Festival provide opportunities for budding writers to showcase their skills. My best wishes to Vowelor to keep the great work going!
We believe the story behind the journey of these winners is something that is truly phenomenal and we hope they have inspired you to write more! May the winners go miles ahead in their blogging journeys and achieve more.