It’s past 11:00 p.m. in this part of the world; well past my bed time but an unfinished task has been nagging me for a while now. So, here I am with a cup of strong coffee determined to get started, if not finish it before I tuck myself in. It’s an awful feeling for a blogger of more than six years (yes, that’s how long this blog has survived) to not post in nearly a fortnight and then to title the comeback post with a “I’ve been away. But I’m back now”, only to disappear again. That’s the #1 deadly sin a pro-blogger can commit.
I’m actually toying with the idea of closing down one of the two blogs: Reflections or Li’l General Rules; partly because it’s hard to post regularly on both the sites and partly because I’ve come to realise there’s a lot of intersection between the blogs. Reflections was more of a personal blog when it started and the stories I encountered in everyday life. In a country like India, one comes across a billion stories if you step out of home everyday; every person you meet has a story to tell from the photocopying girl at the shop down the street to the old vegetable vendor at your doorstep, which makes writing a personal blog like this easy. Sure, it had a good share of office politics, ups and downs of a relationship, “Happy birthday/anniversary” posts, and the general ramblings on I like this/I hate that/I loved this place…you know what I mean. But of late, I’ve come to realise there’s too much LG in here as LG is not just an extension of what I do everyday; he is all that I do. The hardest part is to decide which blog to shut down - I enjoy posting here once in a while and connecting with the few regular readers that I have. On the other hand, Li’l General Rules is something I can’t do away with for I’ve chronicled every significant moment of our lives with LG - from the day the journey began with his conception to his birth, every fall, first day at school, first birthday, first words, first steps, crawling under the bed and many more such memorable moments. Every day with him is still exciting; he does the unexpected, and says the unimaginable. So it’s going to be tough to shut down the blog …
This would perhaps be the last post on this blog, unless I find a compelling or inspiring reason to post again. However, I shall continue to update the “Portfolio” section with my published work. Hop over to Li’l General Rules, if you are not yet tired of the zillion baby blogs around! On a closing note, thanks to all the regular readers for stopping by. And, I would love to get to know all you lurkers…so de-lurk one last time.
Harper tagged me to do a post on seven things about myself - some random, some weird say the rules. I love doing memes but hardly ever get tagged so I’d rather not let this one pass. Since this is a personal blog,it’s hard to think of something about myself that I’ve not already blogged about over the past 5 years.
So I’m just going to find a relevant post wherever possible…
- I am SCARED of cockroaches.
- I can actually count the number of times when I haven’t fallen off a train while trying to board or get off.
- People find it tough to watch a movie with me so much so that my brother has sworn never to do it again (Interruptions and thousands of questions guaranteed!) Matrix gets the distinction of being interrupted the most.
- I met my husband in a hospital when he broke his arms, legs, and nearly fractured his skull - yea, he’s the adventurous type. If there’s one thing I would love to learn, it has to be skating.
- I loved to study but hated school and college. Went to 11 schools and 2 colleges.
- I suck at social networking.
- I can’t sleep alone at home during nights …. tend to be awake watching out for imaginary burglars. Known to sleep under the bed for protection. Weird?
Now I have to tag seven people to pass on the meme… Here, you go..
1. Mridu Khullar - a freelance writer I’m in awe of for her writing.
2. Moxie - a friend and former colleague I once went ice skating with and fell hard on my **
3. Poppins’ Mom - a mommy blogger with funny tales of older Poppin and the not-yet-naughty sweetpea
4. Chaos - college mate
..more to come.
The rules of this ‘game’ for those that I have tagged:
Link your original tagger(s), and list these rules on your blog.
Share seven facts about yourself in the post - some random, some weird.
Tag seven people at the end of your post by leaving their names and the links to their blogs.
Let them know they’ve been tagged by leaving a comment on their blogs and/or Twitter
…that’s my goal for 2009. Losing mummy tummy, shedding that extra flab with regular exercise, spending quality time with family are resolutions which are passe now for me. Anyway, who cared about calories burnt after the first fortnight of the New Year…breaking resolutions was as much in vogue as having a wish list ready before the year began.
When careers change and one transitions from a full-time corporate job to freelancing, priorities re-align as do goals. For the first time in all these years, last year I targeted a few things (if only as a mental note) I wished to achieve before the year ended. My goals for 2008 were:
1. Get published in a magazine
2. Learn how to drive a car
3. Self-sponsor a trip to Bahrain
At the end of the year, I could cross off items 1 and 2. With 4 pieces published in a travel magazine, 3 in a national daily, 70 research articles for a industrial info website, and a few more copy-writing work, it was a good start to my first year of freelance writing. The sponsor part of item 3 was met though the trip didn’t materialize for whatever reasons.
Here I am, in 2009, writing down where I would like to see myself at the end of the year. One lesson learnt from past experience is that it doesn’t help to have a generalized goal. Having a target defined quantitatively and qualitatively makes assessment all the more easy.
This New Year’s eve, http://lakshvivek.com domain turns one. I’m not the kind who sets goals, makes resolutions on New Year, so let alone writing them down. However, last year I made a mental note of buying my own domain before the years ended. This was a recurrent item in the to-do list for over 3 years. Here’s the entry I wrote after launching this blog. I bought the domain 31st Dec 2007 afternoon and launched it a few hours later well within the deadline. From my past adsense earnings, I assumed this blog would be self-sustaining. But, it’s not. Still, I went ahead and renewed my hosting space and domain for another year. This time not expecting to reap me money any more than it already has. It would be foolish to expect different results by doing what I’ve done for 5 years here. Readership continues to me meager; I feel compelled to write so “reflections” will go on.
Surprisingly, what does earn me some money on monthly basis is from unexpected quarters - Li’l General Rules and the older version of reflections that I’ve not spent a penny on except my time. This blog is hosted by Nettigritty - a provider based in Bangalore. It runs on Linux with the XS plan. I’m almost running out of space now. I’ve renewed for another year but contemplating if I should move to someone else. Their service has been great. I get response for my e-mails within minutes. Any suggestions/opinions on pricing of other equally good providers in India, please leave a comment.
I couldn’t think of a better title for this post but this says it all - 25,869 words in 30 days. November is traditionally recognised in writing circles as the National Novel Writing Month - an event that brings together professional and amateur writers from around the world challenging them to write a novel of no less than 50,000 words. The goal is to write every day so that in the end one would be done with a 175-page novel. The concept of NaNoWriMo has in recent years been extended to blogging giving rise to the concept of NaBloPoMo - National Blog Posting Month. NaBloPoMo requires bloggers to post atleast once every single day for 30 days in November including weekends, and holidays. I didn’t register for this year’s event but was keen on attempting it. Any regular blogger would know it takes a lot of discipline, perseverance, and undying enthusiasm to blog day after day and to keep the ideas churning. I set myself a target of writing 30 posts every day on my other blog Li’l General Rules. Today, on the last day of November, the number of posts clocked stand at 26, falling short of my goal by 4 posts. But I’m glad on having attempted it and coming so close which instills me with the confidence and energy to try again next year.
This November has been a significant month when it comes to writing. Between this blog, Li’l General Rules and my daily writing projects, I’ve written over 25,869 words - the highest ever for a month since I started writing about a year ago.
Some posts from this blog will be featured in Bangalore Mirror occasionally under the Blog Talk section. First one in this series was published today - both online and in print (on page 11). Way to go!
Every spare minute this past week was spent in re-designing my other blog Lil’ General Rules. I wanted something simple, not too sleek but easy to navigate yet filled with information and appealing to to-be-mothers who are the most frequent visitors of that blog. It shouldn’t have taken me as long as it did if only I had a good photo editing software and some uninterrupted time on my hands. Damn Photoshop! It was quite frustrating the first two days when I set out to do and ripped apart the template and I was nowhere close to even 5% which meant restless sleep through the week. Any unfinished task does that to me. It’s still not totally to my liking and is a lot rusty but I guess I can live with some imperfections for that site. The site attracts reasonable traffic and I get a lot of e-mail queries from expecting mothers and new moms so the whole objective of redesigning was to introduce a reader’s section keeping the queries anonymous. am yet to do this. Otherwise it’s all done and I can look forward to a relaxing weekend.
Meanwhile, I just heard from one of the editors that my travel feature on Bahrain got published. Yay!!!! It’s a 2500 word article on Bahrain for one of the travel magazines published in Bombay. They don’t have an online version Otherwise trading and writing have taken a backseat - the slacker I’ve become.This weekend, today to be precise, we were scheduled to be in Bahrain for a Formula 1 holiday. V’s work kinda spoiled our plans and we just didn’t have enough time to plan out. So maybe next year. Two weeks back on the eve of Malaysian Grand Prix, we got the Ferrari flag out for this season tying it up at the entrance of our home and now all visitors get a flaming red welcome. If you are a supporter of any other team, then watch out - you might not get a warm welcome! And guess what, Ferrari was back on the podium.
It has been a crazy week otherwise with the disappearance act by my maid while I have family visiting and it’s been one of those periods when LG decides to be hyperactive and save some food for the nation. The crawling machine just graduated into a full time walker and his excitement has crossed all limits with his granny around. One of these days, I might just jump out of the window. I know I say that too often so watch out…
Cross posted from my old blog :
I’m a little late this time. Two years is a little late in my dictionary, how is it in yours?
This move was not planned. It was a challenge; a resolution I made to myself that I had to keep at all costs. With two articles submitted and an assignment completed - all within the respective deadlines in the middle of December, I felt excited and nothing to look forward to. So, I casually mentioned to V that I might as well get my domain and move my blog before the year ends; he has been insisting on this for two years now and finally gave up. For which he casually remarked, “You mean this year?” I didn’t say anything then but made a mental note to get it up.
One thing lead to another and I had enough on my hands - LG’s birthday party, actual birthday, holidays, travel planning and bookings, LG falling sick on and off which meant trips to the Ped and finally I succumbed to fever on 28th Dec. I recovered on the morning of 31st and still believed this could be done provided everything went on fine. So, I just picked a wordpress theme to my taste, signed up with a hosting provider in Bangalore who provided excellent support and bam! the site was up within two hours while LG took his afternoon nap.
When V came back form work on the evening of 31st December, I presented to him the new home of r e f l e c t i o n s. For me, the timing couldn’t have been more perfect and achieving my goal for once. 500 posts in four and half years.
The future of this blog still remains indecisive. For now, I am not going to redirect the URL to the new one as it contributes a good chunk of my adsense revenue. And, the new site is a still a lil rusty and needs some working upon. However, all new posts will go there and this will be the last post on this space. Thank you for stopping by!
It was an anxious moment where every cent was counted and every click contributed to breach that first milestone. My first check from Google gets dispatched next month; it happened faster than I thought ..I first signed up for Google Adsense three years back and then deactivated it within three months, for no apparent reason. Just didn’t see money coming in ever and it was such a waste of time to log in and see if there were any clicks at all. And, then it all changed this May with traffic increasing on both mt sites - this one and LG Rules. So, I decided to activate it again and see if it meant anything. It did; it took close to five months to reach that first milestone.
The last few dollars took for ever, some days going by without any click despite the reasonable traffic and I was on an edge wondering if it had something to do with the design of my template. Most of my visitors come through Search Engines, very few being regular readers. If you are wondering if any of those tips to make quick bucks and increase adsense revenue helped, then the answer is not really. All of them say the same thing; write everyday - choose your words right, pay attention to SEO; blend your template; just worded differently. You just got to experiment until you figure out what works best and give it time.
To my regular readers : Thank You!
Are you constantly finding ways to trick your company firewall to gain access to your favorite blog? When you wake up at 1:00 a.m. to go to the loo, do you also sneak into the study to peek quickly into the laptop if anyone has left a comment on your 11:00 p.m. post? Do you think hard when someone asks you what your hobby is or do you instantly answer “blogging”? Do your blog buddies outnumber your other friends?
Unless you blog for a living, these are signs of being addicted to blogging. Technorati estimates that there are currently 95.7 million blogs with over 175,000 new blogs being created every day and that bloggers update their blogs regularly to the tune of over 1.6 million posts per day, or over 18 updates a second. The statistics are mind boggling and addicted bloggers like you and me contribute to these numbers which makes it important to monitor one’s blogging habits before it gets in the way of our lives. Below are some tips that will help us keep this obsession in check:
1. Stop the chain reaction – Blog hopping is a chain reaction. If the latest post on one of your favorite blogs links to another blog on which you might find another interesting link, then before you realize you would’ve already spent a good 30 mins blog hopping. And then you get back to reading your daily dosage which can span anywhere from an average 50 to 300. Save the interesting links on your social bookmark manager like http://deli.cio.us for later reading.
2. Get a life – Set aside a time of the day to read and write blogs just as you would for any other activity as cycling, dinner, reading for the kids etc. Do not be tempted to skip any other activity to write a comment or post for the 10th time that day. Go back to your hobby like gardening, skating or whatever interested you before blogging hooked you on.
3. Make topical feeds – Set aside a day of the week for each topic if you have too many blogs on your list. Classifying them based on topics such as General, Technology, Entertainment and reading posts on a particular topic will not be overwhelming and time consuming.
4. Post once a day – Some bloggers make it a point to leave a comment on every post on every blog they read to build links to their own blog thereby boosting the rating for their site. Soon, it becomes a full time job. Ask yourself, “Do I really want to write about how glasses of beer I gulped down today or what channels I surfed on TV or am I writing because there is nothing else to write about?” Sure, there are a lot of people out there to read the dirt on one’s private life but sooner than later, it is the quality of your posts that will matter than quantity.
5. Clear the RSS clutter – If there are way too many RSS feeds in your blog reader like bloglines or Google reader, it is time to examine them on a quarterly basis and remove the ones that don’t interest you any longer. This way you will keep your reading list small.
6. Early to bed and early to rise – Late night is family time and early morning is a good time to exercise. 11:00 p.m. with the laptop and switching on the monitor at 6:00 a.m. to check if someone has left a comment on your last post are sure signs of a bad lifestyle.
7. Stop dating with statistics – Obsessively monitoring the statistics every hour is the first indication of being addicted to blogging. Do you get into the nitty-gritty of site statistics analysis as to how people reached your blog, from which part of the world they came and how much time they spent on what part of the site? It is alright to analyze your traffic once a week but if you find yourself doing it more than two or three times a day, then it is time to sign up for a weekly e-mail report and consciously stop logging checking.
8. Fame calling? – How many contests have you enrolled yourself into in the past 1 month that gives awards for the best bloggers under various categories? Keep a check on this and if you really feel the need to enter, then apply for the widely recognized one than every other contest announced in town. Some bloggers attain fame quickly and are widely known in the virtual world of blogosphere. In order to keep up with the pressure they churn out post after post. Even if fame is knocking at your doors, keep a tab on your blogging habits.
9. Bid goodbye to broadband – Give yourself a reasonable time to try all of the above. If none of them works, then maybe it is time dump your broadband for a while.
These are only tips and this is just like another addiction. It takes a lot of self discipline and willingness to acknowledge you are addicted and take appropriate steps to get over it before it starts taking over your lifestyle.