Here's what I learned in 7 years of blogging

7 years ago I started my blog. And I entered the magical world of writing. I was living in the Boston suburbs. After finishing my work and household chores, I still had some spare time. I remember the exact moment I clicked the 'B' icon on Google and I created a Blogger account. I knew only two Bloggers that time - Amitabh Bachchan and Lisa Ray. I had no idea what it takes to be an accomplished blogger, but I was excited to be a part of a community which is independent and expresses its views without any inhibition. I must say, it has been an amazing journey only because I have learned so much.

I started by writing poetry, then I started writing articles and now I can write anything. Professionally, I am a content writer for a couple of websites. I ghostwrite for two more agencies based out of North America. I write sponsored articles on my blog. I tweet, post Facebook statutes, answer Quora questions, and mention brands on Instagram for money. Brands even consult me for social media strategies. One opportunity has even led to full-time employment. If you want to ask, 'how I get work?' All these people approach me. People have been really kind. They recommend me to someone else, he to someone else, and the chain continues. I've also won Indian Bloggers Award in Literature in 2013 and I was among the top 6 Creative Bloggers in India in 2014. My work is published in an anthology, I was interviewed by an Indian TV channel in New York, I've been featured on many websites. The most heartwarming feature of all - when The Bhukkad Cafe in Dubai decorated their walls with my couplets. In blogging contests - I've won a trip to Australia, iPad Mini, Kindle Fire, Kindle e-ink Display, Micromax Tablet, 3 Smartphones, Amazon and Flipkart vouchers worth INR 107.5K, many goodies, and loads of appreciation.

Before you think, it's all very impressive, let me tell you - this is just 1/10th of what anyone of you can achieve. I've many flaws - I don't network, I haven't read any blog in the last 2 years, I'm not a part of any writing/blogging community, I don't add or follow people just to market my work. Heck, I don't even reciprocate the affection I get on the social media. I wish, I become a little better with time, and do what other remarkable writers and bloggers are doing, and create a space for myself. I respect them for their hard work, creativity, and sense of companionship within the community, which I seriously lack.

But let me also tell you - because I don't concentrate on numbers, followers, money - I enjoy my writing journey so much that I can't explain it in words. I don't worry about the number of likes on my social media posts. Other than the free-spirited nature, I guess, I know the interaction on social media posts is a combination of time of posting, the day of the week, hashtag, your network size, and social media algorithm. The last is certainly something I can't understand. As far as blog posts are concerned, the number of comments on your blog is dependent on how many blogs you read. If you are good at reading and promoting other blogs, chances are you will get 100s of comments. It's a great feeling to see tons of comments on your blog. But it's heartbreaking to see that most of the comments are posted just to get a comment back. Worse, they have commented without even reading your blog. And the worst, when bloggers pick up the shortest post on your blog to comment. I mean, grow up! So with all these experiences in my kitty, now I've become a crazy writer who gets happiness by creating something beautiful. If money or appreciation follows after that - I take that as a bonus. If nothing follows - who cares? Nobody can take away the pleasure of writing something beautiful from me.

If you want to know what I've gained in the last 7 years, I'd say a better perspective. Now, I know what I want from life and on what terms. Writing has given me a way to consolidate my emotions, ease off the confusion and give direction to my actions. It has simplified my life. People often say I write simple posts. I feel if I can say the most intricate things in simple words, I can somehow deal with it. Like when I miss someone, I know what I miss and I talk to them about it. Also, writing has given the opportunity to meet exceptionally talented people. Some of them, in spite of being super accomplished in their fields, have approached me. All of them have taught me to be humble, grounded and to concentrate on work. Their company has been extremely educative.

On writing, blogging, and social media front, here's what I learned. Do these to get some wind under your wings and soar high. I recommend these. Though, I don't do all of these myself.
  • Read good blogs or follow good artists. Don't spend your time reading or commenting on blogs just to market yourself. If you read good writers, you will eventually become one. Even if you try to market yourself, choose your audience wisely. It's human nature to seek validation from people who are good. So when we write/create something remarkable, we want acknowledgment from people who know the craft, not mere 'nice' or 'great post' from 100 people.
  • Interact with your audience. Treat them well. Answer their questions. Help them. These things will help to create a brand for yourself. I did that. I have met really good people. And I have met bad people, too. One girl shared, interacted, and praised me for months. She wanted something in return. I did that free of cost. When I asked for a favor, she conveniently stopped replying to my messages. But that has not stopped me from replying to every single message or query I get. As I said earlier, to create a brand for yourself, you need to be a better human being. Rise above petty thoughts and people.
  • It's great to have a niche but expand it over time. You write poetry - foray into articles. You do travel photography, add food photography to it. Notice how your audience reacts to it. If they like it, good. If not, understand why. Expanding your areas will help to gain more work. If you stick to one type of thing, the work avenues are limited. Book bloggers hardly get any other campaign than books. In addition to that, expanding your niche helps in understanding different types of craft, which is inspiring.
  • Be a part of groups, communities, and organizations. It helps to learn and market yourself. In case you don't like it, you can always leave. But do join. There are Facebook groups, Pinterest groups, websites, Twitter and Instagram hashtags which are very beneficial to gain visibility. Try to be on multiple platforms. One or the other always work.
  • The most important lesson moneywise is to always ask for your worth. I made this mistake. I worked for a really low price. Though,  I learned very fast. Be confident. Calculate your worth - time taken to create a post ( be it a post or photo), time to edit it, uploading it, promoting it on various platforms, replying to comments, and most importantly the value of your artistic expression. Factor in all these before quoting a price. In case someone says, ' your price is too steep,' show them the amount of effort to put in. This usually has a lot of convincing power. 
  • Lastly, be honest. Follow the basic blogging ethics. Don't comment without reading. Don't share only with an intent of getting a share back. Share what you feel is good. On social media, don't buy followers. Nothing takes your credibility away than resorting to this cheap tactic. I know, growth on social media is very slow because of the algorithm change. But one can always promote work or politely ask your friends to share your work. You can also keep 5%-10% of your blog earnings to market your work.

Blogging is like a baby. You have to nurture it. It's not built in a day. It takes years of hard work to reach a certain level. So treat it like one - love it, take care of it, and have faith in your medium of expression.

To end, I want to say, thanks so much for reading my work. I owe what I am today to all of you.

Love,
Saru

P. S. For 7 years I posted every single Monday. Now, it's time to change. Moving forward, I will write and post once a month. Rest of the Mondays, I will update the blog with my creative writing that I share on social media.

Comments

  1. This is my first comment in your blog and that too on a special occasion as this. Yes I have read the post entirely and wishing you a happy 7th and many many more in the coming year. I am happy that you have spoken about bloggging ethics which I feel should be passed on to future bloggers. Congratulations

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    1. Ethics are diluted these days. I hope people learn and understand the value of truth and honest in this medium of expression. Thank you for reading and for your wishes, Anindya.

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  2. Heartiest Congratulations on 7th Blog Anniversary. Keep blogging.

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  3. Congratulations Saruji, I've been following you for some time now and must say there have been few posts that I've loved so much ! Thanks for this and those quirky tweets once in a while. Wishing you all the best ����

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    1. Thanks, Atul. I'm glad you enjoy my work both on and off the blog.

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  4. This post is a real help for budding bloggers like me. I'm grateful that I came across you, I'd follow these steps in order to improve my work. Thanks for sharing your experience.
    And Happy 7th. ☺

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    1. Thank you so much for your wishes, Rashmi. Hope you reach great heights soon.

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  5. Keeping 5-10% of the money earned to market our work is a good idea. For some reason, I haven't boosted my post ever!

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    1. I spend a maximum of $10 a month. It has worked for me. But recently, with algorithm change, I'm thinking of stopping that too.

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  6. Congratulations!! Saru on completing 7 years of blogging 👍 It's a great achievement 👍 Thanks for sharing your experiences and tips for blogging through this very well written post. Your tips are really helpful for new bloggers like me. Wishing you all the best for your ongoing blogging journey ☺

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    1. Thank you so much, Sachin. And good luck to you. Enjoy your journey.

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  7. My heartiest congratulations to you, its really amazing to know about your experience in this journey and the prizes you have won.

    You have given very important tips.

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  8. So, seven years have passed...but you seemed a mature and serious writer even at the start... no doubt time makes you a better thinker. You write that you knew only Amitabh Bachchan and Lisa Ray as bloggers when you started and you yourself went on to become Amitabh Bachchan of blogging world, because at a point in time there was no single contest that didn't have your name as winner on indiblogger.in. Congratulations on the journey so far and best of luck for the future.

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    1. I always hear that but I can name 5 people who have won more contests than me. There is one person who is always in the winners list. Always, without a miss. I guess, somehow my name stands out.

      But I will take all this as a compliment. I'm glad people recognize my name. Thank you so much for being a part of my journey, Neeraj.

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  9. thoughtful interesting motivational articles

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  10. Firstly hearty Congratulation on your 7th anniversary of blogging. I am newbie to the world of blogging. I loved to read your post not beacuse i want something in return but i got answers to some of unanswered question.
    This line is really empowering "As I said earlier, to create a brand for yourself, you need to be a better human being. Rise above petty thoughts and people."
    I know i am not a good writer of blogger, i lack in creative sentences that might attract audiences, but the way you delivered your content really made me think that even i can use the simplest form to deliver my thoughts and express it in simple way.
    I will try my best to not to look back. may be some day i will add sweet to the readers taste buds.
    Regards Aslam
    Keep up the good work

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    1. I feel honesty is one thing that never goes out of fashion and people admire it. I'm sure you write very well. One can make that out from your comment. Thank you so much for your kind words. I'm honored.

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  11. Congratulations on the blog anniversary.
    I can relate to a lot of these points here, mostly the mistakes. Because I recently crossed 9 year mark and I’m no where on the writing front.

    Hopefully will take some inputs from you and change for the better.

    Keep writing. And inspiring.
    Take care

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    1. 9 years. Congratulations to you. I think we all need to learn and adapt. Blogging must always be a medium of growth. There is no fun doing the same thing for years.

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  12. Heartiest Congratulations on 7th Blog Anniversary. Keep blogging.
    https://www.deallooks.com

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  13. This post is commendable Saru on the time taken and your dedication as a talented writer. I agree with every point made and yes, sadly everything is a give and take with this entire hits that defeats the purpose about writing. Happy blogging anniversary. I remember in those days Amitabh Bachchan started on blogadda and he set the stage to define blogging which the entire blogging community in India followed. I followed his footsteps.

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    1. Thank God, I don't run after numbers. The only time I check the stats is when a sponsorer wants the insights. I'm happy with writing. I can't do the PR job.

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    2. Same here. I have realized that content matters most than hits which is an illusion. What matters is the quality of writing and that's why you are a superstar :)

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    3. That's very generous of you, Vishal. You are right, in any field, content is the king. But sadly, on social media normally cheap content is popular.

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  14. This has been the best blog article I have read so far, straight from your heart. It's so inspiring article for such a budding blogger like me.

    "Writing has given me a way to consolidate my emotions, ease off the confusion and give direction to my actions", So true, I can so connect with this entire statement. No one can take away the pleasure of writing and producing your own word baby. Happy 7th Anniversary and congratulations on your massive achievements in these years.

    Good luck!

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    1. Thank you so much, Maumita. And good luck to you.

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  15. Congratulations on completing 7 years of your blogging journey. Here's wishing you many more successful years of creative pursuits.

    Loved this post because I can relate to it on so many fronts :)

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  16. Badhai ho jee.. 7 saal...... aah kitna kathin hai yeh or wakayee kabilay tareef hai... as most of the bloggers struggle to complete 7 years... BTW I invite you to visit desi Traveler after 2 years.. comment shomment naa bhee karen Saru jee par blog kee shobha to badaiye..... :)

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    1. actually i wanted to say most bloggers struggle to complete 7 months but kya karoon bhavook ho gaya tha... :)

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    2. I read your blog very often. Most of the time I get blog link on Twitter. After 2 years, I didn't get that. Is there something special happening on your blog?

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  17. Social media is very frustrating at the moment, with changing algorithms and tacky promotions. It's actually a pleasure to read something so fresh and genuine ... Every verse that you publish makes me fall in love with writing. I totally agree with your point on spending time to read better writers rather than reading just to get a comment back.
    Keep spreading your magic ❤

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    1. I'm so glad that people associate with poetry and find it refreshing. You are a creative soul. I bet you would find anything interesting. Thank you so much for always supporting my work. I'm blessed to have friends like you. Thanks, Raj.

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  18. हार्दिक बधाई और शुभकामनाएं

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  19. https://theenchantressweb.wordpress.com/2018/07/09/blogger-recognition-award/

    You have been nominated for Blogger Recognition Award :)

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  20. I was introduced to your writings by a friend Rickie recently and I instantly loved your poetic expression. I recently lost my husband and was dabbling myself in writing my emotions and putting my emotions into poetry so he thought of sharing your work with me. I searched you out on fb and in the last month have read more and loved it. Today followed you on Insta and right now read your article above and now writing here. So falling more and more in love with the power of your pen! Congrats

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  21. 7 years ..7 is very close to me i love this number congratulations ...many more to go...and yes i love your page on insta..💚 much love to you..

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  22. Congrats again, Saru. I love your writing especially the short poetry especially Hindi poetry. It is spectacular. And I also love your nostalgic humourous posts. I have known you possibly for all the 7 years of your blogging and for many years as a professional as you work with me for the Finance blog. Not only do you write well but you are a thorough professional. I do hope that we can meet some day. Keep doing the good work. I feel very proud of all your achievements and know that you will keep doing well. Lots of love.

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  23. Yes you said it all-its the simple words that appeal to your readers. I love your poetry. Now write a book. Stay blessed.

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  24. Congratulations Suru ji on blog anniversary:))

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  25. Congratulations for completing 7 years on blogging. Your journey is an inspiration for many of us. I have been reading your blog posts since 2011 when I started my blog. I have learnt many things from your writing and till today I am learning. Whenever I get time I visit your blog. The best part of your writing is that you can write in any genre, be it poems, articles, quotes, stories etc and with different themes like sad, romantic, motivational, inspirational etc.
    I remember when you shared your views in one of my poems stating that "If you can convey your message in simple words then you are an artist" and this same you have mentioned in this post as well which I admire.
    Great journey indeed and I wish you all the best for your upcoming posts as well... Keep writing and keep inspiring other fellow bloggers... Congrats once again... :-)

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  26. Came across this post while looking for good bloggers and what advice they have to give to other bloggers.
    Your journey has been fantastic in the real sense, i.e. getting satisfaction and joy out of blogging - and not chasing dollars. But there is a lot of sensible advice for those who want to write and also make good money out of blogging.
    I am going to showcase your blog later this month on my blog, themanualofblogging.
    Congratulations on completing wonderful 7 years blogging!

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  27. You are very inspiring Saru! Thanks for the suggestions. Visited your blog after a long time. Very useful post to me! :)

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