A year old today – Lessons and Gratitude

BLogΒ birthday

A day like any other dawned last May when I opened up WordPress and tentatively typed in my first blog post here on The Moving Quill. I wasn’t new to blogging, but I was new to everything else- the platform, the ‘likes’, the commenting system, the templates, the customisation, the notifications and most important, the audience.

Venturing into writing flash fiction, poetry, creative non fiction and writing tips was perhaps one of the most daring things I have ever done since I started blogging. Writing has always been a saviour of sorts for me, helping me express my deepest feelings when talk couldn’t come to my rescue.

When I think back over the year, a part of me pauses to think about what this post should cover. What is it that I want to celebrate a year later?

The stats? That’s debatable, because, really, stats don’t maketh the writer, not all the time. I know bloggers who write incredibly well but who don’t get read enough, more’s the pity. So, no, not stats.

The number of posts? Again, not relevant, because a few posts are a few words long while others are essays, so there’s no uniformity there.

Awards? Those from fellow bloggers or blogging platforms, while incredibly wonderful, still don’t make them reasons enough for celebration.

And when I really pause to think, I realise it’s two things: The lessons learnt and the audience.

7 lessons in a year

I’ve been blogging for almost eight years now, but I have been writing in this space only for a year. Yet, I feel I have grown more as a writer and hopefully as a person in these last few months than all the years put together. Here are 7 lessons this year taught me through my work on this blog:

  1. Write when you can, any time, every time the muse strikes. You can choose not to publish it, but do write.
  2. Write from your heart, even if it is for a prompt or a challenge.You’d be surprised how much better you feel.
  3. Listen to the comments and the feedback. Take advice seriously and work on the criticism.
  4. Always be ready to change your technique or strategy. Experimentation is the life blood of a writer.
  5. Stay true to your voice. There is a reason people read you. Don’t compromise on it.
  6. Don’t hurt others through your writing. If you have trouble with someone, talk it out or write about it, but don’t share it with the world at large. DistancesΒ grow wider and the rift never heals.
  7. Read. A lot. Works by the great authors, other bloggers, budding poets are all food for more writing. Always feed the mind. It has an amazing capacity for growth.

The Audience

 

The readers, the fellow bloggers, the ones who take out a few seconds each day to glance at my posts, maybe like them, perhaps comment on them and even share them- you people make it all worthwhile.

So, I think I should pay tribute to a few people/ places that really make writing in this space worthwhile. These are the ones who motivate me to think outside the box, push myself beyond the boundaries, write when I feel unable to string words together or just stand at my elbow and make encouraging noises.

Yeah Write- I know I have mentioned this site before but they deserve another shout out. The regularity of their prompts, the keen eye of the editors, the support of fellow writers, the honesty of the feedback- there IS no better place for writers looking to hone their craft. This year also saw me doing better on their challenge grids, which I am hoping will shape the way forward for me as a writer. I have a special place in my heart for the writers/editors I met through this site, especially Michelle Longo, Christine Hanolsy, Cynking Feeling, Silver Leaf, Stacie Dalrymple, Nathan James, Asha Rajan, Arden Ruth, Meg Galipault, Natalie De Young and Rowan Grigsby.

Aparna George– A truer friend and stauncher supporter I will be hard pressed to find. She reads/ likes all my posts, even the really crappy ones! Do you know what a morale booster that is? My friend, you mean more to me than anything else in the blogging world.

Sid Balachandran- A published author, engagingΒ writer and a good critic of my writing. He says it like it is and doesn’t mince words. I mean that in a good way. πŸ˜€

Tulika Singh– She reads my posts. All of them. And she gets bullied by me and takes it with a good grace. You know that’s someone you need in your corner!

Shilpa Halwe– Although someone I came to know fairly recently, Shilpa and I took to each other almost instantly. She is rather too generous in her praise, though. Hey, I am not complaining πŸ˜‰

Rachna Parmar– She is another blogger I connected with less than 6 months ago, but one who always makes the time to stop by, read and comment on my posts. The way she handles her own blog’s comments are really admirable!

Then there are those whoΒ always read my posts and appreciate my sentiments such as Victo Dolore, Lata Sunil, Elly Stornebrink, Soumya Prasad, Cat Graham, Vidya SuryΒ andΒ Shantala Nayak.

This is not a comprehensive list, by any means. Think of it as the limited time on stage at an awards ceremony and the music’s started to play, so I need to wind up now πŸ™‚

I truly appreciate every single person who stops by and reads my blog. Because, let’s face it, without you all, I’m just yelling into the void and while it’s nice to hear the sound of your own voice, it’s infinitely better to hear the echoes of your friends and fellow writers when they resonate with your thoughts and keep you writing.

Thank you

 

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64 thoughts on “A year old today – Lessons and Gratitude

  1. I am going to start my blog as well. Thank you for your suggestions, I am not sure I have the ability to pen down my thoughts. But, your article motivates me and I am going to try. Thank you Shailaja….
    – Bharathy

  2. Happy blogversary!!! πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚
    Lesson # 2 there – that! Yes, definitely that! (I want to be more articulate, but “that” covers everything!)

  3. Happy First Anniversary, Shailaja. That is a special milestone. You know, I hardly read fiction on blogs, but I love your microfiction. Thanks for the mention. You are a good writer, no doubt, but an even better person and friend. It is so easy to form a rapport with you as I’ve felt. Keep shining, dear girl.

    1. I think I am really elated by that compliment, Rachna, to have turned a reader into a fan πŸ™‚ As for the rapport, I think it’s mutual. And yet, I know there are people who can’t stand me. Ah, well, you can’t win them all, can you? That’s okay. I am happy with the circle of trust that has formed around me πŸ™‚ Thank you for being there.

  4. Congratulations! I am SO happy for you. πŸ™‚ <3 Blogging can be such an enriching experience. When I count all the positive things/experiences that blogging has brought into my life, your acquaintance is at the forefront <3
    Thank you so much for the mention. You deserve all the love and support and so much more. Keep writing and keep rocking! πŸ™‚ <3

    1. You know, I think my heart leaps every time I hear someone say that they are enriched by blogging, because that is exactly how I feel. Writing about ourselves is actually so cathartic and to know that people resonate with you is so fulfilling. Thanks for being there, Shantala πŸ™‚

  5. Happy First Birthday to the Moving Quill! Even before I met you, Moving Quill was a name I knew. So, cheers to many more birthdays ahead..
    Loved reading this post! <3

  6. Congratulations Shailaja!

    I specially liked the point in which you say that stats don’t maketh a blogger/writer. It’s too true.. I know a friend of mine who just copy-pastes her blog posts and yet gets 1000 pageviews for each one that she publishes.
    And me? I’ve just got approx. 6000 till date for 50 posts!

    And the 6th lesson. I’ve gotta learn something from that point!

    πŸ™‚

  7. Congratulations πŸ™‚ I Remember When U Started The Blog Las Year. Wow Time Really Flies. And I Have Seen The Growth In Your Stories And How Twisty They Get At The End. πŸ™‚ Always A Pleasure To Read You πŸ™‚

  8. Hey… congratulations… loved those lessons… sometimes I forget that I started blogging for the love of writing πŸ™‚ thanks for the reminder…

  9. Congratulations on your wonderful first year, Shailaja! Bravo! I always enjoy your blog posts of fiction or your glimpses into your life and mothering. Your posts never fail to uplift, inspire and touch me. Here’s to many more to come!

  10. Congrats Shailaja. May you just grow and blossom even more. Agree with your seven points totally, writing is not the rocket science but requires the same amount of dedication, love and passion. Much Love dear Godma <3

  11. Congratulations Shailaja! Or, should I wish The Moving Quilt a very happy 1st birthday, and God bless you!? πŸ™‚
    Thank you for the mention! And, all the love, right back at you, my dear! And, we think alike in some ways. You will see today.:-)
    Also, got to learn so much from this post. I mentally ticked against the points I need to work on.
    Way to go, my dear dear friend…<3

  12. 5. and 6. are so important.

    Very well said, Shailaja. This is why you are loved you know.

    Congratulations. Here’s a quick haiku for you:

    celebrate, connect
    weave your word magic, my dear
    keep spreading those smiles

    Wishing you many many years of connecting!

    1. To know that one is loved makes everything worth trying, Vidya. To have people like you in my corner means more to me than mere words can convey. Thank you for the lovely haiku- it’s perfect for my frame of mind today <3

  13. Congratulations on your first anniversary, Shailaja! You are doing great and wishing you many more blogging achievements! Cheers!

  14. I still remember when you were debating whether to create this space, but I knew it was always “when” and not “if” :). So many milestones along the way, and so much stellar writing. And I’m so touched that you mentioned my stopping by as a booster :), there shall ever be more of that. All the very best and here’s to many more blogversaries!

    1. I recall that too, the endless debate πŸ™‚ Without you, I doubt I would have kept going, to be honest. There were so many times I wanted to give up, especially after that shoulder incident and one or two other issues, as you well know. So glad you are on this journey with me together. <3

  15. An year already? Time flies. It seems like yesterday that you started this blog. But must admit, I enjoy reading this blog more than your other blog, just for the fact that it is fiction oriented, and you do have a way with fiction. Congratulations and wishing you many more πŸ™‚

    1. It does, doesn’t it? I almost didn’t realise that a year had lapsed until I started getting alerts on Linkedin, saying I completed a year here πŸ™‚ Thanks so much for that, Vinodini I started this blog with some misgivings, because I wasn’t sure who would read it. But so blessed by all the love.

  16. A whole year, eh? Congratulations, Shailaja and ‘The Moving Quill’.
    Boy, time sure does move fast. Feels like you started the blog yesterday.
    And a special thank you for the mention. Always happy to be there for friends. (Though, I must also add you make me sound like some sort of Nazi Writer. I am really good person too. Most times, anyway.) πŸ˜›

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