September 11, 2015

One of India's best bloggers reveals her blogging secrets

She is an accomplished writer today thanks to blogging. Meet Alka Gurha, whose blog Freebird is a  neat blog without frills.

Alka has been blogging since 2010 and has earned a name for herself as a blogger and a writer on reputed sites through her perseverance with blogging. You can see a lot of visitor engagement on her blog. Not for nothing, her blog has been on the Directory of Best Indian Blogs year after year and is also one of our topmost Platinum blogs.
Alka (photo taken from Freebird)
Alka Gurha shares her blogging experience and also has a few tips for budding bloggers. Read on.
What do you consider your biggest blogging achievement?

If I have to name my biggest blogging achievement, then it has to be my personal growth.

When I began six years ago, my blog was my own little space where I was able to rant, rave, reflect and reminisce. Each time I wrote a post, I felt happy. There was something about articulating thoughts on a public platform and comparing them with others that was truly transformative. Moreover, there was an addictive kick in knowing that people living in different continents could read what I was writing.

As luck would have it, the editor of a city based newspaper was looking for writers. He read some of my blog posts, based on which I received an offer to write for the paper. An otherwise small step was noteworthy on two accounts. First, I was able to see my articles in print, and second, I was able to tap my educational background (Major in Plant Physiology and minor in Biochemistry). I wrote several ‘Wellness Articles’ based on plants and their health benefits. Since current affairs and politics intrigued me, generic writing paved way for media critique, political commentary and focused analysis. One article led to another, and I began writing for websites like The Hoot, The Indian Exponent and The Huffington Post.

Apart from social recognition as a writer, there has been phenomenal personal growth. A study by Clive Thompson, a Canadian blogger, shows that when we write for an audience, we think better. We can win an argument inside our head, but when we write for an audience we try to be convincing. We put in our best when we know that what we write is going to be read by millions of people across continents. While this consciousness is stimulating, it is also empowering. 

As far as I remember, my mind was always flooded with little thoughts pulling me in different directions. However, I am pretty focused when I blog. Hours pass in minutes, minutes in seconds. Amazing how focused writing becomes almost meditative. 

From your experience, can you offer any tips for quick growth of one's blog?

I am unaware of any shortcuts for long term growth as a blogger. If you want quick popularity, create a controversy, write about religion, bash a gender, provoke people, and insult a celebrity. But that is unlikely to take you far. 

To my mind, passionate sustained writing is the only way to go.

What is your take on maintaining high quality of content, and the craft of blogging?

There are millions of people who blog. Not all blogs are popular. At the end of the day, it all boils down to quality and content. 

Apart from being clear and concise, your words have to connect with the reader. What is your reader gaining from spending time on your blog? Is it information, inspiration or entertainment? There has to be something on offer for the reader. 

Since my blog reflects on news and media, it is a spicy mix of information and entertainment. 

Social media interactions on Facebook and Twitter have helped me in popularizing my blog.

Finally, what do you think should be the ideal frequency of posting on the blog?

It makes sense to write when the urge is overwhelmingly strong – so strong that you have to flush the thoughts out of your system. Do not write just because you have to write. Forced writing seldom connects with readers. Nevertheless, one should not neglect the blog for long.