Want New #Blogging #Friends ? Join the #CHERISHED Blogfest Today!!


Blogging is all about making connections, sharing information, emotions, opinions, memories.

How to make Blogging Friends

Blog Friendships

In the spirit of blog friendships, my good blog friends, Dan Antion , Paul Ruddock, Peter Nena, Sharukh Bamboat and yours truly at Daily (w)rite, invite you to take part in the CHERISHED Blogfest:

Often, objects lead us to memories.

The objects we hold most dear, harbor the most cherished memories.

For the CHERISHED Blogfest, we invite you to talk to us about one of your cherished objects. Tell us what it is, post a picture of it if you like, and tell us why you cherish it.

Keep your post to below 500 words.

Join us on the 24th to 26th of July 2015 in sharing memories, emotions, information: we’ll read and comment on each others’ posts, get to know each other better, and hopefully, make or renew some friendships.

Cherished Blogfest

Cherished Blogfest

For those with new blogs, adding your blog to the linky list below, and posting on the 24th-26th July would help you increase your comment love, and followers. Visit and leave comments to everyone on the list, so we all get loads of comment love!

Place the CHERISHED Badge on your sidebar, and help us spread the word on social media. Tweets, Facebook shares, G+ shares through the month most welcome. More Blogfest signups mean more friends and followers at the end of the blogfest.

Sign up in the CHERISHED Linky List below which would open in a new window for signups. (WordPress blogs don’t allow linky lists.)

 Powered by Linky Tools

CHERISHED LINKY LIST: CLICK HERE to enter your link and view this Linky Tools list…

If you have any queries, drop me a mail at meringue dot p at gmail dot com.

The name ‘Cherished’ and the image is courtesy Cheryl KP, who posts brilliant images and writing on her blog. I would also encourage you to check out the blogs of my cohosts: Dan Antion (the designer of the badge), Paul Ruddock, Peter Nena, Sharukh Bamboat, bloggers with genuine and fascinating takes on everything from life, travel, fiction, and the writing rigmarole.

Paul and Peter  are short story writers and novelists, whereas Dan and Sharukh are excellent non-fiction writers. Follow them right away if you haven’t already!

How long have you been blogging? Have you taken part in any blogfests? Organised them? If yes, have blogfests helped your blog? Do you have many blog friends? Do you share stories with them? Are you signing up for the CHERISHED Blogfest?

If you’re reading this, but don’t have a blog, head over to the discussion on Daily (w)rite’s Facebook Page, where we’re talking about online friendships.

EDIT: We’ve changed the dates to 24th-26th July– I was scatterbrained and didn’t notice 25th/26th was a weekend. My apologies.

Are We #Following Each Other? #socialmedia


This week, Daily (w)rite crossed 400,000 hits and 30,000 followers. To mark the occasion, the blog now has a Facebook Page, where I hope to discuss all things Reading, Writing, Travel, and maybe a bit of Social awareness / Culture/ Philosophy.

Why Facebook?

Social media follows

Follow and Be Followed!

Not a fan, but tons of folks are on it, folks who don’t have a blog and never will, but are interested in the same topics as me.

Hoping everyone here, my cherished blog friends, can also join the discussion there. I don’t plan to update more than once or twice a week, so I won’t flood your timelines. Also, having nothing to promote, (hopefully) won’t have annoying “author promotion” posts. For those of you not on Facebook, I’m only too happy to stay connected with you here.

In the spirit of connections, maybe all of us who comment and chat at this space could connect on other social media as well. Some of you I already chat with on Twitter and Facebook, but others, not so much. A lot of us are on G+ too, and on Goodreads.

So without further ado, would like to connect with you on any and all of the following social media profiles:

Facebook: Like I said, this page would be for us folks to get together and chat about stuff of interest to all of us.

Twitter: Active here and I love chatting with tweet buddies. Not a fan of promo posts flooding my timeline though.

Goodreads: Here as D. Biswas. I put up my books from time to time, but it is exhausting to update all the books I read all the time.

Google+ : Super-active here. Not so much on posts– I post very little, but I read a lot, and am a fan of the +1 button. I comment every now and then.

Pinterest : Not really very active here. I use this site mainly to find images for writing prompts.

That’s my sum-total on social media. Each bolded out social media name links to my profiles.

Want to follow all of you on your social media profiles, so please leave yours in the comments. (If your comment with your profiles doesn’t immediately appear, it is only because links go in for moderation– I’ll be deluged with spam otherwise. I’ll approve them as I see them.) And while everyone is putting up their social media links, we can all give each other some social media love by following each other? I sound like a social media orgy or lovefest, I know, but seriously don’t see the harm. Everyone who comments on here is someone we might all like to hear from.

Perfectly fine if you don’t want to take part in this social-media-fest of sorts. And feel free to tell me off, if you don’t. We’re not trying any social media marketing or optimization exercises here. Just want to have some fun, and strengthen a few friendships!

To those interested in the “Follows”: What social media are you on? Am I already following you? If not, won’t you leave me your deets?

#IWSG: What if you need to hibernate?


Blogging tips

Blogging during Hibernation

This new year’s eve, I fell asleep before midnight.

Of course, I’m aging. But more than aging, I’m hibernating.

Since Christmas, I’m doing a complete rewrite of my MS, and I aim to get it done by the 31st January. So I’m not really responding to messages, making  (or receiving) calls. Not blogging (much) either: I click Likes still, when I sometimes read posts during writing breaks, but not many comments.

It’s like I need to stay in the world of my MS to bang out about 2 to 2.5 k words a day: and it’s like meditation, if you’ve ever watched a hen incubate an egg with those faraway, lost look in her eyes, you’ll know what I look like these days. Pretty darn unattractive. You’ll find me on Twitter: @damyantig : I’m a sucker for  #wordsprint ever since I started this binge, and #1k1hr .

But this morning my calendar told me today is the 7th Birthday of this Blog. If I ignore that too, I’d be a bit of an asshat.

So I’m peeping up to say HI to everyone, to wish everyone a good new year ahead. And I’d be an even bigger asshat if I didn’t say THANKYOU to all the readers and commenters of my blog. And didn’t say SORRY for disappearing (pretty much) from the blogiverse for the last few weeks.

So Thankyou for being my friends, and Sorry about disappearing.

I also re-added myself to the Insecure Writers Support Group, cos let’s face it, right about now, in this temporary break from my fictive dream, I do feel a little Insecure. What if everyone forgets I exist? What if this blog becomes a forest of *crickets*?

From within the world of my novel, these seem like pretty trivial concerns. (That’s because they are, Damyanti– the world has gone through tragedies too many and too diverse to name in 2014– and you’re worried about your blog? #firstworldproblems #sigh)

But as ever, I need your advice: What do you do when you need to hibernate? Is it terrible that I want to take this month off to finish my MS? I know I can’t, I’ve made commitments, but what if I could? Have you ever taken a hiatus from your blog? Taken a hiatus in January? Thoughts on Hibernation? Hit me with them!

Do You Mark the #Books you #Read ?


The Reading Experience

The Reading Experience

As a child, I’d often seen people reading books with a pen in hand– underlining, making notes, folding pages.

I have a horror of that– I try to keep my books as pristine as possible. I’m not anal about them or anything (right!), but I never take a pen to them, even those that I study for a project. I add sticky notes, in case the need to make a note of something is absolutely dire.

I read this article on books and readers, and it made me sit up and take notice:

There is something predatory, cruel even, about a pen suspended over a text. Like a hawk over a field, it is on the lookout for something vulnerable. Then it is a pleasure to swoop and skewer the victim with the nib’s sharp point. The mere fact of holding the hand poised for action changes our attitude to the text. We are no longer passive consumers of a monologue but active participants in a dialogue. Students would report that their reading slowed down when they had a pen in their hand, but at the same time the text became more dense, more interesting, if only because a certain pleasure could now be taken in their own response to the writing when they didn’t feel it was up to scratch, or worthy only of being scratched.

Looking back over the pages we have already read and marked, or coming back to the novel months, maybe years later, we get a strong sense of our own position in relation to the writer’s position. Where he said this kind of thing, I responded with that, where he touched this nerve, my knee jerked thus. Hence a vehicle for self knowledge is created, for what is the self if not the position one habitually assumes in relation to other selves? These days, going back to reading the books that have remained since university days, I see three or four layers of comments, perhaps in different colored pens. And I sense how my position has changed, how I have changed.

Makes some sense to me, and today when I picked up a book other than one from the library, I thought of trying out this reading with pen in a hand scenario. I didn’t manage to scratch a line. Maybe my habits are too ingrained now. Or perhaps, it reminds me too much of my editing stints, and ruins my reading pleasure.

What about you? Do you mark your books with a pen while reading? Or like me, do you like your books free of marks?

Do #Inspirational #Quotes Work for You?


Blogging tips

Inspirational quotes

If you’re on Social Media, you’ve seen those– Inspirational Quotes meant to lift you up, or your day, if you so choose.

In the internet glut of images and words, some tend to stand out, and yes, I do share them on Twitter or Google+ or  Facebook, and yep, now Pinterest, from time to time.

With apps on phones and tabs, it’s easy to create a collage, edit a picture, slap on a quote and let it loose in the cyber world, leave it to flutter or sink, as it will. I’m guilty of a few of those– yesterday I made one of those quote + picture thingammyjigs on Amlokiblogs. And to the left, you can see a drawing I’d scribbled some time back, and added a quote to.

I often wonder, though, whether some of the quotes make any sense. Maybe they’re too glib, facile, and sometimes, overstated, even. I found this sentiment reflected in this article:

Inspirational quotes cross the bounds of class and taste. It’s true they are vented freely on The Apprentice where “the future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams”. (That’s the candidate Ella Jade Bitton.) But they also colour political discussion. The Scottish yes campaign cited the supposed Gandhi quote, “First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.” You can buy inspirational quotes in the New York Public Library shop, see other people’s favourites on Goodreads. Inspirational quotes were even on billboards at the Frankfurt book fair – “because you can’t buy happiness but you can buy a book”. Congratulations if you make it home tonight without seeing an inspirational quote. You will probably find all the ones you avoided, photographed by your friends and posted on your Facebook wall.

Inspirational quotes operate as currency on social media – not only in terms of the way their wisdom is handled and passed on, but because motivational tweets have become a key indicator of a person worth following. In 2013, Forbes ran a list of the most influential people on social media. (There is no escape: clicking that link will activate a pop-up “Quote of the Day”. Enjoy!) Haydn Shaughnessy compiled the data, and noticed that the most influential people on Twitter offered a stream of motivational content. “When we looked at leading social media influencers in 2012, they were all people who created a lot of content. By 2013,” he says, “it was much more likely that a top influencer would be tweeting inspiration instead of creating separate content. The reason? People probably don’t read content anyway, they just share it.”

I don’t know if I would stop sharing inspirational quotes, or even posting them from time to time. Who doesn’t need a dose of positivity every now and then? But I think I would hold back a little– anything, even goodness, when taken to the extreme, has its disadvantages. Saccharine, asinine, isn’t where I want to go.

What about you? Do you read Inspirational Quotes? Do they inspire you? Or do they annoy you just that little bit sometimes?

 

 

Do Women Dominate #SelfPublishing ?


A to Z Stories of Life and Death

My self-publishing experiment

On Daily (w)rite, the majority of bloggers who comment are women.

In any creative writing workshop, women outnumber men by ten to one.

I recently read an article in the Guardian, that says women dominate Self-Publishing:

Alison Baverstock, an associate professor in publishing at Kingston University, Surrey, said her research showed a clear gender split, with 65% of self-publishers being women and 35% men. Nearly two-thirds of all self-publishers are aged 41 to 60, with a further 27% aged over 61. Half are in full-time employment, 32% have a degree and 44% a higher degree.

Baverstock said there was a widespread misunderstanding about who decides to self-publish a book, and how the genre was changing the publishing industry.

The article goes on to talk about how self-publishing is quite a robust alternative to traditional publishing:

“…there were popular subjects that traditional publishers had ignored, including “respectable soft porn” and “gentle memoirs of everyday disasters, such as losing a child”. Most publishers, she said, were being outpaced by a heady mix of democratisation and digital distribution, because they came from a “very limited gene pool … all agree on what they like … they know each other, and are not necessarily in touch with popular taste. Self-publishing is going on in schools, across institutions, spreading knowledge [of how to publish].”

While I agree with self-publishing having had a much huger impact in the last few years, I’m not so sure of women authors outstripping the contribution of men in this area. I’ve tried self-publishing a book of flash fiction, mostly as an experiment in learning how it’s done. Being less interested in publication and even lesser in making money out of it (both are unarguably good things, just not things I’m terribly interested in so far), I’ve mostly gone the traditional route. I’m trying to learn how to write, and despite the small published portfolio of short fiction I have gathered, I think I have a very very, long way to go.

I’m interested, however, in how the publishing world is shaping up: as a reader, I want to stay in touch with who’s publishing the books I read, and why. So here are a few questions, if you have a minute:

What has been your experience? Have you read more indie books by women than men? If you self-publish, would you drop a comment here, so we can have some real, first-hand accounts? Why do you self-publish? Have you tried the traditional route?

Who’s your Hero? #India #ProjectWhy

Who’s your Hero? #India #ProjectWhy


Everybody needs heroes. And I’ve needed mine– I just had to wait around to find her, way into my adulthood. Today, I’m talking about her on Daily (w)rite as my contribution to the Who’s Your Hero Blogfest.

Anouradha Bakshi NGO India

Anouradha Bakshi: My Hero from Project Why

Joy Campbell is running the Who’s Your Hero Blogfest today on her blog: Post approximately 300 words about someone who has encouraged or inspired you. Your hero may be a friend, spouse, teacher or writing buddy.

I love my friends, adore my spouse, have tremendous respect for some of my teachers and writing buddies. But the person I want to write about is someone I’ve met for a very short time in real life, but who’s had a huge impact on my way of thinking, my attitude to the world around me.

Her name is Anouradha Bakshi, the founder of Project Why, an organization that works in the slums of New Delhi. Lots of such organizations are doing good work, so what’s special about Anouradha and Project Why?

Project Why works with the slum children and women from within the slums by empowering the slum community. Some of the teachers were once maids, who got an education at the Pwhy, and are now teaching the kids from the slums. Others are helping to manage the project and run it. Yet others work as drivers, who ferry the kids and teachers from one learning center to the other. A Project Why team member’s family helps cook the midday meal for the creche kids. Most of the education given to about a 1000 kids from creche to secondary levels is free, as are the courses on sewing, and other skills for women. One of the schools is literally situated in the middle of a dustbin, because that’s where a majority of the kids who attend it, live.

Visiting this school, as I did this month, is heartbreaking and heartwarming at the same time.

All this is supported by donors touched by Anouradha’s way of thinking– “Seeing with the Heart

Where others see a burden in a disabled person (a common sentiment in many parts and social strata in India) she saw God’s own children. The Special Section, which I visited on my recent trip to New Delhi is poorly equipped, but full of love, as is the rest of the Project.

Project Why Kids, Doll Museum New Delhi

Day out with the kids at Project Why at the Doll Museum, New Delhi

Anouradha insists on spending most of the donations received on the kids and the women, finding innovative ways to cut corners on overheads. One of the centers uses a solar panel donated by a businessman introducing their use in India– and the water system is donated by a visiting school.

Tying all this is together is Anouradha’s compassionate yet indomitable spirit: you can’t help but be touched by the smiles she brings on the faces of so many people, with such honesty, kindness, and willingness to move on despite tough circumstances. (Her honesty, and her unwillingness to make a circus of the slum dwellers makes it difficult for her to raise funds– donors sometimes come in with cameras trying to pose the kids of the Special Section for public relations exercises, or to exploit them for publicity.)

Inspired by her, I try to look at the world around me with the eyes of the Heart, to understand, empathize, relate, build community, spread joy, in whatever small way I can. Not that I’ve succeeded, far from it– but I’ve made a start. I’ve been a contributor of sorts for years, and now, I’m trying to help get their social media and online fundraising efforts off the ground.

We need more heroes like Anouradha Bakshi. To my mind, though I can never become the hero she is, maybe I can learn and become a better person each day.

Who are your heroes? How long have you known them? Would you like to join in the Who’s Your Hero Blogfest, or just talk about your heroes in the comments? Would you like to support Anouradha Bakshi in her efforts?