Alpana Deo is a content writer and blogger at www.mothersgurukul.com , podcaster at https://anchor.fm/dashboard. Thank you for this interview with #ChatwithVidhya
1. Can you tell our readers about yourself and your blog?
I am Alpana Deo. I am a mom of two lovely kids, published author of “A Girl In the New Town”, freelance content writer and blogger at www.mothersgurukul.com , podcaster at https://anchor.fm/dashboard. I am also known as MothersGurukulMom. Apart from this, I am on the panel of Times of India as their NRI Contributor.
I am a Management graduate who has now changed into a passionate writer. I feel while I maintain my website, schedule my posts, work with brands, I am also handling the management aspect. When I am not writing, I love to do crafts, DIYs, spending time with my family. Currently, I am living in Houston, TX with my sweet family.
MothersGurukul is my blog where I write about my parenting experiences, ups and downs, success stories and also mistakes and learnings as a mother. I try to keep my articles as simple as I can to give moms a feel of talking to me in person.
2. Describe how did you first get into blogging?
MothersGurukul started 4 years back out of my passion for writing. Writing starting way before I stepped into blogging. I used to write in school, college. It never stopped but I wasn’t serious about it. Who knew that someday, I will be getting interviewed because of my passion? Just joking. After I got married an came to the USA, I got back to my hobby of writing and started writing travelogues.
Later, I started to write for the Austin South Asian Newsletter. Luckily, I got full support from my readers. Somewhere I was feeling happy and content. I was enjoying it. My experiences a new mom was getting recognition and I was able to help other moms through my writing. S
o, I started my own website www.mothersgurukul.com. When I got accepted by Times of India, I call that a major milestone. It was definitely a big morale booster. I have enjoyed blogging the day I stepped into it and I am loving it with every passing day.
3. Can you tell me some of your strengths that really helped you in blogging?
Consistency, Discipline, and Writing in a natural way.
4. How would you describe your blogging style?
I would describe my blogging style as a combination of expository and narrative. When I am writing fiction then it is descriptive. I prefer to give it a personal touch to my posts. It is because I usually write on the topics that I myself have experienced so it is easy to find that connection.
5. What would be your ideal working environment?
I feel these days, bloggers feel pressurized due to post submission deadlines, brand expectations. This restricts them from giving their best. Sometimes, too many assignments can affect the quality of posts. To me, an ideal working environment would be where bloggers get to write what they feel strongly about. Along with this a healthy bond between co-bloggers. Blogging is growing and so is the competition.
In this scenario, it is hard for bloggers to stand out. But they should always be mindful about their words. They should be ready to help each other. I strongly feel that if we help others especially the new bloggers then there is nothing to feel insecure for. No one can steal our talent. Even if we help each other, every blogger represents themselves through their writing.
6: Tell me about your proudest achievement?
Well, I would say that is yet to come. My first published article, first interview feature, first featured post, first blogging win– thinking about all these make me feel happy. But I can definitely say publishing my first book and becoming a published author is something that I will cherish forever.
7. Who has impacted you most in blogging and how?
It is hard to name one. There are many people who have inspired and still inspire me. Being a parenting blogger, kids inspire me the most. Parents also join the list. They give me topics to write. When I am outside or when I talk to other parents, it gives me a topic to write. Next, are my readers.
Their comments, suggestions, personal messages allow me to know what they want to read. I have written a couple of posts on the reader’s demand. All these people play a big role in blogging. And I am very thankful to them.
8. What is your greatest achievement outside of blogging?
I am not sure if you can call it as an achievement or not. I came to the USA on a dependent visa which means I wasn’t allowed to work. To accept this fact and living with it every moment wasn’t easy. But I am proud to say that I successfully turned the odds against me and diverted them in my favor.
I have seen dependent wives getting depressed because they feel restricted. Believe me, it is not at all a pleasant feeling. But thanks to writing, that I found my interest and it gave me a new direction to think and utilize my energy in a creative way.
9. What do you think is the best social media strategy for getting more visitors to a blog?
Content. Content and Content. Content is the king. It may take time but at least once you know how to get there then you are not scared of hard work. You know whatever you get is because of your own efforts. We cannot ignore the power of social media. Sharing your posts on social media, engaging with your readers, and co-bloggers can help in getting visitors.
10. Would you encourage other people to make their blog?
Absolutely. But only if you are really passionate about it. Blogging can be your pastime and it can be your passion. First, figure that out. If you see it as an online diary where you pen down your musings, then it’s a totally different thing. But if you see it is more than that then be prepared to work hard.
11. A lot of people think that blogging is an easy way to make money online. Do you have some tips?
It may look like an easy option of making money online, but it is not. It is as hard as any other career. Like other careers, in blogging also you have to give your best. Many people step into blogging with this perception. But the reality is totally different. You are not going to get paid right from your first post. You have to prove yourself multiple times.
There are so many bloggers who are equally talented but very few make earning out of it. You should know what your readers want from you, brands expect from your posts. Once you know that then I would say, it opens up the doors as it sets a foundation. But to reach there, you should be ready to work for free for a couple of months or sometimes years.
I see this period as a training period where you don’t have to work under pressure. One should use this time to groom their writing. Also, analyze the possibilities and above all to figure out if blogging is something they are enjoying and whether they want to take it forward.
12: Have you met anyone interesting/famous on your blogging journey?
Not yet. In fact, I haven’t met any of my co-bloggers who I chat daily on the phone. I really want to have a blogger meet up. Let’s see when that happens. Keeping fingers crossed.
13: What was the most challenging moment in your blogging journey so far?
Well, I don’t recall any such moment in particular. When I stepped into blogging, everything was new to me. All those big terms, blogging contests, writing SEO friendly posts and above all handling the social media – everything was overwhelming. But slowly I understood how to handle it. But still, social media is something that I still find it hard to handle.
14. Can you name some of your favorite bloggers and explain why they are your favorites?
There are many of the Vidya. It would be unfair to name a few and leave the rest. Each and every blogger is special in their own ways. A few of the bloggers are my very good friends. I learn from them every day. Few are very good with words, others are pros at 100 words story, a few know how to present a complex topic in an easy manner making it an easy read, others are awesome story-tellers.
15. A message for all the aspiring bloggers.
I haven’t reached at a point where I can give any message but from my experience, I can say that blogging is a journey and a continuous learning experience. At the time, blogging is super fun but other times, it can be stressful. But in the end, if you want to see yourself as a blogger and writer then go for it. I am sure, you will love it. Write from your heart, write what you feel good about.