With the start of this month May, I am starting a new, weekly series, on my blog. In it I am featuring 20 bloggers for 20 Sundays starting from today till September 2017.
The Blogger to be featured today is Natasha Sinha
Can you tell me a little about yourself and your blog – mentioning something known and unknown to the readers?
I started writing when I was 6 years old, on a train journey to my Grandparents place. I journaled the things I saw outside the train’s window and also the proceedings inside the train. I remember writing one line for reading family friend, Leena Aunty that goes like this:, “Leena Aunty ate lots of donuts and became fat.” My Mother had packed these donuts for our long journey, to West Bengal. It was from then onwards that I started maintaining a personal diary, till I almost turned 23. I participated in various writing/extempore competitions while in school and won accolades. My love for the English language was promisingly fatalistic. I had made up my mind to get into a profession that would nurture my writing skills. So Adversing it was for a few years. I also did dabble in journalism and PR. Though I realised sooner than later that when you write for others, especially in Advertising, you creativity eventually dies a slow death, as all you do is blindly follow the client’s brief. Though I must admit I had a great time writing for Pepsi, Kit-Kat and Ray Ban. One of my Kit Kat commercials was also aired on T.V.
From college to the early 2000s, I had completely stopped writing for myself. (except for the occasional journaling). Sometime in 2003, I found a like minded group of Writers in the Writer Forums like Caferati and The Great Shakes former, Shakespeare & Company. That’s when my writing took off in a big way. We experimented with various prompts and different forms of writing, and it was one of the most gratifying time of my life. During those days I mostly wrote poetry, as I believed it was quick and less time consuming. I went on to start Caferati’s Lucknow/Kanpur Chapter and also the Singapore Chapter during my tenure in these places. These chapters still continue to flourish. My 18 year old daughter also started writing from the age of 6, thanks to Caferati as she received immense encouragement from the writing fraternity.
After my second child was born, I started writing sporadically and thereafter went into hibernation. I had a Blogger account which I stopped using. I started reeling under Writers block and continued to hibernate, as I felt that writing publicly would mean opening my life out to the world, thread bare. I therefore, stepped back from the world of writing. During this period, professionally I worked as a Communication Consultant with the Development sector for almost 13 years consulting for UNICEF, Save The Children, Path and many others. Mid 2016, last year I had an epiphany of sorts. I realised I had reached the nadir point of writing for others, and I needed to write for myself, to nourish and nurture my being. This of course meant letting my profession take a back seat, but after much deliberation and support from my better half, I gave in to my passion. I’m so glad I did. It was one of the best decisions of my life, I say. Before the advent of this journey I used to post on Facebook Notes and I had received very encouraging feedback from friends and family alike, who insisted I write a book some day. I the interim, once I’d made up my mind to write for myself, I refused multiple work projects, so that I could dedicate my time for my own writing that would be showcased in a blog.
That was the best decision of 2016. On December 6, 2016 my domain www.natashamusing.com went live. The impetus behind this whole idea was also my writer friend, Mayuri from my Caferati days. I was completely tech challenged and had no clue whatsoever about the world of blogging. She took me through the entire process that included introducing me to my hosting company, the blogging community on Twitter and also assisting with the designing, and various tips to enhance my Blog. Blogging also meant shedding the inhibitions of being vulnerable to the world, something that had hindered my entire writing journey for almost 11 years. With some hesitant steps, I took to blogging and some of my first posts were fiction based on writing prompts from Bar Wo We, Friday FotoFiction, and non-fiction like Thankful Thursday and !0 Day You Challenge etc. Thereafter, I was like a woman possessed, writing each day and there has been no looking back, yes.
I now diligently sit to write, every weekday from 9:30 AM to 1 PM. That’s a time which is sacrosanct to me and my writing and I chose not to do anything during these few hours. I’m figuring out on how I can fit in more time to to network and read other blogs, as that’s something I still grapple with. But yes I’m doing the best I can.
Tell me about some of the people you’ve met while working on your blog or through blogging communities?
I have met a lot of people in the last 6 months who are extremely creative, some super talented, organised and honest to the core (Shailja), some so diligent and industrious-those who juggle between their full time careers and then squeeze in time to blog (Dr. Amrita), some young, bubbly and alive and who have creativity cascading from every core of their being (Mithila), some organised, meticulous and such good planners that they have their posts scheduled for AtoZ 2018 a year in advance (Romila)- I salute thee. And some who live in a land away from their own, but soak in their Indianness and their zest for writing, health and fitness, and nature alike (Sanchita and Rajalakshmi), some super Moms who are always acing it through their parenting tips, food blog, and reviews on various websites/books – Era, Dipika, Deepa, Tina, some so versatile and creative that they are cook, tarot card reader, writer all rolled into one, and always ready to guide bloggers like me who made a serious foray into this world just a few months back (Mayuri), those with rich and myriad experiences and inspiringly mature outlook towards life (Vidya, Sunita, Corrine, Arlee, Mackinzie), some travel buffs like me with a streak of madness (Geraint and Kim Richardson), some who will weave romance with their words and transport you to a land of fantasy where love is passionate, wild; like the warm embrace of a mug of hot chocolate on a cold winter evening (Marquessa), some true blue nature lovers and a heart that exudes compassion and love (Parul Thakur), some who talk about middle age with the zing, passion and enthusiasm of a 16 year old. Her Joie De vivre is not just infectious, it is a beautiful lesson for life (Leanne), bright, bubbly and willing to work that extra mile and keeping it all glued together despite being new to the world of blogging (Isheita), and a writer who spins, love, horror thriller all with the same collected aplomb and elan (Anmol Rawat) and father-blogger-superman par excellence (Sid Balachandran).
I know I have missed quite a few bloggers who are equally talented and do deserve a mention here. I hope they will forgive me, knowing they have a special place in my heart. I would like to give a big shout-out to all these talented people, who make the world of blogging an experience to cherish and treasure.
What do you do when you aren’t working on your blog? You can tell me about your usual day routine.
I enjoy working out-Yoga, cycling, swimming, running sometimes. I love spending time with my two furry girls, my daughters 9 and 19 yo, my darling husband, reading blogs and books, immersing myself in the practise of Buddhism by chanting, meeting members in the practise. I thoroughly enjoy rustling up a meal, spending time on my terrace garden with the plants, going for nature walks along the condominium, meeting friends for coffee/lunch once in a while, tidying up my home, zentangling and painting. And yes, watching movie too, especially the off-beat ones.
Everyone has a favourite/least favourite post. Tell me about your best and worst post and why?
Honestly I don’t have a least favourite post. I like them all. And each one has a certain memory and story woven around it, which is intrinsic to me and my being. Some of my favourites are:
All my AtoZChallenge 2017 posts are a personal favourite and then some fiction like :
- Back to the Basics: http://natashamusing.com/2017/01/wordy-wednesday-2-back-to-basics/
Past Present http://natashamusing.com/2017/02/fridayfotofiction-week14-past-present/
ON second thoughts, I think some of my older posts where I didn’t work very painstakingly on diction and editing might be my least favourites. But I don’t dislike any of them as a lot of personal stories and experiences made them what they are. I wouldn’t post a badly written post in the first place. So there.
Name some of the bloggers – at least 3 of your favourites, whom you look up to and why?
Shailaja V -The Moving Quill www.shailajav.in for her ardour and commitment towards writing and the simplicity and beauty of her words, Marquessa of Simply Marquessa – Simply Marquessa marquessamatthews.com for the ease with which she emotes through her pen on flaming love, passion and all the beautiful feelings that go with it, and Geraint Isitt – Penguin Ponderings www.geraintisitt.com not just for his endearing travel stories, but the vivid imageries that he spins through his pen and his tongue-in-cheek humour thrown in here and there.
Tell me about your proudest achievement(s)? (Related to Blogging)
Being able to finish the AtoZ 2017 challenge which was my first; successfully. I’m turning those posts into a book now. I received a lot of appreciation and for these personal Travel stories from A-Z. Winning the Blogger of the Week with Thankful Thursday and Click & Blog a Story, Friday FotoFction. I’m glad, in a span of few months I have established a good credibility in the blogosphere. I also continue to write almost every single day thanks to the world of Blogging and that is a huge achievement for me, as I was reeling under a the Writers block and hibernating for as long as 11 years.
If someone was interested in blogging, what would be a few things you would suggest?
1. Get a blog with a nice, reader and user friendly theme, with WordPress for sure. You could start with WordPress and once you are confident enough, switch to a self hosted blog.
2. Read, read, and read; like there is no tomorrow. Read, comment and share other bloggers posts on social media. That’s the best way to network, meet like minded bloggers, learn from them and grow in the field of blogging.
3. Participate in writing prompts. But don’t over burden yourself by tryinb to do all of them, as there are so many doing the rounds. Participate in the ones that resonate with your core being as a writer. But remember to also take out time, to write your own stories and pieces. That will help keep your exclusiveness intact.
4. Remember to leave a small comment even if it is just a word, for posts you have read. Your words mean much to a blogger and to receive these nuggets of appreciation; keeps them going, when the muse wants to take a break.
5. Blog because you enjoy the process, not for your readers to form a certain opinion about you. Ofcourse, it’s important to keep your reader in mind, but you cant fool your reader with pretentious writing for very long. Blog from your heart and soul. That is when your readers will be able to relate and connect to your stories. More often than not, a reader is always drawn to a story that has been a part of their life journey.
6. Use simple words. You may be armoured with a rich bank of vocabulary, but keep it simple. Quirkiness, and tongue in cheek humour, of course is more than welcome. Readers love it when the writer engages with them by speaking to them in a language that is replete with fun, banter and humour.
I am sure you know me as a blogger or your friend on social media or may be even as a person in real so how would you rate my writings and tell me your honest opinion on me – this would serve as a testimonial.
Roms we have recently got to know each other through the world of blogging, and I know for a fact that you are one of the most meticulous, organised, sincere blogger/writer I have ever come across. You have your calendar chalked out a year in advance and that is some mean feat. You write sincerely and write from your heart, but I feel sometimes you make your descriptions a bit too elaborate and long winding. (I’m saying this because you wanted both postive and negative feedback) But having said that, your rich diverse experience in this field is quite commendable. You have achieved so much at a very young age. I wish you loads of luck. May your muse be always kind.
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