Tag Archives: Blogging

Blogging about Passions or Passionately Blogging?

While going through all the posts I have uploaded on this blog since it’s launch almost nine years ago, I came across this particular post from October 2008.  It reminded me of the difficult few years during which I struggled between blogging about the things I passionately wanted to blog about and blogging about the various passions I knew would get me more readers.

This is a struggle I see a lot around me, as many young women start up blogs with the hope that it will become a money-making machine, only to remove it from the internet years, even months later because the fire ran out.

While some lucky bloggers manage to have a passion that appeals to enough people to shine the light of success on their endeavours, most struggle to strike gold.  But that seems to be the problem in the first place: these bloggers try to appeal to the masses by blogging about topics that are popular, rather than by learning to craft their art in such a way that they become popular because of who they are.  They are letting the public’s passion mould them, rather than moulding the public’s passion with the strength of theirs.

Focusing one’s attention to what is mainstream in this day an age is quite dangerous.  For one, the tide being as strong as it is, a curious look into mainstream might sweep you right along with the rest of them.  Had I succumbed to the temptation of blogging about popular topics, I might have been an internationally well-known blogger by now, but I wouldn’t be blogging about my passions.  How happy would I be?

Another reason to not step into mainstream interests online, as defined by Google Trends, is that oftentimes, the spectacularly bad is particularly trendy.  I can’t help but wonder how much of one’s sense of hope turns into despair in these conditions.  This feeling is further compounded by the fact that superficial and unimportant news seems to make for most of the other news trends.  How then, one might get caught thinking, is there any hope for the future when these things are considered “news”?

A third reason has to do with the way reports are written.  I feel like more often than not, news stories are written in such a way to generate a passionate response.  And even if it isn’t, beware of the comment section.  Reading such things takes its toll as precious emotional energy goes into completely unimportant things.

Yet another reason has to do with effecting change.  I have heard many (including myself) hypothesising that if they become famous, they will have an influenceable voice that they can then use to effect change.  But if you become famous for a superficial reason, how much weight will your voice carry when discussion weighty matters?

Of course, this is quite the black-and-white scenario.  We can’t segregate ourselves from mainstream interests.  Similarly, there are some Google Trends that we should take note of.  Furthermore, some individuals, who became famous for superficial reasons, have learned to use their voice in a powerful way.  But ultimately, my advice to a girl-next-door who wants to become a world-renown blogger is that she should consistently upload quality content about something she is incredibly passionate about, content that she then should market diligently and systematically.  Maybe her blog about a more serious matter will not attract as many people as would a more superficial blog, but she will remain true to her passion and will effect change within the small community that bands together around her content.

{ Sahar’s Blog is all about being in a constant state of learning.  So it only made sense for me to go back to all my previous posts and see how my thoughts on certain topics have changed over the last nine years.  In this new, ongoing series of posts, I’ll be rereading some of my older posts and reflecting on the same topic in light of what I’ve learned since then.  It’s going to be very interesting to see how things have changed! }

Why I Decided To Take Precious Time Away From My Baby To Start Blogging Again

My blogging journey—an incredible, fulfilling one that has given me so much—started almost nine and a half years ago right here in Sahar’s Blog.  I never intended to stop blogging—that is, until I had a baby.

I had always intended to take a short hiatus when each of my children was born.  When my first one was born last year, I took what I thought would be a short hiatus.  But I love the life with my little one so much that I pushed it back once, then twice, and then again for a third time.  I was seriously considering pushing my return to blogging for another couple of months as my beautiful baby went from adorable newborn to hilarious and charming infant.

Perhaps then it will not come as a surprise that it is for her that I am returning to blogging.  Sahar’s Blog has already wanted to be an attempt to contribute to positive online conversations, the ones that translate into action dedicated to the mental, emotional, and spiritual improvement of each reader as well as to the betterment of their communities.  In light of the recent sharp and significant increase in hateful conversations, both online and in real life, I couldn’t abandon the platform that took me so long to build up.  It seems much more important, both for my little one and all the others of her generation, that I start blogging again, to contribute to the positive conversations that are happening on community building, personal development, sexism, racism, and spirituality.

And so, as we ring in a new year, I’m happy to be returning to a wonderful world where, alongside assiduous readers who send me so many emails (and who hopefully will start sharing at least some of their thoughts in the comments section—you know who you are!), I will be attempting to have uplifting conversations that will inspire thoughtful and consistent action.

To my little girl, who might one day read this: I am going to have a little less time with you from now on, but I am spending it paving the way for a world I hope will be much healthier for you and your friends to grow in.

Mutual Support and Assistance in the Book Blogging World: My First Bloggiesta Experience

Bloggiesta September 2014I spent a large chunk of last weekend working on a list of blogging related tasks as part of Bloggiesta. Every couple of months, the website hosts an event during which a group of book bloggers take on certain tasks and complete them during a set number of days. Lists are posted on the website, mini-challenges are organised, and Twitter chats are attended.  By spending four days working at the same time on one’s blog, we can more easily connect with other book bloggers.  It aims to create an environment in which book bloggers can help each other in achieving goals.

While there are some limitations to online interactions as opposed to in person ones, Bloggiesta has been quite successful in creating an environment of mutual support and assistance. Bloggers commented on each other’s lists and offered not only encouragement, but advice. The Twitter chats were filled with good advice and encouragement, but also a good amount of healthy teasing (i.e. nothing close to bullying).

Another thing that I found interesting is how participants helped one another counteract any pressure to do things other than increasing the quality of their blog. This was quite significant, as statistics tend to become somewhat of an unhealthy obsession. There were quite a few conversations in which participants encouraged one another to focus on the book blogging, not on writing to get numbers up, knowing that the former would lead naturally to the latter. There was also a number of conversations focused on encouraging one another to remain polite, loving, and cheerful in the face of the abuse sometimes encountered at the hands of irate, frustrated authors.

All of this created a joyful environment in which both fun and light and profound and meaningful conversations happened, which in turn contributed to creating a space in which book bloggers could get back in touch with the reason they started blogging while at the same time, they gave and received honest advice on how they could improve their blogs.

Book blogging is already fun; you read and write about books. But book blogging within a group creates friendships which strengthen during intensive events like Bloggiesta. It also seems like thanks to these friendships, book bloggers are engaged in increasing numbers of enthusiastic conversations about their efforts, resulting in increased quality book blogs. It’s no wonder that participants return to Bloggiesta, and it’s no wonder then I will, too.

And now, onto NaNoWriMo!

First published on Sahar’s Blog on 23 September 2014

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Blog Review: ‘SOFIEYAH’ by Sophia

Name: Sophia
Blog Reviewed: SOFIEYAH
Her favourite post: http://sofieyah.com/2015/12/28/december-realife-2015-powerofmakeup/

Blog Review: Introduction

Blogging for a little over two years now, Sophia explains her blog as “[n]ot just the average beauty, fashion, and lifestyle blog with tips about life and love is intermixed with the regular blog posts.”  Rather, she is trying to create “[a] blog that believes in that beauty and fashion does not discriminate based on imperfections, but that anyone can embrace who they are, free of judgement.”

Readers of my blog are probably not surprised that this kind of statement got my full attention.  After all, I believe that we have been created as noble creatures and are meant to help one another develop as individuals as well as a community—and while putting one’s best foot forward is a coherent, integral part of this process, it should be done in the broader sense of the word.

I mean, just check out this from her “About” page: “I believe in beauty being emitted from actions.  I believe in style being emitted from confidence.  And I believe that everyone is unique in their own way and have the right to hold onto that unique part of themselves.  […]  Just remember, that you are who YOU are, and that make up and fashion shouldn’t be covering up who you are, but should be enhancing yourself instead.”

I’ll stop here, but for more on this topic, you can check out my series of posts on beauty.

Working My Way Across The Blog

There are three main categories in the blog’s main menu bar; with the extra seven sub-categories, it gives us eight categories to explore.  Under “ReaLife”, Sophia discusses various topics many will no doubt connect with, such as the all too real issue of time management.  Posts under “Blogaries” are journal entries of sorts on places Sophia has been and places she has gone.  It’s fun to read about her travels, and I especially liked her post about her visit to San Francisco.  Unsurprisingly, I love the section “Books & Music” (shocking, I know) where I might have added this and this book to my TBR pile.  Sophia also shares her opinion on various movies under the category—you guessed it—“Movies”.

The blog’s “Beauty” and “Skincare” sections include posts on Sophia’s various beauty hauls, her favorites beauty items of the year, and quite a lot of reviews on individual beauty-related items.  And Every couple of months, Sophia goes through all her favorites things of the month, be it life in general, food, what she watched, makeup, etc., which comes off as a great exercise in gratitude.

Final Thoughts

This blog has a lot of potential to balance out both an interest in beauty and fashion with a perspective on the betterment of our real selves and of the world around us.  But I do sense that, just like with my blog, it’s tough to stay on track.  And so I will be keeping an eye on SOFIEYAH with the hopes that both our blogs figure out how to remain focused on our primary purpose in a blogosphere that seems to be carried away easily by the same forces shaping so many of the other aspects of our world for the worse.

You can also find Sophia on Facebook and Instagram.

Add to your blog reader?

Potentially.

Update on the Blog Review feature

This is the 29th blog review I have posted on this blog since the summer
of 2015.  I was hoping this feature would generate interest in the
blogs I have had the pleasure of discovering.  But although
a lot of love and energy go into this feature, it isn’t
yielding enough interest by either the bloggers
reviewed or my readers to warrant continuing.
And so, once I have fulfilled my promise to
review the remaining eight blogs on the
list, I will be discontinuing this feature.
It’s been a great ride and, should
interest be generated in the
future, I will reconsider!

First published on Sahar’s Blog on 14 May 2016

And Then There Were Three: Taking a Longer Break From Blogging

Back in June, I announced the arrival of a new member of the family.  I had intended to start blogging again in mid-July, but I am enjoying motherhood so much and want to make sure not to miss out on any of these precious moments with our bundle of (mostly) joy.  So while I fully intend on getting back to this blog and already have a pile of post ideas waiting to be written, I will not be getting back to it this summer.  A tentative date of fall 2016 has been set for a full return to blogging.  Until then, a sporadic book review, featured post, music review, or post on something particularly thought-provoking might make an appearance.  Any support for the blog in the form of sharing older posts would be much appreciated.  See you soon!

Blog Review: ‘Kate the (Almost) Great’ by Kate Mitchell

Name: Kate Mitchell
Blog Reviewed: Kate the (Almost) Great
Her favourite post: http://katethealmostgreat.com/the-8-things-millennial-with-arthritis/

Reviews 2016 04 15 Blog ReviewLaunched some three years ago, Kate’s minimalist, black on white blog is a reflection of who she is rather than a blog that can be easily filed under one genre or another.  While it is a little difficult at first hand to grasp who she is—the blog, like many others I have recently reviews, isn’t easy to navigate—once one finds a foothold, Kate starts shining through.

The first hint of who she is comes courtesy of a small text box explaining that she is a “20-something living in Boston”, “a graduate student, a writer, and an advocate for people with arthritis.”  This fits quite well with what she told me about her blog: “Kate the (Almost) Great is a Boston-based lifestyle blog focusing on writing, chronic health issues, and my millennial life. I’m a published author with 2 books out and a licensed English teacher, so I hope to help people become better writers. I’ve lived with chronic pain since I was 10 and am an advocate for arthritis and fibromyalgia patients.”

Needless to say, I am quite excited about discovering a blog which is more than about the more often seen fashion, beauty, and lifestyle ones.

Scrolling down a little, we see another box in which four categories are listed.  The first one, “Health”, includes a wide array of health related posts, from Kate’s work as an activist to tips and advice for better health.  You might think that, because of her arthritis, the advice under this category doesn’t suit anyone without her condition—but you would be wrong.  Furthermore, even her posts that are specifically about conditions that you might not have are written in a way that could inspire positive lifestyle changes and/or the adoption of a health-related cause of your own.

The second category listed in the box is “Lifestyle” under which can be found the more often seen beauty and fashion posts, as well as how to organize your life and some fun guest posts.  I personally feel like this section in itself is a demonstration of how life with a painful chronic condition can be so normal and is quite coherent with Kate’s work as an activist.

The fourth one, “Writing & Blogging”, comes in quite handy to anyone who is interested in or who actually writes or blogs, be it tips on how to write or how to increase your blog’s traffic (I’m always up for that).  As for the third category, which I have purposefully left for last, it includes, under the moniker “Uncategorized” such a wealth and breadth of posts that I can’t help but hope that Kate will be further categorizing them so that the various topics they touch upon are easier to find.

A fun blog to read for hours on end, Kate the (Almost) Great is a fun and serious journey in the mind of its author.  You can also find Kate on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and Twitter.

Add to your blog reader?  Depending on your interests.

First published on Sahar’s Blog on 16 April 2016

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And Then There Were Three: Taking a Short Break From Blogging

It happened; our family went from two to three!  It was, as expected, an intense and beautiful experience.  We are now settling into life as a family of three, learning how to function in such a way that the needs of all three members are met.

And so this is why this blog is going on a short, month-long hiatus.  There are going to be some music reviews going up on Mondays, some book reviews going up on Thursdays, and some featured posts on Saturdays (hey, a girl’s gotta read, and will do so extensively during the long hours feeding a newborn!)

Until 15 July, I wish those of you in the northern hemisphere a great beginning to the summer!

Ten Recommended Blog Reads: Week of 17 to 23 April 2016

There are so many great blog posts that I get to read during the week that I took a page out of many a bloggers’ book and decided to share a round-up of my favorite ten posts each Friday, which can either be used to make this evening’s commute go by quicker, or to accompany tomorrow morning’s cup of coffee.

Personal Development

Vicky discussed three awesome books that helped with her personal growth and shares eight reasons why you just might not be achieving your goalAmy discusses how, through resilience, one can find a window through difficult times.

Podcasts

As with blogs, books, musics, and pretty much anything, really, it’s hard to find a good podcast.  Rachel shares her five favorite ones, making life a little easier for the rest of us.

Parenting

For obvious reasons, insightful posts on parenting have been increasingly capturing my attention in the last couple of months.  Nurture Her Nature‘s post on asking your children great questions really got me thinking–and to be fair, makes also for great tips to any aunt, uncle, or member of a community where children live.  Kelsie shares what 25 mothers would tell their pre-mom selves, which comes both as a great way to appreciate all mothers as well as to feel a little more ready to become a mother.

Pretty Things

Aditi is back at is again with a brand new editorial, and just because Kiwi and Carrot‘s Cold Strawberry Bisque recipe is so pretty, so healthy, and so summer-ready, I just had to add it in this list of recommended reads.

If you want one of your posts to be featured here,
tweet me @Saharou with a link to your submission!

Ten Recommended Blog Reads: Week of 9 to 16 April 2016

I’m not quite sure what happened over the last week.  I spent the usual amount of time surfing the net and reading, but nothing caught my attention like it usually does.  From the usual 5 to 10 reads a day that I share on Twitter I went down to 0 to 5.  I tried, guys, really I did–but this week, nothing captured me enough.

It might have to do with the time of the year–I can’t help but wonder if college bloggers are just too tired, if non-college bloggers are busy catching up on everything they didn’t have the energy to do, or if everyone is just plain distracted these days–who knows, really.

But one thing I know for sure: I am quite grateful that weeks like this one are the exception and not the rule, and that another great pile of recommended reads is just around the corner.

If you want one of your posts to be featured here,
tweet me @Saharou with a link to your submission!

Ten Recommended Blog Reads: Week of 2 to 8 April 2016

There are so many great blog posts that I get to read during the week that I took a page out of many a bloggers’ book and decided to share a round-up of my favorite ten posts each Friday, which can either be used to make this evening’s commute go by quicker, or to accompany tomorrow morning’s cup of coffee.

Relationships and Parenting

The post that resonated the most with me this week was written by Caroline.  She reflects on the capacity that husbands and fathers have to step up to the plate in ways typically not portrayed in day to day conversation or even in the media—where the image of the bumbling, lazy father seems to reign supreme.  The caveat?  Wives and mothers have to give them the space to do so, letting go of micromanagement and making space for creative alterations.

In another thought-provoking post, Mama Budget writes about the average cost these days of raising a child, which brings about some interesting questions for those of us who want to live a decluttered, frugal life—which is something Delia discussed in the context of poverty in yet another thought-provoking post.

Motherhood has helped DeAnna learn a lot of interesting lessons which she shared in a post this week.  One thing it has taught Renée is how to organize Legos which she shared in a post that might come in handy for anyone going through spring cleaning at the moment.

Letting Go and Moving On

Three unrelated posts I came across this week would make for a great reading set for anyone looking to let go and move on ahead in life.  Darrian discusses taking a social media detox day, helping her let go of seeing everything through the lens of what could be shared on social media and instead focusing on the moment.  This kind of attitude helps readers become ready for Megan’s post on 10 ways to make the most of your life, which sets the path for setting a course for your future self as discussed by Pam.

If you want one of your posts to be featured here,
tweet me @Saharou with a link to your submission!