Monday, February 21, 2011

Blogging for Beginners

 “For me, writing is exploration; and most of the time, I'm surprised where the journey takes me” says Jack Dann.

All of us, at some point in time, have had a burning desire to write. Some of us made it. Some of us just started. Some of us only thought about starting. And some of us never even thought we could actually write.

If you are in any of these categories, you are the perfect material to become a writer. Read on why and how.

Why Blogging?

Blogging is the most informal way to write and yet get published (on the net, ofcourse). It also enables us to get views, comments and feedbacks on our articles. It supports various forms of writing and can be integrated with various plugins which enhance your blogs better. It gives you a lot of flexibility. Write, Re-write, Amend, Delete, Add. It gives us an opportunity to get in touch with our hobby - Writing. Simply, it gives us a platform to start off with.

Start Blogging

The only thing which is required to write is to write. Use the blog as a piece of hi-tech paper. Start by using simple, friendly, casual writing style. Some of the things to keep in mind when you start writing are:

1.       Make Your Blog: Sign up on any one of the blogging sites. The registration is very simple and generally can be done in a couple of minutes. My recommendations are either Blogspot or WordPress.

2.       Choose a Specific Topic: Before you begin to write, have the subject clear in mind. Generally people confuse broad subjects like “The Indian Economy” or “Social Networking” as a clear subject. So, further simplify with personal topics like “The Effects of Budget 2011 on the Textile Industry” or general topics “Textile Industry: Growing with the Indian Economy

3.      Divide the Article Into Paragraphs: make a skeleton before starting to actually write. Divide the topic into pieces. As a good practice, always start the topic by introducing the topic to the reader. Then write about your views/experience about the topic. Give relevant examples, if required. Always end the article by a good conclusion.

4.       Start Writing: This is the place most of us generally get stuck. We always think that whatever we write has to be perfect. People actually don’t get past their first paragraph, as they are not convinced with the introduction. Remember, you need not write perfect in the first attempt. What is important is you WRITE. Then you can anyways rewrite it.

5.      Start Small and Simple: To begin with, always write simple. This is not a test of your vocabulary. This is not a test of your command over language. This is just expressing what you feel about a topic. And keep it small, to start with. Even 300-400 words should be enough. This will enable that you keep writing continuously on a regular basis. Also, with new styles of blogging coming in you get a lot of flexibility how to write. We will discuss the types of blogs in the next section.

6.      Review your Blog: Observe how it looks once it is on the website. Ask for feedbacks from your friends. Improve upon it. Put some relevant pictures.  Another way of reviewing is read it out to someone. They will point out some value additions.
7.      Read a Lot: Nothing can compensate for this. Read to know about what people write. What are their styles. What topics they touch upon. Read about the topic you want to write. Read, Read, Read. No alternatives to that.

And it is YOUR blog. Go ahead, experiment.

Types of Blogs

1.       Personal Blogs: Blogs are anyways personal. But what we mean here by personal blogs is writing about your views and reviews. The most casual way of writing. Highly recommended for the beginners.

2.     Specialized Blogs: These are the blogs that are maintained by people which give specific information about a specific topic. Like I follow someone called CCTVBlogs. These blogs give detailed information and news on those specific topics.

3.       Photo Blogs: Make a photo blog. It is also called a photo story. You have been to a fair or a get together and have clicked some photos of the event. Make a sequence of photos explaining the event and its happenings. Tag people in it. Make it social. Make it look like a story. Add attractive taglines to the photos. Take blogging to the next level.

4.       Reviews: This is the simplest form of the second level of blogging. Have you visited a new location lately – do Travel Review. Have you visited a new restaurant – Do Food Review. Movie Review. Book Review. Event Review. And the list goes on. They are the best for beginners – Small and Simple

Quickies – Points to Remember while Writing:
Here are some of the quickies to remember before you start writing.
  •       Choose a specific topic
  •       Keep it short and simple (KISS – I love the way they put it)
  •       Review, amend and repost
  •       Take feedbacks

Let me sum it up here.

Writing is your expression. Writing is a stress reliever. It is an art. Like Jack Dann says in the opening lines of this article - "Most of the times, you will be surprised where this writing journey takes you"

Remember, you don’t have to write lengthy columns to be a writer. Only thing you need to do to write - is to write.

Leave a comment if you like the article or have gained out of it.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

The Living Legends Of Our Times

The Legends "True legends never die" they say. And 'History' teaches us to learn from the legends and the avoid the mistakes done by the those who missed out being one. The icing on the cake is we have some legends living amongst us, as we read on. Here I present a few of the Legends of our times, who keep setting examples for us, everyday as we grow. I am sure there are many more, and I have tried to keep this list to the chosen few. And to add the spice, it includes the good and the not so good. The ugly have been kept out, for obvious reasons. Lets observe them, learn from them, improve and elevate.

* Nelson Mandela

This Social and Human Rights activist, started as an armed leader of a guerilla force (ANC's armed wing, Umkhonto we Sizwe). Being imprisoned for 27 yrs only made him stronger and he bounced back to become the first black president of Republic of South Africa. A Noble laureate for peace, he is an example of leadership for world. Mandela today is, what Gandhi or Martin Luther King are to history.

* Sachin Tendulkar

The God of cricket. Supposedly, the best sportsman of all the sports, of all times. He holds the record for the best of everything. Most runs in test cricket, the only player to score a double century in one dayer, the only player to cross 50 tons and the list goes on. See him to believe.

* Stephen Hawking

What do u do when you are diagnosed with severe form of motor neurone disease known as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) at the age of 21? You go ahead and become a coveted researcher in the history. Stephen Hawking is known for his contributions to the fields of cosmologyand quantum gravity, especially in the context of black holes. He is now fully paralysed and can only speak with the help of a computer specially designed for him. His bestseller, A Brief History of Time, only further proves why he a living legend.

* Sir Alex Ferguson

The controversial manager of the club “Manchester United”, he was knighted for his contribution to the game. Talking of football, there are many living legends in the game including the black pearl Pele, Diego Maradona, the flamboyant David Beckham, and the latest entrant and one of the most promising players of the day, Lionel Messi. But managing consistently a club like the MU, and some of such great players, he rightly secures his place in this list. His is the perfect example of “Saam, Daam, Dand, Bhed” for the game.

* Bill Gates

In all probabilities, you would be reading this blog on a windows operating system and on an application made by Microsoft Corp. He commands approx 90% of the operating system being used. His business strategies have now become case studies in Management Schools. He is the only person to have crossed $100 billion net worth in the history. He used his technological, analytical and entrepreneurial skills to create one of the most successful companies of this age.

* Dalai Lama

The Dalai Lamas are the Chief Tibetan Priests. Here we talk about Tenzin Gyatso, the 14th Dalai Lama. He can be easily compared to a duck. Calm on the surface, but always paddling like the dickens underneath. A charismatic speaker, he has since traveled the world, campaigning for Tibetan independence and Tibetan Buddhism, with immense contribution to world peace, a true living legend.

* Narendra Modi

He took over Gujarat when its economy was shrinking and there was little or no domestic growth. Let us not talk about his achievements like the Sardar Sarovar yojna, Rehabilitation of earthquake areas, a prospering economy, amazing infrastructure or getting $460 billion as investments from NRIs this year. You HAVE to see Gujarat, to believe it. He gets a place here because he reformed Gujarat to Vibrant Gujarat. And he gets a place here because he proved that system CAN be changed, if WE desire so.

* Mark Zukerberg

The creator of the most famous social networking site “FaceBook”, he has given the social networking a whole new significance. So facts about him which will leave you awestruck - His site is only 6 yrs old, has more than 600 million active users, his company’s net worth is valued at around $50 billion already. His personal net worth is $15 billion. And the only reason for him to get figured in this list is he all of 26 yrs of age only…!!

The Rest of the Best -

* Warren Buffett, Donald Trump, Carlos Slim, Steve Jobs
* James Cameron, Stephen Spielberg, Christopher Nolan
* Pele, Maradona, David Beckham, Lionel Messi
* Aung San Suu Kyi
* Amitabh Bachchan, Robert De Niro, Al Pacino
* Sergey Bubka, Lance Armstrong, Usain Bolt, Mohd Ali
* Martina Novratilova, Roger Federer
* Oprah Winfrey, Maddona
* A R Rahman, Andrew Lloyd Webber
* Radhika Lobo

Looking at the above list above, two things are common. Focused approach and Hard work. The message is clear for us. 

Leave your Living Legends in the comments column below.