First times are always special. And so was this workshop – Blog Like Suman – my first open workshop for beginners in blogging. After weeks of designing, promotions, content work etc, the day was finally here! A crisp, winter morning in Mumbai and what better place than a tea house to sit around and ponder over blogging goals! Low seating, yellow lights and hot tea pouring into our cups through the session!
It was a simple, short and no-frills attached workshop. I deliberately kept it ppt/projector- free since the idea was not to lecture or impart knowledge through one way communication. The idea was to keep it very basic and centered around key questions that matter when one wants to start a blog.
In my experience of having set up 2 blogs (in fact, 2009 when I set my started my first blog was a much simpler time), I know that there are a zillion things that distract us from our main goals of blogging. Google throws up 7,83,00,000 results in 0.41 seconds when I look up – How to start blogging. And almost all of them say, Step 1 – pick a blogging platform. And then the roller coaster ride starts and inscrutable jargon gets thrown around – free/paid/premium themes, plug-ins, widgets, self hosting, domain name and what not. And while you get busy sorting out his mess, you miss a tiny, little important detail – your love for writing and what you really wanted to write about in the first place! I don’t know about you but I was ready to abandon my plan to start writing this blog by the end of this endless decision-making WordPress wanted me to go through to get my blog up and running. It was a quite a bit of a kill joy actually – unless you are a tech savvy person!
The group was small, which facilitated discussion and conversation among individuals. The participants were from diverse backgrounds like journalism, software, training and medical technology.
The session involved brainstorming for answers to questions like – what inspires you to blog, what do you want to blog about, who do you want to blog for and where will you find them? Each one had the time to ponder over these in an unhurried manner. Although some of the participants knew what they wanted to write about, getting ahead from that point had been a challenge so far. And the workshop gave them the time and opportunity to think beyond and take the next step. After they came up with their basic blogging goals and drew the road map for the blogging vision, they had to think of the first 5 posts they’d write keeping the vision in mind. The last activity was to plan their first blog post and set a deadline by which they’d write it and email it to me.
If you notice, there was no mention of blogging platforms or social media promotions during the session. The group, before they get tangled with all this, came up with the vision for their blog and will start working on the posts. This way, I think they will remain connected to creativity and their blogging goals even when they go through the technical aspects of it.
It was a great experience to sit among inspired people and help them reach their blogging goals. Even though this is not even the tip of the mammoth ice berg that blogging is, I think it was a great start for all of us!
And this post can’t be complete without thanking some people who have been my pillars of strength and have helped me moved ahead! The first person who deserves credit is Milind Kher (@Milindkher) for saying, “You could be a blogging mentor” on the 21st of November this year! And you can see that it did not even take a month between conception and execution! The credit for the wonderful venue goes to my friend, Cheryl (@Cheryl_Patel) who first took me to the tea house last month and suggested that this could be the venue for the workshop. Some of the wonderful activities in the workshop were also thanks to her ideas. I’d like to thank my blogger friend Ankita (@LifestyleProBlog) for her valuable comments in making my content better. A very special thanks to Dipti Doshi (Dipti on Facebook) for volunteering to take pictures and help me co-ordinate on the day of the workshop. Thank you, Pratik (@socialtelang) for taking over the ad campaign on Facebook for the last day! And thank you everyone on Twitter who shared, commented and encouraged me to take on this challenge. This could not have been possible without you! *sniff* 🙂 I mean it! (I am sorry if I missed out on someone but there are things around me that are forcing me to finish this blog post quickly.)
Would you like to attend a workshop like this? Drop me a line with what you thought of this.