Tag Archives: blogging101

Day 8 of Writing 101: A (bitter) confession

Disclaimer: I never enjoy being in a  position of giving offence, but I’m afraid this post may not please everyone. I apologise beforehand for this, but sometimes, some things just need to be said. So, please forgive me if the following paragraphs irk you.

Thomas Dohling at Assignments recently wrote this article about how poor reader response to our blog-posts affects us. I could feel his grief, because I have faced the same issue from time to time.

In my introductory post of W101, I said my writing was my voice. My blog is my channel to articulate that voice. I write each post expecting reader feedback. Readers’ responses make the process of writing all the more joyful. I am sure most bloggers would agree with me on this.

I have been blogging on Scribbles@Arpita since March. I recently crossed the 150 followers hurdle. As more and more people follow this blog, I question myself: how effective is my growing follower count? When I had about 50 followers, I had five to seven people who regularly read my posts. Now that I have 150 followers, the number of regular readers may have increased to 10 (excluding the fact that I am currently taking Writing 101, which draws a lot of traffic). So, whereas my follower count has increased three-fold, my regular reader base has doubled, but to no big number. I don’t think you’d call that satisfactory.

That leads me to thinking why this happens? Why do people follow my blog and then disappear, never liking/commenting/interacting on any future post again? I know everyone is busy, but if someone follows my blog, is it not natural for me to assume that the person enjoyed the kind of things I write about and would like to read some more?

For example, before I follow any blog, I take the time to read a few past blog-posts. If I enjoy more than three (on an average), I infer that I like the voice of this blogger and would like to hear more from him/her. That’s why I never follow back every person who follows me. Don’t get me wrong, but there is only a few blogging genres that I like to read about. As much as I enjoy watching movies, I wouldn’t probably follow a blog on movie reviews. I religiously go through my WordPress Reader, reading the recent blog-posts by the authors I follow and giving feedback. It helps me build connections that last long. So, I follow only those blogs which I’d like on my Reader.

What I infer from the poor regular readership of my blog, in spite of the growing follower count is this: Most bloggers follow blogs on a whim. Say, I publish a picture of a cute cat in one of my blog-posts and immediately a few cat-lovers follow me. Sadly, I am probably never going to publish a cat-picture again, because it was once-in-a-while post. My regular posts are probably still going to be about self-publishing, fiction writing and some personal anecdotes. So here’s what I would say to the blogoworld:

  1. If I publish a cat picture (or a dog picture, for that matter), DO NOT FOLLOW ME. If I suddenly publish a cooking recipe, DO NOT FOLLOW ME, because my blog, in all honesty, is not about those. Those are truly once-in-a-while features, when I feel I have something cool to share and do not want to create a whole new blog to accommodate the craving to write about it.
  2. You don’t have to follow me just because I follow you. Seriously. I follow you because I like what you write, but that doesn’t mean you’ll like mine too. And I understand that.

Sometimes I think, wouldn’t it be great if all the the hundred and fifty people following my blog commented regularly on my posts? Sadly, utopia doesn’t exist. But we all do strive to reach it. So, on my part, I will try to make my blog-posts more consistent, so that readers can easily relate to it. As for you, dear reader, please take note of points 1 and 2 above before you hit that Follow button. I will be deeply grateful to you.

What about you? How do you deal with the high-follower-count-low-regular-reader-base syndrome? Would you make any changes to your blogging style to remedy this? Or do you have a message like me for your readers as well? Let me know in the Comments.

Two Kittens and Two Important Announcements

I came home yesterday on a long break after four long years. I was away in Kolkata completing my engineering degree. I will be starting my work-life in October. Until then, I am looking forward to a blissful holiday season. And guess who welcomed me to it? These little babies!


Kitty No. 1: “Ain’t I pretty?”


kitty No. 2: “Don’t you mess with me!”


“Look! I am so big.”

I found these sweeties on my way to the market with my mother. They were lurching under some shrubs in my neighbour’s garden. I wish I had a better camera to capture their playful moments.

Two Important Announcements!

Okay! Now moving onto the important announcements that I promised.

First and foremost, my book Bound by Life is available for FREE on Kindle on 1st and 2nd July. And since it’s already 1st, you can directly hop onto Amazon and download it for FREE on your Kindle device/app. I have worked pretty hard writing it and nothing is more fulfilling for me than having more and more people read it. If possible, share this information with as many of your friends and acquaintances as you can. As the saying goes, sharing is caring. I’d be grateful to you all for this huge favour.

bbl1 (2) - Copy

Here’s the Amazon link of the book:


Second, this month in Saturday Specials, one of the regular features on my blog, I have decided to revive the guest post concept once again. I had done it earlier in May and it was a great success. Unlike last time, this time I am introducing a specific topic. The topic for July Guest Posts is:

Re-living the classics

I am sure you all have your favourite books from the good old era. Are you an Austen fan? Is Hemingway your way? Or is it Dickens? Whatever it is, bring it on. Re-read your favourite classic (or read the one you’ve always meant to but have put off for a long time) and write a review of it. I will publish that review on my blog as a guest post. I am also open to reviews of classics in languages other than English.

You’re wondering now, ‘What’s in it for me?’ Let me tell you what is.

  1. You’re going to read a classic either for the first or the umpteenth time. That in itself is a big catch. I know you’re busy at school/work. But hey, you love reading, right? So, come on! I challenge you.
  2. By guest posting you increase your audience. Along with your post I will publish links to your blog in the guest post. My readers are likely to be different from yours, so by guest posting you have a great chance to widen your readership. Maybe someone will love your writing and click on the link to your blog and start following you!

If you’re willing (which I hope you really are because the success of my Saturday Specials this time lies in your hand and I trust you), please note the following:

  • July has four Saturdays, so we have spots for four guest posts. Hurry or someone else might snatch your place!


Image Courtesy

  • The review must be previously unpublished on your blog. It’s okay if you’ve reviewed it on GoodReads/Amazon, though. In that case, it’d be nice if you add something to the old review.
  • Use the contact form below to mention your name, email and which book you wish to review. Remember, the name of the book you wish to review is crucial because we don’t want the same book to be reviewed by all.
  • After your post has been published on this blog you will be notified of the same through email. I ask you to reblog the post then on your blog so that your readers/followers can get a taste of it.

Since the first Saturday might be way too soon for you to write a review, I have a backup plan of placing my own review of a classic this Saturday. But I’d love nothing more than you surprising me with one of yours this weekend.

So, my dear bloggers, are you ready? Jump to the contact form and start filling! Hope to hear from you soon.



Farewell, my love – A Vignette

They sat across the table, sipping their last cup of coffee in the softly lit coffee shop. A crass English song played loudly just above them. For the third time, he said to the waiter, “Can you please turn down the volume?”

“Yes. Right away, sir.”

The sound level decreasd. He looked at her. She glanced back. Behind her glasses the skin below her eyes shone. A teardrop waited at the corner of her eyes.

“Guess this is it then. The last time.”

“Yes. Last time, until we meet again, that is.” He stirred the coffee with the spoon. After all these months, the day had finally arrived. Tonight at eleven, he’d catch a train to a new city. Day after tomorrow, he’d start his new job there. She’d still be here, pursuing her bachelor’s in botany.

He toyed with the wristwatch on her hand. She put her palm in his. He felt the same warmth in their contact that he had always felt.

She opened her mouth to say something, but her voice choked.

The wall-clock showed it was eight p.m. He had a bus to catch – he lived in a different part of the city. She saw him eyeing the time on her watch.

“Let’s go, then.” She ran her fingers through her hair and pursed her lips and took her purse from the table.
“I’ll be a minute,” he said as he walked to the washroom.

She stared around her. People were sitting around other tables. A girl with her boyfriend. A married couple. A man working on his laptop. Three married women. She had seen most of them every day she came here with him.

Tomorrow, all these people will still come here. Only, not me.

The coffee shop was their secret hideout. None of their families knew about their relationship yet. “After I get the job and you’ve completed college, we’ll speak to them”, he had said. She didn’t disagree. He was barely starting his career. There was time. But for all this to end, no more seeing each other, merely texting and calling and skyping – suddenly everything seemed too restrictive, too cruel. It’d probably be six months before he’d get a long holiday to come home. Six months before they’d hold hands again. Six months till they’d watch a movie together. Six months before she’d look at him in the eyes as he toyed with her hands. Could she do it?

“Let’s go,” he said. His wiped his face with the kerchief. Always, always he washed his face in the washroom before leaving the coffee house. Always, he came out of the shop rubbing his face with the same blue kerchief.

He clasped her hands as they waited to cross the road.

For the final time, they walked on the deserted street. Though both of them could catch a bus or cab home from the coffee shop, they preferred to walk towards her place. Never to her home, though. They’d separate near an alley that led to her street. It was a thirty minutes’ walk from the coffee shop. Then he’d catch his bus. He’d pass the coffee shop again, ten minutes later, watching it through the window of the bus.

“Nothing will change between us, right?”

“Not a thing,” he said and pressed her hand.

“I know,” she said. She knew it was true. “But it won’t be the same again.”

“It won’t,” he said, “but we’ll be here again in six months. And we’ll walk like this, hand in hand. And that is all that I will dream about for the next months. That is enough for me.”

“Yes, it is enough. For you. Not me.” She said.

His mouth found hers as her tears fell. Their hands were clasped in firm embrace.

© 2015 Arpita Pramanick

Blogging with regularity: Introducing the regular features on Scribbles@Arpita

I have been blogging since March-end, so, it’s close to four months since I started. During this time I have experimented more than once with blog, both in terms of content and appearance. Today, I’d like to familiarize my readers with the recurring features on my blog.

As most you should know by now, my blog is mainly about writing (and becoming a writer). Usually, I post on Wednesdays and Saturdays. The Wednesday posts feature reviews/interviews/my suggestions to other authors.

On Saturdays, I am more experimental. As part of the Saturday Specials, in May I ran a weekly series of Guest blogs. In June, I am writing short stories. I plan to try newer things with this feature (maybe book reviews and short stories by guest bloggers/interviews with new authors).

 Here are the links to my regular features for your easy perusal:

Interviews: Monthly

Reviews: I haven’t formed a pattern for this yet, but this is also going to be monthly.

Short Stories: In June these formed part of Saturday Specials. In future, I intend to post monthly/every two months in this category.

Saturday Specials: I try to mix and match with this feature. So far I have published Guest Blogs and Short Stories.

With time, I am evolving. So is my blog. I hope to experiment more with the regular features in future. I love browsing ideas for Saturday Specials in the beginning of every month. It feels good to be the God of my own world: I am free to decide what I post here, and I can choose from endless possibilities.

As a reader, would you like to see any other feature on my blog? Please let me know in the comments.

Depressing Monsoon

Last night I slept badly. I woke up more than once feeling cold and draped the bed-sheet around me. Outside, the rain came in short, discontinuous spell. The temperature had dropped to around 28°C.

This  morning I woke to a grey sky. The building next to mine, an abandoned half-constructed one, appeared black with wetness. Green moss covered it in places. The roads were wet. Drops of water dripped from neon-green leaves of shrubs and plants. The leaves glowed with an added vitality. But none reflected in my soul.

A shot through my window

A shot through my window

For the last three days I have been procrastinating going to the bank. Each night I would decide to visit the bank the following morning. Each morning, I lost inspiration. I stayed up in my bed, took the laptop out and binge-watched Castle. I did not feel like going for a bath or changing into fresh clothes. At lunch and dinner I methodically brought food from the kitchen (I stay at a paying guest accommodation with provision of cooks) and ate it, detesting the bland taste of cold rice and fried fish. In the evenings, I thought of going out to buy myself some snack that would excite my taste buds. Instead, I kept to bed, chewing the puffed rice that had lost its crispness long back, as I continued to watch Castle. I felt hopeless. I felt pathetic for not getting out of the room. My eyes and head hurt for looking at the computer screen for so long.

For as long as I can remember, I have hated monsoon. I hated going out during monsoon: The dirty, wet soil covered my sandals and the lower portions of my clothing as I walked on the road. The cars and buses splashed water onto the passers-by as they crossed the shallow puddles. The rain fell incessantly.

For as long as I can remember, I have been depressed during monsoons. I deduced that the vitality of my spirits is directly proportional to the solar energy received. If the day is bright and sunny, I am up and running, finishing every chore on time. But as soon as wetness strikes, I curl up like a snail in its shell, and cling to the bed. I don’t feel like doing anything. I feel as if something sucked the life out of me, as if I am not good for anything.

Does weather have any impact on your mood? Let me know in the comments below.

Note: This post is a part of the #DearDepression event. In this event you are asked to share your experiences about depression, there are many ways to do this.

  1. You can write about the experiences you have had.
  2. You can write a story, poem or haiku.
  3. You can create a drawing or painting.

Great Expectations – A Quickie Based on Daily Prompt

I was checking out the daily prompts on Daily Post today. I have subscribed to it, so I keep getting these prompts in my mail. Many days I find these prompts interesting and inspiring, but I have never gotten around to write a post based on them. Today, I shuffled through the prompts (thank God for the Try Another option), and chose a pretty simple one, not because I was feeling lazy, but because I have been meaning to share this for a long time now, ever since I read this wonderful blog-post by Gabi.

Daily Prompt: Tell us about one thing (or more) that you promised yourself you’d accomplish by the end of the year. How would you feel once you do? What if you don’t?

So here’s my summer… err…. monsoon list (there’s a depression in my part of the world as I write right now, and the rain is coming in short but stubborn spells):

  • Buy a Bonsai
  • Read five authors whose works I have not read before
  • Start gardening
  • Take mother out to a movie
  • Visit relatives and document family history
  • Submit stories to five different magazines
  • Click a photo with family and get it framed
  • Discover five new places in my hometown

I have made lists in the past, but I am not very good at maintaining them. This time I thought things out, and kept reasonable targets. I hope by the end of this year I will be able to strike-through each item on my list as I go completing them. In case I don’t, I’ll probably add the remainders to my next year’s list. It’s never too late to do the things that you love, right?

Do you have a monsoon list? Please share with me. I love reading them!

Bound by Life – The Grand Release!

O my! It’s 20th June already. After all these weeks and all the hard work, my first book is finally releasing today!  For those of you who are visiting this blog for the first time, here’s some context: Bound by Life is a  collection of ten short stories based in India written by me, Arpita Pramanick. If you’re wondering who Arpita is, please check out my About page.


To honour the birth of my precious little book, I had decided to write stories every Saturday of this month. But since it’s the grand release today, I decided to make an exception. Today, I’d like to share with you the stories behind the stories in Bound by Life. By that I mean the stories of what/who inspired me to write each story of Bound by Life.

As a little girl, I had been indecently touched by a man at a local fair. I couldn’t have been more than twelve or thirteen at the time. That left a deep scar in my mind. I was so shocked at the time that I had not able to share the incident with anyone. For years, I tried to stay as far as I could from crowded places. I was scared of getting onto public buses. In general, I tried to stay as far as I could from men. When I started to write Bound by Life, that incident was one thing that I knew I had to share. I had kept it within myself for too long! Ultimately, that led me to write The Silent Victim, the very first story of the book.

Earlier this summer, a small circus had come to show in our neighbourhood. It was nothing fancy. In fact, the kind of props and lighting they had, I kinda thought the people at the circus were not making a lot of money. They had the usual tricks that they show in circuses: acts with knives and hats, trapeze. There was even an elephant. But the star of the humble show was a small, black goat. Now, I am not going to divulge how that little quadruped was special (you must read the book for that), but that inspired me to write The Last Show.

There are ten stories in Bound by Life, and each story has a story behind its origin. I’d have loved to share those here. But it’s not possible to do so without giving something away about the stories themselves (Spoiler Alert!). Hence, I want you all to read my book and find them out.

Bound by Life is my first book, and of course it is very special for me. I have already written about the things writing this book has taught me. Oh, in case you’re interested, I am still looking for bloggers to spread a word about this book on their blogs/websites. I have been giving away free Reviewer copies in exchange of an honest review since last week. Check this blog-post to receive a free reviewer copy.

Bound by Life is available in thirteen marketplaces through Amazon. I am sharing six of those here. It is priced at $3.00 (US dollars).  Please search the name of the book with the author’s name (that’s Arpita Pramanick for you) to see if it’s available in your local marketplace.

Bound by Life US       Bound by Life UK       Bound by Life India       Bound by Life France     Bound by Life Canada     Bound by Life Japan



The Leafy Feast – A Short Story

If you will give this story-teller a chance, she will spoil you with her stories! 

So, I had been reading Beatriz Portela‘s A Green Monster last day (and I commented on the post, too! See? I am a great neighbour!). Her short post literally grabbed my attention. It reminded me of this one time when I had a bug (a real bug, no electronics here, folks!) on one of my plants. Today’s story is roughly based on that experience, with added spices of humour. I have never tried humour in my stories before, so I have no idea if I suck at it. If I do, kindly jump to the comments section and fry me alive. Here we go, then!

The Leafy Feast

Arpita Pramanick

I am the most whimsical person I know. You don’t trust? Well, let me tell you a story.

When I was… umm… wait… no, sorry, I don’t remember how young I was then (I’m still young in case you’re wondering, just passed my engineering, dude). So, anyways, watching all my neighbours raise potted roses on their terraces, I decided to pet few rose plants too. My house is too small for a dog or a cat, anyway. A plant is the closest thing I can have to a pet! Plus, it doesn’t bite. Or scratch. Or poop in the most convenient of places.

My family isn’t really enthusiastic about gardening and all. Neither am I, except when I am whimsical. We are those morbid creatures that take pleasure by looking at things from a distance.

So back to my whimsical story, or you’ll call me a digressing crazy woman, too!

This one time, I told my mother, “Mom, I want to grow roses.”

Mother grunted.

“I am serious,” I made my teacher-face, which meant looking at my mother intensely through my spectacles, and keeping my lips tightly sealed. My hands rested on my thigh.

“Yeah, right! Who’s going to take care of the plant once your ‘I’m a gardener’ phase is over?”

“Well, I wouldn’t worry about that if I were you. If you raised me this well, I am sure a harmless plant is no big deal!”

“Whatever,” my mother rolled her eyes and stomped off into the kitchen.

The next day, I brought home a fragile rose plant. It had a single leafy stem that ended in a big, yellow rose. I kept it in the balcony.

The next few days I showered my love on the plant. I watered it regularly (now that I come to think of it, I guess I watered it a little too often). Slowly, the lone flower grew old. Its petals dried up and started to fall off one by one.

“If you’ve been born, you have to die! That’s the law of nature.” I told myself. Yeah, I know. I sound so deep, right? Yes, I am always like that.

One week passed since the first rose died. No new bud.

Second week. New shoots sprang up.

Third week. More leaves. No bud yet.

By the fourth week I had had enough. I asked one of the neighbours – the one whose roof was strewn with pots of huge dahlias and tens of varieties of roses – to come and check my plant. What was wrong with it, anyway? Was it lacking nutrition or something?

“Hmmmmmmm…” The neighbour sighed. He looked like a doctor examining a patient. At last, he said, “I don’t think it’ll ever grow any flowers. See this?” he pointed at the plant’s leaves, “Most rose plants have five leaflets. This one has seven. Highly unusual! Highly unusual! I am sure that is the reason why it’s not blooming anymore.”

 “But Mr. Pal, when I bought it, it had a flower, remember? So, sure as the sun rises in the east, this pretty lady can bear flowers too.”

“Yeah, well,” Mr. Pal was hardly taken aback, “Exception proves the law. Now, if you will excuse me, my plants are waiting for me.”

Exception proves the law? Duh!

Pretty much after this my whim decided to take interest in origami. The awesome art of making things with papers, you know? I could have a thousand roses and more with that. So, the watering can and my stubborn rose plant stopped getting my loving touch.

The next time I checked on the rose plant, accidentally, it had been half-eaten by a caterpillar. Yes, I did find the little criminal. I was wondering what punishment would justify its heinous crime, when I was suddenly hungry.

“Mom! Food. I am starving.”

Perhaps my green foe here was starving too? As kind as my big heart is, it decided not to rob the little bug its wholesome leafy feast.

Yeah, yeah, you can clap now. I know I am really sweet.

© 2015 Arpita Pramanick

Subject: [Urgent] Require volunteer bloggers to review my first book, Bound by Life

Dear fellow bloggers (especially those of you who blog about books and books by new authors),

I am most delighted to inform you that I have finally finished my first book, Bound by Life. It contains ten short stories based on themes of unrequited love, social issues, diseases, friendship, love and superstitions. It is going to be published soon (June 20, 2015) on Amazon Kindle. You can still pre-order it here.

The first book is always special. Bound by Life familiarized me with my writing style. It taught me a thing or two about what hooks the reader into a story (I thank my wonderful beta readers for this) and overall, made me a disciplined writer.

I am excited to share my stories with the world and am eager to receive feedback. I am open to honest criticism that helps me better my writing skills. After all, I am an engineer by education and English is only my second language, so I am sure there’s room for a lot of improvement.

Over the next few weeks, I will be giving away free reviewer copies of Bound by Life. I want you, dear blogger, to read my book and review it on your blog, thus spreading a word about it on the blogosphere and beyond.

If my proposal interests you, please leave a comment in the form below mentioning why you’d like to read and review my book and I’ll get the book sent over to you in a jiffy! At present, I am giving away pdf copies only. It you’d like another version, please let me know.

Waiting eagerly to hear from you!

Warmest regards,

Arpita Pramanick

Author, Bound by Life.

P.S.: Do check out my other stories on this blog to get an idea about my writing style.


Scribbles@Arpita – Revamped with new theme and custom menus!

So, the other day I was looking at the free themes available on WordPress for my blog. Ever since I started my blog, I wanted it to look like an author’s website. At the same time, I wanted it to be a platform for my works, one where I could talk about the books that I had written and promote them.

I had previously been using the Big Brother theme, which was beautiful. I had arranged all my widgets on the right side (my about.me page, links to my social media, an image  of my upcoming book clicking on which will take you to its Amazon link, plus Archives and the Categories widgets,and a widget for the top posts and pages on my blog). Now, having those on the right side meant I had less space for my content, and more distraction for the reader’s eye. As an author, my pivotal aim is to focus on the content that I share with my audience. I wouldn’t want anything to distract them while they’re reading what I have written! But I haven’t always thought so. Earlier, I was like, “I really want the people on my blog to buy my book and read it! If I keep an widget of it in plain sight, the chances of them clicking on it would be greater.”

Now, my widget has been there for a long time, and people have clicked on it as well. But have I received any pre-orders yet (the book releases this 20th June)? NO!

So, it got me thinking: the only way I can probably sell my book is by putting forward content that really hooks the reader. If they enjoy reading my stuff, they would themselves look for my book and buy it.

So, this morning I shed all my inhibitions and revamped my blog for the… umm, let me check, the fourth time! Yes, that’s right. I have been experimenting with themes for a long time now (Hew, Chateau, Big  Brother, and now the Book Lite theme). And I really love my present theme! It is so simple and clutter free, and the font size is just perfect. It puts emphasis on my content. Also, I created the custom menu bar, which has all these new things that weren’t on my site before. I updated the About/Contact page, created a publication page that lists all my recent publications (including of course, my debut book Bound by Life), as well as this cool Need A Review? feature. Need A Review? is for  all you beautiful folks out there who have been trying their hands at story-telling and would like a second opinion on your works. I have forever loved to read others’ works and provide some meaningful feedback, if  possible. It helps me grow as a writer. And guess what? I received my first review request from Soumya, who has this story called Cold Barren on Wattpad (Do check the story out if you’re on Wattpad. Soumya’s Wattpad username is theLushgreenMeadow). It’s a work in the fantasy genre. I hope my feedback was useful to the author.

The one downside (or maybe it’s not really a downside) is that all my widgets now lie at the very bottom of  the page. So you kinda have to scroll down a lot to get to the Archives. I just hope those who’re new to WordPress can find it out.

Right now, I am thrilled with the look of my blog. Finally, I feel like I got the perfect look for my author’s website. Do you like it as much as I love it? Please let me know in the comments below.