Behind The Scenes: Three Years Of Blogging

I had given scant thought to the hows and whys of blogging in the three years since I started The Urge To Wander. 

A nomination by the lovely Kathryn, of Travel With Kat, for a ‘Blog Hop’ that requires me to do just that, seemed like the perfect subject for an anniversary post. Thank you Kathryn!

And here goes:

WHAT AM I WORKING ON/WRITING?

Lots actually, even if my recent absence indicates otherwise! I have a few more stories from Tanzania to complete…..particularly on Zanzibar. Pages dedicated to tips and guides are in the pipeline on the specific request of readers and friends. That is taking up more time than I envisaged.

I am hoping to get my social media activity – sporadic so far – up to speed. I have also been giving serious thought to self hosting, but haven’t quite made up my mind yet.

Add research for forthcoming travel and the effort of updating my new Viber Public Chats to the basket, and it all adds up to extra long hours. I am looking forward to our first break of the year with close friends at the end of the month at Nagarhole (again!). Fingers and toes crossed for that tiger sighting.

Cape Buffalo in Ngorongoro, Tanzania
Cape Buffalo in Ngorongoro, Tanzania

HOW DOES MY WRITING DIFFER FROM OTHERS OF ITS GENRE?

Most travel bloggers, other than those that purely depend on generic ‘top ten’ lists, have their own distinct voices that depict their individual travel styles.

Mine, I think, is the historical/cultural (and older?) perspective that I bring to each article. Despite my architectural background, my posts tend to dwell on local culture and folklore, with a focus, more often than not, on people (currently wildlife!). I do love nature and stunning landscapes, but this is what truly fascinates me and I think it comes through..

Being a non-stereotypical, urban educated, multilingual Asian, bred on stories from Shakespeare, the bible and the Ramayan, has to have some advantages (even if visa officers think otherwise!).

Also, the fact that I consciously go beyond standard itineraries whenever possible, does reflect in my writing. The Han Yangling museum in Xian for example, the Wat Loha Prasat in Bangkok, the beautiful ancient village of Laitan, the Solar Barge museum in Giza, or the Abydos and Dendera temples near Luxor and their attendant myths are a few examples of sights that don’t always make it to the regular travel circuit.

Shop front in Zanzibar, Tanzania
Shop front in Zanzibar, Tanzania

WHY DO I WRITE WHAT I DO?

Because I am overly effusive about all that I am passionate about, and I couldn’t find enough people willing to listen without tuning out. Really.

A travel editor at our local newspaper who ruthlessly edited my article to make space for his own piece, was the catalyst that set me on the blogging path. And I was astonished and gratified to find a receptive virtual audience.

I never set out to be a writer. Nor a photographer. While I like to think there has been some improvement on both counts in these three years, I am still primarily a chronicler of our travels.

DSC_5070 copy
A tourist whispers her wishes into the ear of Shiva’s Nandi (bull) in Mylapore Temple in Chennai, India

HOW DOES MY WRITING PROCESS WORK?

For an obsessive compulsive (borderline, let me remind you.) person who cannot survive without meticulous lists, my writing process is most impulsive. I rarely stick to a chronological order, or chronicle travels in sequence. And I procrastinate. A lot.

I spend considerable time on deciding how I want to portray a place or monument, and I try hard to limit each post to under 750 words. Sometimes a post will draft itself even before I have returned from an inspiring destination. Other times it takes several hours of staring blankly at the screen for something concrete to materialise. Both involve loads of editing and fact checking, and I am never quite satisfied even after I click ‘Publish’. As with all travel bloggers, sorting, processing and selecting images constitutes another large and time consuming part of the process.

I do not generally post when I am traveling, although I religiously lug my laptop along. That is something I plan to work on this year. As on the elusive balance that keeps a regular posting schedule just short of feeling like a chore.

 

Bridge of Sighs, Venice
Ponte dei Sospiri – Venice, Italy

Thank you all for accompanying me on my journey. And for your engagement and encouragement along the way.

I now invite two of my favourite travel bloggers to the Behind The Scenes Blog Hop:

 Bama of What an amazing World

James of Plus Ultra

This young duo have been traveling together for the past two years and are veritable walking guidebooks on Indonesia. A country that fascinates me no end, and has steadily moved up my list with each of their insightful posts. I am so looking forward to trading stories with them in person when they come to Chennai later this year.

Happy travels……..no matter where life takes you!

 

Posted by

Madhu is an Interior designer turned travel blogger on a long sabbatical to explore the world. When not crafting stories on The Urge To Wander, she's probably Tweeting @theurgetowander or sharing special moments on instagram.com/theurgetowander

148 thoughts on “Behind The Scenes: Three Years Of Blogging

  1. thanks to the ruthless man:
    A travel editor at our local newspaper who ruthlessly edited my article to make space for his own piece, was the catalyst that set me on the blogging path.

  2. Madhu, in a way I am glad you had a brush with that self-indulgent editor. If it weren’t for what he did, WordPress (and the internet in general) would be missing a fabulous travel blog!

    From the sounds of it we are very similar… there is that shared architecture background; a fascination with history, culture and folklore; and that desire to head off the usual tourist trail. I too am guilty of being borderline OCD (or maybe we should just call it being meticulous) with my posts. There are times when I edit them even after publishing.

    And thank you very much for the nomination, Madhu. It’s certainly an honour. πŸ™‚

    Happy blogging anniversary!

    1. Thank you for the lovely compliment James. Yes, I think we have a lot in common too, including the “non-stereotypical, urban Asian….” tag πŸ™‚ Look forward to reading your take on the challenge.

      1. I’m even more convinced now that James and I will talk for hours with you when we meet in Chennai! πŸ™‚ It usually takes more than a month for me to prepare a post, and that includes pretty much everything you and James do when you prepare your posts. I don’t have any architecture background but it’s one of the recurring themes of my posts.

        Speaking of those visa officers, I hope there’s a list Interpol or FBI releases on ‘Approved Travelers’, those whose intention to travel is purely to marvel at the beauty of other countries, get immersed in local cultures and customs, and sample local cuisines. πŸ™‚ Indonesians and Indians are in similar situation when it comes to visa restrictions.

        Thank you for the nomination, Madhu. To receive this from one of my favorite travel bloggers certainly is an honor.

        1. Ha, that special list of travel bloggers is a brilliant idea Bama! One that affords us complete exemption would be better still πŸ™‚ Look forward to reading your take Bama. And to spending time with you guys here in Chennai.

  3. Never stop doing what you’re doing, Madhu! And I am one of the ones waiting for your guides and itineraries! Especially on India, and other places I know little about (Tanzania!). πŸ™‚

    1. Thank you Lee. I don’t intend to stop anytime soon πŸ™‚ Let me know if you need help with travel to India. Would be happy to help.

  4. You have always been a wonderful writer of travel experiences…lovely choice of pictures and the way of description of the places and the people. You have been inspiring us to travel to all those places and drives us think differently about the locations and the little things generally overlooked.

    Happy Travelling & Wonderful Blogging…

  5. Well Madhu, you might not consider yourself a writer or a photographer, but the Orples and I certainly do. Your photos and your stories are awesome. Never doubt it. πŸ™‚

      1. I/we love your blog Madhu. You’ve shared things with us, some of us may have never seen otherwise. keep up the good work. πŸ™‚

  6. Happy blogging anniversary, Madhu.
    You have had some hard lessons, keep up your good work and stay a happy blogger! πŸ™‚
    Love, Dina xo

  7. We come to it from different backgrounds, but our writing processes and personality traits are so very similar! I hope to have as many loyal readers as you do after three years in the blogosphere.

    1. I see you have even started out with the same theme as I did πŸ™‚ Thank you and good luck with your blogging journey.

  8. Congratulations on your three years of wonderful posts, Madhu… πŸ™‚

    That editor we worldwide owe him thanks, which probably wasn’t his motive… πŸ˜€

  9. I really enjoyed reading about your writing process and it explains why your posts are so polished. Now, what I really want to know is how far up your list is England? πŸ™‚

    1. Ha, good question Gilly πŸ™‚ Tougher destinations – requiring more time and fitness lvls, and of course money – are taking precedence at the moment, and is the reason why we aren’t concentrating on Europe (except when we want to celebrate milestone events).
      But you never know, I just might turn up at your doorstep one of these days! πŸ™‚

  10. Your photos, posts, stories and education are second to none. I have followed you for almost three years and look forward to each new journey . Congratulations on your third year. Another Kathryn seconds the motion πŸ™‚

  11. It was very enjoyable to get to see you as the writer, photographer of the blog. I find your photographs very beautiful, and enjoy your narrative. Thanks very much for sharing the process with us.

  12. Hey… congratulations Madhu! Wonderful to read about your behind the scenes thoughts… and I am glad that the ruthless editor chucked your writing – we have got you as a gift! Here’s to many many years of blogging:)

    1. Getting to meet you in Bologna was one of the highlights of 2014 for me Debra. Hope to catch up with you again someday, somewhere πŸ™‚

  13. Happy blog-anniversary, Madhu. Love your work and passion for it. It is the way you write that I find compelling – the lovely details that others pay no heed to, yet you effortlessly capture in all their glory, whether it is a tid-bit on history, or a persknal reflection, they are all fascinating and you express yourself wonderfully. That’s what keeps me coming back for more. I look forward to many more years of travelling with you through this wonderful space.

  14. A generous and thoughtful post, Madhu. It’s a lovely insight into you and the way you work. It prompts me to consider my own blogging practice and challenges me to move on from the haphazard. Thank you

    1. Thank YOU for your thoughtful response Meg. Haphazard is good if it suits you. I find rigid schedules restricting. But a bit of structure is certainly required if I want to move this blog up to the next level. Do I want to is the question I need to address first πŸ™‚

  15. I’ve only found your blog recently and let me tell you, I love your writing style and your photos. I can’t wait to read and see more of your travels!

  16. Congratulations, sweet Madhu! And now we will be able to read from James as well! In fact, it was on one of James’ posts that I found you!

    1. Thank you for your visit and for the generous comment Ailene. Wish you many wonderful adventures in the year ahead.

  17. You have a strong voice and writing style, Madhu that does each subject justice. You’ve taken me places with with an honesty and open attitude that reflects the due diligence that goes into each post. Thanks for sharing your writing and research process and congratulations for three years of blogging.

    1. Thank you for your generosity Lynne. Means a lot. I can’t tell you how many times fabulous photo blogs (Rons’ included) have made me want to pull down all my photos or gifted authors filled me with despair about my ability to write. I am always amazed that my formula – whatever it is – works!!

  18. Have been missing you in the blogosphere, Madhu. I am totally there with you on “never being satisfied even after I hit publish” πŸ™‚ I love your lyrical writing. Here’s wishing you a great year of travel, writing and photographing!

    1. Thank you Kan. Have missed you guys too. I tend to get overwhelmed sometimes. Hopefully back with renewed motivation πŸ™‚

  19. I’ve been both entertained and enlightened from the time I discovered your blog site. All the best in your future travels and thank you for taking us along with you in cyberspace.

  20. Congratulations on your blogging years, Madhu. I don’t remember how I came upon your blog, but I am always the richer for each and every post. I have learned things here I would otherwise never have known, about places that entrance me.

  21. Congratulations on three years running Madhu! You and I have held strong through the years and have arrived to the same place. Doing what we love to do the most and forgot those pesky editors.

    Love the new look of your blog and as always, your unique perspective on our world. Emily

  22. What a fabulous peak behind the scenes. I particularly appreciate admitting to ‘procrastination’ and not posting trips in chronological order. That is the joy of blogging, isn’t it? It is YOURS and doesn’t need to follow a strict schedule unless you choose one… and doesn’t need to have any rules you don’t chose to make! Also love your nomination choices – also two of my favs!!

    1. Oh, I have a huge starting problem. Hubby thinks I am like the wildebeest that dawdle on the edge before taking the plunge! πŸ™‚ I need to make up my mind where I want to go from here, if at all. Thank you for reading and for the thoughtful comment.

  23. Thanks for sharing your inner strength, wisdom and fine borderline OC meticulous behaviour that drives you to make this blog a Fantastic piece of writing!! We, readers, just wait for it to pop up … literally…..really! Keep travelling, keep writing…and sharing.

  24. Keep up the great work, Madhu…you take great images and your words have me wanting to hop on a plane and visit new places!

  25. Good to know a little bit of the behind the scene information πŸ˜€
    Hope you travel more and more and post more to inspire us

    1. I don’t think it is much different from other bloggers in the same niche. Thank you for your lovely comment πŸ™‚

  26. Congratulations on 3 wonderful years of blogging, Madhu. Love your blog. Look forward to reading many more lovely articles here. πŸ™‚

  27. Congrats Madhu! I’m definitely one who do not tune out by your posts πŸ™‚ Keep it going as you inspire all of us, can’t wait to see your lovely photos and read more of your blog.

  28. Congratulations on your third anniversary Madhu, lovely to get a glimpse behind the scenes of your blogging process! Here’s to lots more blogging years to come.

  29. What a beautiful post Madhu, I love your writing and photographs – they take me to unique places I haven’t traveled, so I get to experience them through your eyes. So happy that you turned to the blogging world three years ago – you’ve enriched our lives. Congratulations on your anniversary and hope that you continue to many years to come.

  30. Congratulations Madhu! Great insights! Sadly, I’m also quite the procrastinator. Working on changing that. See, I’m doing it again πŸ˜€ I guess when it comes to writing, I find it difficult when I’m not utterly inspired. And it’s good to want your work to come out perfect. I’m sure all your readers appreciate the quality of your photographs and writing. Anyways, all the best and wish you further success with the blog!

  31. Congratulations for three fruitful and creative years, Madhu. The thought and work that go into your blog show in your posts. They are always informative and a feast for the eyes. πŸ™‚ Here’s to more destinations and more articles. πŸ™‚

  32. Congratulations on your milestone, Madhu. I have enjoyed traveling – vicariously – thru you. I really enjoy your photos and posts. The focus on the people, nature and the historical background adds to the visuals. Good luck on seeing that tiger – from a safe distance – thru your lens.

  33. Madhu, I always enjoy your blog and adventures. Three years goes by so quickly. I can’t wait to see what the next 3 years will bring.
    Judy

  34. The way you describe your writing and what sets you apart from other travel bloggers is dead on. It’s why I enjoy reading your posts so much. You give us history and culture and always, beautiful photography. Here’s to the start of another great year!

  35. Blogging reflections are quite interesting. Many thanks .. .and happy travels to you.

  36. Thanks for giving us this look into the creative process. I like how you got serious about your blog after having a piece ruthlessly edited. The power of the internet is that we an all create and share – there are no longer gatekeepers that decide what gets published or not.

    1. Very true. Who knows how much great talent has been denied us because previous generations did not have the luxury of letting consumers judge their value. Thank you for your visit and comment Jeff.

  37. One of the best travel blogs I have seen on WordPress, Madhu.. without a doubt.. Good to know you are busy writing coz that means there are more interesting posts coming up! πŸ™‚

  38. It’s actually a huge relief to read this, Madhu, and find that you are simply (or complicatedly πŸ™‚ ) busy! I had worried that there was a family crisis, so I’m very happy to read this. Know that your posts are always worth waiting for! πŸ™‚ Hugs!

  39. Very interesting and enjoyable reading. Thank You. Your blog differs from mine basically that You present all the world and I only one quite unknown country. πŸ™‚

    Happy and safe travel!

    1. True. I know many destination bloggers who concentrate on one country or city. All best wishes for 2015 Sartenada.

  40. Madhu, yours is one of the consummate travel blogs that I have read in the blogosphere. I love your unique perspective. You keep us wanting for more. πŸ™‚

  41. I could never tune you out, Madhu, your travel experiences leave me on the edge of my seat and hoping for more! Happy 3rd Anniversary!

    1. Must be the Brit legacy, like it is here in India. We would have had riots over the choice of language for our number plates if we didn’t have English as a via media!! πŸ˜‰

  42. good question (for EVERY blogger):
    HOW DOES MY WRITING DIFFER FROM OTHERS OF ITS GENRE?
    – nice that we are not sentenced by our governments to a penalty of 1,000 caning like recently the blogger in Saudi Arabia

  43. I’m a bigger sucker for articles about writing process. Most of the time I’m very gratified to hear that there are the bits that come easy and the bits (lots of bits) that take time. Actually, let’s upgrade that to all the time – I don’t think I’ve read anyone say differently yet!

    1. Don’t be. We have waited a long time and worked hard towards it. You will get there too eventually if you want it badly enough πŸ™‚

  44. I’m a firm believe in things happening for a reason – so many thanks to that very short-sighted editor. I wonder what he would think if he could see the following you have built as a result of your passion and the unique viewpoint you bring to your amazing travel blog, Madhu! Congratulations on three years, and thank you for sharing your stories and your photographs!!

  45. I finally stopped to read this one, Madhu! It gave me good chills and a funny ache, too, a kind of longing, I think—maybe something about how challenging it is to be a writer, or the part about the local editor’s creepy behavior or wanting to find people who will listen. I think I must have always assumed you’d been doing this forever, and I am heartened to hear the blogging is still pretty new, and that I must have “discovered” you and begun the pleasure of knowing you in this fashion relatively early on in your blog. Thanks for all of this. πŸ™‚

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