As part of our Top Bloggers Interview Series, in which we are featuring and interviewing leading women bloggers .
Let us meet Sonia from soniasmusings.com
She is an ex-banker turned solopreneur. She made her debut as an author with the detective thriller ‘Deal of Death’ . She blogs at soniasmusings.com.
So let us welcome Sonia and get to know her 🙂
How did the idea for your blog come about? What were you doing before this?
After two post graduate degrees in Chemistry and Management, I went on to head the branches of top Banks like ICICI and HDFC. I had moved out of my home town in 1999 and stayed in various cities like Delhi, Bangalore and Mysore until 2016. My husband and I moved back to Kolkata in 2016 with our new born and I decided to take a sabbatical from the corporate world.
The plan was to get back to the groove after my son turned two. During this one year period, I rediscovered my love for the written words.
I used to maintain a diary after losing my mother in 2011. It used to help me retain my sanity. In 2017, I started soniasmusings.com to ensure my stories had a medium to reach others.
It was a tribute to my late mother and a gift for my son.
Most of my initial write ups were personal. I started doing reviews of books, restaurants, movies and travel diaries next.
I also wrote a few parenting articles and then started voicing my opinion on social issues.
Finally, three months back I realized that I love writing fiction and flash fiction posts the most and of late, I have been juggling between fiction and non fiction with a tinge of social messages in between.
What made you choose this name for your blog? And what would you say sets your blog apart?
I started my blog as musingsofsoniaswanderingmind because my mind had various ideas floating around. So I gathered them and gave them a channel through my blog.
After moving on to a paid plan, I bought the domain name soniasmusings.com because my blog was a reflection of my thoughts.
If you see my tag line, it says words pictures and emotions. That’s what my blog is about.
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What do you like most about what you are doing ?
I love the fact that I am a solopreneur. I take ownership of my work and I choose how and when I work.
For me, I’ve always been a night owl. So I mostly write between 12-4 am.
These days I’m trying to reorganize my schedule to incorporate some more working hours during the day. But flexibility and the ability to be my own boss really makes me happy.
What is your definition of Success?
Success is a relative term. I would say it is also a matter of perspective.
During my 8 years stint of corporate world, I had it all. I had a lucrative profile, a fat pay package and ample rewards and honors. I was definitely successful for people around me.
But I don’t think it made me happy or excited enough to wake up in the morning or look forward to a day in office.
When I started soniasmusings.com, I had consciously made a choice not to compromise on the quality of my work or write on anything that I didn’t believe in.
You will never see a paid promotion post on my blog because I don’t work for free or barter and I don’t endorse anything that is not aligned to the purpose of my blog.
I am definitely struggling to monetize my blog because of my principles but I am happy to have gathered enough courage to stick to my conviction. And I say this as a full time writer because this is my profession now.
For me, I feel I am successful in achieving the purpose of my becoming a writer.
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If you had to give advice to your younger self when you were starting out,what would it be or If you had the chance to start your blog over again, what would you do differently?
I think at every phase of my life, I have picked up some experiences that have helped me in a different part of my life. If I hadn’t been a marketing specialist, I doubt if I could have promoted my book so well.
If I hadn’t worked in a Bank, I don’t think I would have had enough stories to tell.
So, I don’t want to change anything in this journey till now because I believe that everything happens for a reason and living a life sans regret is essential for my well being.
Any regrets as of now? And if yes would you like to share
On a personal front, losing my mother so early on in life will always be my biggest regret. I had been married only for 5 months when we lost her overnight to pancreatitis. I doubt if I can ever get over this grief though writing has helped me cope up to a certain extent.
Top 2 regular practices that have helped you
1. Sticking to your principles – I am a sucker for values and ideologies. I can’t do anything that I don’t believe in. I have lost out on a lot of opportunities because of this but it has also helped me tide over difficult phases.
2. Open and sincere communication – I have always believed in clarity of communication. It is essential to let people know what your actual stand is. It might make you unpopular but will give a credibility to your profile and purpose.
What keeps you motivated
The biggest motivation for me is that life has given me a second chance at doing what I love the most and I am going to utilize this opportunity to make the most of my abilities.
Who has been your biggest support in this journey ?
There are three men in my life who mean the world to me and have been the reason behind this change of profession.
My father has always been the fire under my wings, my husband has been my Rock of Gibraltar and toddler. My blog had been my birthday gift for my son when he turned two year old last September. My individual dynamics with three of them makes me what I am today.
What is the biggest misconception you think people have about you?
I am often misunderstood for speaking up my mind. I have been labeled as rude and snobbish for refusing to adjust to certain conditions.
But the truth is that I can’t give heart and soul to anything that I don’t believe in – on both personal and professional front.
What would you say are the top three skills needed to be a successful blogger?
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1. Write and publish regularly. When I started out, I had no clue about the quantitative aspects of blogging. But now I know what Alexa Rank means or what DA/PA signifies. Posting at regular intervals helped me in getting this parameters fixed.
2. Create unique and quality content. Even if you are writing stories, the aim should be to either give a social message or let it be a enjoyable read for the audience. This is the most essential parameter.
3. Interact with other bloggers to learn and grow – when I started, I would publish a post and wait for others to read it. It took me six months to realize that you need to read others and engage in meaningful conversations if you want to be read.
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Describe your typical day?
It would normally begin by dropping off the toddler at his pre school. I come back home and read others posts, reply to comments and check my social media sharing status.
Afternoons are mostly reserved for the toddler and I take rest for a while when he takes a nap. Other than some usual household chores, I normally try to the evenings for family.
My dedicated writing hours begin after the toddler sleeps in the night. 12-4am is my time to weave stories.
When you are not working, what are you doing?
I love reading Thrillers, watching stand up comics on Amazon prime and playing with my toddler. They help me unwind.
What would you have been if not what you are doing currently?
After doing everything that felt like I should not be doing, I’m glad that I finally found my passion and could turn it into a profession. There’s nothing that I would want to be than a writer today.
Anything that you would like to say to our readers
Thank you for reading my work and showing love and appreciation in the form of likes, shares, subscription and comments. Please continue supporting me so that I can create more magic through my words.
Blogging tips for new bloggers
Blogging tips would be to focus on quality of the content, be consistent in their writing and be a part of campaigns that would give them an exposure to fantastic work by fellow bloggers.
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Best Food – Chicken Biriyani (the Bengali way including potato)
Best Book – All books by Agatha Christie and Satyajit Ray
Best TV series/movie – I don’t watch TV but the last movie that really touched me was A Death in the Gunj by Konkona Sen Sharma
Best song or music – That’s the way it is by Celine Dion
Best Destination – Any hill station be it Shillong, Darjeeling, Shimla or Munnar, I am always mesmerized by its beauty
Any other blogger whose blogs you follow religiously – There are quite a few bloggers who I read regularly like Shailaja, Puspanjalee and few others
Any personality/Celebrity who inspires you – I’m hugely inspired by the journey of actor Rajkummar Rao. He really proves that dreams do come true through hard work and never say die attitude.
Life motto – I believe that it is essential to stay true to your core values and enjoy whatever work you do. Only then the journey becomes a joy ride.
Thanks Sonia, for taking time out and doing this interview with us.
So here I am wishing Sonia a lot of luck in her future endeavors and hoping she continues to inspire many other bloggers across. Hope you enjoyed this interview. If you have any other questions or have something to say please do so via comments below.