My Second Blogging Anniversary: Celebrating in Style with an Award

When I started blogging, I used to feel incredibly jealous of other experienced bloggers. They nominated each other for challenges and I watched them passing around awards to more experienced bloggers from the sidelines. No one knew me in the blogging community, so I just secretly hoped that one day someone would notice my existence.

Then one day my friend Urszula Humeinik nominated me for the Five Photos, Five Stories Challenge (Days 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5). I was delighted but also quite nervous. What if I couldn’t come up with something useful to say? I managed to survive the challenge, and although I enjoyed it, I also realised that I didn’t want to take part in such activities. Luckily no one nominated me again and I was very happy about that.

Until recently, when my friend Gwynn Rogers named me for the Liebster Award. Peer-nominated, this award is given by bloggers to other bloggers, and offers the opportunity to develop relationships with fellow bloggers and new readers. Version 2

Ordinarily, I’d politely decline but here are four reasons why I am saying a wholehearted ‘yes’.

  1. Gwynn is one of my most loyal and engaged readers. She has read pretty much all of my posts since last summer and I got to know her through her comments, contribution to my series and her own blog. Thank you for nominating me, Gwynn.
  2. For me, this award is about connections. Unfortunately, I have neglected my blogging community a little bit, as I haven’t had a chance to visit and comment on their posts lately. So, this is my chance to name 5-10 amazing bloggers I love and miss. You don’t have to accept this award; I just hope that some of my readers will pop around to say hi. By the way, I’d like to name at least fifty, if not more bloggers that I admire, so if your name is not on the list it’s not because I haven’t thought of you, but because I can name only up to ten blogs.
  3. I promised to be more open and visible on my blog, and this is an opportunity to share more of myself with you.
  4. Last but not least, it was my second blogging anniversary yesterday. 21,300+ views and 8500+ visitors later, my old website is now officially down. It feels like letting go of a favourite piece of clothing which doesn’t fit me anymore.

The Rules

  1. Write a post about yourself, displaying an image of the Liebster Award.
  2. Link back and thank the blogger who nominated you in your post.
  3. Answer the 11 questions asked by the blogger who nominated you.
  4. Pick 5 – 10 new bloggers (must have less than 300 followers) to nominate and ask them 11 new questions. Do not re-nominate the blogger that nominated you.
  5. Go to each new blogger’s site and inform them of their nomination

My Liebster Nominations:

I sincerely hope you will enjoy these bloggers as much as I do. I’ve been connected with these people from the beginning of my blogging journey and they mean so much to me.

Louise Allen

Norah Colvin

Susan Scott

Solveig Werner

Urszula Humienik

Rashida Murphy

Geoff Le Pard

Elissaveta Marinova

Rowena

Anne Goodwin

Oh no, I’m already at 10! And I just started warming up. OK, I hope you don’t mind if I add two more bloggers I got to know in the last year. They are amazing people.

Henrietta Ross

Patty Wolters

My Questions to Nominees

  1. Who has influenced you the most in your life?
  2. What was your first taste of creativity?
  3. How and why did you start writing?
  4. What’s your favourite book?
  5. How do you wind down?
  6. What nourishes your creative process?
  7. What’s the defining moment of your life?
  8. I’d love to know more about your philosophy about life?
  9. How do you feel when you write?
  10. How do/will you feel when your writing is published?
  11. What is your biggest dream?

My Answers to Gwynn’s Questions

  1. When did you begin writing and what or who inspired you to dedicate yourself to writing professionally?

I started writing after meeting my dad’s side of the family for the first time at the age of 36. I told this story the other day on video, so I’m going to link that post here, and if you prefer reading about that life-changing moment, then here’s the link to my very first blog post.

  1. Do you have a writing routine? Please tell us about it.

I’m afraid I don’t have a writing routine. I write when I can, usually in short spurts. Caring for two young kids, having a full-time job, and just having a life don’t leave much space to have a regular writing schedule. One thing is true though that I write pretty much every day, even if it’s just a paragraph. I also spend a lot of time writing in my head, especially on the days when I didn’t have a chance to write up my thoughts.

  1. Do you write at a computer, a typewriter or in longhand, or a combination of these?

It’s definitely a computer for me, well, laptop to be more precise. I bought a new laptop recently because my 5+ year old laptop was on its last leg, but I still use my old one most of the time. It’s like my fingers know what to do on that key-board without me thinking.

  1. Do you have a designated space for writing? Where?

I write wherever I can; most of the time it’s in my dining room. It’s a room in the front of the house overlooking a garden. It’s a fairly peaceful room and people and cars don’t distract me too much. Sometimes I write in the conservatory in the back of the house. I love seeing our back garden, but it’s quite hard to get the temperature right in there, because it’s too sunny and hot in the summer, and too cold in the winter. Sometimes, I write in a café. I love sitting by a window. Lots of natural light and seeing green spaces help me to relax and get into a flow. To be honest, ‘where’ is not much of an issue for me. It’s ‘when’ that I find challenging…

  1. Do you write to music? If so, what kind?

No, I don’t write to music. Many years ago a dear friend gave me a CD of Norah Jones and that period back in 2004 was the only time when I used to work to music. Although I love music, I find it distracting. Every time a nice track comes on, I want to bob along and maybe even get up and jig a bit. It can be great to get the creative juices flowing before a writing session, but, for me, it’s definitely not during writing.

  1. What types of works do you read?

I love books in the young adult genre, real life stories and some self-development books. I’d love to read more. May be one day….

  1. Who is your favorite author and how has this author influenced you?

Tahir Shah. I love this man. He wows me with the way he can plunge me into different worlds I’ve never visited. I fell in love with Morocco through reading his books. He’s a master of story-telling. I wish I could convey the sense of place as well as he does.

  1. What is your writing process from inception to completion and publication?

At the beginning, I generated tons of material. When I say tons, it’s not an exaggeration. I have over 300,000 words in various files on my computer. Crafting it into a story has taken me a long time. At least three times now I thought: ‘I got it, this is the message of my book’ and shaped the stories to convey that message. As soon as I thought I was done the story shape-shifted. I’m going through yet another restructuring and revision. I hope this one will get me closer to the publication finish line.

  1. Are you published? Through a publisher or indie? E-books or print or both?

Not yet.

  1. Please share a paragraph or two of a work in progress.

Here’s the opening to my book ‘Where Black Rivers Meet’:

Kirovabad, Azerbaijan Soviet Socialist Republic, 1981.

‘I love you,’ Mama said, touching my forehead with her cool lips.

I looked at her and it seemed her olive skin was greying, lips had the colour of old newspapers, black hair dripped with sweat. She closed her eyes to reveal swollen lids. She was crying again, I made a mental note. She was leaning from behind the kitchen door awkwardly, and I could only see her head and torso.

‘What’s happening?’ I said.

She did not respond. I tried to enter the kitchen, but she blocked my way.

‘Mama, you OK?’

She remained silent and stood in front of the door. I tried to see past her. The answer to her being so weird was behind her and I wanted to see it no matter what.

  1. Do you have an agent? If so, how did you get your agent? Otherwise, how do you market and promote your work?

I’m starting the next round of sending query letters to agents in November. Wish me luck!

 

18 thoughts on “My Second Blogging Anniversary: Celebrating in Style with an Award

  1. Thank you for thinking of me, Gulara. It’s always highly flattering when it happens. I hope you won’t mind if I decline the award, if only because I really do feel awkward about the nomination process. That said, your question are very imaginative and make one think that little bit.

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    • Thank you, Geoff, of course, no problem at all. As I said in my post, I’m not a fan of these things myself, so completely understand. Hope you are keeping well. Just wanted to reach out, as I fell off my blog-reading wagon. 🙂

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  2. Dearest Gulara
    Thank you for nominating me and congratulations on your second anniversary. I can’t believe it’s only been two years. I feel like I’ve known you a lot longer. I may take a while to take up your challenge as I have a few things to do between countries at the moment. Go well and keep doing what you do. Love always, Rashida

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    • Dearest Rashida, there’s no pressure whatsoever. I just wanted to name my favourite bloggers, and you have a very special place in my heart. Not only because I admire you and so happy for your recent success, but because you are the first person who followed me. 🙂 Thank you for all your kind support in the last two years. Big love, Gulara

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  3. Happy blog anniversary! So glad to see you happy and settled in your online home. And celebrating others you have met is a great way to celebrate – the blog community really is a wonderful place!

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  4. Firstly, thank you so much for this nomination, Gulara! Give me a couple of weeks to sift through my ‘To Do’ list and write something. Secondly, congratulations on your second blogging anniversary. I must have met you not long after you started, and yes, it’s been quite a journey. You’ve achieved so much in such a short time! Here’s to many more blogs and cyber gatherings. Lastly, my fingers are crossed for your manuscript. xx

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    • Thank you, Louise, I should have made it clear there’s no pressure at all. I just wanted to name and connect with my favourite bloggers and hope that some readers may pay you a visit. Do it only if you feel like. I’m not a great fan of these things, though this one I enjoyed. And many thanks for your kind wishes. xx

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  5. Oh Gulara, I LOVED, LOVED, LOVED this post as I could see so much more of who you are. I too have a terrible time sitting still if music is playing. When we were in the house I had my music playing while I was in the kitchen cooking and I always was dancing around. It is my fun in life. Sadly, the apartment is too small for me to enjoy my music while John is working in his office.

    Yes, I had been nominated prior to this time and I had turned her down. Then the second nomination I used as an excuse to post something on my blog since I haven’t been posting very regularly while I’m caring for John. By the way, I have a post ready for the November IWSG and I’m working on a second post, but I question its’ appropriateness.

    Thank you for sharing more of you!! You are such a delightful person! Hugs!

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    • Thank you for nominating me, Gwynn, and your kind words about me. Despite my initial resistance I enjoyed it in the end. I look forward to your IWSG post. I’m away from blogging and internet for a couple of days but will be back in time to read it. Big hug.x

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    • Thank you so much, Lisa. The blog anniversaries feel really important to me somehow. It’s like I started something big and daring and it’s worth marking it somehow. Thank you for reading and commenting.

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  6. I was enjoying your post, Gulara, and ready to congratulate you on your well-deserved nomination, as well as your blogiversary, then pleasantly surprised to find my name on your list. It’s always an honour to be recognised by another blogger, so thank you for this, although having had a couple already I won’t be passing this on.
    I love your new look site by the way. It’s very sophisticated looking in a way that suits you and pleasing colour scheme!

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    • Thank you for your kind words about the website, Anne, I appreciate it. I love it too 🙂
      As to the nomination, I just wanted to name people I admire and follow, so there’s no pressure in taking it up. Hope you are keeping well.

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  7. Hi Gulara,
    Thank you for coming by my site today and “liking” my new keyword post.
    In response to what you wrote, today is my second blogversary! We started blogging at the same time! Congratulations on winning the Liebster Award. I saw your badge.
    Janice

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    • Thank you, Janice 🙂 Two years flew by! I’m getting my head around SEO and other techy stuff, so will be popping around to read more. Happy blogging anniversary to you too! 🙂

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  8. Hi dear Gulara,
    Updating (long overdue) my Awards page, I came back to your post and I was sure, I already congratulated and thanked you! Somehow I don’t see the comment…Or maybe your posted this also at your ‘old’ blog…Anyway, thanks so much again!
    XxX

    Like

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