#10Inspirations from the Book AtoB


Storytelling is the art of stringing together your ideas and words of fantasy and everyday observations into interesting sentences. One book I read recently used the art of storytelling to capture the latest marketing must-have for businesses and individuals especially digital marketers. Written by Harshit Bhardwaj, a digital marketer since 2008, author and publisher, the book is a guideline for people looking to meet the stringent standards of Google and Moz, while staying true to their identity. My take, a child rules the heart of parents, authors write for readers, and brands produce content for their audiences. Each one is telling a story, as am I!

Who am I to tell you about selling through stories? I am – a mother, a child, a homemaker, a content marketer, a friend, a sister, a wife, an aunt, a dreamer, and so many more things! Society expects me to separate each part of my personality, but, how can I? Each role defines me, and yet, the brand ‘me’ lacks an identity. I read this book, AtoB by Harshit Bhardwaj, and I realized, the need to first get my story straight. So, I am many things, but what is my story?

I am not here to review the book or talk about my writing journey – I am sharing with you things you and I can explore as a brand. I am here to share #10things from the book we can adapt to become better content creators and storytellers – to make our brand visible and viable.

Anyone who thinks this should be for professionals only, I ask you to share with the world, your thoughts on why parenting is not the most important profession in the world. So, from mums to students to professionals, everybody has a story to tell!

Let’s start:

  1. Understanding the concept of storytelling=

What is a story? Is it a picture that speaks a thousand words or a few words creating indelible images? That is a debate for photographers vs authors! But, I can tell you one thing, each one of us is a storyteller. Artists and marketers have honed this skill to perfection, as have parents and guardian. Hark back to a dialogue favored by parents and teachers across the world, “I am counting till 3!”. They use language and emotions to get a child to react.  So, what is storytelling:

  • Expressing – your deepest thoughts and immediate desires, directly and indirectly   
  • Impressing – showing people your mental or emotional intelligent
  • Processing – ability to use language and pictures to express, impress and let go off stress

Storytelling is an idea to express and a goal to reach

2. An important aspect of sorytelling is nothing but the power to communicate!

Sagas, odes, short stories, horror stories, cartoon strips, corporate presentations, favourite threats by parents, are different forms of communications. They are created to tell a story. A story to inform, educate or entertain. In the book, Harshit uses the premise of 1001 nights where the new queen uses her communication skills to tell stories. Professionals, like you and I, need to tell our stories like Sheherazade, because the king (your audience):

  • Effortlessly – should believe her stories are not designed to win her life
  • Flawlessly –  is intelligent, and he cannot be fooled
  • Repeatedly – will leave you if you don’t express or impress

All you need is appropriate conversations to create your story.

3. You need the audience to react to your story

You want to tell a story to capture your audience! You use your power of words, stringing together random letters and words to form sentences that appeal, first to you and then to your audience.  Are you writing a personal diary for your eyes only? Or is the story and narrative you are creating is for others? You need to know who your audience is:

  • Family – your kids listening to you create a bedtime story
  • Peers – the lover or boss you are trying to impress
  • World – a stranger interacting with your brand for the first time

Treat your audience like royalty, listening to all their whims!

4. Every story needs a narrative

Many people confuse storytelling with narrative, or narrative with communication! It’s easy to! A 1001 nights is a story, the narrative is the princess walking down in her bridal wear, ideas churning in her head of how to communicate and keep her King engaged! Similarly, you have to create a story, but more importantly, you need a powerful narrative to:

  • Pique audience’s interest – they should want you continue the narration
  • Make readers emotional – they should laugh, cry, fear, go into shock
  • Keep pace – adapt and adopt to changing tastes and behavior

Never forget the story, but, keep tweaking the narrative!

5. Call it magic or love at first sight

Stories, both written and pictorial, have always celebrated love at first sight. Falling in love with another person, a child you hold for the first time, a pet who licks your wounds, or a brand’s story for consumption by your users, makes the stories believable and likeable. Steve Jobs wanted people to love his computers. The product has to work but bring in the magic. To fall in love with a story:

  • React – one emotion to react, 0a child listening to monsters
  • Reminisce – one word to reminisce, an adult remembering the first kiss under the stars
  • Connect – one look to connect, a beautifully-designed  computer by Apple

All it takes is one moment or one emotion to connect and fall in love and feel the magic.

6. Self-belief makes for a better story

I read somewhere that the Dementors in Harry Potter books are a manifestation of the depression that JK Rowling faced. Truth or fiction, no idea! But, the terrifying demons had the whole wizard world and the human population scared. The demons will take away your peace, piece by piece, and Rowling’s demons were the publishers rejecting her story, repeatedly. Yet, she stayed true to herself, and her narrative. For the best story you will ever create, you need to have:

  • Self-belief – believe in yourself, and your own story, odds
  • Conviction – stay true to your story against all odds
  • Composure  – never let  the stress mar the story you want to tell

Whisper the words to your soul before you broadcast to the world!

7. Desires are necessary to keep the narrative going

The first lesson that a student of economics is taught, human wants are unlimited. They keep growing. Even your desire and passion for your story and narrative will keep changing! Your audience’s desires will also grow. A two-year-old will be happy sitting on your lap and listening to your voice. Your ten-year-old, will want audio-visuals. Your first customer will want to fall in love with the first look, two-years down the line, they will want a better look. In Harshit’s words:

  • Survive – storytelling is about the survival of the smartest
  • Sustain – add novelty with a new narrative
  • Succeed – love, money or fame, it’s waiting for you

Goal realization makes for happy endings!

8. Use the modern tools to get your story heard!

Oral narratives have survived centuries! There is no accurate way to measure the timeline of these stories. But, today, your story can survive. Once published online, it will remain there, ready for viewing at an instant. A story you tell your child will shape how they behave 30-years later! Similarly, the story you tell your customers will affect their choices! Don’t hesitate to use these tools! Here are the tools you can use to get your kids, colleagues or clients to listen:

  • Social media posts – you can create instant stories
  • Person-to-person communication – buy a storybook, or use your child’s imagination to create a story unique to your family
  • Study the data – find & crunch data, use it to get results, keep repeating

Create data, but don’t forget to analyse!

9. Never let your story waver

Storytelling is difficult – you are weaving tales that may or may not succeed. Your success is defined by your goals, a sale on your e-store, a child’s hug, a boss’s nod of approval, million likes on YouTube. The list is endless. But, your conviction will drive the story, until is it told, retold, shared and reshared, through generations. To keep moving forward, you need to keep:

  • Walking – take small steps in the beginning,
  • Talking – never let the narrative die out, keeping adding the ‘masala’
  • Judging – the reaction of your audience is necessary to change the narrative

Once again, stories are great starting points on the way to success

10. What is your S-effect?

It is the one I am working on!  What is the intended effect of all my writings? I am writing because I like to write. Because it is an inherent talent, not many people have. If enjoyment is the only motive, then why publish. What is my S-effect:

  • Applause from my peers – or recognition from a society which hates with passion?
  • Desire to let go and be unabashed or a reflection of my life?
  • Means to earn – become rich and famous? 

The billion dollar question, all of these or none of these?

Cruises, Autthornama

Create Memories to Last a Lifetime with Mediterranean Cruises

Mediterranean cruises offer you a travel experience that you will carry around in your heart, mind, and soul all the time. As you explore and travel through exotic and ancient cities of Greece, France, Italy or Turkey, it is an experience that will stay with you long after you step off the deck. The feel of the cruise’s rocking motion will sway your senses and lull you in your own bed at home. Breathtaking visuals of the sea, islands, and ports will mesmerize your whole being when you feel stressed from work. Mouthwatering varieties of fresh Mediterranean and other cuisines will continue to tantalize your taste buds long after you return home. As I said, the memories will stay afresh.

A Sailing City

A Mediterranean cruise liner is a luxury resort with its own boulevards, a-la-carte restaurants, sun lounges, swimming pools, spas, gymnasiums, concert halls, casinos, live performers, shows and much more. But, before you can indulge in any of these activities, an experienced traveler knows it makes sense to first explore and mesmerize the layout. If you are not inclined to do so, just carry the map of the liner with you. The chances of you getting lost are almost impossible, but if you do manage that, as I did, just turn to the all polite and smiling staff to guide you.

The Hopper Offer

The most interesting aspect of Mediterranean cruises is that you can travel to famous European cities and cover historical sites with the exuberance of a beach holiday. Some cruises meander through tiny islands whisking you away from the modern stresses without compromising on comfort or luxury. As per your travel plans to explore cities or luxuriate on the liner, choose cruise packages that suits your needs. Some packages include wine through the day while others offer staterooms with butlers.

Plan Your Holiday

However, before you finalize your travel plans, keep in mind that only a few liners offer embarkation and disembarkation ports without visas. Most of them are from cities in Europe and Asia and return airfare is not included in package costs. Even excursions packages on most liners can be customized to suit your demands. What are you waiting for, choose the ports, plan the holiday and freeze your Mediterranean cruise liner by booking online! 

A Tip: Most Mediterranean ports and cities have a summer vacation in August, so if you want to avoid heavy crowds, plan your trip in before or after. 

Arches and Textures of Roman Architecture

Architecture under the ancient Romans flowed from their mammoth imagination to the magnificence of the buildings they created and constructed. The sheer innovation and beauty that characterizes this ancient architectural form attract tourists from all over the globe.  The ancient architectural feats stand testimony forcing even the most uninterested tourists to acknowledge the might of the Roman Empire. Though there are many phases and types of Roman architecture, today we will focus on the ancient one which harnessed a building material and style still used predominantly in modern architecture.

First Ones To Use Concrete

When exploring Roman dynasty or history through its buildings, statues or remains, travelers to the great sites may be surprised to know that the Romans were the first to use concrete in construction. Yes, mixing of concrete was a Roman idea that gave their buildings a texture that you and I can still feel today. It was their mastery over the correct concrete mixture that allowed them to construct buildings, palaces and arenas of massive weights. But, for the town of Cosa, where concrete began its journey, it was an achievement that has stood the test of time.

Impressive Arches

Arches are the other great contribution of ancient Romans to the world. The round arches were popularly used in constructing churches, amphitheaters, forts, bridges, etc. The great arches of the Colosseum and the Arch of Titus are just two examples of how this architectural detail was used to create beautiful buildings. However, the most significant and maybe a little whimsical for travelers exploring Roman architecture would be the use of arches for constructing aqueducts, a water supply system that was the hallmark of every Roman city.

Trying to sketch out the finer details of this great architecture in limited words is trying to collect the ocean in a beaker. But, by focusing only on the arches and concrete, the blog is trying to highlight features of ancient Roman architecture that continue to dominate modern structures.  So whether you visit these architectural marvels as a bored tourist or traveler eager to explore the mysteries, you need to be in awe of the design elements and the texture that we tend to take for granted today.

Hunger, not love, conquers all

Hunger, Not Love, Conquers All

Love is the Mount Everest of all emotions. It is revered and respected throughout the world as the emotion to be surrounded by. Love God, love thy neighbour, love your family, love your country, it is everywhere and in everything. And, the most delirious and dangerous of them all is the mantra propagated through boardrooms and classrooms, “love your work to succeed.”  Inspired by an article I came across on Miya Tokumitsu and a conversation in the family on the concept of love as experienced and elevated by the younger generation, led me to pen my thoughts.

We Remain Selfish At Heart

Love is important, undoubtedly, it is the emotion that binds individuals and groups, family and friends – a mother to her child, a father to his family and a human to existence.  Yes, it binds and it limits, but it also uplifts and empower. But for me personally, hunger, not love is the emotion that drives the world to move forward. We have moved forward, from being wild, uncontrolled creatures, to becoming animals who have mastered thoughts and speech. But, we have definitely not mastered our actions or the hunger that drives those actions. The cases of mob attacks are examples of animals, posing as evolutionised beings, but really just animals, unable to control their hunger, of what, I am still trying to grasp.

Hunger & Anger Are the Driving Forces

Have you ever been hungry? Hungry for food? For love? For success? For money? For power? Not getting food on time leads to anger, and we have even invented a term for – Hangry. As a citizen of the world, where poverty and hunger remain supreme, we who miss a meal or two are allowed to be Hangry; but what of the millions for whom it’s a way of life? They rob, steal, kill or are led into the world of slavery by criminals or salvation by priests, and we of full bellies, call them uneducated, uncouth and unrefined. A section of our society is born hangry – their hunger is gut-wrenching that starts from their gut and extends to the guts of their parents, siblings, spouses, kids and all whom they know. They work tirelessly not because they love what they do, but because they need to feed. I quote Ms. Miya Tokumitsu when I say that the CEOs, the glamorous and the worshipped, are successful not only because they worked hard and smart, but because they had at their disposal a population working tirelessly in factories and behind the scenes to feed their hungry that led to the starry successes. Her angst on Steve Jobs saying he was successful because he did what he loves is clearly reflected in what she states is directly demeaning to the hundreds of workers in his factories across Asia who work because they are hungry and not because they love Apple they way Jobs or final consumers do.

It is this hunger that forces each individual to work and allows the strong willed and the really hungry, and here the term drive comes to mind, to give us numerous, inspiring stories where individuals have defied their hunger circumstances to reach the skies where full stomachs reign.   These stories bring tears to our eyes and hope to our hearts but are merely reduced to textbooks and whatsapp messages to be forwarded to all. But then what? We remain hungry. We are born hungry. We never give up on hunger. Success, money and power become the hunger drives or the hunger games that continue to hound. Love too! We are taught the importance of love and each X, Y, Z generation revels in the freedom to love and choose whom to love. Romantic stories thrive on each youthful generation that challenges parents and society. Young and old alike believe love will let us survive, but look at ratio of divorce, suicides or depression to know that love never survives the hardships faced by hunger of the soul, belly, mind or money.

I reiterate,  hunger, not love, is what conquers all. Don’t believe me. Then answer this simple explanation – why are we easily influenced by hunger as it resides in our bodies, dominating our actions but let love slide, screaming at your spouses, taking our families for granted or asking our friends to understand shortage of time and patience. Can you do the same to hunger? Can you sleep hungry, physical or otherwise? Imagine trying to sleep while you know that painting is unfinished, the task your boss asked you to do is lagging or your competitor offered a better deal to your customers?

Hunger Is A Better Driver Than Love

Love lets you sleep, but hunger encourages, nay ensures, your survival. The best achievements of life, the most precious moments, the success we achieve, all through our life, love is the emotion that resounds on our screen and soul and falsely given the credit but it should be hunger. For a businessman, it is the hunger of money, for a politician it is the hunger of chair, for the actor, adulation is the hunger, for the thief, the heist, for the student, an A+ grade, for the mother, food for her child and so on and so forth. For the author in me, it is the hunger of stringing words together perfectly and a piece well-written that hounds my dreams and desires.

What is the hunger that drives you or are you still of the belief that love conquers all?

Stonehenge, England, Authornama

Stonehenge, England: A Marvel of Pre-Historic Architecture

A visit to the burial ground may not be very high on bucket list of most people. But, Stonehenge in Wiltshire, England, deserves a mention on the list, and it most certainly deserves a visit. The majestic and gigantic stone structures hold even the most advanced scientists, engineers, architects and builders in awe, let alone people like you and me. As you cross the English countryside experiencing the natural fauna and fauna, however, prepared you are, you are bound to be awestruck and humbled by the dominating sight of the Stonehenge, England.  

The most prominent question to cross every mind as it come across the stones is. “How and why did this get built?” Through centuries many archeologists and scientists have presumed and propagated Stonehenge theories as to what those stone structures represent. Some have called them the ‘work of the Druids’ while others believed them to be monuments for pagan rituals or biblical patriarchs. There are some experts who believe that the Stonehenge stones were placed for astronomical reasons and a minor population who believe they were incarnations of modern sport arenas.

However, detailed surveys of the areas surrounding the Stonehenge grounds have modern scientists proclaiming it as a burial ground. What scientist say must be true since they are working tirelessly and sincerely to solve this Stonehenge mystery. But, no theory can lessen the mystique and magic of an ancient site that links us to our past! Stones weighing up to 50 tonnes were rolled into standing positions in a horseshoe and circle shape. If this is not amazing, what is! Believe it or not, radiocarbon dating suggests that this heritage structure was built from 3100 BC till the year 1600 BC.

Whatever the theory you want to believe, you must visit the prehistoric site for its architectural wonder. While debunking Stonehenge facts or choosing your favourite theories, ensure that you view the structure with the rising and the setting rays of the sun. The structure aligns itself to the 21st December solstice. It leads one to wonder, maybe, just maybe, theories calling Stonehenge a ritual ground or an astronomical monument are true.

#10Things for Freelancers

10 Things You Can Do to Get Bulk Work As a Freelance Content Writer

Getting work as a freelance content writer is easy if you follow the below guidelines

One of the major concerns for a content writer is always, “How do I reach out to a company or agency for bulk freelance content writing work?” It seems a daunting task but is actually quite easy. You can be at peace knowing that there is enough work for everybody – all digital marketing agencies and corporate sites today need to outsource their work.

Here, are the steps you should follow to reach out to the best companies and get content writing assignments:

  1. Research the Companies
  • Do a Google search for the best digital marketing companies
  • Check out the sites for quality of language and clients
  • Read reviews to know how the company treats it freelancers – people not getting paid are sure to talk about it
  1. Contact People Who Can Help
  • Use your LinkedIn profile or any social media group to reach out to people working in the company you are interested in
  • Ask to be introduced to the right person
  • If your contact list cannot be of help, go to the next step
  1. Check Contact Information on the Website
  • Go to the contact page on the website, and send in an email to the mentioned email ID.
  • Try a variation of the site addresses, if you do not want to reach out to a salesperson – Check the address – is it .com, .org, .in, Then use hrd or content@companyname.com. You are sure to get a response
  • There is no harm in reaching out to multiple people on the same email
  1. Reach Out to the Concerned Person
  • A simple Hi will suffice if there is no name.
  • Don’t try and guess the gender of the person
  • In the subject line add – looking for an opportunity as a freelance writer
  • Your email should reflect your language skills – it should be error-free
  1. Share Your Details
  • Share a professional summary like your experience, the niche you are comfortable in, the cost, and the amount of work you can complete in a day.
  • Share personal information such as your phone number, the email ID which can be used to reach you, your working hours, etc.
  • Attach a resume, if you have one
  1. Sharing Samples
  • If possible, attach samples of your work in the original email.
  • Use your best samples, which are error-free and will get instant approval.
  • Send samples of the niches you are most comfortable with
  • It is Ok, not to share samples in the first contact mail, and let the person-in-charge ask for them
  1. Follow Up For Work
  • Remember, the response may take 1–3 working days.
  • If you do not get a response, send a reminder. You can send up to 3 reminders.
  • Reach out to a separate ID, if the response is still not received
  1. Get the Conversation Flowing
  • Despite the sharing of details in the first mail, you may be asked to write a sample.
  • I am of the view, why not? However – if they are using the content, you get paid, if not, you go ahead and use it on your website
  • Ask questions – what kind of work will I get, how much will I get, and what are the payment terms.
  • Don’t be afraid to negotiate on the price. But, this is tricky, because some agencies have a limit on the price they can pay, while others are willing to pay a high-cost, but then their quality standards will be stricter.
  1. Sign A Contract
  • Most companies will ask you to sign a contract and NDA.
  • Read the terms and conditions carefully and take a decision
  • Once the contract is signed you will not be allowed to reach out to clients of the company you are working with for a certain period.
  • Once the contract is signed, you are bound by that decision
  1. Commit to Quality
  • Be ready for rejections and revisions if you are not able to meet their standards of quality. You cannot have a ‘bad day at work’ and expect the work to keep coming
  • Companies want work delivered as per their deadlines. They are more than willing to let good writers go if the content is not delivered as per timelines
  • Clients have expectations from their freelance content writer.

In conclusion, reaching out to a client for a bulk order is the easy part. It is also easy to convince them that let you come on board. The actual difficulty arises, when you are required to start delivering content. Most companies will give you a monthly timeline, along with details of their requirements, Fulfilling the requirements in terms of quality and timelines is what will get you bulk work, repeatedly!