Our June 2016 Featured Blogger is Veil By Maryam by Souleman Maryam. Her passion to break culture barriers led her to write her opinions on today’s society and share her experiences through her blog, which can hopefully help women be more confident and achieve their goals. Read on to find out more about her blog!
1. When and why did you start blogging?
I started blogging 3 years ago on wattpad, before it became filled with one direction fanfictions. I had so many things to say but I had no one to talk to. I needed to share my opinions and just get all my feelings out, hopefully, connect and help people out there. I just wanted to feel like I had a purpose and could help someone.
2. What made you decide what you want to blog about?
I’ve been through so many stages when it comes to what my blog was supposed to be about. My first passion was to write on common issues and motivational subjects, but I also loved beauty and fashion so my first blog was about all that basically. But I read somewhere that you needed to have a niche to be a successful blogger and you could only be successful and make money in the beauty/fashion industry as a blogger. So I started a new fashion and beauty blog but I quickly regretted it cause it felt like a chore, blogging was no longer fun. So I went back my initial lifestyle blog.
3. Did anyone, in particular, inspire you to start blogging?
Yes! I love Dina Tokio a British Muslim blogger and YouTuber, also ascia AKF probably my favorite person on the internet. She’s a wife, a mother, and a successful business woman. I wonder how she finds that balance.
4. What’s it like to be a blogger?
It’s fun. You get to have your own space that you can design and run how you want and create content you consider useful. Also, get amazing opportunities and meet awesome people around the world. But it’s not as easy as people think. It takes a lot of time and can be overwhelming when you’re not organized.
5. Do you set goals of what you want to do on your blog or just do and write about what randomly comes to your mind?
A little bit of both. Every Saturday I take 2 hours just to plan the upcoming week. Tuesday and Saturday blog posts and Wednesday video, social media posts, so on and so forth; But if something happens on Friday and I want to share it on my blog I don’t stop myself because that particular article wasn’t scheduled. I don’t force myself to do anything really.
6. What do you hope to gain from blogging?
I want to blog full time one day but it takes a lot of time and hard work. I also want to meet people who connect to what I post. Help them if I can.
7. How do you motivate yourself to keep your blog up and running?
That’s a good question. As my friend Noor would say “every fire needs to be revived once in a while”. To keep my blog up and running I stop when I feel like I can’t do it anymore; when I’m too tired. For example, I haven’t posted anything, I just took a break and focused on my exams. But on a more technical side, I like to go on Bloglovin’ and read awesome blogs and they just remind me why I do it.
8. In your opinion, what’s the most challenging thing about blogging?
Building an audience is definitely the hardest part. It requires a lot of promotion and patience and it’s something I naturally don’t have. It’s so easy to be quite because you feel like no one is interested in what you have to say and that you invest so much hard work for nothing, but in reality it takes time and commitment to really start getting your blog noticed.
9. What is your main passion when it comes to blogging and how do you manage to organize your thoughts and experiences?
My main passion is writing, no matter what it’s about. I like to talk to myself (I know how weird that sounds). I ask myself a lot of questions when I want to write a post. What did you do wrong? Why did you do it? What should you have done instead? After I’m done answering them myself now I can organize the post. One thing though! I never write on computers! I tried but it doesn’t work for me at all! I need to write it down with a pen. I’m more inspired and I tend to find the words easily.
10. We know you recently created a YouTube channel, tell us more about it (what you do on it, your experience with vlogging so far, and do you think it’s a better form of blogging).
I created a YouTube channel as an extension to my blog but it’s more focused on fashion and beauty. I’m a student and I don’t have too much money to spend on makeup, so this is for all my makeup lovers out there that are on a budget also. I might start vlogging soon Insha’Allah. It’s definitely harder because you have to get ready, set everything up, find the good lighting (if you use natural light the struggle is real) and last but not least you have to edit the video which can be a little bit challenging. I honestly thought that my videos would get a thousand views a day but let’s just say that it’s a lot slower. Because it’s a channel for Muslima (mostly) the audience is harder to target. It’s as hard as blogging it requires the same amount of commitment, even more. It’s also hard to find ideas on what to film but I’m slowly starting to understand to concept of YouTube.
11. What are your 3 favorite tools/plugins that you use for blogging?
SEO plugging. Coschedule calendar is a life savior but it’s kind of expensive. I probably won’t repurchase it for another month. I don’t think I have a third one because my blog was designed by a friend of mine, everything was pretty much included in the coding.
12. Have you had any opportunities arise as a result of blogging?
Yes, I did Alhamdullilah but I didn’t accept them all. Some really didn’t fit the purpose of my blog. I’ve been contacted by a French brand called “modestologie” I’m going to be an editor for their online magazine. Also, my article is being reviewed by mvslim.com which is a big deal. And I’m also a writer for Hayati magazine.
13. Where do you see blogging in 5 years? Will you still be doing it in shaa Allah?
Yes, definitely Insha’Allah. I want to hopefully be able to make an income (I don’t have a specific goal), I also want to see my articles published by bigger blogs (alhamdullilah I’ve already been approached by Muslim). I really want to help my community too, no matter where I am. Meet other Muslims around the world and develop awesome projects for the Muslim youth. And I might also start to work on my own modest clothing line if I get the opportunity. I have a lot of ideas and they’re all over the place. To be honest, it’s the first time that I think about it! Thanks for your question.
14. What advice and tips would you give to someone who may be thinking of starting a blog?
Please don’t compare yourself to others, we have different parameters, we don’t know what they’ve been through before they reached that point. Continue to work hard and stay true to yourself. Don’t just look at the numbers, it can be disappointing. It’s important to understand that blogging is just like any other business (if that’s the direction you want it to take), you’ll have to invest in it in order for you to start seeing the result you’ve been waiting for.