For over a month I watched my blog readership plummet, much to my dismay. Plagued by self-doubt, I blamed my writing, my fickle-minded readers, tried harder and wondered what I was doing wrong. To put it simply, I assumed that I had been discarded like a soiled tissue paper.
I was dealing with my biggest fear – the thought that perhaps I had moved past my best.
Last week, Manu Katyaayan sent me a concerned message. He wanted to know why my feeds had stopped showing in his reader. My first reaction was of immense relief. I could finally blame something else for my dipping blog hits. Of course I had no idea what to do about it. So I did what I do best, send an SOS call to my friends. Those who took the bait, I latched on them like a hungry leech and chewed their heads off.
I must mention Subhorup Dasgupta and his exemplary patience. He would sit with me for hours and give every trouble-shooting tip that was ever devised. For me he was Sherlock Holmes, meticulously sifting for clues to solve the befuddling mystery of the missing feeds. I tried everything – from removing widgets, pinging manually, authenticating my feeds. You name it, I tried it. When everything failed, I did a headstand, hung from an imaginary bell in an imaginary temple and demanded justice from God.
Several frustrating days and Mark Miranda later (a Twitter follower and an insomniac techie from Mumbai) I was able to crack the code. I felt like Robert Langdon (okay not him, but his hardworking sidekick). In my nerve wracking thriller of an almost lost blog, I found the evil, scheming villain MS-Word, the comedienne – Purba Ray and the heroes – Manu, Subho and Mark. The funny Mrs Ray had been copying, pasting her posts from MS-Word, blissfully unaware of the unnecessary codes that were getting embedded in her posts.
I am not aware of the technicalities, but it seems my blog had used up all the allotted space and hence the feeds had stopped appearing in the reader. It’s only when I manually removed formatting from nearly 50 posts, did my feeds start showing.
Just six months back, I nearly lost my blog. I had forgotten to disable two-step verification for my google account, when I moved to Australia. This water-tight security feature made sure I couldn’t access my account. It was sending the access codes to my non-functioning Indian SIM card. Countless security questions and many aborted attempts later I was informed by Google that they are still not sure whether I’m the genuine product and should consider opening a new account. It’s not a nice feeling to know that you might have to abandon two and a half years of hard-work, over 200 posts and a following that I had so painstakingly built.
It was only after I mailed my SIM card back to India and have someone text me the codes, I could finally access my account.
Lesson learnt - Either disable two step verification or carry a print of backup verification codes with you,when you move to a new country.
When you are about to lose something, you realize how much it means to you. For me A-Musing is not a just a blog I author. Over the last three years it has become my identity. I discovered myself through my blog and my friends & family discovered me through my musings.
You have no idea how great it feels to see the happy chattering make a comeback on my blog. It’s as if A-Musing has come back to life. I must thank my tenacious readers and friends who made it to the comments section despite the missing notifications.
To think that I was ready to give up on writing!
But I didn’t. I fought tooth and nail for it.
I think it’s time I told you, how much you and your comments means to me. What good is a blog without readership? I don’t write for myself. I write for you.