Somdyuti Datta Ray is a student of Communicative English, and the blogging world knows her as the voice behind One Tiny Wish (previously Stilettosaurus). She blogs about fashion, books, travel, lifestyle, TV shows and adds a wonderful dash of fantasy and magic to her posts. She was nominated as one of the Top 5 Fashion blogs of the country at WIN’14. We sat down over glasses of (virtual) Butterbeer to talk about her blogging, her life and dreams.
Q. When and why did you start blogging?
I set up my first blog when I was around 11 after my teacher suggested it might be a good way to share all the stories and poems I used to contribute to our school magazine. But I shut it down after a few months because of school pressure. I started blogging again when I was 17 mostly because I needed an outlet to share my thoughts.
Q. Most bloggers tend to stick to one genre when they blog. What prompted you to dive into genres as varied as fashion and lifestyle to book reviews?
It was more of an impromptu decision to start blogging about fashion. But a year into it, I realized that I wasn’t enjoying it anymore. I felt too confined. I wanted to write about many different things. Truth be told, anything but fashion. I wanted to write about books and travel and random other things. So I started including these posts once in a while. And it felt really good.
But the content and theme of my blog had become a big fat mess by then. Too many things were happening at the same time. Everything was all over the place. Well, that’s when I decided to close the blog and start afresh!
Q. Where does your interest in fashion and beauty stem from?
I’ve never really given it a thought. But I guess mostly TV shows and films. I’ve always loved looking at the clothes the characters wear.
Q. How do you plan your blog posts? Do you think about shuffling between genres – like not doing too many posts from one genres at a go?
I do, yes. Ever since I started my new blog, I’ve tried to mix up the posts. Say if I write a book review today, I’ll post a personal post tomorrow and the day after that maybe I’ll write a generic post and so on.
Q. Which are the posts that you enjoy doing the most and why? On the other hand, are there any posts that you don’t want to do but have to do because your readers want it?
I love writing personal posts – say my favourites or wish list or goals or even opinion posts. I love writing reviews and travelogues too. I think what all these posts have in common is the fact that it has got to do with what I think or how I feel.
As far as the other kind is concerned, well, I always felt that I was forced to write a fashion-related post because that used to be the central theme of my blog. It’s one of the major reasons why I closed my old blog and shifted my focus.
Q. What is your take on product reviews and sponsored reviews?
Honestly, I don’t mind them as long as a blog is not entirely FULL of it. I know bloggers who do nothing but sponsored posts and product reviews. You wouldn’t find a single post that hasn’t got to do with these two. I find it pretty disgusting. It’s as if they are blogging only for free goodies. On another hand, I’ve seen quite a few bloggers who NEVER reveal when the post is sponsored. It’s the basic rule, right? You have to write a disclaimer. Well they don’t. I feel that is as low as a person can get.
Q. What is your family and friends’ reaction to your blog? Do any of them come to you for fashion advice?
Oh, none of them knows. Neither my parents nor my friends. No one. I’ve been planning to tell my parents for over 2 years now. So far no luck. I hinted maa that I have a blog, but I doubt she understood. My best-friend knows, though. Thankfully, she doesn’t care). I don’t think I can handle my friends and family reading my blog. It’s scary!
And no they don’t. I’m the most laziest dresser you’ll probably ever come across in your life. I make no obvious effort.
Q. You shifted from Stilettos And Tequila to One Tiny Wish recently. Tell us the reason for this change. What has the response been?
Like I said earlier, I felt caged writing only about fashion. Goodness, it was suffocating. I wanted to talk about many many things and I couldn’t do it with my old blog any more. It had become a mess. Besides, how do you suppose I’m to explain my parents about the “Tequila” part? They’d suspect that I’m engaged in under-age drinking. It was a big reason why I changed my blog name to “The Stilettosaurus”. But oh, WordPress. They won’t let you change the URL until you pay $13 monthly. Big mess, I told you.
So it was easier to just let it all go and start from the scratch. After months of planning, I finally set up One Tiny Wish. I’ve never felt better. The response, oh well… I lost all my followers as you can imagine. All the followers and traffic that I had gained in 2 years were gone in a blink. But I feel it was all worth it anyway. A few of my followers – blogger friends – stuck by. It’s been a rocky start but I’m glad I took the risk.
Q. How do you manage studies and your blogging schedule?
I don’t know. It just happens. I’ve found myself a balance to do them both without getting carried away. Sometimes I feel I’m juggling my college and exams and my blog. It gets crazy! I’ve taken more blogging breaks than I can recount. Although I don’t really feel guilty. My college is as important to me as my blog. Blogging is, after all, very fascinating. But I just need to sort out my priorities at times. That’s how I manage it.
Q. When a blogger writes about different genres, is there a fear of the brand or identity getting diluted?
When you’re blogging for years, you tend to carve out your own niche and grow yourself a decent following. So if you change your genres out of blue, it does take them by surprise. I won’t blame them. If my favourite lifestyle blog suddenly starts writing about technology, I’d probably stop reading the blog. It’s the same case. You have a risk of losing a lot and that’s saying something. You may lose your followers, your traffic, maybe even – like you said – the identity that you had established over time.
Q. You also wrote about your trips recently. How has the experience of chronicling your travel been? Any plans of continuing to do it?
It’s been wonderful. I absolutely love travelling, and I had such a great time writing about them. I certainly plan to include more travel posts in future. Well, only if I do go on a vacation, of course.
Q. Tell us something about yourself. What is your family like? What do you do in your free time?
I’m 19. I live in Kolkata with my parents. I’m a Second Year student of Communicative English at Asutosh College, Kolkata.
When I’m not studying or blogging or learning French, I usually read books or watch Grey’s Anatomy, The Vampire Diaries or Supernatural. I’m completely obsessed with these 3 TV shows. Or I binge watch Romedy Now. They always air my favourite rom-coms.
Q. What are your future plans? Plans regarding blogging and also for your career.
Firstly, I plan to graduate college with decent marks. I really wish to pursue a career in writing or book publishing. So I’ll try to cram as much work experience as I can. As far as my blog is considered, I have pretty shiny dreams about it. I’d love to see it grow and expand. Maybe buy my domain too.
Q. Do you think blogging can be a full time profession in India?
I’m not aware of many full-time Indian bloggers, pardon me. But yes, of course it is possible. Why not? Maybe we have to first deal with the prejudice of it not being a “real profession”. Apart from that, I don’t see a reason why it can’t be a full-time job. Granted, it will be tough compared to a typical 9-5 job. But so many bloggers (abroad) have pursued it as a full-time career. Few of my blogger friends have left their job to take up blogging full-time.
Q. What advice would you give to someone who wants to start a blog?
I suppose I’m too young to be giving advice. But I’ll share something I learned the hard way. Blogging is very time-consuming and it needs a lot of discipline and effort from one’s part. So it’s better to be sure whether you are ready to commit to it fully (especially if you wish take blogging seriously) or not.
Q. Do you ever feel like you have run out of topics to write? What do you do when you can’t think of your next post?
Yes, loads of times. When I’m having a block, I usually read other blogs. That usually does the trick because I find my idea for my next post from there. But I happen to maintain an Editorial Calendar. I plan out what posts to write when ahead of months, and I have a separate list of random-posts that I refer to when I run out of topics.
Q. Which other blogs do you follow?
I don’t follow any big popular blogs. I can never relate to them (too much unrealistic stuffs and hype). Anyway, my few favourite blogs, who also happen to be my good friends, are-
– Noor’s Place by Noor Unnahar and I Have A Messy Bun by Areeba Siddique: They are a pair of Pakistani lifestyle bloggers (twins) and oh gosh, I love them.
– Underland to Wonderland by Danielle Eskdale: She is such an incredible photographer and I love her travel posts.
– KJAndersen by Kajsa Josephine Andersen: Kajsa is a Norwegian fashion and lifestyle blogger and one of the first blogging friends I made. Her posts are always short, crisp and easy-to-digest.
Q. What do you think makes your blog different from the rest? What is Somdyuti’s USP?
It is probably a cliché but I like being myself. It’s pretty obvious from my blog that I’m obsessed with fictional characters. I often let slip my inner fangirl in my posts. Weird as it may sound, I never thought my readers would enjoy it. I’m told that my posts are very entertaining and funny. I’m glad that my stories make my readers laugh. It’s nice to know that they can relate to them. The response has been quite overwhelming. So I guess that’s my USP.
Q. You have been featured on many different sites and also been in WIN’14’s Top 5 Fashion blogs. How important is this recognition for you?
It was lovely. Never in my wildest dream did I anticipate it. I was mostly taken aback. But it felt nice. It’s not everyday I see my blog’s name featured somewhere. So yes, I was very happy!
Q. How do you promote your blog posts? Are you relaxed about the traffic and response or does less traffic affect you?
I depend mostly on Twitter and Facebook to promote my posts. I usually spread out different posts to be shared all throughout the day.
What I really look forward to is response. I’m more interested how my readers are reacting to my posts than the traffic as a whole. But yes, I try to keep the traffic in check too. I like seeing what’s doing well and what isn’t.
Q. Tell us about your presence on social media. How much of a help has it been to you as a blogger?
I love Twitter when it comes to interacting with other bloggers. Especially through Twitter chats. I have already made such lovely friends through these chats. Besides, it is so much easy to get instant feedback or even let someone know that you like their post. It’s always good to know that I’m not alone.
Q. What has your experience been with BlogAdda?
Wonderful! I love the WOW prompts, although I have never tried one myself. I love the campaigns BlogAdda does too.
My personal style is: Very very casual and laid-back. If I could I would live in my pajamas all day. I’m pretty lazy when it comes to dressing up.
I’m passionate about: Books, books and more books.
One way to rescue a bad hair/bad skin day: Ponytail or buns. I’d rather not make it any worse than it already is.
I get happy when: I’m buying books. Also, whenever my college declares a sudden holiday (which is quite often really).
I get irritated when: My internet is working at snail’s pace.
One fashion tip that always saves the day: Jeans is our knight-in-comfy-fabric.
If I could raid one wardrobe, it would belong to: Pippa Middleton. Also, Zooey Deschanel because she has the prettiest collection of dresses!
Favourite book: There’s just too many. But umm if I had to pick just one, it’ll be the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling.
My one tiny wish is: Travel the world.
How did you like reading Somdyuti’s interview? Do let us know in the comments section below. If you would like us to interview a particular blogger, drop us a line and we’ll try our best!