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An Interview With Writer/Blogger Holly Jahangiri

Posted by on Aug 10, 2012

I can’t tell you how long I’ve known or read Holly’s stuff but it’s been at least 3 years or so. You almost can’t miss her on writing sites and on a lot of blogs, and of course she’s got a lot going on in her own right. Multiple blogs, books, writing projects and the like, and in all the right social media places. She’s someone who shows that if you plan right you really can get a lot done. Don’t only enjoy this interview; learn from it:

1. We might as well get this out of the way first; how many blogs and websites do you actually have? I found a few, including one, a Typepad blog, that you’ve let go. lol

You get right to the point, don’t you, Mitch? I…don’t honestly know. The ones I keep up to date are these:

http://jahangiri.us/2013 – that’s my personal blog, and the most active.
http://jahangiri.us/books – that’s run, more or less, by my imaginary friends – we authors like to call them “characters” – Trockle, Gurgelda, Irma and her guppies, and some that are still in the making.
http://race2hugo.net – it’s a cheeky dare, a periodical, a dream, and an ongoing project.
http://thenextgoal.com – this is the blog I won last year, and it’s a team effort – it’s nothing without Larry, Ntathu, Brandon, Neeraj, and occasional guest bloggers like James Pruitt.

There are a couple on WordPress.com, one on Tumblr, one on Posterous, a few on Blogger… the Typepad blog wasn’t exactly “let go,” it was a step in the migration from Vox (now closed) to my personal blog. I hate to let anything go, though. Does that make me an Internet hoarder? Seriously, they all come in handy from time to time; if someone has a question about how to do something, I can check it out. That’s really how I’ve managed to accumulate so many in the first place – curiosity and the need to try things out for myself, if they sound interesting. They’re not ALL that interesting, in the long run.

2. You are way connected on social media. I get asked this about writing all my blogs but how do you keep up with it all?

You’re assuming I do. I try, but I think you’d have to be superhuman to keep up with everything, and I’m not superhuman. Then again, people think I type 500 words a minute. It’s not true. The secret to looking like you type 500 words a minute is to type in phrases, instead of full paragraphs or sentences – when you’re in IM with someone, keep them busy reading while you type the next bit, and they think you’ve got mad typing skillz. Same thing with Social Media – I write, I try to keep the conversation going, I get friends talking to each other, then I go write some more. And if I miss a few things here and there, well…don’t we all?

3. Do you make your living writing? If so, how are you doing it, and if not what else do you do?

I have a full time job. I’ve worked as a technical writer, documentation project manager, and social media analyst. I “moonlight” as an author – I’ve written two children’s books, Trockle, and A Puppy, Not a Guppy, and I have contributed to several anthologies of short stories and poetry. I blog for fun and sometimes to promote my books, but I have never seriously tried to monetize my blog.

4. You actually won one of your blogs via a contest, beating my buddy Mitch Allen along the way. How did you do it, how did it feel to win and was the effort worth it?

It was an incredibly intense competition – by the end, it was just grueling and exhausting. I remember one day, Neeraj Sachdeva and I were head to head on “who can publish the most posts” – I think EACH of us published nineteen in one day. That was a truly miserable experience – I mean, at the time we were both functioning on adrenaline and fumes and competitive zeal, but I think sustaining that kind of competitive drive over ten weeks left us a little burnt out on it.

We had a lot of fun at the beginning – we bonded as a team and had meetings in Google Hangouts, and it was really something special. Unfortunately, the nature of the game was such that only one would be left standing at the end. We went from being teammates to competitors (and we always KNEW that was coming, but until week 5, we were undefeated, so we didn’t have to face it and I think that made it harder when we finally had to do it). It felt a little bit like being in The Hunger Games, rather than Survivor. We even tried to change the game and eat the berries, but that didn’t fly.

5. Let’s talk about the writing process. Is it different for you depending on what you’re writing?

The process is a bit different, of course, between non-fiction or technical writing and writing fiction or children’s picture books, sure. One requires research; the other requires allowing my “imaginary friends” out to play and give dictation. I suppose blogging is a combination of these two, more or less.

6. How would you describe your style, which is a lot different than mine? I have to admit that sometimes it hurts my head. lol

What the heck does that mean? Should I send you a bottle of Advil, Mitch? I like to think my style is an eccentric mash-up of Erma Bombeck, Edgar Allan Poe, and O. Henry, with occasional flashes of Guy de Maupassant, Shel Silverstein, and Tom Lehrer. I don’t know – how would YOU describe my style?

This brings up something I think of from time to time: Is it up to an author to describe his or her style? I’ve heard writers claim to write “classic literature,” but I always thought that one of the requirements of that genre was that the author be dead. I aspire to be read, not dead.

7. Since you have an Amazon account I went to look and saw that you have 4 books up there. What was it like writing those and getting them published, and do you have anything on the horizon?

Well, there are a few others – I think you’ve read Innocents & Demons, right? Hidden Lies is the first published short story anthology. Vivian and I published that together in 2005, and that’s where our publishing paths diverged: She decided to build a small publishing empire, and I decided I was really happy being an author and had no desire to be a publisher! I contributed several poems to Walking the Earth. When Vivian asked if I’d ever found a publisher for Trockleicon – a book she’d read and believed in the minute I wrote it – I had to admit that I really hadn’t tried. I’m really bad about submitting my work for publication. I don’t mind rejection; I just don’t like throwing it into the abyss and waiting to hear something back. So no, Trockle was still just a dog-eared manuscript tucked into my son’s bookcase, and I was thrilled that 4RV Publishing wanted to bring it to the rest of the world. They later published my second children’s book, A Puppy, Not a Guppyicon – that one was inspired by my kids’ pleas for a pet, but also my own experiences as a kid whose parents were slow to warm to the idea of a puppy.

I have a couple of things on the horizon – I’ve got a third children’s book in the works. It’s being illustrated, and should be ready for prime time later this year or early next year (Update: Holly’s third children’s book, A New Leaf for Lyle, was released in May 2014, and can be found on Amazon). And then there’s the race2hugo.net dare – your friend Mitchell Allen started that, and we got Marian Allen involved, as well, and now, well… I haven’t heard from Mitch in a while. Is he still breathing or did he stow away on the new Mars Rover?

8. I was really intrigued by your post Don’t Feed The Trolls. I also remember your position on kind of the same subject on a past Facebook post. You know I tend to believe that free speech goes both ways, and if people get responses they didn’t expect and don’t like that they shouldn’t say those things to begin with. Talk about your position on this and what you feel separates a troll from someone who may just be having a really bad day.

There’s a fair amount of psychology involved, and I’m not sure any of us can distinguish the trolls from the grouches 100% of the time with 100% accuracy. But here’s an example – I got a really nasty critique, once, on writing.com. If I’d had less self-confidence, I’d have crumpled up in a little damp ball of mush and tears, and maybe quit writing altogether. Instead, I read and reread the critique until I felt pretty sure the writer hadn’t even read, and wasn’t commenting on, my story, at all. I read his words with the eyes of someone who has occasionally had a bad day and might’ve been tempted to kick the dog as they tossed their briefcase by the door.

I wrote back to the critic, something to the effect of, “I’m really sorry you’ve had a bad day. Sounds like maybe someone’s kicked you around and given you a bad time, and I hope that doing the same to a complete stranger has helped you, in some way, to feel just a little bit better. Have a happier week!”

In less than six hours, I had a reply, an apology, and a new friend. Sure enough, it was a kid – 17 or so – and he’d had a lousy, rotten, awful day at school. And because I’d responded with a little sympathy – without being angry or being a complete doormat about it – he immediately realized how stupid the attack on me had been, and we wiped the slate clean and started over. He was a pretty good writer, too.

Of course, writers love to get a reaction – so who knows? Maybe I’ve mistaken a few trolls for fans, over the years. I think the most cutting comment I ever got was something along the lines of “This is boring. Stop now,” on my blog. But they were outnumbered, so I ignored them. 🙂

Trolls, on the other hand, knowingly taunt and harass people to get their kicks. They delight in getting people emotionally spun up; it’s just a game to them. I really believe that people who live to make others feel bad must feel pretty rotten about themselves, but I’m not a shrink, and it’s not my job to save the world. I’d rather shut down the conversation before it gets really ugly than to see good people get hurt.

Freedom of speech exists for several reasons – being trollish is not one of them. Freedom of speech exists to protect the exchange of ideas, primarily political or social ideas, that may be unpopular. The kind of stuff that may constitute “though crimes” in other countries. But with freedom comes responsibility. Trolls don’t want to communicate, they want to dominate – and that’s the antithesis of “free exchange of ideas,” isn’t it? My blog is not “public property” and the First Amendment doesn’t give trolls squatters’ rights.

9. Your stuff is so creative. Do you walk around like I do with all these ideas of things to write about, or do you have periods where you struggle to find something to write about?

I do have times when I feel like my head is just empty of anything worth writing down. What that usually means is that I’m hanging on too tight, trying to control the action, and my characters are balking – refusing to help me tell their story. Instead of struggling, I find other types of creative outlets – photography, painting, scrapbooking – I just let the ideas simmer instead of beating my head against the proverbial wall.

10. Time for you; talk about what’s coming up, your business, you, and what you’d like your future to be.

This is how you ask a grown-up “What do you want to be when you grow up?” Or “Where do you see yourself in five years?” It’s an interesting question, because the fact is, I’m pretty happy right here and now. I’ve got a good 15-20 years before I even think of retiring, and even then, I can’t imagine not staying busy. Of course, I’d like to know that my kids have found a way to do whatever it is in life that makes them happy. I’d like to have a few successful books to my name. I’d like to travel. But there’s really nothing “missing” now.
 

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116 Comments »

thanks Mitch, Interesting post about Holly, a very busy lady – who loves writing!!
I loved her reply to the critic – something we all get from time to time, but need to deal with:)
Jacs
Jacs Henderson recently posted…What is your Vibration? Control Your Thoughts, Control Your LifeMy Profile

August 10th, 2012 | 10:33 AM

Thanks for the visit Jacs. Yes, she loves to write & does it well. I actually once replied to a critic that way and it turned out he was fishing for people giving positive responses to criticism so he could do something nice for them, and he ended up doing something nice for me; that was intriguing. I can’t say I do it all the time, though I try. 🙂

August 11th, 2012 | 11:53 AM

If you ever find time, you should read how she replies to spam and spammers. Holly, would you mind putting a link here into how you deal with them? 😉
Hajra recently posted…Bloggers Little Book of ABCsMy Profile

August 21st, 2012 | 5:59 PM
Holly Jahangiri:

Hi, Jacs! Mitch asks some really excellent (and pointed!) questions. Thanks for reading and jumping in with comments. Did I mention how much I love comments? LOL – Mitch didn’t mention my comment addiction, did he?

You know, I posted something on Facebook a few weeks ago about leading a sheltered life online – it’s not true, really, but it’s very easy to forget about those trolls when you hang out in a few “safe” and happy communities. Even a little controversy and heated debate is okay, when it’s among friends and people who aren’t out to hurt each other, and know when to back off before they do. But if you go out and read comments on most major news outlets, it’s UGLY out there. I think it reflects a lack of moderation, though. A few people may be yanking chains just to see how far they can push it before those news outlets shut down comments entirely. “Consider the source” is one of those expressions that really holds true on the Internet. If someone wants to be taken seriously, really wants people to pay attention or to change thinking or behavior, they don’t act like a troll. They may get emotional, heated, even angry – but they don’t just set out to devastate individuals repeatedly.

I was watching a little TV – sort of behind me, only half paying attention – and there were celebrities reading off the nasty Tweets some people wrote about them. Hateful, hurtful, awful potshots people take, thoughtlessly, forgetting those are real human beings, too. I loved the way they showed people that the best way to deflect that is to have a sense of humor about it, and learn not to take it that personally. Now, if your own MOTHER Tweeted nasty things… 😉
Holly Jahangiri recently posted…Trockle Says, “Paint ME a Story? Awesome!”My Profile

August 10th, 2012 | 11:00 AM

Holly, I figured Jacs & others would notice that you love leaving comments as much as writing the articles themselves. lol

Thanks for doing the interview, and I can truly say I’ve gotten a lot out of it. I don’t think people appreciate writers as much as they sometimes say they do because no one wants to pay for it. So we’re both in competition against those folks who’ll write for a penny a word because it’s “good enough”, and that type of thing waters down the quality stuff. You keep on keeping on and inspiring others.

August 11th, 2012 | 12:00 PM
Holly Jahangiri:

I’m not sure writers or artists are, for the most part, appreciated until they’re dead, Mitch – but hey, it’s more fun to be alive, so whatever. 🙂

I don’t write “only for myself” and I won’t write for a few pennies a word (paradoxically, I will write for free when it amuses me to do so, and it often does, but that’s on MY terms).
Holly Jahangiri recently posted…Lost in a Dream: Small Children and Old PeopleMy Profile

August 11th, 2012 | 6:40 PM

Holly, it’s an interesting thing when we discuss whether we write for others or ourselves. I think we do both because if I don’t feel it then I’m not going to write it and if no one else likes it but I do that’s good enough for me. However, I do hope people like it and everything else I write in all the places I write, and I hope they continue and even buy something I write from time to time. But I do find that, for the most part, people don’t know how to value writers, and that’s a shame. I have things to do and places to go, but if they don’t know how to pay me and balk at my rate… well, you know. lol

August 12th, 2012 | 10:34 PM
Holly Jahangiri:

Well, I’m just lazy enough that I could be happy reading and daydreaming, if it were just for ME, and me alone. But some days, I’m satisfied if just one other person gets what I’m saying. It’s not about millions of readers – it’s about each one of those readers, individually, and having a little “meeting of the minds.”
Holly Jahangiri recently posted…Interview with Author Vivian ZabelMy Profile

August 18th, 2012 | 10:51 AM

With some posts, I’m not sure if I get even that one. lol
Mitch Mitchell recently posted…Blogging Tips – Will People Like Your Blog?My Profile

August 18th, 2012 | 11:14 AM
Rasheed hooda:

Hey Mitch,

This is very ammusing and entertaining.

Did you know that Holly lives in Houston and that I had twisted balloons for her family a couple of years ago at a Cici’s restaurant?

Hi Holly, good to “run into you” here on Mitch’s blog.

August 17th, 2012 | 1:37 PM
Holly Jahangiri:

LOL!!! Small world, Rasheed – how’s the nomadic life treating you, these days?

Oh, Lord, it’s been a while – my son’s a Junior, now, and 6’3″… Are you in Houston, still?
Holly Jahangiri recently posted…Trockle Says, “Paint ME a Story? Awesome!”My Profile

August 17th, 2012 | 2:15 PM

I should have guessed that you and Holly would know each other. Heck, I’m wondering if Holly & Adrienne have ever met. And I’ve been to Houston, but way before I knew any of y’all.

August 17th, 2012 | 4:39 PM
Holly Jahangiri:

Adrienne and I STILL haven’t met, strangely enough. 😉 We’ve talked about that!
Holly Jahangiri recently posted…The Incredible, Inedible Common Tater and His AwardMy Profile

August 18th, 2012 | 10:49 AM

Go meet bloggers from your neighborhood! 😉 And send us videos of your conversation! It would be blog fodder for a year! 🙂
Hajra recently posted…Bloggers Little Book of ABCsMy Profile

August 21st, 2012 | 6:01 PM

I’m with Holly, I really can’t imagine retiring. Sounds like she’s having fun writing so as long as something is still fun keep on doing it!

Enjoy the journey.

Mandy
Mandy Allen recently posted…Making Sure Your Video Is CentredMy Profile

August 10th, 2012 | 5:39 PM

Holly’s great people, and in my mind if I can continue doing things I want to do and make good money doing it (right now I want to make lots more money doing it), then there will never be a reason to retire.

August 11th, 2012 | 12:03 PM
Holly Jahangiri:

“Holly’s great people”? Several of them… all at the same time. 😉
Holly Jahangiri recently posted…100 Good Things About MeMy Profile

August 11th, 2012 | 6:42 PM

Holly, don’t you live in the south? Think about it; all of us are more than just one thing, so yes, you are several people at the same time, as I hope I am as well. 🙂

August 12th, 2012 | 10:35 PM
Holly Jahangiri:

I thought you were referring to all the little people living in my head, there, Mitch. 😉 Not the southern second person singuplural.
Holly Jahangiri recently posted…Trockle Says, “Paint ME a Story? Awesome!”My Profile

August 14th, 2012 | 11:29 AM

Both! lol

August 14th, 2012 | 12:19 PM

It could be possible. I wouldn’t be surprised if there are more than three people living in your head…. wait, this would make a great Hugo story?

P.S. If you end up writing one, make sure to take my name in the acceptance speech! 😉
Hajra recently posted…Bloggers Little Book of ABCsMy Profile

August 21st, 2012 | 6:04 PM
Holly Jahangiri:

Life’s too short to spend it doing things that are soul-killing and no fun – so when you find something you enjoy doing, that feeds your soul, and makes you laugh – you keep doing it.

That said, being able to find the humor in darned near anything is a gift, too. 😉 Thanks, Mandy!
Holly Jahangiri recently posted…Champagne and Strawberries = Vindication!My Profile

August 11th, 2012 | 6:41 PM

Humor or sarcasm? 😉
Hajra recently posted…Bloggers Little Book of ABCsMy Profile

August 21st, 2012 | 6:04 PM
Carl:

Great interview, Mitch. So many nice blog that I see for first time and I definitely need a deeper look. I see some great creative ideas and real love for writing.

August 12th, 2012 | 5:55 AM

Good deal Carl. Holly’s very entertaining and I think you could learn a lot from her style.

August 12th, 2012 | 10:39 PM
Holly Jahangiri:

Hi, Carl – drop by my blogs for a chat, any time!
Holly Jahangiri recently posted…Trockle Says, “Paint ME a Story? Awesome!”My Profile

August 14th, 2012 | 11:29 AM
Mitchell Allen:

How wonderful! Two of my favorite buddies chatting. Holly, you’re being modest. You DO type 500 words a minute. LOL.

I’m most impressed with your reasons for having so many blogs – you love to experiment. I can relate to that. Remember all the silly stuff we did on CCC?

What’s going on with your Hugo quest? I’m struggling to finish my story, but I wondered if yours was complete?

Mitch, thanks for sharing this wonderful interview!

Cheers,

Mitch

August 12th, 2012 | 12:23 PM
Holly Jahangiri:

Mine is NOT complete yet, Mitch – but we need to post something soon lest we lose our street cred as a REAL periodical. That would be sad, after my geeky chats with the very nice lady at the Library of Congress.

I keep thinking I NEED to drop by CCC soon, to jump start the creative flow. I’ve been in an…analytical mood, lately.
Holly Jahangiri recently posted…Trockle Says, “Paint ME a Story? Awesome!”My Profile

August 14th, 2012 | 11:31 AM
Mitchell Allen:

Holly, I hear you loud and clear. Analytical is fine, as long as it isn’t retentive. LOL

Cheers,

Mitch

August 14th, 2012 | 2:16 PM
Holly Jahangiri:

Retentive? Never. 😉

What were we talking about?

See?
Holly Jahangiri recently posted…Trockle Says, “Paint ME a Story? Awesome!”My Profile

August 17th, 2012 | 2:30 PM
Mitchell Allen:

It was kind of dirty . LOL

Cheers,

Mitch

August 17th, 2012 | 8:23 PM
Holly Jahangiri:

ROFL!! Oh, my… We need to do something stoopid like that again, soon!
Holly Jahangiri recently posted…The Incredible, Inedible Common Tater and His AwardMy Profile

August 18th, 2012 | 10:54 AM
Jeevan Jacob John:

Learned a lot about more you, Holly – No, I don’t mean to stalk you or anything with that information, but it’s cool 😉 (Thanks, Mitch!).

You are right, Mitch. Holly has got some awesome writing skills (She, along with Hajra is having a great competition over at Blogengage, right Holly? :D).

Since it is an interview, here is a question, Holly: What was your best blogging experience/accomplishment/moment?

PS to Holly: Just visited your blog, noticed you had changed the layout. Love the new design 😀

August 14th, 2012 | 6:49 PM

Glad you enjoyed the interview Jeevan. I think when you get questions of a different sort and the interviewee shares lots of information that we all learn something good.

August 14th, 2012 | 11:26 PM
Holly Jahangiri:

Eh? Speak up, young ‘un… did I just hear you say “Holly is awesomely creative”?? Yes, I know that’s what you MEANT to say, Jeevan, I know.

Best blogging experience/accomplishment/moment? Wow. The BEST might actually have been one of the worst, ironically – I’d have to say that the whole “Surviving the Blog” experience was amazing and wonderful, even as it was exhausting, both mentally and physically, and almost made me give up blogging to run away and join an Amish community. It was INTENSE, and I met a lot of cool people and had a lot of fun. But no… actually, that’s NOT the best.

The best may have been in sharing my experience – my fears, my sense of humor, the whole ridiculous side of cancer last year. Because I think that brought out the BEST in a lot of my friends and readers, and I found so much love and support and humor in return. Because I swear, laughter really IS the best medicine and it would’ve been a horrible experience if we couldn’t have laughed together throughout. I have to say that was actually really life affirming, and having several people thank me for helping them overcome that, “Oh, God, my friend’s got cancer and now I have NO FREAKING CLUE what to say to them or how to talk to them so I think I’ll just get really busy and stop talking to them or even making eye contact with them altogether” thing – that was really awesome.
Holly Jahangiri recently posted…Trockle Says, “Paint ME a Story? Awesome!”My Profile

August 17th, 2012 | 2:22 PM
Holly Jahangiri:

And what do you mean, “She, along with Hajra is having a great competition over at Blogengage, right Holly?”

Folks, Jeevan’s IN that competition – he’s getting very clever and will soon be publishing a BOOK, called, “How to Get Your Competition Selling YOUR Product,” but for now, just go check out his contest entry, How to Throw in More Perceived Value to Your Posts? at http://www.blogengage.com/blogger/how-to-throw-in-more-perceived-value-to-your-posts/

Dude, you need to start leaving that link in your comments. Put CommentLuv to work for you. 😉
Holly Jahangiri recently posted…Trockle Says, “Paint ME a Story? Awesome!”My Profile

August 17th, 2012 | 2:37 PM

That reminds me that I haven’t stopped by Jeevan’s post as yet! I will do it soon. As soon as the Eid holiday is worn off, you will find me there!
Hajra recently posted…Why you will always be too young / too old for social media.My Profile

August 19th, 2012 | 9:29 AM

Very interesting post for us bloggers. This interview has teached me how to not become nuts when blogging as blogging must be done naturally about staff around us and not only. Such wonderful source of information. Cheers for sharing it!
Chris recently posted…New Graphic Design TutorialsMy Profile

August 16th, 2012 | 7:37 PM

I’m sure Holly thanks you Chris. She has a great process in writing in multiple spaces and multiple styles, and it’s something many people could stand to learn.

August 17th, 2012 | 8:56 AM

Thanks Mitch, that’s very interesting post about Holly. She must be very busy with writing, which I admire.
Writing in multiple styles must be an art that not everybody can do. Cheers!
Chris recently posted…Graphic Design Mistakes You Should AvoidMy Profile

August 17th, 2012 | 9:54 AM
Holly Jahangiri:

Hi, Chris! As I was telling Jeevan the other day, there are times I’m surfing for something to read, and WISH my blogger friends would write anything BUT blogging tips… but if I read blogging tips, I prefer the ones that have some story to them, too. I like to be entertained along with my enlightenment. 🙂

I have been very busy, guys, but not as much with writing as I’d like to be (as evidenced by the fact that every time I see Mitchell Allen, I feel like we’re both playing the liar’s game). Work, end of summer-back to school stuff, offline life (oh, hey, there it is! I have one!)… 🙂

It would help if I could reliably count on getting emails to replies to posts I follow, too (it’s not just here, either – I don’t get notified when comments are posted on my own blogs). 🙂

Oh – take a look at the link below, and you’ll see one of the things I’ve got in the works! (I should get Rasheed to come make balloon monsters…)
Holly Jahangiri recently posted…Trockle Says, “Paint ME a Story? Awesome!”My Profile

August 17th, 2012 | 2:28 PM

Hello Mitch and Holly,

Loved reading all what you have in this interview. As I mentioned, I also want to interview someone on my blog. And whenever I will do it, there will be no one but Holly, at first. She’s the one who has taught me what blogging actually is and I think, she somehow has helped me to improve my blogging and especially writing. I love her blog and ESPECIALLY her writing skills.

Holly, you are one of the very few REAL bloggers out there. I wish I can write like you, someday, honestly. And I am going to do this interview experiment on my blog with YOU soon. 😀

Thanks you for sharing this, Mitch!
Abhi Balani recently posted…3 Characteristics Of A Lousy Guest BloggerMy Profile

August 18th, 2012 | 2:22 PM

Abhi, glad to see you here and glad Holly’s such an inspiration to you.

August 18th, 2012 | 2:24 PM

Yes, she is. She is the one who taught me the strategies to win contest. 😀 Holly…. what would you say?
Abhi Balani recently posted…4 Good Blogs Aimed At Grammar GeeksMy Profile

August 19th, 2012 | 1:23 AM
Holly Jahangiri:

Any time, Abhi…you’ll just have to come up with all NEW questions, now! 🙂

Maybe I’ll interview YOU, instead.

Mitch, Abhi, and Hajra (and everyone else who reads these comments) – did you ever see this post, on my blog? http://jahangiri.us/new/2009/08/30/interview-thoughts-on-blogging/
Holly Jahangiri recently posted…The Incredible, Inedible Common Tater and His AwardMy Profile

August 19th, 2012 | 12:43 AM

Interview me?? LOL! And the reason for that will be….?

I don’t think I have seen that post. Well, I guess it will help me a bit.
Abhi Balani recently posted…How to annoy people while promoting your blogMy Profile

August 19th, 2012 | 1:25 AM

Hi,

Such a fine person to be interviewed. I have known Holly for almost two years now and I couldn’t be more thankful for having met such a wonderful blogger and an even lovelier person.

I just read the whole interview and realized “I know most of these!” 😉
Hajra recently posted…Why you will always be too young / too old for social media.My Profile

August 18th, 2012 | 3:35 PM

Glad you stopped by Hajra; you knew more about her than I did. lol

August 18th, 2012 | 8:11 PM
Holly Jahangiri:

There’s one good thing about repeating yourself as you grow older, Hajra – friends realize you’re at least consistent. And the pleasure is all mine, truly – Mitch, did I mention Hajra was the prize in the contest where we met? That’s right – she took first place and I took third, but I got a new friend – and in my book, that’s the grand prize.
Holly Jahangiri recently posted…The Incredible, Inedible Common Tater and His AwardMy Profile

August 19th, 2012 | 12:45 AM

That’s probably one of the nicest things I’ve ever seen one person say about another. 🙂

August 19th, 2012 | 12:55 AM

It sure was. Every time people ask me the most memorable thing in my blogging journey as of now, I keep referring to the first time I was in the contest and met Holly through it. Though I knew Melanie (the other winner) before the contest started but Holly was someone I wasn’t acquainted with at all. And it sure was fun. The most important thing is that we helped each other through the contest. People get scared – obviously thinking about the consequences of giving their competitors the extra points. But they don’t realize the bigger prize being taken away from the whole thing!
Hajra recently posted…Why you will always be too young / too old for social media.My Profile

August 19th, 2012 | 9:34 AM

Getting scared, holding on too tight, worrying too much – all those things, I think, actually decrease your odds of winning. And these contests go on too long to make grueling, miserable work of it. I remember friends who’d been commenting on my post (knowing they were supporting me with the points I’d get for more comments) saying, “WHAT ARE YOU DOING? You’re giving points to your competitor??” and I’d point out that Hajra was over there, doing the same, as well as giving me tips on other places to promote my post and ways to leave links with CommentLuv – we were helping each other, and laughing over the silliness of it all. And I was still recovering from surgery, my step-mom was hospitalized (I had to take a brief break from the contest in order to go visit her and my dad), and we were going on vacation (I wanted this new compact camera – I just wanted to win enough, and in time, to order and get that before we went to our family reunion – third prize and Kiesha’s prompt transfer of the prize let me do that – with a whole 24 hours to spare!!) – so friendship really was an even better gift.

But Hajra – I need another camera. I fell down the stairs when we were at the wedding this summer, and cracked the case. (Still works, but its days may be numbered.)
Holly Jahangiri recently posted…Bloggers Little Book of ABCsMy Profile

August 19th, 2012 | 10:40 AM

LOL! Have I told that how I haven’t spend a penny of all the contest winnings as yet! 😉 Apparently I have been saving it up for a really smart smartphone (at least I am hoping that it is smart because I am paying so much for it!).

Camera vs smartphones… don’t we dream enough? 😉
Hajra recently posted…Bloggers Little Book of ABCsMy Profile

August 19th, 2012 | 10:48 AM

Hmm. I hear smartphones aren’t nearly as pricey over there as over here! I need a new one of those, myself. But I think maybe that can wait a bit. Maybe. I hope, because here we get locked into one provider – and while I’m pretty happy with mine, it’s always a bit galling. Most smartphones actually have pretty good cameras, these days! Now the big question is – higher res camera or camera on the front AND back, so you can skype from your phone?

Hey, Mitch, remember when video calls were a thing of the future? I think we actually put a man on the moon before that became a reality! LOL – did we manage it BEFORE 2001???
Holly Jahangiri recently posted…Bloggers Little Book of ABCsMy Profile

August 19th, 2012 | 11:01 AM

Cameras and smartphones in one is one option. There is a new one that has a 41 MP camera…but I really don’t need to be that particular about clarity… not in pictures; maybe words only! 😉
Hajra recently posted…Bloggers Little Book of ABCsMy Profile

August 19th, 2012 | 11:08 AM

41MP in a smart phone? OH, hell no – you’d need a suitcase for the RAM. 16MP will do fine. 😉 For the rear facing camera. I’d even settle for 8MP on the front, for skype. I don’t need friends to see every pore on the tip of my nose, now, do I? (At some point, high res defeats part of the purpose – unless your camera does what mine does, automatically compressing images for email, facebook, etc.) But 41MP? The processing time, alone, is probably a drawback there. I wouldn’t mind that at all in a DSLR, but those are HUGELY pricey!! No one’s giving out that kind of prize in a blogging contest! LOL (I wish, but then we’d be up against Darren Rowse, for sure.)
Holly Jahangiri recently posted…Bloggers Little Book of ABCsMy Profile

August 19th, 2012 | 11:12 AM

I wonder how many people actually think you and I are leaving a link to the SAME POST, Hajra?
Holly Jahangiri recently posted…Bloggers Little Book of ABCsMy Profile

August 19th, 2012 | 11:14 AM

LOL! Yes, maybe they have noticed. But I wonder if they are curious enough to check out either… or both! 😉
Hajra recently posted…Bloggers Little Book of ABCsMy Profile

August 19th, 2012 | 12:03 PM

Yeah, and sometimes our friends help up to wake up from dream. Do you remember something, Hajra? 😀

And I thought, you bought me that cold coffee from your contest winning… LOL! Wasn’t that a contest treat?

Let me know what you decide when you go to buy a phone…
Abhi Balani recently posted…3 Characteristics Of A Lousy Guest BloggerMy Profile

August 19th, 2012 | 12:02 PM

Really, what dream?

Well, the coffee was a treat for winning the contest and for being such a lovely competitor throughout the whole ordeal!

But yes, remember the smartphone I told you about… I still have to think whether I want to be spending money on that one. I am a saver! 😉
Hajra recently posted…Bloggers Little Book of ABCsMy Profile

August 19th, 2012 | 12:05 PM

uhh, the BIKE dream. How can you forget? I remember, you were trying to pull my leg about this when we met. 🙂 hehe…

I am a saver too. Just tell me your budget I will suggest you if I find something.

I guess, the conversation is getting off the topic now, as usual, with US. LOL!
Abhi Balani recently posted…3 Characteristics Of A Lousy Guest BloggerMy Profile

August 19th, 2012 | 12:59 PM

LOL! Oh yes, the bike. I am happy that you finally got it!

I am looking at the S3; but let’s see! My brother keeps tempting me by introducing me to every new phone in town!
Hajra recently posted…Bloggers Little Book of ABCsMy Profile

August 21st, 2012 | 6:08 PM

Great interview Mitch! Only goes to show that there is still a lot more I can learn from our friend Holly, aside from the regular pointers I receive from her every now and then.
Roy recently posted…Grow up with the kids!My Profile

August 19th, 2012 | 9:49 AM

True Roy. She has a lot to say and says it. lol This was a great interview, and I’m glad she did it.

August 19th, 2012 | 10:24 AM

Yeah, I’m a regular chatterbox, I am! LOL
Holly Jahangiri recently posted…Bloggers Little Book of ABCsMy Profile

August 19th, 2012 | 10:41 AM

You are and we love you for it!

We should meet someday! And then we can make a video of our chat; Epic! Will run into hours! 😉
Hajra recently posted…Bloggers Little Book of ABCsMy Profile

August 21st, 2012 | 5:48 PM

Hey Mitch,

Don’t you think you should have a plugin or something which would notify me whenever you, or the author on your blog, or someone else replies to my comment. I am coming again and again to check replies to my comment.

I know a plugin which does exactly what I need: Comment Reply Notification.

I don’t need email for each and every comment but just for replies to my comment. 🙂

What say?
Abhi Balani recently posted…How to annoy people while promoting your blogMy Profile

August 19th, 2012 | 12:05 PM

I do have a plugin Abhi, and it’s checked by default; don’t you see it there? Did you forget to check it? I just looked and it’s there.

August 19th, 2012 | 12:12 PM

Are you talking about this “Notify me of followup comments via e-mail”? 1) It’s not checked by default. 2) I think, this plugin will send me an email every time the post gets a comment. I was talking about notifications for ONLY REPLY to MY comment.
Abhi Balani recently posted…3 Characteristics Of A Lousy Guest BloggerMy Profile

August 19th, 2012 | 1:01 PM

No, it’s not checked by default, though I used to do that. And no, I’m not changing plugins because I like this one, as it integrates my threaded comments, which is the plugin that it comes from. Sorry about that.

August 19th, 2012 | 1:05 PM

Uhh no need to be sorry. It’s up to you.

August 19th, 2012 | 1:15 PM

Maybe, but it’s the courteous thing to say. 🙂

August 19th, 2012 | 3:48 PM

For some reason, Mitch, I didn’t see it right away, either. And no, it’s not checked by default – but Abhi, if you check the box, you’ll start getting notified. It’s working fine here, now.
Holly Jahangiri recently posted…Bloggers Little Book of ABCsMy Profile

August 19th, 2012 | 7:44 PM

I go back and forth as to whether it should be checked by default. I think I’m going to check the settings and go back to it again.

August 19th, 2012 | 10:37 PM

Yes, Holly, I am blogging from more than one and a half year now and I know that I will get notified if I check the box under the comment box. But MY POINT is I DON’T WANT TO GET NOTIFIED FOR EVERY COMMENT which publishes on this post, in emails. I JUST WANT TO GET NOTIFIED FOR “”REPLY”” to “MY” comment. That’s what the plugin ‘Comment Reply Notification’ does. Most of the sites have this plugin.
Abhi Balani recently posted…3 Characteristics Of A Lousy Guest BloggerMy Profile

August 20th, 2012 | 1:45 PM

Just asking Abhi, but you’re basically saying that no one else will ever leave a comment that you’d care anything about on a blog? That’s why I didn’t go that route and won’t go that route; I’d like every person to believe that someone besides the writer just might care what they have to say.

August 20th, 2012 | 2:27 PM

Oh obviously, I didn’t mean that, Mitch! I skimmed all comments which were published previously when I came to this post the very first time. And I haven’t checked that “Notify me comments” box yet but I have read almost all the comments published on this post.

You remember, I told you that I am visiting again and again to see if there are more comments or reply to my comments by you or Holly or someone else. But I just don’t like to get emails again and again.

I just got an email notifying me that someone has replied to my comment, did you install the plugin? Now, I have the link to this post in my email so I can track the post anytime just from my inbox and an email or two.

And I hope you didn’t mind me recommending that plugin to you. That was just my one cent, rest is up to you. You’re the BOSS on your blog. Right? 😀

And would you like to mention this plugin (or whatever it is) that allows me to edit my comment for few minutes just after I have published my comment.
Abhi Balani recently posted…4 Good Blogs Aimed At Grammar GeeksMy Profile

August 22nd, 2012 | 11:31 AM

Abhi, I didn’t change anything; how weird.

Recommendations for plugins are fine; I do it often myself. But I don’t make those recommendations for myself, which, based on what you wrote, is how you identified it, because you didn’t want to get emails for everyone else’s comments. I tend not to believe that adding plugins for everyone just “because” is such a good thing. That’s why I don’t have that keyword plugin because to me it’s irritating seeing that stuff, though I’m used to it. I’m using an older theme so I had to add plugins to give people some options to do things such as subscribing to comments, being able to edit their comments, etc. Those are for everyone. I love how the conversations have taken off over the last couple of weeks; this is phenomenal stuff. Even though you said you come back, imagine what you might have missed if you didn’t. 🙂

August 22nd, 2012 | 4:03 PM

You didn’t change anything? Really? OMG, what’s happening…?

I got a reply notification. Exactly, what I was suggesting. LOL! And I never checked any box (as I never do, how much I remember).

See, this is the email I got, Mitch, http://awesomescreenshot.com/02ddyzb4a Well, the screenshot will be deleted in 3 days. 🙂
Abhi Balani recently posted…3 Characteristics Of A Lousy Guest BloggerMy Profile

August 23rd, 2012 | 1:35 PM

That’s interesting Abhi but truly, I didn’t change a thing. How odd that is if you know you didn’t check anything. Maybe it comes on by default if you come back to comment again, but there’s no setting that I see for that option.

August 23rd, 2012 | 1:45 PM
Holly Jahangiri:

You get touchy with me like that over a PLUG-IN, Abhi, I’m gonna start thinking you earn an affiliate commission every time someone installs it. 🙂

And I agree, Mitch. I can usually tell from the email notices (when I get them) if they’re replying to me or to someone else.
Holly Jahangiri recently posted…Trockle Says, “Paint ME a Story? Awesome!”My Profile

August 20th, 2012 | 3:54 PM

Holly, I could never imagine showing up at a blog, seeing you’ve commented on it, and not seeing anymore comments you might make on that post after I’ve written one. The same goes for a lot of people. I can always unsubscribe from posts after awhile, and often do when it gets to a certain point.

August 20th, 2012 | 4:02 PM
Holly Jahangiri:

And if that ever happens, Mitch? Odds are, I forgot to check the little box. 😉 Or he notification failed. It happens, but it’s never intentional. In fact, the way I knew to keep checking here, at first (before I found and checked the little box) was when you’d share the post again, and I’d go “Oh–gosh, wonder if there are any new comments?!” Abhi’s had to do that with me a few times, which is probably why he’s YELLING AT US over there… I think he’s getting a bit tired of being my manual comments notification system. 😉 But still, his partiality towards that ONE PLUG-IN, geez…
Holly Jahangiri recently posted…Trockle Says, “Paint ME a Story? Awesome!”My Profile

August 20th, 2012 | 4:15 PM

I figure we all have something that irks us that happens to be a plugin. Mine is that captcha thing; hate it with a passion because it’s hard to see, no matter how large I make my screen. There are things I’ve considered and decided against over the years, but I have to admit that I’ve only tested one thing recently. Now I have to see if I’ve written about it. lol

August 20th, 2012 | 4:24 PM
Holly Jahangiri:

I think CAPTCHA is just rude. But so is spam. So you have to find a happy compromise, and none are perfect. I have Conditional CAPTCHA, but you won’t ever see it unless my spam-catchers have flagged you and CC is giving you a second chance. If you see it, it has saved your comment from being summarily axed by Akismet. Even then, it’s not some illegible code, it’s a very simple math problem.
Holly Jahangiri recently posted…Trockle Says, “Paint ME a Story? Awesome!”My Profile

August 20th, 2012 | 4:29 PM

LOL! You know what, when I was writing about that plugin in my comment when I mentioned it, I was about to mention this also that I am not getting commissions. HONESTLY! 🙂

But there are few plugins I recommend and I love to recommend to all my blogger friends like that WordPress security plugin I reviewed on my blog. Just because they are so good. And can make things real easy for bloggers and their blog readers. Don’t you think?

And Holly, I am not YELLING at all. I cannot YELL ever, at least to my elders.
Abhi Balani recently posted…How to annoy people while promoting your blogMy Profile

August 22nd, 2012 | 11:20 AM
Holly Jahangiri:

Some days, it feels good to be old. 🙂
Holly Jahangiri recently posted…Trockle Says, “Paint ME a Story? Awesome!”My Profile

August 22nd, 2012 | 11:53 AM

This conversation is huge! And yes, I will jump right in and add my take! Feel free to disagree. For ages (like about two years now!) I have always focused on one of the most important thing in blogging as conversations – that is what makes Holly so awesome. One of the reasons why “big shot” bloggers have more number of comments (One of the many reasons) is that they focus on having conversations rather than comments.

Conversations happen only when you listen to what others have to say; not only focus on exchange of talk between two people. Imagine the “number of comments” if three people went on and on for quite some time. Abhi, think of it as this way. Holly, you and me conversing on your contest posts! If we just went there, commented, saw your response and forgot about it would it be as much fun. It gets to be more fun, much more engaging, and so much more valuable only because we take interest in all the comments there and reply and butt ourselves into every comment!

So, notification to every comment will always be preferred because I have to know what other people think. That is how I will learn, that is how I will discuss, that is how I will debate, that is how I will have a conversation and that is how I will blog!

Ok, now come attack me people! 😉
Hajra recently posted…Bloggers Little Book of ABCsMy Profile

August 21st, 2012 | 5:57 PM

I know this wasn’t aimed at me but I’m certainly not going to attack you Hajra, since I stated up front that its my belief. 🙂

August 21st, 2012 | 7:27 PM

Hey Hajra,

Yes, now YOU made a very good point and I agree with that. But I can read all comments on blogs like the one I am commenting on but not all. You know, there are lots of blog with REALLY useless comments (thank you, nice post sort of). And to be honest, suppose if a post gets comments in 100s then seriously I won’t like getting notified for every comment.

But this is also true that I would love to read ALL comments some times on some posts.
And I really agree to what you said. 🙂 You are so right, girl. Thanks 😀
Abhi Balani recently posted…3 Characteristics Of A Lousy Guest BloggerMy Profile

August 22nd, 2012 | 11:15 AM
Holly Jahangiri:

You need to learn to skim read and recognize “crap” comments FASTER, Abhi. 😉 That would solve the problem.

I don’t really believe we DO need to reply to every comment. That would be like saying “thank you” to a “you’re welcome” email. At some point, the conversation has to end. It’s OKAY, really.
Holly Jahangiri recently posted…Trockle Says, “Paint ME a Story? Awesome!”My Profile

August 22nd, 2012 | 11:35 AM

Yeah, and you would have noticed my presence on all of your previous guest post, and on Hajra’s, Justin’s and others contest entries, would you believe I never signed up for notifications for comments. I just have a folder in which I keep my currently conversation-active articles and visit them in every two days. LOL! I have all current contest entries there. 🙂
Abhi Balani recently posted…3 WordPress SEO plugins you may want to consider!My Profile

August 22nd, 2012 | 1:31 PM

No wonder I am a shrink…. I convince people easily! 😉
Hajra recently posted…Bloggers Little Book of ABCsMy Profile

August 22nd, 2012 | 2:56 PM

Yeah, quit bragging. LOL! Kidding…
Abhi Balani recently posted…3 Characteristics Of A Lousy Guest BloggerMy Profile

August 23rd, 2012 | 1:26 PM

I really won’t you know! 😉
Hajra recently posted…Bloggers Little Book of ABCsMy Profile

August 23rd, 2012 | 3:05 PM
Holly Jahangiri:

Your method probably IS more effective, Abhi!
Holly Jahangiri recently posted…Trockle Says, “Paint ME a Story? Awesome!”My Profile

August 22nd, 2012 | 3:05 PM

You know, it feels great when you agree me. 🙂 maybe, because it happens very few times. LOL!
Abhi Balani recently posted…4 Good Blogs Aimed At Grammar GeeksMy Profile

August 25th, 2012 | 12:47 AM

A few of them more vehement than others, eh, Roy? 🙂

I really want to frame a photo of you standing up on that stage at iBlog7… http://www.bloggermanila.com/blogs/2011/iblog-iblog7/
http://thestrugglingblogger.com/2011/04/iblog7-writers-block/
Holly Jahangiri recently posted…Bloggers Little Book of ABCsMy Profile

August 19th, 2012 | 10:55 AM
Roy:

I was reading the exchanges of comments… and I wasn’t notified of your comment, Holly. lol!

Really now, I was surprised you dug those links haha…

August 21st, 2012 | 8:16 AM

LOL – I hope you remembered to check the box, this time, Roy!

You were in your element, there, as a public speaker. How could I not remember that, or find those links?
Holly Jahangiri recently posted…Bloggers Little Book of ABCsMy Profile

August 21st, 2012 | 9:06 AM
Roy:

Just like Abhi, I didn’t check for fear that I might get notified for each every comment. But this one, I was notified alright 🙂

You know what’s funny? Angel wants me to get back on that stage next year! LOL!

August 21st, 2012 | 9:25 AM

I look at it the way Mitch does – when the conversation I’m not interested in gets overwhelming, I can unsubscribe. I’d rather get the reminders than miss a reply! (The joys of GMail – what isn’t quite spam is easily ignored. And it costs nothing.)

I’m with Angel, only I want to know why you’re not there THIS year.
Holly Jahangiri recently posted…Bloggers Little Book of ABCsMy Profile

August 21st, 2012 | 9:31 AM
Roy:

I was not able to think of any worthwhile topic to discuss, and I can’t think of any topic for next year either.

August 22nd, 2012 | 10:20 AM
Holly Jahangiri:

Brainstorm it with Angel. I’m sure if you put your heads together, you’ll come up with something. 😉
Holly Jahangiri recently posted…Trockle Says, “Paint ME a Story? Awesome!”My Profile

August 22nd, 2012 | 11:21 AM
Holly Jahangiri:

Ironically, I don’t think there’s ONE post on my blog that’s had anything close to 100 comments, Mitch! 😉
Holly Jahangiri recently posted…The Incredible, Inedible Common Tater and His AwardMy Profile

August 22nd, 2012 | 3:07 PM

Well Holly, I’ve now had 2, which includes this one, and I’m happy and elated and you should be also because you have great fans out there. 😉

August 22nd, 2012 | 4:07 PM

Just tell us where you want hundred comments and we will come and attack!
Hajra recently posted…Bloggers Little Book of ABCsMy Profile

August 22nd, 2012 | 4:10 PM

Yeah, I will be coming to you in the next contest I participate. 😀
Abhi Balani recently posted…How did I win my first 3 blogging contest back to back? – Contest EntryMy Profile

August 24th, 2012 | 10:10 AM

Haven’t we done too much of that already? How many, five contest this year already?

Holly, this boy is entering the contest, again…
Hajra recently posted…Stop Giving Crappy GiftsMy Profile

August 24th, 2012 | 3:02 PM

No, not five. Only four. Hat-trick over Blog Engage… 😀

I got a break, you know, from the contest stuff. Still, I am not sure I will participate in the next one or not. How’s your contest going? Sorry, I haven’t visited in a while. Just ping me once you think someone is going ahead of you. LOL!
Abhi Balani recently posted…Eight Tips for Choosing the Perfect Logo for Your BlogMy Profile

August 25th, 2012 | 12:45 AM

You should just be there everyday; without any of us having you tell you… You do know how tough it is with Holly around? 😉
Hajra recently posted…Stop Giving Crappy GiftsMy Profile

August 25th, 2012 | 3:56 AM

It’s always fun reading interviews with and about your blogger friends. I remember we had a go with that a while ago too! Great interview, engaging and revealing (haha).
reyjr recently posted…Perth Weather PostMy Profile

August 23rd, 2012 | 8:32 AM

Rey, you got nothing but total honesty from Holly, that’s for sure. 🙂

August 23rd, 2012 | 9:02 AM

It’s been a LONG while, Rey – you mean this?

http://jahangiri.us/new/2009/08/30/interview-thoughts-on-blogging/
Holly Jahangiri recently posted…Bloggers Little Book of ABCsMy Profile

August 23rd, 2012 | 9:26 AM

I just realized something – most of this is still up to date, but that book that was \”being illustrated\” at the time this interview went to press was published in May 2014: A New Leaf for Lyle!

April 12th, 2015 | 9:12 PM

Yup, we took care of it. Always good to update things when possible.

April 12th, 2015 | 9:38 PM