Meet Ritu Bhathal from But I Smile Anyway
Thank you so much for having me on your blog Esme! I am always indebted to bloggers like you who take the time out to share the work of others, mine included!
All about your BLOG: Tell us about your lovely BLOG.
- What is the name of your blog and how did you decide on your blog name?
My blog is called But I Smile Anyway. I chose the name on a bit of a whim, and it stuck, but it has a deep enough meaning to me. I have learned in life that everything feels better if you have a smile on your face. I am also known for my smile; that recognizable point has been picked up all through my life, from school through college and in workplaces, and now, even in the Blogosphere, I think a smile is synonymous with Ritu!
- What prompted you to start on this blogging journey?
Literally, a prompt from WordPress, to start a blog led me to where I am now! Around three and a half years ago, a dear friend started a blog to help with her depression. I was reading her first post and wanted to comment to show my support, and WordPress required me to set up an account to comment. As I went to leave the page, it popped up a question: Why not start your own blog? And so I did, not knowing what a blog was. And yet here I am, still active 3.5 years later!
- To date, what blogging achievement/s are you most proud of?
Well, it’s got to be the fact that I won Best Overall Blogger 2017 at the Annual Bloggers Bash Awards, or the ABBA’s! What an amazing feeling! It humbled me to think that all these people actually voted for my blog, considering who I was up against! And I’ve been nominated for the same again this year, alongside being asked to speak at the Bash too. That is nerve-wracking, but I feel honored to have been considered someone that others may want to listen to!
- How would you describe your own blogging style?
I’d say I write lightheartedly, but with an underlying message in most posts.
- What excites you most about blogging?
In the beginning, it was the numbers. I became stats obsessed. Then slowly, I built my Blogily up, and now the reason I love what I do is because of them, and the interaction I have with both my followers and those bloggers I follow. I really have found a whole new set of family and friends here in the Blogosphere!
- What platform do you use and why?
I use WordPress, as I mentioned earlier. And this is pure because it was started on a whim! I pay for the premium site and love everything I am able to do on it.
- What genre/topic/theme do you blog about? Do you ever deviate from that theme?
Eclectic at best! I have no niche. I write whatever comes to mind. Be it poetry or prose inspired by prompts, or anecdotes from my family, or teaching life to book and film reviews and recipes, you’ll find it there. There is also a healthy dose of positivity on there too.
- How often do you blog per week or month?
Oh my! I clocked over 1000 posts in my first year! I’d say I actually tend to post daily, as I have specific creative prompts I like to take part in. My only regular slot is Spidey’s Serene Sunday, which started when I found my son’s Spiderman toy in a rather meditative position one morning. I took a photo and he’s been there every Sunday since then, giving me some sort of motivational or inspirational quote to ponder upon! Other than that, my musing posts come when there is something I feel the urge to write about. My post count is just under 3000 published but there are over a hundred in my draft folder that was posted at one time, and I took it out for various reasons.
- Do you have any wisdom or tip/s regarding blogging to share with us?
Don’t just write and expect to be read and lauded straight away. That kind of blog ‘fame’ happens to very few. Take time to read, follow and interact with other bloggers too. It is key to your own blog’s success to have that interaction with others.
- Do you participate in linkup parties? How do you feel about it?
I think link up parties are great, but I just find that what with being a wife, mother, and teacher on top of writing and blogging, I can’t always take part fully. If I leave a link somewhere, I want to be able to appreciate everyone else linking up too, and if I know I don’t have that luxury available to me, I won’t leave a link.
All about YOU: Tell us something about you, the real YOU.
- What do you like to do other than blogging?
I love to read, sing, cook, and spend quality time with family and friends.
- Where do you reside?
I was born in Birmingham, UK to Kenyan born parents, of Indian descent! After marriage, I moved to Kent, the Garden of England, and have been here the past sixteen years.
- Are you an indoor or outdoor person?
If it’s warm, I’m happy to be outdoors. I am not a hiking or active person as such, but I do enjoy walks. On the whole though, I love being indoors, snuggled on the sofa with a hot drink, and a good book, film, or my laptop so I can blog surf!
- Do you still work, and if so, what is your trade/profession?
I think I mentioned this before, but I am an Early Years teacher. Right now I am split between two classes, one 3-4 year olds and one 4-5 year olds. It is a very rewarding profession, but exhausting too, both physically and mentally.
- Or are you retired? If so, what do you do besides blogging?
I have a few years until then! When that time comes, I’d love to travel more, and spend copious time writing!
- Do you wish to be 20-something or the age you are now and why?
There are so many things I would do differently if I was 20-something again, but then I might not be sat where I am now, in my perfectly happy life! I think I’d say I’d rather stay where I am now. I’ve learned a lot of life lessons and I am content with what I have.
- What makes your day a good and happy one?
A morning kiss from my Hubby Dearest, the sun being out, my kids getting up without arguing, a smooth day of classes, and some fantastic interaction on my blog!
- Describe yourself in 3 words.
Positive. Bubbly. Crazy!
- Share with us 3 interesting facts about yourself.
– I have just finished writing the first draft of my novel… it’s only taken me eighteen years! Now I’m onto the rereading, rewriting, and editing… hope it won’t take another eighteen years!
– My poetry book was #1 in the Amazon Poetry charts at one time last year!
– When I was born, my Pops distributed sweets, something was only done at the birth of boys at that time. He truly started my life showing me I was of value to him and all around me!
- Do you have any other tidbits to share with us about yourself?
I don’t know what there is to tell you! Oh yes. I love to sing. Whether Western or Eastern music, I love to listen and then sing along. In fact, I was so concerned about our traditional Punjabi songs being forgotten and replaced by the bass-heavy bhangra tunes everyone listens to now that my cousin and I sat with our elders and learned the old songs, painstakingly writing the lyrics in Romanised Punjabi (as I can’t read or write the Gurmukhi script) so we had something to use to sing from at weddings. This little booklet I made has circulated the world, thanks to my family members taking it around, and it has been printed in several forms over the years to accompany various wedding functions!
Last but not least:
- Please share with us your social media links, in order for our readers to follow you!
And the plus one question – Social media profiles!
And by clicking the following link, you get to my author profile on Amazon, where you can find the link to my poetry book, Poetic RITUals.
I know you want to do the 20 + 1 Interview Questions so I look forward to hearing from you!