I love to follow success stories as that gives me a boost to work more and be active as much as I can. I also study their course plan and analyze what made them to stay separate in the crowd. Hence I started this Success stories series and I am really enjoying it. If you want to know about the previous episode please do click here
This week we are going to meet a special person who is behind the “Muslimah Bloggers Group” She is a force behind in bringing almost every muslim blogger under one roof. I always admire her dedication towards the work she does. Such a sweet person to have a chat with. So Today I am presenting Fozia Shah over here. She is very helpful and sweet person by heart. Check out what she Says about Blogging and her Journey!
Could you tell us about your life before Muslimah Bloggers and Muslim Mummy?
Prior to starting blogging I studied Law and then completed my legal practice course. I worked with a solicitor for a short while, however didn’t complete a 2 year training contract so never fully qualified as a solicitor.I then found a job with Citizens Advice Bureau and worked with them for 9 years before being made redundant. It was during my time at Citizens Advice, after the birth of my first child I discovered blogging.
Could you say what inspired you to start blogging and who inspired you a lot?
I first found out about blogging through a lady (who no longer blogs) when she contacted me through a website for mums. She had a mummy blog but to be honest that didn’t initially really interest me much. A friend then suggested I start a blog about my work because at that time I was going into prison to advice prisoners. I started it but as I hated working in prison I didn’t want to come home and then write about it. Plus I had to be very careful about confidentiality issues. I then decided to start a ‘mummy’ blog……more as a bit of a joke initially…but alhamdulilah it just took off. So on that basis there wasn’t anyone specific that actually inspired me in the blogging world as I didn’t know much about blogging then.
How did you narrow down to this name?
In all honesty the name isn’t very creative! I couldn’t think of anything more original then…and I never thought I would end up blogging this long so it just kind of stayed as Muslim Mummy.
What inspired you to create a group for Muslimah Bloggers?
Once I properly got into blogging I thought I was unique as I was a Muslim Mum Blogger….but eventually after googling a bit I realised there were lots of Muslim blogs out there and not just mum ones. However, unlike other blogging communities I had seen there were none specifically for Muslimah’s so it was hard to find each other. So I decided to set up a community where we could help and support each other.
How do you balance your career with your parenting?
At the moment I don’t really have a career…my blogging is more a hobby and the Muslimah Bloggers community is voluntary. But when I was working I was only working part time and I got a lot of help from my parents. The blogging could be done in the evening and at that time I used to sleep late so it was easy to get any blog posts done before bed.
Could you share with us the challenges you met in setting up the blog/ and the group
There was no real problem with the blog but there was some with the group. I wanted the group to be a community, where people came to help and support each other. However a lot of members just wanted to share their posts; I did not want the group to become somewhere to simply link drop. This did lead to some confrontation with some members about the purpose of the group if they couldn’t share. That then pushed me to get moving on a proper website (which I had already been thinking about) and the share threads were started.
Please do share with us the highest/happiest moment which is a memorable one in this journey
I can’t really pinpoint anything specific but what really makes me happy is when others reach out to me to say thank you and their appreciate what I share. I often post some personal things like how I am struggling with hijab/religion/family and the number of messages I get saying ‘thank you for being honest and real’ and saying ‘it’s made them realise they are not alone’ reminds me why I share things and that it is benefiting others.
Do you think Muslim Mom Bloggers are increasingly seen as a useful resource as opposed to just a group of hobbyists?
With the rise of social media then yes I think companies and others are beginning to see Muslim Mom Bloggers as a useful resource. Other parents are getting ideas from bloggers about activities for their children and free downloadable resources aswell. Companies are also beginning to see the value in collaborating with bloggers.
Have you ever started to write a post and then abandoned it.
Oh many times….I think I have a few sitting in my drafts right now. It is not because they are controversial or anything…simply because I am lacking the time these days and priorities are changing.
Do you follow a rhythm or a schedule in writing the blogposts?
Not really. As I see my blog more of a hobby that I sometimes have the opportunity to monetise, I have stopped stressing about a schedule. The only posts I do follow a schedule with now are my Project 365 and my Monthly Gratitude posts. The rest are just fitted in as and when I have time.
Do you find it hard to get your voice heard in the crowded blogosphere?
It can be hard. Blogging has changed since I first started and there are so many more bloggers. However if your content is of good quality and you take the time to promote it, it will be seen.
Many say that blogging is dead thanks to other micro-blogging avenues like Instagram,Twitter and others.
As the owner of a traditional blog, how would you respond to that?
I don’t think blogs will ever die…and I think it is dangerous to rely solely on other platforms. If tomorrow those platforms go then all your work is gone. Traditional blogs will always have a place in the blogosphere.
What tips do you have for other Muslim bloggers?
Apart from the usual, don’t get caught up in the numbers game etc etc, my advise specifically for Muslim bloggers is never undervalue yourself when collaborating specifically with companies and Muslim companies. Bloggers can be a powerful tool when it comes to marketing their products and although I am all for supporting Muslim companies and products for a lot of bloggers their blogs is their income, just like for the companies their product is their income. Unfortunately some Muslim companies use the line’ ‘for the sake of Allah (swt)’ to get you to share things for free and feel just because you are Muslim you should help them for free. I am not saying you can’t for free as I have done in the past…but if you are relying on your blog as your income then do not feel pressured into it.
Also if you are specifically writing about Islam, with the rise of Islamophobia be prepared to potentially get trolls leaving comments….never let it affect you.
Jazakillah Khair Sr. Fozia for sharing your journey. Your insights and wonderful advice are most valuable.
Do you need help in blogging? You can very well join our Muslimah Bloggers group on Facebook.
Let me know your thoughts and comments below, and don’t forget to look out for the next installment of ‘The Mommies Around ME’!
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