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Dec 30, 2013

5 Motivation Boosters for Beginner Bloggers

By Amina Edota

Bismillah

Have you been blogging for only a few days, weeks or even months? And yet finding it difficult to get the motivation to keep blogging, despite the initial zeal that prompted you to start the blog?

Neglected blogs are not uncommon on the blogosphere today. Such types of blogs may even be more in number than the active ones. But this is not surprising at all, after experiencing firsthand the commitment required to keep a blog going.

As for the beginner, many factors, such as inexperience and fear of technology are typical reasons for abandoning a blog. But I believe motivation drives them all. If you are having trouble getting motivated, here are five simple boosters to get you on the road to keeping your blog alive, insha Allah.

1. Check your intention: Ask yourself why you started a blog. Was it simply for fun or fame, or to educate and pass across an important message? If your intention is sincere and worthwhile, then it should drive you to building your dream blog.

For example, if your aim is to share beneficial messages, you will rush daily to be of benefit to others and worry about how your absence may leave them helpless. You will not want to miss out on the ajr and dawah opportunity.

So check your intention from time to time, aligning your daily actions to your goals and intention. That could help in putting some boost back into your blogging.

2. Get a Blogging Buddy*: It is always good to get a buddy for habits that you are trying to build. A blogging buddy can check up on you at regular intervals, for example bi-weekly or monthly. This could be on the phone, Skype or even in-person.

The buddy can hold you accountable for each milestone you have to cross. You can also brainstorm through challenges, discuss strategies and new ways of doing things.

If you are both at about the same level of blogging, you can experiment with new ideas and techniques and share resources. You can also delegate certain tasks to each other. This can reduce fears for those who are afraid of trying out new things and drive up motivation.

From session to session, you can set new targets as you each work towards your goals. Remember to choose your buddy carefully, because a buddy should aid you, not drain you.

3. Love Bite-Sized work: Break huge tasks into bite size. It is very easy to get over-ambitious and try to do so much at once. This can easily cause frustration and may lead to having a lot of unfinished work.

So rather than drafting, editing and publishing a complete post in one go, why not do the drafting at one sitting. Then take a break and do the editing at a later time or another day. You can also do the writing in set time frames. For example, writing for only 15 or 30 minutes then taking a break.  That way, your mind is set to complete the task within a time frame. And it will give a boost that one step has been completed. It always brings satisfaction to see oneself move from point A to B, no matter how short the distance.

4. Take Action: Keep writing and working on your blog consistently even when you don't feel like it. Try to set a schedule for yourself and stick to it. Do not simply read or listen to new information without trying them out.

Practice, Practice and Practice some more and do not be afraid of stepping out of your comfort zone. You should never be satisfied with OK, but rather do better each time. Search for blogs you aspire to, and stay updated on their activities.

Networking can be intimidating in the virtual world but with practice it will get better. One can learn from the many experts around. So try to network with a purpose. And it is motivating to hear that they didn't simply get to where they are instantly but rather made many mistakes on the way up.

5. Reward yourself: What would you call successful blogging? I think it really depends on you as an individual - your intention and goals. Whatever it means to you, remember to pause and acknowledge the little successes that you meet along the way and reward yourself for every milestone reached. Do not overlook what seems like an everyday accomplishment.

And don't worry about digging too deep into your pockets for a reward. It could be a personal pamper session, coffee with a friend, or taking a long walk. Those good feelings will give you the extra boost you need to cross over to the next milestone.

Why not step up today and get some boost!

Reference:

* http://blog.udacity.com/2012/12/5-tips-to-be-motivated-learner-in-2013.html

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I'd love to know what you thought about these boosters.  Share your own tips or opinions in the comments section below :)

Dec 29, 2013

Short Story: MY WIFE IS A NINJA CHAPTER 20

By Alawiya Abdalla

Bismillah

Shaimaa
Just had THE best day ever since I arrived in London I cannot exactly put my feelings into words, but my heart is soaring at this minute.
This Mosque is just so beautiful, and the people are so friendly Mashallah. I ACTUALLY heard some of them talk in Egyptian Arabic SHOCKING
I love everything about this place. And when I saw Osman awkwardly praying with Aaliyah’s ex husband, I felt so proud of him
He is trying really hard to change, and that is really sweet of him. I hope he stays steadfast though, as that is the hardest thing a person has to do.

I totally believe that he can Inshallah, he took a big step today by coming here. I am very proud of him
When I finished praying, I went outside to wait for him. I wanted to find out exactly how he is, as I worry that this whole thing could be a bit overwhelming for him.
I decided to wait for him outside, as I was too eager to know how he felt. I spot him after a while and his face lights up when he sees me
He stops to check his phone and his face instantly changes. I see that worried look I always seem to catch him having
What is he hiding I wonder! I have to keep that thought aside as he approaches.

“So? How did you find it?” I ask him enthusiastically
“It was amazing actually” He answers with a mix of happiness and sadness.
“Really? or are you just saying that to shut me up?” I ask him seriously
“It was amazing and I'm not lying I promise” He says stopping and looking straight at me to validate his point.
“That’s great Mashallah” I reply happily.

He goes quiet again, this time looking lost and confused. It is as if he wants to tell me something but will not
“You seem distracted. This was too much for you right?” I ask him anxiously. What was in that Text??
“No Walahi. This was such an eye opener for me, but there are things you can’t go back and change them” He says it sadly while waiting for the bus.
“Is there anything that I can help you with?” I ask him getting worried by the second about this secret he is keeping

“Hey, I've been meaning to ask you this for quite sometime now. How come you speak such good American English?” He asks me with the intention of distracting me
“Well, there was an old man who owned a video store in our road and he used to let me borrow cartoons for free” I explain it to him.
“Oh. Was he a creepy old man?” He asks cheekily
“No! He was very kind to let me borrow it for free. He knew I was into languages and I couldn't afford private lessons, and the teachers in Egypt teach you their own version of English” I reply, grinning at the memory of my English teacher, he really was a funny man

“What kind of cartoons did you watch then?” He asks succeeding in making me forget what I wanted to ask him in the first place
“Disney cartoons” I reply shyly “I loved them all, even though some of the princesses needed to be more appreciative to their parents. But overall, it was charming”
“You got that from the very innocent message of BELIEVE and DREAM that Disney tries to send across?” He asks me puzzled at my analysis

“I'm not denying the fact that it was charming and it made you happy and all that. For instance, Ariel the Mermaid? Defied her father and ran away to meet her prince charming and not caring ONCE that he was looking for her” I explain my point.
“And princess Jasmine? Don’t even get me started on HER!! She ran away and went to a stranger’s house! Anything could have happened to her. He could have been a psycho killer or something and the way she was dressed? HELLO!” I think to myself surely now he MUST get my point! Because Mashallah I am smart like that
“Disney would definitely NOT pay you to advertise their movies, that’s for sure” He tells me sarcastically
“Just stating the obvious. My father always told me to tell it as it is” I say it feeling my heart tug at the mention of my dad

I spot the 113 bus coming to a stop near us. We go in and I look at the upper deck stairs in awe
“Do you wanna go upstairs?” Says Osman reading my mind
“Yep” I say it in a whisper as I do not wanna look like a tourist anymore
We go upstairs and I have to say, it was really bizarre beyond words. How can stairs fit in a bus? and how did we manage to climb it with the bus moving?? So fascinating Mashallah
When we manage to find seats I press my face at the windows, to see how far away from the ground we really are!
We are quite far actually. And the seats being at the very front is not helping, I feel dizzy I jerk backwards to keep my mind steady, cuz right now I feel like vomiting

Osman senses that I am not feeling well so he asks.

“Are you OK?”
“I feel dizzy sitting this close to the front” I explain my discomfort
“As soon as we find an empty seat at the back, we’ll move OK?” He tells me in a concerned tone.

We wait for like half an hour in silence, until we reach a place called Finchley Central. That is where most of the passengers got off. As soon as it looked empty, I moved myself to the seat in the middle. I did not even care where Osman was That is how fast I wanted to get away.

“You just pushed past me and almost knocked me over!” He tells me shocked and holding a giggle at the same time.
“Trust me, if I stayed there one more minute, food would have splattered all over that window” I make my point clear about wanting to vomit
“Point taken” He keeps the answer short

Now THIS is much better I can actually enjoy the view without feeling sick Alhamdulilah. I am sorry, but I am still fascinated by this bus! I mean how in the world__OK I'm gonna stop now!
The journey lasts for about an hour before we reach the house. We were about to go right to enter the street where we live, but Osman stops in his tracks and asks.

“Shaimaa. There is something I wanted to ask you, but I was afraid that you might not like to answer and I understand if you don’t wanna answer it”
“What is it?” I ask feeling anxious after seeing his worried eyes.
“How did your Iman and faith stay strong after what happened to you? How did you not lose your faith. I just don’t get it?” He asks looking at me intently, like his life depends on the answer to this question.
“What choices did I have? It’s either kill myself with depression and self hate for something I didn't do, or fight back and not let him win” I reply with conviction.
“You didn't fight back Shaimaa. Doesn't that bother you?” He asks me.
“I know I didn't fight back physically, but I'm fighting him everyday with my Iman and knowledge that one day, someday he will pay for this. And that everything happens for a reason, I just haven’t figured it out yet” I tell him these words, but somehow I am saying it to myself as well. To shield myself from the pain and hurt of it all.
“Osman. Allah (SWT) Says”
لاَ يُكَلِّفُ اللَّهُ نَفْسًا إِلاَّ وُسْعَهَا

(Allah burdens not a person beyond his scope means) Allah does not ask a soul what is beyond its ability. This only demonstrates Allah’s kindness, compassion and generosity towards His creation.

“I don’t know what to say except_You’re are one of the strongest person I have ever come across” He tells me this and just stares
“Ahem_I think we should go to the house now don’t you think?” I tell him awkwardly staring at the ground
“Oh yeah you’re right! let’s go” He replies shifting his gaze towards the road that leads to the house.
I hope he understands what I tried to tell him. I wonder why he asked that all of a sudden though! And what is with the staring business??
I was lost in my thoughts, when a flash blinded me! I shielded my eyes and then

FLASH FLASH FLASH FLASH____
“HERE SHE IS” Someone yells towards us!
Osman comes in front of me to block their way. What is going on?? I look from behind him, and I see that they are reporters
“ARE YOU REALLY A NINJA? OR IS THAT JUST A BURKA?” Another one yells!
“Step aside you lot! You’re trespassing yeah!” Says Osman as he tries to make his way past them while holding my gloved hands
Yeah OK, I know! Now is not the time to make a fuss about that!!
We get in the house, and I instantly turn around to face him
“Next time, DO_NOT_TOU__” He does not let me finish my sentence.
“You’re not gonna go on about me holding your hands again are you?” He asks me teasingly
“I'm just warning you cuz I could use the slippers you know!” I remind him, by putting my hand in my bag to show him that it is STILL there.
“So I save you from all these reporters and I don’t even get a Thank you? Where’s your manners Shaimaa?? tutt tutt” He tells me relishing the fact that he is in the right for a change
“Jazakallah for that. But still_” He INTERRUPTS ME AGAIN
“Don’t say anything else cuz you’ll only upset me” He puts a hand on his forehead pretending to be hurt
Before I could make a comeback with a very clever answer, I see a VERY beautiful girl coming towards us 
She looks at me from head to toe in disgust, then she turns to face Osman! I wonder what is HER problem

“So you look OK! No sign of Swine Flu or anything yeah?” The VERY beautiful blonde asks.
“What are you doing here Amber?” Replies Osman with a question.
So THAT’S Amber No wonder her name was the only one WITH an actual name in Osman’s phone list. SHE IS GORGEOUS MASHALLAH

With eyes like the sky she looks at me as if I am a mosquito or something
“Do you mind?” She looks at me expecting me to understand what that means??
“Do I mind what?” I ask her confused
“Leaving us alone?” She puts a hand on his back
Osman jerks away from her, and I feel like ripping her perfect curly hair out at this minute and I have NO IDEA WHY
Violence has never been a part of my character, but maybe it is the way she is talking to me. Or maybe it is to do with those hands that are on Osman’s back!
WHAT??

I do not care where her hands are!! Excuse my mind people
I better leave the “love birds” to each other. I take a glimpse of Osman’s face, and I see a mix of anger and embarrassment. Oh well, do I care? Na-ah I do not care one bit
Not even an ounce, Na-ah
I take one last look at them and she looks like she’s__________DISGUSTING ASTAGHFURULLAH
OK _NOW I make my way to the room

Osman
“Get off me Amber, you’re in my parents’ house! What is wrong with you?” I ask her pushing her away after she starts kissing me all of a sudden
“Get off me?? Since when do you refuse me like that Ozzy?” She glares at me angrily
“What do you want Amber?” I ask her, looking for Shaimaa. I hope she did not see what Amber did!
“Did you not get my message? I texted you that I will be here! Your dad let me in before he left, cuz there were a lot of reporters outside. What’s that all about??” She asks glances outside the window.
“Forget about that. Tell your Kevin, I don’t want to do his dirty jobs anymore” I demand it rather than asking
“What has gotten into you? First you can’t stand me and now you don’t wanna work for Kevin?” She rages at me “It’s her innit? I saw the way you were joking with her and looking at her”
“You NEVER looked at me that way Ozzy_But it doesn't matter. I have news that will make you think twice before you leave me” She says it with an eerie smile this time

“And what’s that exactly??” I ask her confused
“ I'm pregnant” She drops the bombshell with confidence.
“WHAT? NO WAY! I was careful. You’re lying!” I tell her with a voice dangerously close to a hiss.
“You don’t have to believe me Ozzy. But when the baby comes, you’ll see that it’s yours” She says it with a hint of sarcasm and calmness in her voice.
“Just get out Amber. And tell Kevin to get lost too” I tell her, taking her by the arm to the exist at the back door.
“Don’t touch me! Let me tell you one thing Ozzy. Kevin will come after you I promise, and he might pay your ninja a visit too” She threatens me turning around to open the door.

“Wait” I stop her before she leaves and tells Kevin anything.
“What” She asks impatiently.
“Tell him I’ll be there tonight” I say it with my voice barely a whisper.
“Good boy” She smiles before she disappears.
I do not know what to do anymore I want nothing to do with this life anymore. I want that feeling I felt at the Mosque, I am tired of this Walah__
It has almost been a day since I drank alcohol and smoked weed, even though I am feeling the withdrawal symptoms but the feeling that I wanna be good and change is totally overtaking the urge to go back to that life.
But, I cannot let them harm Shaimaa or my family. The thought terrifies me, sending shivers to my bone.

I got myself into this and I have to pay for it I have to pay for all of it, Amber’s pregnancy, Kevin’s tight grip on me. I have to take responsibility to all of that.
Shaimaa probably does not want to see me either after what she witnessed
In the midst of all this I forgot to get her a phone card so she can call her parents. I will go and get it for her now, I do not know what am I going to do about Amber or Kevin but one thing I am sure of__

I do not want to lose Shaimaa, I do not want her to leave me. I do not want a life without her in it, of that I am sure. I know it is only been a few days since I have known her, but I do not know what I will do if she is not here to guide me.
I have never felt this strongly about a girl. At the same time, thoughts of what she might do if she finds out about Amber’s pregnancy fills me with dread__
Will I lose the only girl I have ever loved, before we even had the chance to begin our journey
One thing I know I have to do is text Kevin.
“When do you need me tonight” I send the text to him.
The reply comes fast enough
“9 O’clock. Meet John at Watford station” He keeps it short.
I leap to the back door to get Shaimaa the phone card, at least I can control the damage Amber did with this I hope

Shaimaa
Just finished praying Asr, and now I am reading the Quran. When I finish it, I put it down and go over the window to look if the reporters have gone.
NOPE THEY HAVEN’T!! They are not gonna stay here all night are they
I wonder what Osman and Amber are doing downstairs
WHAT??
I do not care what they are doing!!! Excuse my mind again people It is on a ROLL!!
Why am I allowing myself to get jealous? That is dangerous territory. Just because Osman has been sympathetic to what happened to me, he would never love me!!
Maybe my uncle was right, I am stupidly leading myself and my heart to a dangerous place. I have to focus on what is important.
I have to focus to get to the end without any mess. I have to get that much needed money to my family, and forget this life once I go back Inshallah.
Meanwhile, I will go to that self defence classes Inshallah. It is taught by that woman Iman I think? Subhanallah, how did she learn that skill I wonder.

As I was thinking about what to do, I see an envelope slide from underneath the door.
Strange
I open it, and I see a card and a letter.
“Shaimaa, this is a phone card to call your parents. Follow the instructions and you’ll be able to use easily. I have to go somewhere. PS: Sorry about that girl you saw me with, nothing is going on with her” I read the letter from Osman.

Why is he telling me Sorry? Maybe it is because I am religious and he got embarrassed. Well, whatever the reason was. It is kind of him to care that I might have been offended

RIGHT NOW THOUGH I DO NOT CARE!! I AM CALLING MY PARENTS, PEOPLE

Osman
It is 9 O’clock and John arrived on the dot. I went in the car quietly this time, no chit chat. I do not want to think about what is goning to happen next
My heart is beating at an incredible speed as we come to a halt. We are in a place called Hackney, and he is looking at a block of what looks like a council flats.
He motions for me to follow him. We go to the third floor, and we knock on a flat.
My stomach is turning from fear, my hands are sweating and a shiver is going through my spine as the door opens and a lady answers it.

She looks like she is in her twenties, white and very petite. As soon as she sees John, she tries to shut the door in his face but John was quick and pushes the door back.
She falls inside and we go in and close the door behind us.
“Is this how you greet guests Kat?” He asks her grabbing her from the hair and bringing her closer to his face.
“Please please don’t kill me I didn't mean to do that” She pleads to him.
“Oh, we’re not gonna kill you sweetheart. We’re gonna have some fun” He smiles at her eerily
“NO PLEASE! DON’T__” She does not get the chance to finish her sentence as he drags her to the bedroom.

OH MY GOD WHAT IS HAPPENING??? I HOPE HE IS NOT___
I hear a slap followed by a scream. I cover my ears to block the sounds, but it is not working!
This is not happening! Please tell me this is a bad dream? I hear punching and screams and clothes being torn.

And I also hear Shaimaa’s words to me__
“What choices did I have?” Kept repeating over and over in my head.
That is when I decided that this woman will damn well get a choice! I cannot let this happen! But John is way stronger than me
I go in the kitchen, and I take the first thing that I spot. I go in the room quietly and I see the woman beneath John’s massive body trying her best to wriggle out.
I go closer and closer tip toeing and___THUMP! I hit his head with a frying pan. Before he gets the chance to turn around I hit him one more time, and he falls limply over her.
I get him off her and she looks shocked. She looks at me with eyes filled with fear, she must think that I want to do the same thing!

“Get yourself out of here, and hide” I order her to do as I say urgently.
“Let me get my son first please” She runs to the other room to get her son.

OH MY GOD, HE WAS GONNA RAPE HER WITH HER SON SLEEPING NEXT DOOR??? Thank god I did what I did then
She leaves the flat, and I just sit there thinking of what am I gonna tell John when he wakes up
I go and try to shake him, but he does not move!!! What have I done????
Is he____DEAD??

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