Kulfi editor Samia Abbasi wearing a gray shirt and green sweater
from the hq

Kulfi Bites: 5 Tips on affirming your content creation from editor Samia Abbasi

November 9, 2020

Creating powerful & relatable content is challenging. I’m right here with you. 

By Samia Abbasi, Editor

3 weeks ago, the Kulfi team and I decided, “Let’s do it. Let’s build the Kulfi Bites platform of our dreams.” Building a content platform isn’t easy. Let’s be real, nobody is really reading long form content these days. We’re constantly pushed to think outside the box and be the ‘next big thing.’ So, I’ve started a folder where I put screenshots of encouraging and meaningful messages related to Kulfi Bites that I’ve received and it makes me smile. 

Here are some reflections I’ve been simmering on, while writing and editing content for Kulfi:

1. It’s valid to feel hesitant about publishing something.

The “what if??” is scary —the potential reactions, mistakes + typos, that feeling of “this isn’t good.” There are so many great ideas or posts I’ve let go of as a writer because I didn’t feel like they were ready or I felt anxious. I’d rather think of it as shelving the idea for later (I’ve shelved my long-term fantasy novel project since last Fall). It’s always an option. 

Someday, I might look at it with a fresh perspective or build a more focused idea from just one profound sentence. 

In moments where the idea might get stale or lose its momentum if you don’t launch it soon, I encourage you to take a step back, redirect the idea if you need to (i.e. try a different format), and put it out there. 

2. You might be passionate about a piece of content, but it might not get the views you hoped for —and that's okay.

Back in May, I posted a question on Kulfi’s Instagram Story for the first time—I had asked: “What essentials are part of your minimalist makeup routine?”—it got 0 responses. It’s something that Priyanka and I look back at and smile about, because now, our Instagram Story questions get so many more responses. 

Creating content takes experimentation, audience feedback, risks, and consistency. You never know unless you try, right? 

We’ve waited on a couple of articles before and found that they’ve done well because we added a new perspective or layer to the conversation (this was the case for our 7 Best blushes post!). Sometimes, the timing just isn’t right and/or viewership is out of your control. But you went ahead and launched the article and that’s something to celebrate. Be proud of yourself and keep going.

Samia Abbasi's cat Zayn on her desk
My cat Zayn is my deskmate (occasionally)

3. Find and consume media that inspires you.

When you find yourself in a creative slump, part of getting out of it is: a.) letting the slump just happen and b.) wandering out of it by following your curiosity.

It’s great to find podcasts, books, newsletters, YouTube channels and TV shows that replenish your creative well. 

I love appreciating pieces of media for their uniqueness and noticing what about them that draws my attention. Sometimes, you pick up something at the right time and place, and it changes your life. Here are things that have been inspiring me lately: 

  • The Aram Newsletter by Tahmina Begum: This newsletter "has been purposely created for joyful reading" and is "filled with book recommendations, interesting corners of the internet, and centre women of colour and Muslim women." Read our feature on Tahmina Begum, all things self-care and The Aram, here.
  • The goop Podcast: Kulfi team member Zehra Naqvi recommended this to me. Gwyneth Paltrow and Elise Loehnen chat with leading thinkers, culture changers, and industry disruptors about shifting old paradigms and starting new conversations. I’ve been listening to it on Spotify when I go on walks and love the in-depth conversations on life and working toward goals. 
  • Karin Bohn and House & Home YouTube channels: I’m a huge fan of interior design and definitely wanted to live in an IKEA showroom when I was little (I still do…).  Part of my slow morning routine is watching an interior design video or two while I eat breakfast and drink chai. I love learning about the ‘How’ and ‘Why’ of the interior design process and how they deal with challenges and parameters. 

4. On networking and seeking mentorship: Shoot your shot!

Whether that’s someone you want to interview, collaborate with, or be mentored by, just do it. Send that email or DM. Growing up, I didn’t know any writers or anyone who worked in the editorial sphere. I grew up in the Silicon Valley, after all. I only really sought out career mentorship after I graduated with my Creative Writing degree. 

As a young writer and editor, I’ve learned that being in tune with your interests or what you’re looking for career-wise and putting that out there can be so helpful. 

I’ve met amazing mentors through small, profound moments along the way. Last Fall, I went to the Berkeley South Asian Radical History Walking Tour and met a Muslim-South Asian children’s writer. When I told her about my interest in the editorial sphere, she encouraged me to connect with a local Muslim-South Asian editor who works in the publishing industry (who, it turns out, went to UC Berkeley with my sister!). It was a serendipitous moment. I’m still learning the ins and outs of networking, including finding the courage to reach out, and my Kulfi teammates have been very encouraging. 

Samia Abbasi wearing glasses on her head
Fun fact: I've had the same reading glasses since I was 12 years old

5. Lean into your ambition, moments of success, and excitement, but also learn to be okay with pauses, slow growth, and when you aren't feeling inspired or motivated.

It’s been hard for me to accept the shifts in productivity and creative energy these past few months—those moments where I don't quite feel like myself or don't know what I'm personally working toward. But it’s all so valid to feel that way. We’re literally in a pandemic! Continue to put in your best effort wherever you are and however you are.

Creating powerful content takes a team of writers, thinkers, strategists, visionaries, artists, and changemakers.

I’m so excited to keep meeting and working with people who are energized by Kulfi Bites and believe in its potential. And I am so grateful for the people I’ve worked with these past few months. I’ve learned so much as a writer and editor!

About — Samia Abbasi is the content lead & editor for Kulfi, who is based in the Bay Area, CA. She has a degree in English (Creative Writing emph.) & a minor in Ethnic Studies from Mills College. In her free time, she is a core volunteer of South Asians 4 Black Lives and a co-host of South Asian Reading Challenge. She is an avid reader, anime-watcher, and tea-drinker. You can read her blog at samiaabbasi.com and follow her on Instagram at @samiabossee.

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