By: Archita Malhotra, Founder of Mystique Paradise, A Bookstagram Handle On Instagram
“Passion is energy. Feel the power that comes from focusing on what excites you” – Oprah Winfrey
The idea of ‘Mystique Paradise’ came to our mind at a point, when we were encumbered with our CAT preparation and an Instagram page seemed to be the perfect escape.
This page was initially started by the three of friends for fun, without realizing that we were unintentionally being driven towards our passion and we would actually make something big out of it.
WHY “MYSTIQUE PARADISE”?
We named this page ‘Mystique Paradise’ because the word ‘Mystique’ was synonymous with mysterious and basically gave us the liberty of not choosing a particular genre and post the content as per our own liking.
The first post of Mystique Paradise was a ‘blue bubblegum ice-cream’ (yeah! you heard that right) and the subsequent post was also nothing more than an attempt to create a colour theme for our page. They varied from food to books to Korean dramas and we even posted a picture of Darshan Rawal just for the sake of maintain the colour theme (major regret!)
The page was started in July and was pretty much sidelined by October itself because our entrances had started. This rendered mystique inactive for quite some time.
QUARANTINE: A NEW BEGINNIG
When the lockdown started we were finally through with all our exams and finally had plenty of time on our hands to give this page another shot, this time with utmost determination.
Our comeback post was that of a book review and was received positively. It made us realize that this might be our area of interest and expertise because we always had a major inclination towards reading, craft and creativity.
ZEROED IN ON BOOKSTAGRAM
While we were still posting about a variety of stuff, our feed became a clear evidence of the fact that mystique paradise was majorly about books. By this time we also realized that majority of our followers were either people interested in books or were bookish accounts themselves, and if we wanted to retain and engage them we had to stop posting irrelevant content. And thus we permanently converted mystique into a Bookstagram account.
While this gave us a definite path to follow, it also forced us to remove our rose tinted glasses and actually face the challenges that come when you work to create a presence online.
THE GRASS IS ALWAYS GREENER ON THE OTHER SIDE
We faced many hurdles both on personal and professional front. ‘The outer front will always appear to be glossy and alluring, it is when you actually step inside that you realize that the glass was tinted on the outside’
We never thought that this page that was started between three friends could hamper our friendship and create so much of conflict, internal competition and misunderstandings. What we failed to realize was that along the way the page started to hold a different meaning for each one of us.
Simultaneously we were facing problems in understanding the instagram algorithm, generating organic followers and increasing our likes and reach at the same time.
There were times when some of our posts, that we were not that confident about, went viral while others that we loved, went crash. The follower count would shoot up one day and would come down the next. These were the times that we felt dejected and thought that we would never understand what people truly liked or wanted. We also thought of giving up on this altogether.
GEARED UP FOR THE ROLLER COASTER AHEAD
My father once told me that, “When you plan to do something in life, destiny will always create hurdles. You would cross one and another one would pop up. But remember that these are just the testing times. So stay positive, pull up your socks and finish what you started.”
And in the end, that’s what we did. We solved our personal differences, improved our content, interacted with people on Bookstagram and made a lot of connections.
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Today we have about 1800 followers and a pretty decent recognition. We have a lot of bookish friends and the journey ahead would hopefully be amazing.
The purpose of sharing our story with you all was to tell you that our Bookstagram page gave us outlet for our talent and creativity. It allowed us to do what we love and even get appreciated for that. We are not pursuing this professionally but as a passion and nothing could have made us happier.
In life, it is always important to find the pieces that define you, pieces that give you comfort that excite you and provide you sanity in the same breath, because it is these pieces that give meaning and contentedness to your life.
Sources: Writer’s Own Experience, @mystique.paradise
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