Saturday, September 17, 2011

Whats, Whys, Whens and Hows of My Blogging



Mr. Hariharan Valady, one of the fellow bloggers, has reached his silver jubilee in blogging (Valady Views). He has reached the milestone of his 25th post today. The title of his 25th post is ???. That's it. Just three question marks. But, inside he has posed a lot more questions to his fellow bloggers. Let us congratulate him for reaching this milestone within such a short while. He has actually done it in two months. Great strike rate, right? I could have posted my replies as a comment under his post, but that looks bigger than his original post itself. So, decided to put it as a post itself on my blog. It also increases the count by another number in my blog, right? Here you go...

Below are the questions that he has asked himself. Let me answer them also from my perspective first and then get into the questions that he has asked us - the fellow bloggers...

Q: What motivated me to write my first post? 
A: I always love writing. I used to write a lot in Tamil. But, I started blogging in English first as I didn't know how to type Tamil letters using English keyboard. Now I am more active in Tamil blogsphere than in English. However, most of my posts are in both the languages. I write in one and translate to the other. I have to do this because I have equal or more number of friends that don't know Tamil as well. As I mentioned in my first post when I opened a blogger account, I wanted to write a lot but I didn't like my articles getting edited by someone who doesn't understand the background of my thought process. I also used to write diaries regularly from childhood. I thought blogging was a perfect blend of both journalism and dairy writing. My first post in blogspot is still available here - "Well begun is half done". Later, I also posted a lot of my earlier writings with back dates. Even now, I do that whenever I find something from my old diaries or notebooks. I know, this is too much more than what is required to be told, but as you know this is how I answer questions. :)

Q: Is that valid still? 
A: Yes. It is. I have in fact stopped writing diaries now as blogs give me much more flexibility.

Q: What kept me going? 
A: I have been dreaming from childhood that I am going to be a great writer some day. I know that I am nowhere close to where I want to be. However, this is like my sandbag. I use this as a practice field. If this can sharpen my writing skills to be better than yesterday, that is exactly the reason why I blog. So, even one appreciation, i.e. a comment per post makes me better or makes me feel better. Both are good in the long run, right? This is what keeps me going. If nobody ever said anything about my blogs, I 'might' have stopped blogging long back. I am saying 'might' because I might have continued despite that as well. I did do that without any appreciation for a long time, too. That's because I had an urge to write irrespective of whether I had a reader or not. Worst case - I would be my reader. That's what I thought.

Q: How did I choose the subject for each of these articles? 
A: I want to talk about everything under the sun. I want to have a balanced opinion on all controversial subjects. Being a libran, it's natural that I am more interested in being balanced than being right. Otherwise, controversy is the last thing that I want. I am just not interested in arguments. That way, the blogsphere is mature enough not to waste time with people who have opposite views. Generally, people only read the fellow bloggers who have similar views/interests. So, that's another reason why I like blogging. Coming back to the point... I have a huge list of topics that I want to write about. It keeps growing on a daily basis. I write about these things only when I find time. It's generally weekends. There is another category of topics that never get into that list. I just open the blogger screen and start writing. They are generally subjects that compel me to write my views then and there. They are mostly about current affairs. And, the 25th post of Mr. Hariharan (or the reply to it) is one of those compelling things that didn't get into my list. I have just started typing my answers right away after looking at his post. Maybe because it came on a weekend, too. :)

Q: Did I really choose the subject or I felt compelled to write?
A: Both. My previous answer answers this question as well, I guess. This is the advantage of giving more detailed answers than required. :)

Here is the list of questions that he has asked us - the fellow bloggers...

Q: How do you choose what to blog on?

Do you always have a compelling story- be it a political story, personal one or a romantic poem or a photograph or a picture or a recipe or a historical monument or religious site you visited- to share with others? If you always have a compelling story, what is the role of research? Without research, how do we get new ideas, new recipes, new scenes to be photographed? How do we form opinion on new developments?

Or do you choose a subject and then research on the same? In such a case, will you be able to emotionally connect with the same? Does it not sound too logical and less creative? Is it not a case of form over substance?

A: Parts of the question have been answered earlier. Let me try to answer the unanswered parts now. I generally don't do too much research about things that I blog. I just pen down things that I have already stored in my mind. I don't have to be worried too much about data because I am not here to build opinions or to justify anyone. On the other hand, I think, as a blogger, my primary responsibility is to share my confusions with my readers so that they also get confused, get more questions and look for answers. Moreover, being a full time employee in a software company, I don't think I can ever have so much time to get into the root of every problem that I get into. Even those who got to the root of the problems only got to one root and ignored the other roots. I am not sure if I would be like this forever. As of now, I don't have enough knowledge; I haven't read enough; so it's better I stay like this. Maybe when I become more knowledgeable I will start forming opinions and expressing them. As of now, my stand is that this world is so unsafe because of all the opinionated people than the open minded ones so it's better to be open to all views than one. Otherwise, on some very straight forward issues, I also have opinions and I express them, too. I may get to this stage on other issues as well, as I read more and start talking about them more with people like you.

Q: Is it the irresistible inner urge that makes you blog? Or do you want to get noticed?
Do you see what is trending and jump into it? Pragmatic, I would say. Or do you intensely feel about something and genuinely believe that it will ‘trend’? Pragmatism or idealism- what drives you?
A: Both. As I said earlier, there are things that compel me to stop doing anything that I am doing at that time to start writing about it. And, there are also things that get into my ever growing list of topics that I write only when I find time. The latter topics are to share my views as well as to get noticed. Why to get noticed? I want more people to read what I write and give their feedback so that I can improve my writing skills. To be very frank, I am not interested in getting criticized. I want my readers to appreciate me, boost my confidence and make me a better writer. When I don't find someone interesting I just ignore them and move on. I don't tell them that theirs is crap. So, I expect the same kind of feedback from others as well. Otherwise, I love specific comments to correct myself or to get better. Hope you understand the difference. Do I intensely feel about something and genuinely believe that it will 'trend'? No. It's very rare that I have felt like that. On the other hand, there are things that I intensely feel about but I am more than sure that they would never trend. In such cases, I don't restrain myself from writing about them. I go ahead and write about them knowing that most people wouldn't be able to appreciate what I mean but there may be a few (maybe even one or two) who would find it interesting. That's enough from me. Even otherwise, I write about them because I know that I would be able to appreciate them anytime if not anyone else. Maybe, when I become a better writer, I can refine them and present them differently to the world. But, I don't miss them out because they may be fall into the cracks if I do so.

Q: Are you conscious of the language? Do you write and re-write? Do you change one word or phrase for another because you feel the former is more powerful? Or do you just focus on the content?
A: Yes. I am. I only read once after finishing the draft. It's just to ensure that there are no spelling mistakes. Otherwise, I don't want to worry too much about the quality now. I want to produce as much as possible first. Then, I can spend a lot of time reviewing them and making them better. I also assume that they are not too bad either. So, that makes me lethargic about reviews and re-writing. However, I want to spend a lot of time later to improve the quality of my posts. Only later... not now!

Q: Do you read or review your post again and again and again before publishing?
Are you concerned whether the readers may not connect with you? Do you tone down your views lest the readers may take offence? Do you ever hold back your honest views lest you may be classified as right wing or left wing, secular or fundamental or some other slot?
A: Yes. I try my best not to take sides. I use my experience in the corporate world. All appraisals start with the goods and then only we discuss about the bads. Even if the bads are more or more problematic, I should talk about the goods first to prepare my reader to listen to me. If I sound conclusive in the first paragraph, they may not even proceed to the next. They would just brand me as something and continue to remain what they are. I never want to hurt anyone nor do I want anyone else do that to me. Like in appraisals, there are also readers that only take the goods and conveniently ignore the bads. That's the flip side of this approach. Yes. Sometimes I don't try to be honest when I feel that's not the need of the hour. I know, it's more political than journalistic. It would sound positive if I say it's psychologically a better approach.

Yes. I just hate getting branded. I would even change my view on something to avoid getting branded as something. I know, it's not right, but as I said earlier, as a libran, I am more interested in consensus building and harmony than anything else. Like on everything else, there are exceptions on this as well. I don't mind getting branded as something in certain aspects. I feel - it's okay!

Q: Do you feel a sense of achievement after every post- an article on the success of an anti corruption movement or a photograph of rising sun or a recipe for new halwa? Or do you feel you could have done better?
A: Yes. I do. Every time I look at the total number of posts I get more confident. If there is one person to appreciate my post, I feel fulfilled. And, yes - very often I have felt that I could have done better but can't help it considering the time constraints and other commitments that we have.

Q: Do you feel frustrated at being unable to do anything beyond creating a post say after a terrorist attack…say after clicking a pathetic beggar…say after visiting a neglected temple? Or do you feel you have done your job as a blogger?
A: Yes. I do feel so. Let me put it this way. I keep saying this - one of the primary reasons why I love writing is, it helps me vent out my frustrations in some form; I also help someone else get more frustrated about it, which surely is going to lead to something some day. It's like being part of a silent revolution. This is what is happening with blogging and social media these days. So many drops together... becoming an ocean!

Q: How do you take an adverse comment on your post? Is it better than a favorable comment? Or is it just better than ‘no comment’?
A: I want to be honest here again. I don't like such comments. I strongly believe that there should be some decency in whatever one speaks or writes. I am at least mature enough to ignore things that I don't like. At a minimum, I expect this from others. However, I am open to specific comments that help me correct myself or get better. I can't call intolerance constructive criticism. They are different. I think, I understand the difference between them. Hopefully, I am right! :)

Otherwise, I also strongly believe that 'indecent behaviors' should be criticized with indecent language.

Q: Is your answer a straight ‘haa’ ya ‘naa” for these questions? Or is it somewhere in between?
A: Both, 'yes or no's as well as 'in-between's.

12 comments:

  1. You have indeed provided comprehensive answers. You have covered a wide range of subjects- from politics to culture to economics to books to... I really can not believe that you do not research much! Also your point regrading consensus building appeals to me. Rather than trying to prove a point, rather than trying to be smart, rather than misusing blogsphere, it is better to build consensus. I share you optimism- sharing your frustrations so that it will lead to something some day. Many drop make the ocean.
    You have given your entire blogging experience in a condensed form. These are very useful to the new bloggers.

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  2. Thank you so much, sir. This post is dedicated to you. :)

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  3. And, yes - i did do some research when i wrote "USAAA to USAA+". I do that only when i write about such stuff... to get familiar with the jargons... but you may not see that kind of depth in most of my other posts...

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  4. Very helpful for upcoming writers, sir!

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  5. Very helpful for aspiring writers, sir. We all could take a tip or two.:)

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  6. Thanks so much, Anu. Very happy to hear that!

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  7. Answers to the questions involved a lot of introspection.
    The answer to the question "How do you take an adverse comment on your post?" could be as simple as I moderate my comments. :) Says it all. :)

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  8. Thanks Sahana. Got your point. I know I could have been simpler and crisper, but it's not as simple as that. It's not just moderating comments that happens when there is an adverse comment. It affects my peace of mind and it makes me think about so many other things. I don't know if I have the ability to communicate everything in such a simple statement. :)

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  9. This was an interesting read indeed. Articulate and detailed. And maintaining a journal? That's some awesomeness. I used to do that too...

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  10. Thanks so much, Chintan. Yes, did that till few years ago... :)

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  11. hey...wonderful answers :)

    Cheers!
    SUB

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