Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Blogging Today - Much More Than Just Writing

I bought my first laptop in late 2007 and started this blog in early 2008. I had read a few blogs earlier and had always wanted to write – and so I started off. Only a handful of my friends knew about my blog and a few of them used to read and comment. I was thrilled with every comment and eagerly awaited them after I wrote every new blog post.

Fast forward to the present, my blog has gained a few new readers – some of whom I’ve never met – and I am now a part of a few blogging communities and groups as well. However, as much as I enjoy the actual writing of posts I lag far behind in the other areas that has come to be associated with blogging today.

There are a few blogs out there that attract a large number of readers solely due to the interesting and consistent quality of content. On the other hand, I have increasingly noticed that a number of “popular” blogs are actually popular simply because the blogger networks extensively. This was also one of the things we learnt at work - I work in digital publishing - that good content alone is not enough, marketing is as, if not, even more important. In fact, this is also something which we’ve been noticing with authors nowadays. No longer is it enough to write your book and be done with it. Today, you need to attend book launches, signings, meets, give talks, market on social media, give interviews, attend shows… phew!

The funny thing is, blogging is actually an activity that is especially suited for introverts like me, who are nervous about meeting new people and find themselves tongue-tied in large gatherings. The internet provides us with just the right amount of distance and it is the perfect medium through which we can convey our thoughts without succumbing to the inherent fears and worries of an introvert.  Blogging was once considered to be only for geeky loners – and then suddenly it became cool to have a blog and now with the advent of social media, blogging has almost become passé!

So that brings us to the point – whom do we blog for? Is it for ourselves or is it for our readers? Sure, a blog’s readers are important. I mean who doesn’t like comments and visitors who not only read but actually agree with what you have to say? So at one point of time, I too jumped into the fray and started socialising, albeit virtually. The number of visitors to my blog increased, the interaction increased and my blog’s stats picked up and it was all very exciting indeed. Perhaps because I also work for a commercial magazine, I soon started thinking about what to blog about – from the readers’ angle. Gradually I stopped blogging for myself. I was constantly worried about improving my blogs stats. While this is definitely necessary for a commercial magazine, I think that one of the charms of maintaining your own blog is that it offers you an opportunity to write for yourself. You don’t have to adhere to word length constraints, or worry about editorial guidelines or if what you write will be accepted by an editor and liked by readers. At your blog, you are the boss. You can give free reign to your writing and write about whatever the heck you want – and I’ve found it to be so liberating that sometimes I have to consciously remind myself that my writing needn’t be constrained by any rules when I am blogging! If people find it interesting enough to read, that’s great. If not, so what? I’ve written something for the pure joy of crafting words. I’ve written something for the unadulterated love of writing. I’ve written something simply for the sake of writing itself.  What could be more fulfilling for someone who thinks words are her best friend? 

Runner Up: British Council's Madras Memories Blogging Contest

My post for British Council's Madras Memories contest won second place! Yay! The topic was 'An Iconic Symbol Of Madras'. Please go here to read the full write-up.

Monday, August 19, 2013

4 Reasons Why I Would Never Backpack

I recently met an avid backpacker and we had a nice chat about her adventures when backpacking. Of late, I am hearing about more and more Indians who are lured by the magic of backpacking. So, I started thinking if I would ever pick up my backpack and set off into uncharted territories, and the answer was a resounding no. Although I admire backpackers and as much as I would love to travel the world, backpacking is a definite no-no for me. Here’s why:

1. I am a control freak: I need to know all the answers. Yes, I know this is almost always impossible, leads to a lot of unnecessary stress and is a major impediment to attaining nirvana. Nevertheless, I do fall into this category. I am that irritating person we all know who needs to know exactly when what is going to happen. I plan things waayyyyy in advance. Never mind that half my plans don’t work out, I’ve still not learned by lesson - I can be a pretty stubborn ass if I want to be.

Backpacking involves kissing goodbye to planning. It means not knowing how many days I am going to stay in a certain place, where I am going to stay, how I am going to get anywhere - I could never do that, it is simply not possible. I would drive myself crazy wondering about all the unanswered questions instead of enjoying my trip. I would rather have my hotels and tickets booked beforehand and my itinerary in hand, or at the very least in my mind. I do not need to plan every single minute of the day but atleast a vague plan must be in place.

2.  I am a fuss pot: The first thing I check out when I go to any hotel is the restroom. To me, a vacation must involve functional plumbing and clean washrooms. Secondly, I am a very picky eater. I subject even my mother’s cooking to close scrutiny and I don’t eat half the things that my family members have no issues with; how would I ever eat anything on a backpacker’s budget?! People often assume that non-vegetarians are less choosy about food. The lady I met said that on occasion she had had to eat scorpions, snakes and even, dog meat. I am a non-vegetarian and sure, I could eat all that I mentioned – if I had a gun pointing to my head. Else, please give me some “normal” food! 

3. I like my privacy and space: A big part of travelling is meeting new people from across the world. I am okay with that and I am as interested as the next person in learning about different cultures and customs. However, at the end of the day, I would like to close the door and have my privacy. Dorms and sharing rooms with strangers are just not my thing.

4. I like my comforts: Call me a material girl but yes, I like my air conditioning, hot water showers and a cozy bed and sweet smelling sheets to sink into. Slumming it out is not my cup of tea.

So what about you? Would you backpack? Or are you a lover of all things nice and comfy, like moi?


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...