The Self-Write-eous

“If you do not breathe through writing, if you do not cry out in writing, or sing in writing, then don’t write, because our culture has no use for it.”

-Anais Nin

Hello to the few souls who actually care and come here time and again to read what I’ve been cataloging. So it may come as a surprise when I say I’ve been experiencing a little bit of the writer’s block lately. I didn’t know if it’s possible to be completely blank when you tried to write but guess what, it is. From what I’ve understood, it doesn’t necessarily have to do with lack of ideas. It’s never the lack of it actually. You can’t not think.  It’s an ongoing process and even when you aren’t entirely aware of your thoughts, you are thinking. Like you are right now, even though you believe you are only concentrating on reading this. You are invariably thinking about a hundred different things but your mind is trying to blur them and focus on one.

That moment when you decide that you want to write and the words are all there in your mind in well-framed sentences but you just can’t write. This usually stems from something you’re just not ready to accept. I wasn’t too sure why I was feeling that way until it all came rushing out in a conversation with my person. I vented it all out to him and he just patiently listened, like he always does.

He and I have always been on the same page about most things but he did go ahead to say that unlike him I don’t sell my soul for views. Breaking it down, I don’t have any desire to garner views for which I need go to inexorable heights and write about the pop-culture scene. Don’t get me wrong I love pop-culture. Oh I thrive on it! I think anyone who says that they haven’t ever been thrilled to read about pop-culture on the blogs that they follow is lying through their teeth.

But there comes a point where you start to wonder is that really what writing comes down to? Do you only sit in front of your computer and type because you want random souls to stumble on your blog? Not to mention, a blog that is popular only because of pop-culture and not because of your stupendous wit. Oh that should hurt. Views v/s content. Do they really have any kind of significant mathematical relationship? I would say inversely proportional but that would mean stigmatizing every blog that likes to delve into pop-culture once in a while. That would mean bashing up my all-time favourite blog, Thought Catalog.

There are many writers who write because they feel it’s some kind of obligation to the blogging world. They look at their blog and decide, oh it’s been ten days and it’s time for me to churn out a new post. Then there are those who make sure that they keep their audience hooked and produce post after post with such fervour, you are tempted to unfollow them. They clog up your news feed and also make you feel ridiculous about how rarely you post anything. There are some bloggers who only blog when something bothers the hell out of them. Of course, grief, anger, disappointment and any kind of displeasure is rarely ever felt as deeply as wait, what do you call it, love? So yes, they feel they must add to the misery of this world and blog only when they’re sad. Sorry fellas, my heart goes out to you and everything but I honestly am in a very happy place right now to care about your pain. I understand bloggers who search for inspiration and like reviewing things (all the time? Umm…), deep down we all know we do that for views. Hell, I would be a hypocrite if I said that the movie reviews I had written were just for my eyes alone. But then again fight on me on this, I wrote them for the few respectable followers that I have, hoping they’d read it and watch the movies that I hold close to my heart. Can’t argue with me on that, can you?

I have nothing against people who publicize things. I think it forms a major part of why you write. But it shouldn’t be the only motivation. When you measure your blog by the number of views it has received in the last 48 hours, I wonder what kind of mentality you live by. If that’s the case, I should be ecstatic because just the other day a random blogger liked all of my articles in a time span of less than two minutes. What’s amusing here is, he didn’t read a single one of them. How do I know that, you ask? That’s because my blog gets views that I can count on my hands. I hadn’t got a single view on any of the posts he bothered to like. Good going Sir! I’m not going to be flattered and curious and visit your blog so your blog hits counter goes up. Seriously, the joke’s on you, dear Sir. With publicity like that, well I do have a problem. Quick tip: Don’t insult another blogger by liking something you haven’t bothered to read but liked based on the face-value. 

A few months ago, I was chatting with an American freelance writer (works for Thought Catalog, OH MY GOD!) on a social networking site. I must admit he was quite chatty for someone who should apparently be really busy. He spoke to me at length about what he thought about his writing and what it has become now. The only part of that conversation that struck out was when he told me that what I write right now, at the age of 19 is ‘shit’. He said that I’m supposed to be going out and experiencing things and experiencing people, living the life. I shouldn’t be holed up in my room, typing away at a blank screen. He also went on to say that when he was 19, he couldn’t write well and did a miserable job every time he tried. I found that hard to believe and when I go back and read the stuff he’s written I still can’t imagine a world where he didn’t write well. Then again, aren’t we our own worst critic nightmare.

When it comes to taking advice of someone you look up to, I don’t know how much of it I should consider. Hell, when I’m old and shrivelled, I would love to go back and read things I had written when I was 19. No matter how terrible and stupid they might seem to me then. I know for a fact that writing has lead me to a life I could never have imagined.

I have not known a life where I didn’t feel the need to write and keep a record of things I felt. I am not okay with the ephemeral nature of time. I can’t let moments that matter slip away and have only my memory to fall back on to, to recall them. If I ever plan on living my life backwards, I’ll know how to go about it. I’ll be able to go back to every high point in my life through my writings. I’m being selfish here because I’m writing for the future me. So tell me now, is it really that important to get ‘views’ for something that only I care about?

2 responses

  1. You ended with a question. I’m going to go out on a limb here and assume it’s not rhetoric.

    Everyone. wants. appreciation. Even those who are too stubborn to admit it. There are those, of course, who tend to revere it. They thrive upon it. As if it is necessary for the furtherance of their very existence.

    I understand that the number of views is nothing but an arbitrary number. And you are least interested in how many views you garner via each post. I agree with that premise.

    But, you DO want to be viewed. There’s a completely different satisfaction one obtains when his/her readers connect with something they’ve created.
    Also, this satisfaction goes both ways. The reader obtains pleasure knowing that there is someone out there who thinks/acts/behaves the way he/she does. Even if I were to chance upon an amusing anecdote, I would appreciate the fact that someone went through the trouble to put it up.

    If you’re writing only for the future you, wouldn’t it make more sense to maintain a diary? I completely agree that it is not important to get ‘views’. But it is inherently brilliant that you get viewed.

    Is it not?


    1. Having a blog and maintaining a journal are two very different things.

      Also, if you probably took the time to read the blog a little more carefully you would realize I’m not saying that I just don’t want views. That’s ridiculous and rather impossible. My point being, that I have never been one to chase after them. Appreciation and views do not have to mean the same thing. I have iterated that rather clearly. But people equating the number of views with it is what I can never fully understand.

      I really thought you were of the same school of thought, but it seems we’ve diverged on two different tangents here.

      Oh, I do want to connect with people. But it’s also true, that I don’t like people.


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