Saturday, September 8, 2018

When I Write My 1000th Blog Entry

Two days back I wrote my 1000th blog entry. It was ‘Meaning Meets an Unfamiliar Word’; an article about TK Harindran’s film, ‘Bay Image Now’. Thousand blogs in ten years! I have never thought of achieving a target; while writing a blog entry I never think about any kind of numbers. I write because I like writing. I write because I have got something to say. I write because I got something to communicate. I write because I like addressing unknown readers. There could be a number of reasons for writing a blog entry. More importantly, I never call my blog entries, blog entries. I call them articles. My blog is a collection of articles. I write articles and do not take much pain to send it to any publisher. I, perhaps like the immediacy of communication. Seen from a different perspective there are not many magazines that accommodate my articles.

I write mostly on art and culture that include film and literature. We do not have too many magazines that would spare more than four pages to an article pertaining to art or culture. If at all they publish a very long article, it should be by some internationally acclaimed authors like Arundhati Roy. Magazines would even spare a whole issue for such writers. I do not belong to that league of writers. There are magazines that publish lengthy articles; they are hugely academic in nature and are their periodicity is either quarterly or biannual. With my level of patience I cannot wait for such long durations to see an article published. Nor do I have such patience to satisfy the editorial needs of those kinds of journals. Considering all these factors, there is no wonder that I found blogging my favorite medium of publishing. They say, blogs are not taken seriously. My blog entries have proved them wrong.

Long back I had written about the reason why I started a blog and I do not want to repeat the story at length here. However, for a new reader out there I could recap it in a succinct fashion. I was editing a very successful online journal. Being a person with Compulsive Writing Disorder, I needed another platform to write all what I wanted to write. Besides, an American friend sort of challenged me about writing regularly, which he was doing regularly in his blog. Next day I registered my blog and for the name of it I didn’t think twice: By All Means Necessary, a famous statement by the charismatic Malcolm X. By all means necessary I have been militantly righteous in my blog writing. My Compulsive Writing Disorder became an order in itself and despite the snide remarks on my writing style from a few quarters I kept the momentum on and when I complete ten years in blogging in October this year I will have at least 1020 articles in it.

Wherever I go, whether it is an academic institution or wherever intellectually inclined people are found, I come across people who follow my blogs; some regularly and some religiously. There are people who send me messages, anxiously enquiring the reasons for my abstinence from blog writing in case I am not able to add a new article for some time due to personal reasons. But remember, I have never been mechanical in my writing that means I have never written a blog entry for the sake of increasing its number or readership. In all these years  many well-wishers of mine have come forward to tell me that I should be reducing the length of my writing for these days people do not read end to end. They need two minutes or three minutes read. Some points out that today people are more comfortable with reading in their smartphones therefore I should be maintaining a length of the articles that could be seen and read in one scroll. With all respect to those friends I have always rejected such proposals and guidance. I have never cut my articles into size only to fit them into the new templates of reading or to cater to the changed and changing reading habits of the people.

In this case I am a very patient man. When I post an article in the blog, I tell myself that there may be five hundred readers for this or may be fifteen thousand. It could go down to fifty too (I can have my data always checked in the google analytics and I do keep a watch on it). But I am very patient with my readers. In fact I am waiting for the future readers to find me out from the endless entries in the blogosphere from all over the world. I know that there are topics that I deal with which are topical and current so I get more readers; there are articles that gain many readers if there are references of sex and nudity. Period. There are readers who wait for something very pithy. There are articles that have validity all the time. Such articles will find readers from all over the world. Trust me I have more readers from the US and Europeans countries than from India. I have been quoted from my blogs several times in the foreign newspapers. Indian journalists who cover art and culture have openly accepted that they follow my blog quite regularly. I am patient. My readers are here and they are still to come in future.

Whenever young art writers complaint that they do not have enough avenues to publish their writing I smile at them. I tell them if they are ready to listen, see if you have something to say and you dare to say that the way you feel it, then write it in a blog or in a note, there will be serious readers for you. But most of the young writers do not believe in themselves. They think that only when their works are appreciated by the established editors and given a space in the established magazines, then only they become writers. I do not think such writers are serious about their writing practice. They are writing for mainstream appreciation. They do not feel excited to write regularly. They want to see their works published in the magazines, even if it is once in a year. Youngsters complain about the absence of monetary gains in the field of writing. If you do not write, from where do you get your money? Then they would say, in blog there is no money. I say, there is no money in blog but there are moneyed people out there who would want your writing. Can you believe that I had been invited to Mumbai by an entrepreneur after reading my blogs? He wanted to send me to London for a few months to interview his mentor and come out with a book. It happened in 2009. The book was supposed to be about a polo player who had been in bed for long after a fall. I politely rejected the proposal only because the subject was not of my kind or taste. I was treated royally in Mumbai by that young entrepreneur for two days. He told me as he saw me off that I could ring him up anytime I need help in bringing out a book. Dear young writers, your reader is not the one who you think your reader is.

In the blog spot too there is a provision to monetize your writing. After much prodding by one of my friends and an expert in photography and computers, Feroze Babu, I tried to add this monetizing feature in my blog. Soon I found that advertisements appearing below the blog entry, picking random words as key words and popping up atrocious pictures and advertisements. It put me off and I found out the ways to get rid of the monetizing option and I did chuck it eventually. I have to add that I have not earned a single rupee from this monetizing option. Today blog writing is not one of the options of my writing practice, it is my writing. Today, if you calculate roughly, my blog has around twenty five lakh words in it. That means it could easily make 25 books. And I have many more years ahead to write. If not today, tomorrow, these writings are going to be in the book form because somewhere the reader of my blog is yet to be born. Who knows he wouldn’t be my publisher? I am not so adamant that I should be living to see that day. But I know that day is very much there.

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