Monday, May 14, 2012

May The Force Be With You






In a fit of stupidity, I had approached a published author. “I have written some short stories, how can I publish them?” I had asked. He said, “Contact a publisher only when you have an edited manuscript worth 50,000 words. And remember there is no guarantee that your stories will be published.”

Why should I strain my neck and tire my fingers typing fifty thousand words, when the herculean effort was likely to go waste? For an inherently lazy person , it was too much to ask. 

‘Forget it,” I would rather blog, I thought. “Why should any story or character confine me?” So I continued writing at my own pace and free will. A freebird!


Today morning, I realized that I have written more than hundred posts for my blog and another hundred odd articles for other web-sites and publications. No, I am not blowing my trumpet. But if my mathematics serves me right, with an average of five hundred words per post, I have surely crossed the dreaded fifty thousand word limit in less than two years. A book was possible.


With all due respect to published authors, we have to keep in mind that every middle class Indian who speaks the language is either busy writing a novel or dreams of writing one. Engineering colleges have become a writer’s hub after an IIT-ian became a best-seller with his unpretentious prose. Critics called his prose pedestrian, but the masses lapped up his stories. With most celebrities writing books, the writing bug is in the air. Don’t be surprised if Mallika Sherawat announces the launch of her tell-tale book with titillating torturous stories of her tiresome life. Ten bucks, she will write a book. Anybody?


As for me,blogging has been fun. And since I have been wandering in the blogosphere for some time, let me share some nuggets.
As in television and films, there are two ways to grab eyeballs in blogosphere. The short-cut entails writing controversial articles which ridicule religion, culture or saints. Politician bashing will not get you anywhere. People do not want to read about pollies. Instead the temple of democracy could pass a privilege motion against you. Worse, income tax guys can drop in for a cup of coffee. 
So what should you blog about?

Write why Sachin’s hundred hundreds were a fluke. 

Dwell on reasons why Sachin or a Sourav should not get Bharat Ratna. Convince people why Navjot Singh Sidhu deserves it more than anyone else. He does.
Reveal that Ranbir Kapoor is a wild card entry on Mallika's swayamvar show. Argue that Vivek Oberoi would have been a better choice.
Or else, say Katrina and Sunny Leone are not sexy; they evoke sisterly feelings.

Write about Arnab's private life. Or about the party where Arnab and Rajdeep came to blows for a bottle of Old Monk.

The blogdom is yours. Party!!

If you want the long way home, then write well, read blogs, engage with your readers, be patient, blah, blah…Yes, it takes months and years to get sizable traffic, even if you are good. The bright side is that even if you don’t get readers, you are sure to make wonderful friends. If you are a woman, you will be surprised to note how women bloggers protect you like mother hens. It is heartwarming.


On to the critics. Jump with joy if you manage to get genuine critics. Respect opinions as blogosphere thrives in the cacophony of
arguments. Which is why  I need genuine critics just as Rahul baba needs a genuine speech writer. Don't worry about anonymous perverts who shower you with the flowery lingo of the 'F' variety. Ignore them.

 The  reader who neither comments nor blogs, and yet reads your blog  is  precious. Value him/her. Welcome to the cathartic world of Blogosphere! May the (mass*acceleration) be with you.

Warning: It is addictive!

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53 comments:

  1. That was a great ode to blogging. I remember you talking of the author who told you to pen 50,000 words. How about getting the gems published Alka? You have your readership cut out. I loved the part about making friends even if there are not many readers and even if the stats are like those of an Egyptian mummy's. Had I not begun blogging I would never have found friends like you for sure. You are not just a satire writer, but an all-round one who can go to the root of the subject in such few words.

    And please keep the first copy of your book for me with your autograph in it :)

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    1. The best part of the blogging journey is that I made friends who are able to read my mind even though we havent met. Writing or no writing, glad I met you here!

      Delete
  2. :-) I liked the way you have pointed out the shorter way to fame in the blogsphere.

    And I agree, I have made very good friends in the blog world, which I am sure to cherish for a long long time.

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  3. And she ended up voicing my eternal dilemma and guilt - of not finishing the book that my imaginary readers are waiting for!

    The lady never disappoints - writes with incredible maturity, peppers it with ample wit and leaves you asking for more.

    You always were and always will be one of my favourite bloggers <3

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    1. Coming from an accomplished writer and one of the most popular bloggers, your words mean a lot.
      :)))

      Delete
  4. Alka,

    Nice dig at some but very very subtle. I agree with you that blogging does give one a lot of freedom about what to write without any deadlines or worries of rejection slips. I strongly feel that one should write for own satisfaction and if there is good response, well, that is icing on the cake. And, of course, making some good friends is such a bonus. Hope to see you for a long long time to come.

    Take care

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    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    2. Honestly, Jack the intention was not to take jibes at anyone...all my close blogger friends write meaningful posts and have come up the hard way. I do not know the Madrasan girl and her blog became viral after she wrote a scathing post ridiculing Punjabis is what I was referring to. All in good fun. I may disagree but I respect every point of view.This was just an impromptu post...
      Glad I met you here on Blogosphere!

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    3. Alka,

      No, it is not just that poor girl, Madrasan but some more but in humour basically. It is a pleasure to read your posts.

      Take care

      Delete
  5. Keep writing Alks, the best ones out here are the most unnoticed while the controversial children and ass lickers are hogging the limelight...

    I realized a while back that blogging is no longer beautiful as it used to be-no genuine readers, not enough great writers-you are one of the most underrated ones. I too fail to come up with reasons for it. Perhaps because you are too straight from the heart to mince with words. You are a delight as you are-keep writing. Compile the best pieces from here and may be you already have a book in here somewhere. I am always reading you for sure and my love for you keeps getting more and more:-)

    Happy Blogging:-)

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    1. Blogging or no blogging, glad I met you here. This was perhaps my way of adding to your dramatic post, "No One loves me". How we love compliments!!


      I realised that you are getting disillusioned with blogging but keep writing when you feel like. Your genuine readers will read you. I have reduced the frequency too. Now I write only when I have this compelling urge to say something.

      :)

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  7. Alka, I loved all your blogposts. They were not just satirical but also hard-hitting and subtly guided our attention to things that we tend to overlook in the hustle bustle called life.

    You did write those 50,000 words, now if only you were to write them as a part of one story, we could have that wonderful book from you ;)

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    1. Thank you Rachna. Coming from an accomplished writer, your encouragement in the past year means a lot. Keeps me going.

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  8. Alka, I second every word of Zephyr and having read every single post of yours since I strayed into blogging, I can vouch there are a few who can match you in words n thoughts:) Please do keep one autographed copy of your first publication for me as well!

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    1. Thank you for reading and encouraging Rahul.
      It means a lot.

      Delete
  9. Hi Alka! I especially loved the line "Then tweet like a sparrow in heat and Facebook as if Zuckerberg’s life depended on you. Blogdom is yours a la Madrasan"! Doesn't that remind me someone who was a friend not too many moons ago! But the hundreds of fake 'social media' followers went to that sick little head.

    I own no touchstone with which to measure your class but suffice it to say that if the likes of Poopie could propose to sell their autobiographical goo on a platter, you are a far better polished gem in comparison.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Coming from you I am on top of the world.Glad I met you here on this forum.

      Honestly, I dont know who you are hinting at...but the short cut has a short life.

      Your blog is a good representative of the fact that flawless prose and gripping narrative attracts readers. It took months but now I feel happy to see people flocking to read you - a wonderful person and a writer of formidable talent.

      Delete
  10. Compile all your blogs and get it published...seriously.

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    1. And I will invite you, a student of IIM-A to inaugurate my book launch party..Will you have time then?

      So proud of you.

      Delete
  11. You are one of the bloggers whose writings I admire. Try to get some of your write-ups published in print as well as e-magazines. It will lend you some more visibility. Do not lose hope, there are a lot of new publishing houses who are interested in getting new talent so just go ahead, send them the manuscript. All the best.

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  12. What a tribute to blogging Alka! You should seriously consider publishing your book. Readers would love it for sure! I love your writing - the use of words to the satire in the writing - Everything!

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    1. Your words mean a lot. Thank you indeed for encouraging.
      :)

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  13. Your writing has definitely raised the bar.

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    1. :) Glad you like it. Loved your guest post on Zephyrs Blog.

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  14. Ma'm,

    I have held the opinion that books are storehouse of knowledge. Storehouse is precisely what they are. With little application in the contemporary times and out-of-context examples, only a few books are timeless. So, my take on writing is definitely more...what should we say... contemporary. Blogs are better because we can always add up to what we have said at one point of time.

    I remember that post of yours where you talked about the birth of this blog. Thank god they did not realise your potential then :) We wouldn't be having the pleasure of your company here otherwise...

    I guess it depends on the very intent that one has when one chooses to write- or do anything in the world for that matter. Some crave for attention while some just want to speak their mind and have genuine ( and few ) reviews. I kind of agree with the role critics play in writing. But over the time when we get to know the writer in person, it becomes difficult to be ...what should we say... on the face! Being human is like that.

    And, over the years I have also realised that there are countable few who take criticism well. What is happening parliament over the cartoon is nothing out of the world-the politicians are from the same feedstock. Everyone says they welcome divergence, only a few do :) Result- either the person stops commenting or tries to look for good in whatever trash that has been presented.
    But since you expressly said so... lets see what can be done :)

    PS- I commented on your last post but its not there anymore. Something offensive in there, I presume ?

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    1. I am amazed at the perspective you provide...Often I dont dwell on my fun posts but after reading your comments I am forced to look at the topic from a different angle altogether.

      The beauty of blogging is that one gets to see different point of views and any debate, if at all, can be taken forward on this forum.
      What is happening in the Parliament is different...they are pandering to vote bank politics. And power has intoxicated some of them. They love arguments but shy away from dialogue. They profess respect for opposition but want their opponents to curl up and die. It is my way or the highway. Punish and ban those who dissent. This is not democracy. But it has happened all over the world. Power flows from the barrel of a gun.

      Delete
  15. A perfect tribute to blogging and u r a true vlue blogger. :) Keep up the good work!

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  16. Congo for more than hundred articles :D
    Well I will type 'Y' as you said in one of your previous post.

    I doubt Abhishek getting a hit, but you surely will get genuine critics, no doubt on it ;)

    Blogging is addictive and why not if we find good friends too :)

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    1. Poonam, when is the D day? Or is it already over? you both look so good together. Is he a doc too?

      and thanks for the lovely comment.

      Delete
  17. Well written Alka. I remember that post of yours where you wrote about your encounter with the newspaper types and how you took to blogging. You have a gift of words. And, you are doing a wonderful job with your blogging. Do let me know when your book comes out, and I will hanker you for an autographed copy :). I think the real plus of blogging is finding some good friends, people who genuinely care about you and who wait to hear from you even if what you are writing is mundane. Eventually, your blog is a place where you let loose. You crib, you sulk, you let off steam, and some people might take offense imaginary or otherwise. Stop caring about that. That will stifle the soul of your writing. So all the best and many more blogs to you!

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  18. I am amazed to meet such wonderful people here...and you are one of them. I have no plans to write a book...I am happy blogging and writing for a local newspaper.
    It is always a pleasure to see your articles in DNA.
    Thank you for all the encouragement.
    :)))

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  19. Great tips :D!! You write very well, Alka! It's a joy to read your posts. Let's enjoy the journey without worrying about the destination :-)

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    1. Very well said....:). Thanks for all the tips.

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  20. Congratulations :)
    pssst.. while a book may give you fame and fans, here on blogosphere you get the fans and some great friends :)

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    1. True. And it is addictive,isnt it?

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  21. Alka,I went thtough a similar phase.
    But,But---I did publish my book.

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    1. Yes, and hats off to your perseverance and diligence.

      I am yet to read your book but am sure it has all the ingredients to compel the reader to think about issues facing us.

      Delete
  22. As Utsuk said, compile your blog posts in a book..And then once again you will be able to write on the process of getting that done( in case it gets published). I've come across few novels which I personally felt were not readable(according to me and few others).. But good work should get published and you should really give it a try :) After all, you realized that your lethargic bones are not that lethargic ;)

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    1. Sakshi, even that isnt easy. No publisher is willing to look at a compilation of blog posts unless he knows you. To get your first work published is tough. Plus I feel uncomfortable running after people begging them to look at my work...at best I e mail my work. So far havent heard from anyone. Rupa, Hachette,Indilog, Harper Books...anyone listening?

      Thank you for reading and welcome here.

      Delete
  23. :) well well well , One of the blogger friends Mr. Chowla gave this idea to me too, when i had gone to bangalore last year. He has got his blog articles published into a book , and i think it is a good idea too.

    On the other had everyone is a writer these days ..

    I will email you Mr. chowla's email maybe you can contact him and see how he got it published , you can use the same way. It should not be that hard but then What do i know of such things ...

    I do love what you write and enjoy coming here everytime .. So as all have said keep writing :)

    Bikram's

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    1. Bikram, i know Mr Chowla through India Tweets. He is an accomplished writer.

      Since everyone is publishing books, a book is no big deal unless it says something new, is critically acclaimed or a best seller. I doubt if my blog posts come in any of the above category...So Blogging it is!
      I will continue to bug you and other friends ...Thanks for the encouragement.

      Delete
    2. what do u mean bug me , its always a pleasure reading you for sure ... and I would not say that about your blog , I find it impressive and I get inspired too .. and I learn a lot of things tooo..
      isn't thats what a good blog or article should do .. :)

      Delete
  24. you write so well and I wud say ..for good writing there is always an opportunity ahead its never too late ,,, jus matter of time .
    :)

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    1. Hi, I have been missing you here....
      Thanks for the encouraging words.

      Delete
  25. Judging by this pile of utter crap called new age Indian lit. that sits on my book shelf,I was under the impression that getting published is more than easy.
    I read you,Purba ,Zephyr and Suranga and I wonder, how long before these girls come out with their books?!Meanwhile,a friend just handed me a copy of her self-published book.I will review it on my blog as a not- bad-at -all first attempt.She may not be able to sell it well sans any publicity and hype but I admire her for the effort she put in and her guts:)

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  26. Purba has impeccable sense of humour and Zephyr simply touches the heart with her flawless prose..

    Unless the book sells or gets some acclaim I feel it is futile to write for the sake of publishing...You r right, publicizing packaging and selling are other intractable issues..

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  27. right said friend!

    you know how i met my husband...through blogosphere:)
    this reminds me i have so much to blog about my action-packed mundane life :)

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  28. Hahaha....the journeys and tryst of bloggers.
    You know, you should still think of that book. If there is anyone with sensibility and a good grasp over words as well as expressions in blogosphere, it is you and just a very few others around. The rest of us are just bantering....

    I for one love you and reading you always :-)

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