Monday, June 30, 2014

How to write like a twenty year old even if you are sixty





Why would anyone want to write like a twenty something? According to a study, young Indians are using their mobile for news, entertainment and leisure information. Given that young readers prefer reading young writers,  how do you create a niche in an on-line world that is abuzz with noise? How do you infuse the spirit of youth in your keyboard even if you are sliding towards antiquity? You’ve tried everything from pun to fun and yet you read like a didactic dinosaur. Read on. This piece is for you unless you write about the Syrian crisis, the tumbling oil prices, or why Hindus should have four kids.

After several IIT-ians rendered Rushdies and Naipauls redundant, an avalanche of young writers wrote all about romancing their professor’s daughter and losing their virginity. The topics were contemporary, the style unpretentious, and the prose unadorned. If the purpose of writing was to be read, it served the purpose. A blurb on a recent bestseller reads – Her writing is very young, very now and very funny.
Young. Now. Funny. That’s the mantra.

It’s the Humor
Coin a witty, self-deprecating and memorable tagline. Umm, something like the tagline of a popular blogger - ‘This blog is marginally more interesting than picking one’s nose’ or ‘General Idiot for Hire’. Such wizards get blessed with comments like - Frikkin Awesome, LOL-bey, Donkey Balls and Double ROFL. After years of blogging, I earned my single ROFL recently. I am now working towards Holy S**t and Totally Insane.

Short but Substantial
Nothing is more joyous than being able articulate thoughts that resonate with youngsters. Moreover, there is an addictive kick in knowing that young people across continents are enjoying your writing. With the youth conversing in 140 characters, no one has the time or the patience to read edifying sermons. So much for senile snobs who think Twitter is a waste of time. Verbosity today is a refuge of pompous politicians or garrulous television hosts. Even politicians are trying to rediscover the merits of being short and succinct. Long verbose posts are a big No.

Laugh at Yourself
Going by the above premise, your writing needs to pack a punch of irreverence, wit and brevity. Use candid humor, self-deprecation and loads of honesty. Learn to laugh at yourself and make sure that your sense self-importance does not overpower your sense of humor. Else, you could end up sounding like someone who, allegedly in jest, blogged about why Katrina Kaif should be the President of India. Some jokes crash with a thud.

Laugh at Others
You can laugh at someone and yet, respect them. Don’t worry; you can joke about people without belittling them. It’s an art. Some call it satire. Unless you master the art of making your point without offending, stay away from lampooning anything that is remotely saffron or green. It can be deadly as recent events have shown. You might not be killed but income tax guys can drop in for a cup of coffee. Talking of beverages, try writing after a drink or two. Now you are ready to use flowery lingo used by your college going kid’s friend, who you think is a bad influence on your kid. Remember youngsters don’t write different stuff, they just write in a different manner.

Memes and Marketing
Memes are ideal for a relatively short attention span of the internet generation. Which is why, memes have become a pervasive part of popular culture. So learn to play with images. Let’s say, you are as tech challenged as I am. It is likely that you will be in an awkward situation where young bloggers are talking about coding and widgets. Look disinterested and say, “You continue with the basics, while I meet the others.” Or lie, “I don’t believe in tech support. My content is good enough.” Then go home and plead with your kid to teach you about SEO, plug-ins and social media marketing. Learn to tweet like a sparrow, Facebook as if Zuckerberg’s life depended on you, and develop a thick skin. Because for every ROFL, you are likely to get ten, “B**l S**t.” Hell hath no fury like a youngster defending his religion, sex, profession or gender.

Damn, I forgot all about the content being the king. Must be the drink. What? Despite all the gyan, I read like a sixty year old? You dumass!



Also on HuffingtonPost.

65 comments:

  1. LOL! I seriously don't know how you do it. I mean write humor so effortlessly. You are, to me, the blogging-equivalent of a talented stand-up comedian. I might even throw Mr. Carrey into the mix here. And you definitely don't read like a sixty year old. Maybe someone in their thirties :P

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I have been watching a lot of stand up comedy lately.
      Thanks for the praise Sid.

      Delete
  2. I love memes but I don't think I'll ever try one. Let the young do what they are best at and I'll learn to live with the fossil tag.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You, my dear need no tips. People of all ages are addicted to your blog.

      Delete
  3. ths ws awsom. whr did u lrn to wrt so gd. Ok, that was the max I could do to imitate the young of today :P This was brilliant...getting young readers for your work will never be a problem, because this sort of talent is timeless :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Seeta, I was on a stand up comedian's blog with two hundred odd comments and this is what I gathered. Hence the post.

      Delete
  4. Oh dear ! I dont have any of the qualities you have mentioned ! Candid humor is not my forte and I dont like memes at all. Time to shut shop me thinks. Lovely post Alka !

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Blame this post on several stand up comedy shows I have been watching. Most of them have very popular blogs.

      Delete
  5. Neither young, nor 60. Where do 30+ fall?
    I like how you weave magically weave the words to bring out the best of humour. :-) Something I am not at all good at. :-(

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thirty is good. You are safe Rekha. :)

      Delete
  6. Ha ha ha!
    *and then digs a hole and hides her head in it like an ostrich. Is she talking about me?*
    Had fun reading this one!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sakshi, I have been reading blogs by young stand up comedy artists. They are really popular, hence the post.

      Delete
  7. Am more than sure your 'brand' of humor appeals to all ages, provided they are sensible enough to 'get' the humor in the posts themselves.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Now that's what I call a smart intelligent comment. Like minds think alike.
      :)

      Delete
  8. I must learn these tricks Alka-my age is written all over my posts :(
    Thanks for the help :)

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    Replies
    1. You don't need these tips Indu, you've carved a niche of your own.

      Delete
  9. Well, I can never do any of these things, so I guess I should be content with my "serious, almost-50 blog"!
    But this was definitely a fun read, Alka :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Your blog and writing is beautiful as it is.

      Delete
  10. Hahaha. My latest post is a picture-parody of SHOLAY - yes, its a collection of memes.

    Please help a needy 30-plusser with your comments and valuable feedback. :p. I have religiously followed all your pointers...even before I could read this post.

    Cheers
    CRD
    www.scriptedinsanity.blogspot.in

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Just visited your blog. Incredible effort with hilarious outcome.

      Delete
  11. Ha ha ha! You must point me to those blogs!! I must learn how to be a popular blogger!! But seriously, as Sid said, you really have an amazing sense of humour.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Rajrupa visit www.heartranjan.wordpress.com
      And you will know what I am saying here!

      Delete
  12. Sigh! I don't qualify to be a blogger at all :(

    ReplyDelete
  13. now I know why I am so bad .. and why the so called youngsters done read me ... tsk tsk tsk ..
    by those standards do i even qualify to be a blogger Dare I say....


    Bikram

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This post has demoralized all my readers....

      Delete
  14. This was a good tutorial, Alka.

    Oh well! just gotta stick to my old ancient style...cough...cough!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ha ha...Still waters run deep. Lets stick to what we do best.

      Delete
  15. Ugh! I guess I don't deserve them young readers :-).

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Rachna, alas! We are lamentably- and irrevocably- dated I fear! No young readers for us. :(

      Alka: What about using pathetic language, atrocious grammar and impromptu abbreviations that can make you drop dead with fright? Forgot those? :)

      Delete
    2. Rachna, you are beyond all this.
      Dagny, pathetic language and atrocious grammar draws like minded readers. That pathetic readers outnumber refined readers makes such blogs popular. But some are genuinely funny and creative.

      Delete
  16. haha :D Going by the kind of following you enjoy, you are far away from being a dinosaur :) Classic sense of humor...

    ReplyDelete
  17. Smart move to woo young readers to your blog (high time you should enter politics - cos those ppl only confused very much in wooing young voters) :) jokes apart reading you is fun and I'm content with that (no further R & D :)))

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Sundar. Your presence here means a lot. Who needs fickle teens?

      Delete
  18. I need to face the wall and give myself some THINKING TIME. Since I come in that young generation tag.
    This was awesome!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You are funny, precise, candid and honest. And hence, popular.

      Delete
  19. Very funny! And I love grumpy cat too.
    YOu know what - I want to write like myself. And I want to bring people my own age to the joys of blog writing. I'm sorry but grammar is important to me and so are beautiful words. But people still read me :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Of course we find like minded readers Kalpana. I am sure people love to read you.
      Thank you for reading.

      Delete
  20. this sets me rofl-ing:-D. Nice insight into the statistics. Deep down, i believe ,we write for ourselves :-)
    PS: I loved the tagline of the popular blogger:-D

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. When we try to write like someone else, the effort shows. Fortunately, there are readers for all ages.

      Delete
  21. I love memes but I never knew how to use them or tried. I wud love to learn coz I think I am still young :-o (or not ? ! )
    enjoyed the post as always
    Yet to read Anuja Chauhan

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. https://imgflip.com/memegenerator
      Try this, it's easy. And fun

      Delete
  22. I dont care..Fo me impoertant it is .....you read my blog if not for the content,at least for my age

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I read your blog as you make pertinent points. The posts are short but substantial.

      Delete
  23. To be young at heart more than the physical age and a reflection of same in the writing to connect with readers is what may make the difference ! Being honest in writing helps :) Still a lot to learn from great bloggers like yourself, Purba, Zephyr etc

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Purba is a natural. I learn a lot from her too.
      And honesty rules. True.

      Delete
  24. hahaha :D I can tick just one of the point, that is self deprecation :P
    and it think of it, I am also getting old.. haii!!!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. :) no worries, you have like minded readers who love to read you for your honesty of thought and clarity of ideas.

      Delete
  25. I've never been good at written humour, or recited humour. Heck, I haven't been much better in humour at all. But I catch the gotchas and slip of tongues, and thanks to the awesome sense of humour of the speaker, the retort is well received - with a hearty laughter.

    It is this increasing bourgeois in the new breed of writers that worries me, for we are constantly departing from the decor in the form of metaphors and allusions towards the punnery of 'cum' and 'dirty' pictures. But again, never has been the time so good for a writer, the one who can leave an indelible mark on the world, for when the fish is aplenty, it is often the survival of the fittest.

    A good read. And if youth only read what the youth wrote, and considered the writers of 60 as senile beings, there isn't much left to argue with them, no wisdom to partake?

    Cheers,
    Blasphemous Aesthete

    ReplyDelete
  26. Anshul, are you sure you are not sixty? ;)
    jokes apart, not many are as wise, educated and informed as you are. At a time when Humshakals is a blockbuster, we really don't know what is appreciated. But as you say, it is a good time to be a writer. There are enough readers for every genre and every style.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I don't know. Sometimes I think I am too archaic for today, since I fail to keep pace repeatedly. I am inclined to decline the compliment of being wise, educated or informed, especially informed, for I am largely uninformed and particularly blind to most obvious things. Incidently, I fare slightly better on the wisdom front, for that doesn't bank much on information but on opinions :)

      Delete
  27. Wisdom and humility go a long way :) I won't insist on adjectives but what I know is that still waters run deep. A pleasure to see you here.

    ReplyDelete
  28. Hahaha! Alka! Wish I had not been on a tour and got in early. Though coming in late has shown me I am not alone in being a total aged fossil who uses NO visuals, leave alone memes, absolutely hates witty one line descriptions of blogs and has no clue how to write anything concisely leave alone in 140 characters :) I get a strong what-am-I-doing-here feeling :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. How do you do it Suresh? No pics, no jokes, no fundoo blog design and yet you rule!
      Content. Content. Content.

      Delete
  29. I think you could have a rollicking business with this! Conduct workshops on this topic....people will come in droves to attend them. After all, there are millions of non 20 year olds who want to figure out the way to be Ayaan Mukherjee even though they are really Subhash Ghai (or worse, Raj Khosla!)
    I really, really liked this sparkling post!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. If i conduct such workshops I will end up like Humshakals. Crores for crap.
      So glad you liked it. How about a collaboration since you ARE twenty and I ACT twenty?

      Delete
  30. Let me confess - I goggled the blog tagline and found the dude. I think going by the TPV, pictures and almost everything, I am no match to these young bloggers. And I thank god that I don't get such comments. It would take me hours to figure out what they actually meant. But I do agree with length of posts as I don't have the ability to write long. Damn!

    Ending is superb and sends the message right.

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    Replies
    1. Ha ha, don't worry. The young brigade has a lot to learn from your Words!

      Delete
  31. haha! The perfect guide to bloggers like us trying to carve a space, Yesh! I am tech challenged and so many things learned been trial-and-error. We can beat the young turks at their own game, content matters and it does, like this one:)

    ReplyDelete