Window Seat – Flashback 2014

The Window Seat is a collection of articles by journalist Supriya Sharma as she undertakes a 2,500-kilometer train journey across India. The compilation is available on the scroll.in site and is aptly complemented by photos from this vast stretch of land as it readies itself to vote in the 2015 Indian elections. In this blog piece, I look at a few key elements that emerge after reading the compilation. It is a satisfying and insightful read but most importantly it is a compelling work.

Continue reading “Window Seat – Flashback 2014”

Social Media and the Problem of Plenty

Social media is exhausting, specially if you are intending to garner an audience or self-promote. There are myriad channels of communication and showcasing; all are craving your attention and content. If you are a writer, artist, or pursuing any creative channel, you are immediately in the snare of the social media octopus. There is Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube, and I am ignorant of so many other channels.

All demand that you place your content in the most presentable way, on each one of them. There is information and design overload – the same content flooding the data stream with tags and hashtags. More than the creative pursuit, it is the pressure of pushing your content into these channels to grab the maximum eyeballs. Social media feeds on your deep FOMO – fear of missing out – in showcasing your content and following the trends.

Continue reading “Social Media and the Problem of Plenty”

Writing Prompt-ly

“Everything in life is writable about if you have the outgoing guts to do it, and the imagination to improvise. The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt.” – Sylvia Plath

Flashback! Go back to your school days – Recall the essay writing classes and competitions. The first step of these activities was the “topic.” Cut back to the present day. As a writer, you must be aware of the concept of writing prompts. Simply stated, writing prompts are topics on which you focus to create various forms of literary output – blogs, stories, nano-tales, poems, essays, novellas – the list is endless.

Writing prompts occur in many forms – a single word, a phrase, a situation, a foreign word, an image, an opening sentence, a first and/or last word or phrase, three terms that must be used somewhere in the passage, words that should be used for inspiration but not actually used in the piece of writing, a popular song, a word whose antonym or synonym should be used, or a character/situation sketch. Prompts may be genre-specific, example, horror, fantasy, romance, science-fiction, and so on.

Continue reading “Writing Prompt-ly”

Writing for Pleasure or on Pressure?

Let me start the first day of a cold January by penning down questions that have been perturbing me since I restarted blogging. Let’s talk about the pressure of remaining high up on the WordPress Reader or search engines or being relevant every single hour on social media platforms. Do you feel pressurized to churn out content, incessantly? Do you fear reader engagement or readership on your blog will fall if you don’t publish regularly, daily, or even every 12 hours to reach audience across all timezones? Do you write for quality or quantity?

The dilemma is so real that a pleasurable hobby like writing or even reading has become a competitive exercise. We see reading challenges all over the Internet and people reading and reviewing books on tight schedules. The numbers are met, records made, challenges completed, several authors reviewed, more complimentary books received, a sense of satisfaction achieved, but how much did the reader actually absorb, remember, or imbibe for a deep and lasting impression.

Continue reading “Writing for Pleasure or on Pressure?”

Why Blog Again?

More than a decade back I started a blog and also a novella. Both got lost in the haze and the maze of Life, as it happened. Social media also was a culprit as it usurped my blog.

I still write but it is almost all on Facebook. I tried my hand at Instagram but it was not my cup of tea. Twitter poetry was my refuge for some time but the basic problem with any form of social media creativity is that it becomes stale. Content is driven out of the queue and out of the mind, with the next work of art, the next influx of thoughts. Words are precious, as precious as the thoughts and memories that make them up.

Over the years my writings are many but all over the place. The question is – do we want the stats, the instant gratification, or do we want to write – for the self, for posterity. The answer as the say, is loud and clear, blowing in the wind.

This year, when my 10-year old son asked me about blogging, I encouraged him to start his own. It was a starting point, almost like a message from the Universe. While helping him set up and write, I recalled my own days of dedicated blogging. The followers were few, but the thoughts were neatly chronicled.

So, I have decided to blog again, in a new blog space and will collate most of my previous works, specially poems and stories in the brand new – https://bluepenstrokes.com. There will be newer writing, too, bold, beautiful, and a hopefully better tribute to the creatively absurd mind.

And the novella – I am hoping to revive it. Watch this blog to see how the draft evolves and read excerpts.

%d bloggers like this: