Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Blogging – How to Blog

HOW TO BLOG
Musings on Blogging
By
VIKRAM KARVE

I have got feedback that my blog posts are too long.

I agree.

My span of attention on the screen is much less than my span of attention on paper. 

Also, my eyes get fatigued faster too. 

I noticed this while reading an ebook on my friend’s ebook reader recently and decided to defer buying an ebook reader till I feel more comfortable.

At least, as of now, I prefer to read paper books. 

They say ebooks will soon edge out paper books and the “electronic word” will replace the “printed word”. 

This will surely affect writing style and a wannabe author like me must take note of it.

Brevity, simple words, small paragraphs, light forgettable reads – these seem to be the requisites of new creative writing. 

You are just going to glance through and browse. 

Reading on a screen is something like seeing a movie, in contrast to reading on paper where you can pause, re-read, reflect, assimilate, absorb, ruminate and then let what you have read perambulate in the mind for years to come. 

There will be a paradigm shift in reading style – new-age reading will be hurried, “read and forget” style; not the erstwhile unhurried “read and savour” style. 

Now you have no time to think or to ponder over what you have read – you just want to read and forget, and quickly get on to the next page.

Writers (especially Bloggers) cannot afford to “tax the brain” of the reader. 

This is because of the fact that when you read on a Laptop (or PC screen)  you cannot think as clearly as when you read on paper 

I have noticed this myself during my research work too, when I referred to IEEE journals, which were earlier on paper and now are available online only. 

In fact, on many occasions, I had to download and take printouts of research papers and then meticulously read them later on. (Downloading and printing defeats the very purpose of ejournals and ebooks). 

(In Fact – nowadays – nearly everyone reads on Smartphones - and soon – Blogs will be mainly read on Smartphones and not on Laptops)

Coming back to the topic of print versus digital reading – this imbibing of knowledge is true for creative writing too. 

I still remember stories I have read long back during my schooldays (on paper), but what I read online on the internet I tend forget very fast. 

On the internet, when you read online, on your laptop screen, you tend to read fast, as there seems to be an underlying sense of urgency to finish and go to the next page or website. 

In fact, sometimes I don’t even have the patience to finish what I am reading and want to go to another website. 

Also, there are distractions of enticing advertisements and seductive pop-ups and alluring clickable url links which tend to lure you away to new websites. 

Just imagine reading epics like WAR AND PEACE online. 

Maybe, you’ll have to take a printout and read it in peace, but then that defeats the very purpose of the electronic word and online literature.

Of course, there will be a great advantage if the proliferation of online literature reduces monopolies of the “literary middlemen” like publishers, distributors, editors, agents etc and facilitates seamless interface between authors and readers. 

Look at the phenomenon of blogging, for instance. 

Blogging has made it so easy for so many budding authors to unleash their creativity and display their talent which earlier was very difficult, since the decision whether to publish a literary work or not was exclusively in the hands of editors who formed a barrier between authors and readers. 

Now you can just post your writing on your blog for the world to read, appreciate and, most importantly, give you feedback, since blogging is interactive in nature.

WRITING TRIAD

I once read somewhere that characteristics of good writing can be encapsulated in three factors (Writing Triad):

CLARITY
BREVITY
SINCERITY

BLOGGING TRIAD

Similarly, the three characteristics of good blogging (Blogging Triad) are:

FREQUENCY (of posting)
BREVITY (of posts)
PERSONALITY (of the blog/blogger)


Now let me introspect on my own blogging.

I have been posting quite regularly. 

Yes, my blogging FREQUENCY is quite good.

My blog has a distinctive PERSONALITY

So that point is taken care of.

It is the BREVITY aspect that I have to focus on – most of my posts are too long. 

When reading online one doesn't have the same patience and concentration as one has while reading a book on printed paper.

From now on I will endeavour to keep my blog-posts “short and sweet” – after all – “Brevity is the Soul of Wit”.

But what do I do? 

I hate to “count words”. 

It affects my flow and the quality of my creative writing. 

CREATIVE WRITING versus BLOGGING

(PRINT FICTION versus BLOG FICTION) 

While defining the literary genre “short story” Edgar Allan Poe famously said:

“A short story is a piece of prose fiction which can be read at a single sitting...”

Over the years – the duration of a “single sitting” has reduced drastically.

In the leisurely laid back “good old days” before the advent of modern technology – “one sitting” was probably a few hours – so a short story could be quite long – 5000 words – or even 10,000 words.

With modern living – and as we became “busier” – the duration of a “single sitting” reduced to maybe just 1 or 2 hours – so accordingly – the desired word-lengths of short stories reduced accordingly to around 1000 to 2000 words, depending on the magazine.

Now – with the Information Technology Boom – hardly anyone reads short fiction on the print (paper) medium – people read on digital screens – on laptops – even on hand-held devices like the smartphone – so a writer has to post his stories online on blogs and websites.

In today’s hectic times of “digital literature” – the “span of attention” of the reader is just a few minutes – so now – a “single sitting” means a few minutes.

So – in this era of “Blog Fiction” – the dictum “brevity is the soul of wit” is most relevant – and a writer (blogger) must write a story which can be read in a “single sitting“of a few minutes.

Yes – good “Blog Fiction” means a short story which can be read in a “single sitting” of a few minutes.

That’s what creative writers turned bloggers must try to achieve.

That is what I am trying to achieve – to write really short stories/blog posts which can be read in a single sitting of a few minutes.

Will I succeed...?

Let us see.

But from now on my motto is: “BREVITY IS THE SOUL OF WIT”

EPILOGUE

Tell me, Dear Fellow Bloggers:

Do you have the patience to read a long blog post...? 

Do you find my posts, especially my fiction short stories, interesting...? 

Maybe I should quit blogging and focus on publishing my creative writing in printed books. 

But then how do I reach out to so many readers all over the world...?

It is indeed a Catch-22 situation.

So while I ruminate over this, please advise me and give me your suggestions, my dear readers and fellow bloggers. 

I eagerly await your comments and feedback. 

VIKRAM KARVE
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