Saturday, February 21, 2015

Blogging for an audience of one

When I started blogging way back in 2001, I had grand ideas.  But then I was so young.  I suppose if one cannot have grand and foolish ideas when younger, then those years are wasted.

My grand idea was to make this blog a space where others would also contribute.  It would be an intellectual cyber-cafe.  It never came to pass.  As with most grand ideas, this one too died a bloody death--I finally killed it sometime in 2007.

A year later, I simply had to start blogging again.

I had to because, well, I realized that blogging, writing, is an integral part of my identity.  I didn't care anymore about any grand idea.  I didn't care if anybody read the posts.  I didn't care if anybody engaged with me.  I would blog for an audience of one--me.  Everything else was pure gravy.  (And, has there been some gravy since then; thanks, folks!)

I keep to my own schedule of blogging every single day.  With rare exceptions.  I mean, from my blogging, you would not have known that I was away from home and campus for four days, right?  Blogging, expressing ideas, commenting, or creating something new, is not easy.
Writing is hard. For most writers, the financial rewards are few. I know the best I can hope for—and I hope for this daily—is a nice email from a stranger letting me know that something I wrote helped. Or moved them. Or made them laugh.
Yet, I feel compelled to do only because, hey, that is who I am.  As simple as that.
If you want to craft something that people will want to read, you’re going to have to work hard, and in ways that put callouses on your brain. You have to get used to the feeling of stuckness. You have to show up and do the work even when it feels stupid and meaningless.
I agree with that, but with one exception.  About the callouses on the brain.  I think it is the other way around.  The hard work reinvigorates the brain.  Creates new synapses.  And also prepares me for that reward that might not be always there--the randomness of an appreciative email or a comment makes it that much more exciting.  Like when I was a teenager waking up thinking that maybe that was the day when that girl would find me exciting, appealing ;)

It is not that I have all the time in the world to write every single day.  When at the conference, with a two hour time-zone difference, and with activities from breakfast time all the way through dinner, it was exhausting--physically and mentally.  Yet I blogged.  I simply had to. It is who I am.
You can find time to write, if that’s what you really want to do.
There is a catch:
That may require some sacrifices or changes in your priorities.
You see how this is linked to one of my favorite themes that I explore here: about priorities in life?  I am amazed at how so many aspects of life neatly fall into place once I figure out what my priorities are.  It is so darn simple.

As I continuously evaluate my life against my experiences and against what I read, hear, and see, I do not rule out changes in my priorities.  But, I know this for certain: I will always have to find the time for whatever I consider to be my priorities.  If not, it is a life that is not worth living.  I will write about that too ;)


Anne in Salem said...

The next time you feel stuck, you could consider writing about states cancelling AP US History because of the liberal bent of the new text book, whether a live-in girlfriend should have been called a first lady, whether OR and WA should abolish daylight savings time as both legislatures are considering, or why NO ONE mentions Joe Biden when discussing Democratic candidates for 2016. On slightly broader topics, consider Greece and the EU, the unprecedented public role of the wife of the president of Afghanistan, or the cricket world cup.

With all the reading you do, I am amazed you ever feel stuck, and I am glad you are driven to write. I have learned much and appreciate the friendships generated by it.

Ramesh said...

Take a bow. Your blogging routine amazes me - even in the most cramped of days you blog. And you write so well, that it has become an integral part of the day for me to read your blog. One of the few things I am missing in my current travel is reading your blog every day. That's why at 6.00 in the morning, before starting another drive I am writing this comment. Could do so because the connectivity today is good !

Sriram Khé said...

Wow, a few days ago, it was high praise from Anne. Then from Mike. And now from Ramesh.
Thanks folks!

Anne, I am all for abolishing the daylight savings time. The transition from one to another always messes me up, and causes headaches!
And, yes, there are way too many issues to blog about every day. Way too many ;)

Indu said...

Agree with Ramesh here Sriram. Your blogs are a daily promise :-) of some good read. I find it amazing that you can do this though.I read most of them, though i comment on a few, depending mostly on whether i have the time to do it on that particular day. And if i have missed a few days, i try to catch up -it almost feels like a soap i am used to watching ;-) ofcourse minus the drama!!! I dont watch any btw! Keep blogging, i think it has given you many friends from far away places. It certainly makes a difference to someone somewhere, strikes a chord with some kindred spirit!

Sriram Khé said...

Hey, long time no see here ...
"makes a difference to someone somewhere" ... what a lovely idea to hold on to; thanks!

Most read this past month