Personal Reflections

Catching The Dragon

I have been blogging for little over six years now. In those six years, I have known (mostly online) and followed a host of school and college based bloggers. You could say I’m a lurker on most blogs, as I don’t usually leave comments until I feel I have at least a modicum of understanding who the person writing is – at least their online persona. I say online persona because I know that even after reading hundreds of pages written by a blogger over many years, it’s still not enough to know who that person is until the time you meet that person and have an actual, real conversation. Bloggers write about what they want to say and not who they are. (That is certainly true for me. There are huge chunks of my life I don’t talk about or ever will on my blog; this is not the place for it.)

But I digress. Having followed a considerable number of school and college bloggers, I can’t help but notice how…inconsistent, shall we say, most of them are in posting new content. I often get the feeling that I don’t know enough about the person to engage in conversation through comments simply because I haven’t got much content to go on. This is inevitable at some level; after all, many who take up blogging are often only experimenting with the medium. There’s a vast sea of ‘dead’ blogs in the blogosphere at all age levels, and since youngsters are more willing to experiment with digital mediums it’s no surprise that a there’s a larger number of dead blogs started by school / college kids.

(On a side note: the number of blogs with ‘thoughts’, ‘ramblings’, ‘musings’, ‘random’ is quite astonishing. Practically all of them, come to think of it.)

No, what I’m referring to the sharp nosedives in posting frequency of hitherto active blogs when school students join college. I’ve seen this happen year after year with near infallible inevitability. I would attribute this to the transition from school-life, where many hours are dictated by school schedule, to college life where there’s relatively complete freedom. The number of hours in a day suddenly seem to shrink and there just doesn’t seem to enough ‘free time’. You never get to catch the dragon.

I’m making this blog post after a gap of three weeks. The irony. But I realize how this situation sets in, having faced it myself. Even when you put thought to planning your day, procrastination is easy in university / college life. Unless you’re facing coursework deadlines, nothing seems truly earth-shattering that it can’t be de-prioritized. The crucial tipping point comes when you put off a blog post you meant to write for too long – by then, too much time may have passed for the post to be relevant, or more importantly feel relevant to the writer – and yet it remains as a niggle in the back of your mind. You don’t want to start another blog post until this one in your head is finished. And thus, you never really catch the dragon.

I’ve a simple way of dealing with this – cut your ‘losses’, and move on. Don’t guilt-trip yourself on overshooting deadlines; if you’ve missed window of opportunity to make a post, then forget it. There are countless posts that even I have stashed away as drafts that are long past their expiry date, but I don’t let that impede me from working on newer content. For me, this feeling is strongest when I’m trying to write a ‘daunting’ blog post – one that I really want to get ‘right’. Editing rough drafts is good. Editing half-finished rough drafts while time just slips by, on the other hand, leads to a story that is doomed to live in your drafts folder. More importantly, if you haven’t written anything for a long while, you must not suppress the urge when you do feel like writing. It helps overcoming the dread of sitting down write that one blog post you really want to work on if you’ve written something else recently.

And if you have stuck with me this far, surely you realize now that this has been nothing but a ruse for me keep the juices flowing while I form the structure of my next blog post?

12 replies on “Catching The Dragon”

so, so true. I find myself promising of posts I want to write about things I love and musings I think other people want to hear. But at the end of day, it what you can say when you have the time that ends up on the blog.

I guess it’s because for things that we really like, we always want to get our published thoughts exactly right. Passion forces us into a situation where we want nothing but the best of our ability to go into an article, and thus self-doubt puts us in limbo.

It really irks me when a few of my friends (who have the usual redundant blogs) tell me that they’ve stopped posting because ‘they tweet’. But can tweeting really replace blogging? At least for me, I have too much to say and can’t fit it all in 140 characters.

Even my blog is about my thoughts. But of course its true that all the thoughts that I want to write about, remain just that…thoughts 😐

I’ve never heard that excuse coming from Indian school / university kids – that they’ve given up blogging because “they tweet” now. Maybe it’s just that I don’t know the right people, but whether it’s India, UK, or Singapore I hardly know any school / university kids who regularly use Twitter. Many have Twitter accounts created some time or the other because they heard one of their favourite celebrities is on the site, but that’s about it.

And when they do have accounts, many keep it private and a closed network amongst their friends. Fine, that’s one way of using Twitter but it’s not how a majority of Twitter users use the site. How would I know whether someone is interesting enough to follow if they keep their tweets private? The answer is that I’d bother sending a follow request only if I know the person. So, surprisingly in this demographic that add people willy-nilly on Facebook, I often see a reluctance to open up on Twitter.

Few of my friends on Twitter are actually quite obsessed with it. They tweet about absolutely mundane things, which I find quite useless.

As for having public tweets, I understand why someone would want that. But I set my tweets as private again after some weirdos started spamming my feed. That was irritating X(

Spammers are always there on public systems. I prefer to tackle it by blocking / reporting spam for unwanted accounts. Or maybe it’s just that accounts owned by girls attract more weirdos.

I would suggest you one thing. Go ahead and publish those drafts.

Your regular readers may feel a little odd going through stuff which they were supposed to read years ago but when new readers come to your Blog they won’t mind reading posts which you wrote long back. New readers who go through the archive on the other hand will get more posts to read and the organic traffic that those till-now-unpublished-posts get might even help your Blog by giving a well needed and deserved shot in the arm which might in turn lead more traffic and more quality readers to the posts which you wrote and published on time.

I’d say quality is more important that quantity, even if I lose out on organic traffic from not having content on the site that I might have in drafts but is not published. Most of them are in very initial stages, 1-2 paragraphs. The number of drafts I have is not a lot – less than double-digit figures, actually – but those were topics I really wanted to talk about at length. Sigh. Maybe I will get around to completing and publishing them some day.

Okay, I could not have possibly agreed with this post more. It is just what happened with me. I was at the peak of my blogging career ( if I may say so ) during the time when I was in 11th and 12th, without doubt two of the busiest years of any student’s life. And I used to be able to find the time not only to blog myself, but also comment on so many other blogs. And I was particularly discontented with everything that seemed to be going on at that point of time.

But as the time to go to college came, things started easing out for me. I was even happy, and I realised that I didn’t have anything to write about. I’ve always been a very personal blogger, as in I used to always write about how I thought this wasn’t good, that was bad, etc. But now everything was just fine, and now when I look back, I see a blog which hasn’t had any posts for 2 months in between. And I hardly comment on blogs now, even though I do continue reading them.

I guess once college and all starts, we do start becoming busy with our real lives. We’re not forced to do things, but we do them because we want to, and hence all the procrastination and the so called lack of time. That’s the only reason I’m able to think of.

Sigh. So true. I reduced blogging because I barely get time and even when I do, I don’t have anything to write about that someone might want to read 😛

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