Looking forward and back - 31 Dec 2012

I have never understood the fuss about special days such as anniversaries, birthday, new year etc. After all they are just like any other day. But then come to think of it, they probably do serve some purpose. They are probably time markers where you stand like the two headed Roman God Janus (incidentally after who the month January is also named) looking to your past and the future. A time to reflect on the years gone past and the years to come!

I have wanted to do this kind of a yearend post for my blog. But have somehow missed out every year so far. I would not be honest if I said due to lack of time. In my opinion, there is nothing called lack of time. It is just lack of will or different priorities. This year however I decided to put up a post on how this year went by as a writer. Please note I have said writer and not blogger. Early this year, somebody had posted a question (at a blogger’s forum) on whether you are a writer who blogs or a blogger who writes. This made me think- though I am not sure if the distinction really exists. In my opinion, a writer is more an artist who tries to create works of art and uses blog as a medium to bring it out to the public for the lack of a better medium. A blogger on the other hand is someone who seeks more to stand up and be counted among a circle wider than his friends and family circle.

These two are by no means the only classification of bloggers. We have techies who blog, travelers who blog, artists who blog, photographers who blog, cooks who blog, visual content creators who blog etc. But the point is sometimes people get lost in the maze called blog-o-sphere and forget their core identity. Time markers like New Year are a good time to sit back and reflect to see if one can make out some method in this madness. That is what I seek to do in this post.

This year has indeed been momentous as a writer like last year. It started off with a frenzy of contests. Contests and prompts are what that has kept me going continuously for the past 22 months without a single month’s break. Before that my blogging used to happen in spurts with 5-6 months of blogging followed by 3-4 months of silence and then again another 5-6 months of blogging. Contests and prompts also help open up a new vista of topics to write on for a newbie blogger who has exhausted all his or her ammunition of memorable experiences and strong opinions in the first few posts. I must definitely acknowledge the role of contests in my development as a writer. Also the few contests I won kind of helped reaffirm my faith in my writing skills.

Having said that, I am reminded one of the sayings of Swami Vivekananda. “It is good to be born in a church, but it is bad to die there. It is good to be born a child, but bad to remain a child. Churches, ceremonies, symbols are good for children; but when the child is grown up, he must burst, either the church or himself. The end of all religion is the realization of God” In a way, I feel the same about contests and prompts from a writer’s perspective. It is good for a writer to start with contests and prompts, but bad to remain bound by them for eternity. So I think time has come for me to bid adieu to contests and prompts. At this point in my evolution as a writer, I think they are more likely to strangle me and stunt my further development as a writer.

Having declared what I won’t do, let me now outline what I do plan to do. I have started this Hogwarts Origins series which I consider my practice novel. Other than that I hope to write a lot of nostalgia posts. That is something close to my heart. They are all those wonderful moments from my life that I do not want to take to my grave with me. I am also planning to do a series on the cities I have visited. I have started out with the most recent one: Kodaikanal. Travel blogging is something I have long wanted to take up, not so much for itself, but more to help me develop the skills to create realistic backdrops for my fiction. Hopefully it will also make me more observant during my trips which might in turn help me enjoy trips better.

The post seems to have fanned out much longer than I expected. So I need to do it two parts I guess. I have so much more to say and it would be such a pity to wind it up hastily. So continuing with the image of the two faced Janus I started this post with, let me do it in two parts, one in the last day of the year past and the second in the first day of the year to come.

Before I close, I have a request of folks who are reading this. There are some who opine that the ones who comment on posts are not true readers but just other bloggers who are trying to pull you over to their blog. Apparently there exist another set of silent readers lurking in the dark; quietly stalking your blog and they are the true readers. If any such readers exist, I tell you “speak now or forever hold your peace”. I know it is difficult to comment on all posts. Though you may have liked a post, there is not much you really have to say about it. And it does not feel right to say something just for the heck with the only purpose being to let the writer know you have read him. But then the writer also needs to know there are people out there reading and appreciating his work. So this kind of post is the chance to express your love and encourage me to keep writing.

I hope though none of you will say, “You write very well. Wish you a great year ahead. Now can you please check out my blog?” At least not for this post! That will just decimate my heart into zillions of microscopic pulsating particles! But if anyways back scratching was your intention, let me not pass any value judgment on you. Instead let me suggest something more mutually beneficial. Here is the link for promoting my story for Harper Collins.

Link to promote my Harper Collins Entry

You can promote it and leave a comment letting me know you have done the needful and the link to something you want me to read or promote or whatever in return. However please note: offer open only till stocks last. In other words only as long as the voting lines are open. As of now the date is January 23.


Ritvik Gautam said...

Hey TF!
It has been a great journey ever since I started reading you, more of a learning yet enjoyable one.
Thank you so much!
Hope you have a great year ahead!

Anonymous said...

You write very well. Wish you a great year ahead. Now can you please check out my blog?

I was tempted. :-D

I know I have never left you a comment, but I quite enjoy the Hogwarts series. To be perfectly honest, that was all I ever read here, but now I'm more interested to go and check out some other older posts.

I promise I'll drop by more. And yes, I do wish you a great year ahead. :-)

Unknown said...

Hey TF.

All the very best for your new year. Wish you loads of happiness in the coming year.

I loved your Vodafone post and the Hogwarts Series. THough I barely leave comments, I have loved your posts. :)

T F Carthick said...

Thanks a lot, Ritwik. Good to know you been reading me. Its been some time since I interacted with you. Wish you a great year ahead too.

Lakshmi Rajan said...

Hi mate! Been long time visited your blog. Honestly speaking, I don't find time to visit blogs, so missed out lot many good reads. Just came across your flashback 2012 post in FB and impulsively jumped in to read. Have a great year ahead and having known your writings through the contests, I wish you blossom more as a writer and come out with your own titles :) Cheers!

Bhavana said...

LOL!TF, your writing style, content, topics is very different for me--I read them sometimes to get a grasp of how you write them, but frankly dont find myself to be an expert enough to comment on it honestly. I am more a curious reader...a novie in your world. But I admire you from a distance. I admire the stability and consistency of your work and wish to emulate that. You have another great year blogging... :)

Bikram said...

SO when you coming to my blog to read what i have written and coment tooo :) he he he he
sorry i just had to say that ..

Totally say yes to what u said its not lack of time but lack of prioritising..
contests and all , I use to participate myself but have not done it for ages now , as they were rigged .. the contest i have on my blog are for Fun and a laugh thats all about it , they are not that important or so well known that people are queing to participate in it ..

What you do and write on this blog is all upto you, I dont know why anyone would let anyone influence others.. Commentators and lurkers and what not well , I am sure i have not asked you or forced anyone to visit my blog just because i comment here, I am sorry if I have ever given this impression to you ..

silent readers well hopefully they will UNSilent themselves ..

its the same as in our nation so much is happening and yet people are silent and watching

Happy new year to you and family and everyone around you :)

T F Carthick said...

Thanks Bikram. I was mentioning about some people who come and comment without even reading and then request to read theirs. You and a few others who comment regularly on my blog do not fall in that category. I was going to talk about friends as well soon. But that was all going to be on the second part of this post that will come up tomorrow.

Just that someone told me there will be lot of silent readers. So I was curious if there are any new people I don't know who are reading me and will reveal themselves. At least one person has so far and two others who I know well but don't comment much on my blog. As an aspiring writer you often wonder whether people are really finding value in what you write or they comment just due to personal friendship or for the sake of just to be read back.

Happy New Year to you as well.

T F Carthick said...

Thanks Bhavana. I just experiment on various things. . I think you used to read me at a time when I was attempting more of humorous fantasies. Your posts on the other hand are highly erudite. No reason at all to compare yourself with me as its totally different.

On rare occasions, I write on serious social topics like you - but they are more common sense and analysis based and not based on research and hard facts like yours.

T F Carthick said...

Thanks facesplacesspaces. Good to have discovered someone new reading my blog. Good to know you are reading my Hogwarts series. That is the one I need most encouragement for it has to continue for long. It is my heart's project but the easiest one to get discouraged and give up on.

T F Carthick said...

Thanks a lot, Harshal. I am glad as long as you even follow only the Hogwarts series.

T F Carthick said...

Good to see you here Lakshmi Rajan. In almost every meeting with fellow bloggers, people mention you. Somehow I have not got opportunity to meet you with. Every now and then I drop by to check what is going on in Ginger Cafe. Thanks for the comment and wishes. Hope it comes true. Wish you too a very happy new year.

T F Carthick said...

Though I don't appreciate people leaving links along with comments, I do follow people who leave comments and try to find out about the person commenting. Checked out your blog and I discovered that I do know you after all on Facebook.

Harikrishna said...

I started blogging a few months back and it hasn't been a year! There will always be new people peeking into the blog of the great ones who write fascinating contents! And if someone just comment without reading your blog, they are losing something worth for your posts always inspire me. I got to tell you that every time I start reading your title, I would guess the factors, elements and content even and move on. But you would give me a total surprise with a different approach!

The Hogwarts Origin series tempted me to visit yours almost everyday in hope of seeing a new chapter... Silent readers are of two types. Those who are really silent and the others who are lazy to comment (Like me :D). Initially I read contents and left the blog without commenting but one of my friend who is a blogger advised me to comment my opinion which would boost the writer. And so I started commenting and now I almost comment in almost all posts I read and I am sure I haven't asked people to visit mine.

Wish you a happy and prosperous new year 2013 :) And waiting for the next chapter of Hogwarts origin series. Hope you will come out with one soon!

T F Carthick said...

Thanks for your encouraging comment, Harikrishna. As I said earlier, every artist wants to know if his work is reaching to the audience. For published authors and all, the cash registers will tell the story. But for a blogger it is only traffic and comments. And psychologically somehow traffic does not feel such a reliable indicator.

I think your comment on my seventh episode inspired me to write my eighth chapter fast. But I am taking a little bit more time with my 9th.

Wish you too a very happy new year.

Vinay Leo R. said...

Well, I'm part of the category that comments once in a while (somewhere between never and once in a blue moon) though I do read whenever I can. I'll be looking to change that and comment often in 2013, and you can be assured that I won't be giving you a blank, scratchy type comments (I think you'd know what I meant).

Even I do not understand the difference between bloggers who write, and writers who blog. Taking your definition, I think I'd be again a mix of both, though mostly of the writers who blog part. I think rather than stand up and be counted for, I do try to interact with others, make friends. Meeting you three or four times this year has been one good thing TF. I hope this coming year brings many such meet ups too.

Wish you a happy new year 2013, with many more wonderful books coming your way too ;) Cheers.

Siddhesh Kabe said...

So here it is. I finally break my silence but i will be holding on to it henceforth again. :P Only because you insisted.

T F Carthick said...

Thanks, Leo. That is true. This was the first year, I broke away from my isolation and actually started connecting with bloggers at a personal level. It was nice, especially this year as I did not have much friends in real world. I think in blog-o-sphere we can still form those friendships like school days that is difficult in professional environments.

T F Carthick said...

Yeah and wish you a very happy New Year.

T F Carthick said...

Lol. It is either break it or hold it henceforth. So since you have broken in now, so no holds, no bars.

provoqd said...

Hello TF,

Firstly, a very Happy New Year to you, hope to see some really thought provoking posts from your end.

Secondly, you've correctly pointed out that some form of recognition is always needed for a person to work towards it. It's the motivation theory at work here. The contests in which you participated and won, only cemented your beliefs and other people's trust who egged you on to write. It is indeed enthralling winning national level contests, though I've yet to taste it. Once that is out of the way, one can start broadening their horizons to grow out as a writer. I can relate to your past history on the blogs as even I used to do the same thing. I would appear and vanish away completely before re-appearing again.

Thirdly, about the writer/blogger paradigm. Hmm, I think its more or less the same. In the earlier days people wrote because there was nothing known as a blog. They either had diaries or wrote autobiographies. With time, technology has changed that.

Good post, waiting for the completion of your future works. Voted for your entry. :p


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Rachna said...

I have been reading you off and on, TF. I comment most of the time and never expect to pull people to comment on my blog. That said, it is important to interact with a fellow blogger to make blogging more engaging and interactive. I think, it is wrong to compartmentalize people into serious readers or not. I loved your mythological post especially the discussions that you really handled with a lot of elan. I also like your stories though I haven't read them all and look forward to your anecdotal posts. Wish you a happy 2013.

T F Carthick said...

Thanks Rachna. I agree with you. As I replied to Bikram, this was not directed at the 8-9 regulars on my blog. I often get self doubt whether my writing is having the compelling quality to attract readers or not. When I mentioned to few other bloggers about me not getting so many comments, I was told it is not reflective of the quality of my content and that most people who comment, do it only to get reciprocated and good content will have many silent readers. So my intent was to see if there are any such silent readers not to disparage the few readers who are kind enough to comment on my content as doing it out of selfish intent though often I get doubts whether the comments from friends also are due to friendship and kindness or because I am writing really quality content of value. Same doubts I get with my family and personal friends as well.

Wish you too a happy New Year 2013.

T F Carthick said...

Thanks Jay. Wish you too a happy new year. Contests are actually a double edged sword. Too much luck and biases are involved. So while winning can boost confidence, losing can pull you down as well. I am not differentiating between bloggers and writers based on medium of writing - more like people who write more like talking to people and connecting with them as against people who take it as a work of art and create pieces like paintings or music compositions.

asteria's canvass said...

I am back again, and I hope I never appeared the 'back scratching' type , I only disagree with you on one point in the above post,"lack of time" does exist in my chosen field of work, sometimes there is such a strong itch to write something or read other people but time doesnt allow us to do that,
having said that I think this is the perfect opportunity to thank you giving me a nudge ahead in the blog world, considering I was a newbie out here.
keep writing.

T F Carthick said...

Thanks, Asteria. You are definitely not one of the back scratchers. My lack of reciprocation would have already put them off and in all probability any one posting here is not one of them.

People prioritize time for what they consider important and just feel it is lack of time for something that is lower on priority than something else. Good to know I helped you. Hope to see you hit greater heights as a blogger. (and as a doctor too) Wish you a great year ahead.

DS said...

Looking forward to reading more of your stories and nostalgia posts as also some travel tales. Wish you a very Happy New Year TF!

umashankar said...

TF, you have truly done what I've been longing for years. I had especially set my heart on a concluding post for the year that was, how can I forget! And what a grueling 31st of a December I had -I was barely breathing when I entered through that door of my home. But then, back to your captivating post which I am reading backwards -I read the concluding part first!

I have been reading and enjoying all your posts regardless of whether you wrote them for contests or competitions, much as I hate them -call me what you will. Believe me, it's been an ongoing treat. And that confirms that there can only be writers. Blogging is just a medium. Again, people seem to be harbouring, worse, propagating, bizarre convictions about reading a blog. I am fully with you on that count too. You know I have what it takes to differ. So, here is wishing a Very Happy New Year to one of my favourite bloggers. Yep, I promoted your link again (!) and by now I am mesmerized by that voting thing!!!

T F Carthick said...

I also missed last year. Hope you can do it at least in 2013. But this kind of post is Ok anytime throughout early January I guess even if exact 31 date is missed.

Thanks a lot for reaffirming your faith in my writing and for promoting the link as well. I am also done with contests now as I have mentioned in my post. The voting is of course taking an interesting turns.

C Suresh said...

Mmm! I am with you on your journey, TF, and enjoying every bit of it!

T F Carthick said...

Thanks, CS. It is thanks to friends like you I have made it even this far.

debajyoti said...

voted hahaha. will come back tomorrow and check out some of your humor posts.

Deepa said...

Oh TF! The lack of time excuse :( Been there, done that! You're spot on. It's about re-prioritizing! I must say I have started going down that path with Facebook as the first step, though its too early to say that it's working! I need to monitor and make sure I stick to my plans. Looking forward to reading your nostalgia posts! Have a safe and peaceful new year! On to Part 2!

T F Carthick said...

Thanks a lot, DS. Wish you too a very Happy New Year.

T F Carthick said...

Thanks, debajyothi.

T F Carthick said...

Definitely, Deepa. We need to manage our time better.

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