The other day, I stood in my tiny lawn looking up at the avocado tree. It has managed to stay put and grounded in such a narrow space. The trunk lengthening and going to obscene heights so that it can get its share of sunlight. The leaves, they renew completely every year, and the tree despite losing two large branches last year, stays steadfast and resilient. It may not bear too many fruits this year. Last year it gave us a bumper crop, perhaps that’s why. Of course, it needs its rest time. What can we say? She takes nothing from us and keeps giving us loads.
The tree or nature around us shows us how to live without complaining and how to face up to whatever life throws at you. You know, we crib incessantly. From our privileged entitled positions, we expect everyone to make things better for us while we hardly wish to move a finger. Whether it is adults or kids, we are all constantly ranting. Now we don’t only rant in our groups of friends, we have twitter feed, FB walls and WhatsApp groups to do the same. Unintentionally, we are all building up rage within us. Rage about politics, sports, the next-door neighbour, pollution, the noisy kid. I don’t know if there is a way out or will this be a status quo forever? Now, everyone and their mother is constantly on their phones and devices. Who stops the adults? Kids don’t listen anyway. It’s not as if the parents don’t try, but it is not simple. It is also so much easier to pick up that phone and do something mindless which involves no conversation. We are scared of being bored, of being looked at as doing nothing. So, when we have a little time at hand, why not pick up the phone and hide behind it?
I’ve never understand the joy and ownership so many people feel in forwarding incessant stream of messages and videos on WhatsApp. What’s the point? I don’t open most of them. It gives me anxiety to see all those unread messages. Am I the only strange being? Apparently, people have loads of time and inclination to read everything that is sent to them and even comment with emoticons. I am not saying that some memes and jokes are not really witty. But most content is trash and propaganda. And I don’t feel like opening it. I have told my friends that if it something of use to directly send it to me. Forwards sent in groups lose my attention. Why are there so many groups anyway? It is insane. I don’t know why we are complicating our lives so. How do we protect some shred of sanity in this scenario?
I love to read. Deep, insightful stuff. Light, silly stuff. I love to read emotional pieces. I love to read rational pieces. But, these days I struggle to read. My mind is getting pulled in so many directions. People I loved to read (especially among bloggers), so many are writing rubbish. SEO, monetization, mindless collaborations have sucked joy out of reading. Then there are those opinion pieces, I am cynical about them. People peddle agendas. All writing has been vitiated. Where is the joy left? I ask again.
In a couple of weeks, this blog will turn 11 years old! Just the other day, I was reading a post that I had penned about my father, reading through the comments made me so nostalgic. Each one heartfelt. Now, blogging has lost its shine. As my friend, Nabanita, shared in one of her tweets today, where are the spontaneous posts? Why are such few people writing from their hearts? As someone who monetised my blog, a long time ago, I have been there. The highs and lows of being courted by brands and PRs. I have struggled to maintain the balance of honesty in my content. Today, you will see very few posts on my blog that are paid. I hate it when brands push their way and make you do inane content. I just can’t do it. I know money is a lure, but shouldn’t there be a limit to how much and what you should peddle and how many stupid events you should attend? How does a good blogger draw that line. Some of us are spending a lot of money in keeping our blogs smoothly purring. Of course, we expect returns. How do we not sell our souls in the process? In my opinion, it is by going back to your purpose. That should be your guiding light. Blogging was always for me an outlet to write and share. It was about community, of people who cared about each other, of friendships and shared laughter. And I turn back to those.
My kids complained that I wasn’t writing many parenting posts or personal posts. They were right. Last year, I was barely writing anything on this blog. It was not for the lack of having ideas but because I felt bored and dejected. A knee injury and some personal circumstances made me hit rock bottom emotionally. Something was broken and I needed to fix it. I am slowly getting back to writing more of how I did earlier. And seriously I have never wanted to be a part of any rat race. I am happy just writing because it gives me joy. Wistfully, I wonder if we can bring back that kind of content. What do you say? What should we do to encourage those who are still writing because they like writing?
My avocado tree tells me to hang in there. Seasons change, leaves fall but they renew. Branches are lost but new ones sprout. And while the fruits may be sparse today. Tomorrow is a new day. Maybe, we can hold on to what is dear for us and even make it better. At the moment, I really have no clue.
I have been feeling this way for a long time, and have almost stopped putting my writing out. My drafts folder is full. Tech and commerce hijacking content is reaching a saturation point, and it is a matter of time before some form of differentiation is arrived at. Blogging is logging and sharing your life, thoughts, feelings on the web. The need to express and communicate will never die. It is a fact that all digital content, even the most personal and subjective, will ultimately be mined for commercial value. However, writing as an art and writing to share will find a way to thrive, like the avocado tree.
Such a joy to see you here, Subho! You are right, of course, sad as it is. I think all original content is getting stifled and suffocated under the pressures of commercial blogging. And this scenario will only get worse. I have nothing against those who make a living off blogging. I just long for those olden times with nostalgia.
You are right, Rachna, I guess we need to hold on to what is dear to us. Yesterday, when I got the responses to my tweet, I realised so many of us feel the same. There is nothing wrong in adapting with time as long as we don’t completely sell out. I went through a period of confusion and still do from time to time when it comes to my blog now but one thing I have realised is that I cannot just write sponsored posts after sponsored posts. There needs to be something real in the blog or else there is no charm. So, let’s hold on to that just like your Avocado tree. And ya, I do miss your parenting posts.
I agree completely with what you say. That balance is somewhere getting lost. Too much promotional content around and very little the content that the blogger was originally appreciated for. Will this bubble burst some day? I wonder. Will be writing more on parenting for sure. No dearth of topics there. 🙂
You already know my take on this. I pretty much continue to write purely for the pleasure of it. However, I do get why people take up sponsored posts and I don’t hold it against them at all because that is really hard work too. However I do dislike the quality of writing that it leads to. Hastily put together piece after piece, without any heart in any of them, without any feeling or thought – that’s what I dislike. As a consumer, it puts me off the product too. The likes and comments from a bunch of bloggers – all putting out posts on the same topic is so unnatural – i wonder how advertisers don’t see that it might actually be counter-productive.
I have no issue with sponsored posts, Tulika. I am with you on the hard work bit too. I put a lot of effort in my sponsored posts too but then I have noticed that quality deterioration bit too. Also one listless post after another really puts me off. So I have taken a step back. I just want to read good content. I am not finding too much of it these days.
An honest post Rachna. Blogging has changed considerably. As I had mentioned on Nabas twitter thread, those who wrote lovely memoires and flash fiction have either left the blogging space or have migrated to writing something else. I love reading Flash fiction( being a fiction lover), but I hardly find them around these days. Where are the writers?
I also went through a phase, where I began doubting my own capabilities as a blogger. But I soon realised fits best to do what keeps me sane and happy- reading and writing .
I ain’t against monetization. The balance is lost now though.
Multiple points in this post, Rachna and I get where you are coming from, of course. As you rightly say, it is a kind of balance, each of us strives for.
For instance, I truly find very little on social media these days that sparks joy. It has changed- the entire fabric of it is now made of things I cannot relate to. Whether it’s politics or gossip or strident opinions, none of it appeals to me anymore. A glance at my Facebook memories shows that it was very different for me a few years ago. Maybe age has something to do with it or maybe the social media landscape has also changed. I spend very little time on any of the platforms now. Instead, I have turned towards reading, watching TV and am getting back to singing. Oh and the best part? I am spending more time in the kitchen, and happily so, cooking more items from scratch. Can you believe it? 😉
On the blogging front, of course, I believe that it’s important to be distinct in what you do and why you do it. It’s why I keep my hobby blog for pure writing without any aims of monetization. My main blog is my income generator and the sole source of it too, so I don’t mind writing content that drives traffic. I still strive to keep it as authentic as I can such that I am not writing for search engines, but writing for my audience. Hopefully, that works. 🙂
At the end of the day, I truly believe that each of us will find the balance that we’re aiming for. It won’t happen simultaneously nor can we force it but it will happen. Maybe the books we read, the people we meet and keep in touch with and the things we do will guide us there.
Thought-provoking and from-the-heart post from you, Rachna 🙂
Thought-provoking! One thing that I always feel is that we have lost ‘intensity’ at the expense of superficiality. And this is because of the excess supply and accessibility of everything. Browsing is the new reading.
I loved your comparisons with the Avocado tree and I firmly believe that everything is a cycle. This shall pass….:)
I missed Naba’s tweet but your posts explains it to me. It’s been two years I have been feeling that. Though I don’t have sponsored content in my kitty, I feel gone are the days I used to write about life, things that are happening and life in general. Can you believe I miss my own writing? So I am trying to go slow and trying to write content that is more closer home.
Let’s be like that tree in your backyard. Never stopping to grow. A beautiful and thought provoking post you got there.
You nailed it and saw Naba tweet. She hit the right nail. Sadly, content is losing its sheen and I would never go for the moolah on blog, except writing about a brand for friends who have credibility. I write for free. It’s very important to curate content and not be swayed by TRP. It’s not writing in the first place. A beautiful post on admiring nature and a blissful place to stay, making home the abode.