Friday, January 28, 2011

The journey of a blog post

Heeding some advice I have received, I will desist from my usual, heavy, pessimistic stuff today! Also, it's rather late and I am rather tired and so something lighter will have to do (using rather twice in the same sentence is an indication of my state of mind!). I have been thinking of writing the story of a blog post for some time now, so here goes! It is, surprisingly, not so straightforward as it seems. The first problem is the eternal question - what should I write about?!! Surprising as it may sound, thinking of something at least somewhat original every few days is not exactly a piece of cake. I seriously applaud the daily bloggers who manage to maintain the standard as well as focus of their blogs. As you can see, mine ranges far and wide!! Mainly because I just start writing on the first thing that pops into my head and keep going from there (before any of you alert readers think I am contradicting myself, this post is an exception!!). I remember thinking when I began writing that I would never run out as there was so much in the universe to write about, now I am wondering where it has all disappeared!

Once the topic has taken shape in the mind, moving it onto the screen is the next step. This is easier said than done as there are many hurdles that contrive to obstruct smooth progress of the idea from brain to bytes. The first is the cold. Blogging in Shillong in the winter is not a very pleasant thing. As, in order to do it, one has to get out from under the covers. Here I must make a rather shamefaced confession. Our normal routine after coming back from work (whatever the time is) is to change as quickly as possible and then dive under the blankets in the bedroom. The house is really too cold to do anything else. Once under, it just seems wrong to get out into the cold again. The only reason to leave after that is to get dinner (which we have found is tastiest when eaten in bed!!). The unfortunate person whose turn it is to get it, invariably postpones this terrible event for as long as possible, leading to situations when the fear of the cold manages to overcome the pangs of hunger and we 'fast' for the night! And to make matters more interesting, our microwave has decided to give up the ghost meaning that food from the fridge can never be part of our evening menu! The end result of our routine is that our bed has come to represent a warm island in the sea of cold around us. As a result of which we have adjusted most of our activities of daily living to revolve around the bed! There are 2 bedside tables overflowing with books, medicines, snacks, empty plates and an assortment of other things whose purpose I am yet to fathom.

But I digress. When the cold set in, I realised that getting out from under the covers to blog was not compatible with a happy life and so we now have a chair next to the bed which holds the computer. Which has made things easier. But on the coldest days, it is still difficult to begin to write as this eventually involves raising at least the upper half of your body out of the blankets. And as I mentioned this is not exactly compatible with a happy life!

The next step of the blog post writing is the mood adjustment. Often a post will be halfway through before I realise that my mood is not conducive to writing on the particular topic. Many are the times I have read what I have written, wondered who would ever consider even glancing through such unmitigated nonsense and in a fit of fury delete the whole thing. (This is in grave danger of happening to this post as well!!) And if the thoughts stop flowing, it's time to quit. For once I am stuck, however long I ruminate and cogitate, it is unlikely I will ever be able to continue - such are the vagaries of my mind. Many are the unfinished posts languishing in the 'post graveyard' that is my dashboard.

Once the cold has been taken care of and the mind freed of encumberances, the next obstacle to successful blog writing emerges. Web distractions. Mail before posts is a prioritisation I have maintained ever since I started, mainly to see which posts (if any) have comments!! And being a regular reader of a few other blogs, there is always the temptation to have a quick look and see what's going on out there. Of course, it's never a quick look! And as happened today, a perfectly good idea for a post will have to be postponed in favour of some pure gas like this, due to the lateness of the hour caused by unmonitored browsing.

The next step is usually the easiest - typing out the post. This does not take too long. But as soon as the typing is over comes the inevitable feeling of inadequacy. This can't be good enough.... Who'd want to read this..... It is then that I turn in desperation to my wife, who by now is always fast asleep (blest as we are with two exactly opposite routines - she is ready for bed just when I enter my most productive hours!). Waking her from sleep sounds cruel, but at that point of time, is a total necessity. I could not dream of publishing the post without her approval. And neither will my intense nature allow me to postpone publishing till the morrow. So with tender endearments I proceed to arouse the sleeping beauty. It is a measure of my sweetheart's immense patience and forbearance and (hopefully) her love for me that I have been allowed to continue this routine for nearly 6 months without being thrown out of house and home!!

Once approval is granted (though sometimes she cannot even remember the topic in the morning!) comes the struggle to publish. Being blessed with a homozygous dominant perfection gene, the number of revisions for each post can range from 2 to 22 or even more depending on the lateness of the hour. With each proof reading new errors crop up and I feel unfulfilled until I have everything down to a T. It is usually during this time that the internet plays up as well and makes publishing a long, drawn-out and irritating affair. I have sometimes had to postpone publishing a post to the morrow for fear that in my tiredness and irritability at the unhelpful and unkind internet, I will waste a good topic with some bad writing or editing.

But finally, the post is done. It goes up on the page and the wait begins for a comment. But, as most of you bloggers out there know, the accomplishment of having finished the post overrides all the prior inconveniences. And the feeling of creating something original and interesting so inspires, that I actually start the whole process again the next day!

UPDATE: Thanks to the anonymous reader who pointed out the (now corrected) typo - it was an hilarious coincidence, I agree!
UPDATE2: The reader is now identified - it's Black Mamba!!


  1. Arpit, you are an excellent writer, so keep up the great should look into writing for the Hindu or Times of India. there are very few Indian bloggers and your sincere thoughts, vocabulary, humor and practicality will surely be well received in the educated community.
    So hope to see your name big and bold soon! Good luck! Suneeta

  2. Hi! This is a pretty good post for 4AM - atleast so FB says! And be assured, Amy has company - initally we protest the assaults on our dreamtime - later we just get used to giving approvals in sleep!
    And finally, comments make it all worthwhile - much better here than on FB, right?
    Keep writing, I enjoyed reading it as much as I presume you must have posting it!

  3. This is such a lovely post:) So well written!!Glad to read it first thing in the morning as soon as I reached office!

    You have skillfully transformed you brain into bytes!:) Keep writing!

  4. superliked today's blog..........very interesting, innovative and original. Even though my heart goes out to amy whose has to wake up to approve it.......but the moral is "Behind every successful man is a great woman"
    Keep up the good job Arpit.


  5. Wow! That was great. Enjoyed every word. Keep writing. You bring hope and cheer through your words. It is good Amy has mastered the art of approving in her sleep. We love you.

  6. Ha ha! I had a good laugh. But seriously??? You wake her up from sleep? LOL!

    I can only imagine the cold. I worked in Ooty for a year and a half and my best friend then was my warm duvet!

  7. Sounds like an electric blanket and a few heaters might not be amiss.

    On a more cruel note, the last line of paragraph 7 reads "I will waste a good topic with bad some bad writing or editing." Ironic, considering the context of the sentence. Time for proofreading no. 23......... lolz

    I love reading your blog AJM, and I agree - you do have a flair for writing. I only wish I could write half as well as you. :-(

  8. Hi Arpit,
    Great post as usual.You have a fantastic flair for writing and it really shines through in your blogs.Enjoy your posts immensely. You should think about publishing a book and then write about writing a book!

  9. Thanks everyone - you are really kind. I tried to get a reply button so that I could reply individually to each comment, but didn't succeed. Each of your encouraging words is much appreciated. And to think I wrote this one because I was too tired to write something more serious!

  10. A very good post. Funny, and made an interesting read!

    Additionally, one thing I want to suggest is please don't delete posts that you have already written. Let it sit on the dashboard as a draft and do revisit it some other day - say a week or so. You would surely churn it better during your second visit. New ideas and better judgement would naturally follow. Half of my posts are revisited material of this kind. Also, another important experience I would like to share here is, we would never be able to guess what interests the reader and what doesn't. The most boring post (per our view) may get the most pleasing feedback (and most votes on indiblogger ;-).
    I did experience this quite a few times. Varied people with varied interests - that's make it difficult for us to judge our pieces so accurately.

    Do keep blogging

  11. Interesting and impressive ........

  12. Thanks Victor and Team. Appreciate your advice Victor. There's a good chance my dashboard will get jammed though!!

  13. 1st time here... liked the way you have narrated the whole episode... still thinking to whom i should give more you or to your better half... :)
    will come again to go through ur previous post !
    ”Bapu and violence”

  14. You're most welcome, AJM. If it were a picture, you could add it to 'the Sign Post'.

    - The Black Mamba

  15. Irfan, most credit is due to the better half - I am just the scribe in many cases!!

  16. Hilarious post! Btw, in the Shillong cold, why bother to get out from under the covers for a blog post when you can just take the laptop under the covers with you? :) Though you will need a huge blanket. Hopefully no one will get scared seeing a mountain of blanket being illuminated from the inside (by the light from the laptop screen)... I have to agree that the best hours for a blog post are when the whole house is asleep and when we can think without any distractions :)

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