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13 Nov 2015

Miss Ranty Ranterson is Back.


Open Blogger/Wordpress, create an account, start a blog and BAM! you are a ‘writer’. Yes, it is that easy these days. Despite having written creative content for a couple years as a paid writer for an e-commerce company (not that that makes me any kind of authority on anything), I still shy away from calling myself a writer (of any sort) because, in my head, writers are Hemmingway and Rowling and Gaiman, and I’m not in a five-thousand mile radius of the genius that makes up their work.


Are you telling me that I’m setting the bar too high? Okay. There are greats in every field and then there are the rest of us, ordinaries, who go about life trying to make a little difference here, and a little dent in history there. I agree.

Then what is the yardstick, the list that you can check off before you can call yourself a writer? Is there one?

On Being Published

I used to naively think that regardless of how bad the book/storyline/grammar is, since the author took the trouble to sit down and pen the book, which is a damn sight more than I’ve ever done, kudos to them, right? WRONG. Today, Tom, Dick, and Harry, and all their chachera bhais and mamera bhaanjaas can get published, as long as you have deep pockets and (of course, this is India) connections. How else would you explain this atrocity. And also, the saddest thing to happen to English literature, Chetan Bhagat? All this while GOOD writers, AWESOME writers like this get pushed to a side because people don’t mind reading nonsense as long as it has a bit of masala and some controversy or a dash of utter nonsense masquerading as a storyline.

“New age writers” as a bunch have managed to bring down the general reading IQ of the population to such a low that someone recently asked me to dumb down my posts (apparently, I use a lot of ‘fancy’ words. I do not agree with that, my language is very colloquial, so much so that real writers might cringe at the liberties I take). We can call ourselves writers and in the same breath ask someone to dumb down their (inconsequential) BLOG post?

On Having Command over English

Which leads me to my second point. If you choose to call yourself a writer who predominantly uses English, don’t you think it is important to have good command over it? Knowing (not even mastering) basic vocabulary is enough? Isn’t it important to know subject-verb agreement (in practice, not even in theory; I don’t know grammatical theory but I definitely know what goes where) which is one of the basic parts of a coherent sentence? Or can that be dispensed off as long as my “content” is “solid”.

On COWS That Disagree for the Sake of It (Also Known as Trolls)

This is a trend that has its roots in social media. I love NOT being part of sheeple. Not following trends blindly. I refuse to paint my upper lip in a garish pink and lower lip in a garish orange just because it is ‘trendy’ and walk out of the house. But where there is no dissent necessary and what I’m doing makes sense to me, I don’t mind being part of sheeple. There are these people who have worked out that disagreeing with everything will make them stand out. And they disagree with EVERYTHING. Whether there is a need to break the mould or whether there is something wrong in the way the grain goes is not a matter of concern.

This is like saying I won’t potty in the washroom because I don’t want to follow norms. I want to be free. Who is society to dictate where I should or should not defecate? Who the fuck, indeed?! -__-

Don’t write on non-issues when you can harness your reach as a social media influencer to turn focus on things that actually matter. Or rather, write away to glory (for I’m a strong advocate of freedom of speech) but just don’t call yourself a writer.

***

Sigh. Without meaning to, I’ve written 700-odd words on this page. This post is by no means complete or even comprehensive but Blogging How-To Gurus tell me that long posts are bad for an audience with cultivated ADHD that is fed by the quick-everything format that social media offers – from instant gratification (likes) to prompt popularity (internet fame/going viral), these days.

And I also wonder, what is the future of writing?
Does it mean anything to be called a writer today as it did a short decade ago?

Or tell me, am I horrendously mistaken and have a very skewed perception of what is going on?