The digital era is a distribution platform, perennially begging for attention. The attention then can be product, to be monetised. Google Analytics has taken over the agenda of writers as content producers, as performance is measured as data points. Writing is consumed as text art, screenplay for moving image and more often than not, as information. I started blogging a decade back as a space to catalog my thoughts, trying to appear wonkish as it seemed that sans a liberal arts education, options in policy were foreclosed to me. I wrote, with the comments ranging from toxic to lukewarm. But I continued to write, without any probable career pathways to build a writerly career. My formal day job as a sustainability consultant took me to a few countries and I got the raw material to write. Writing as been archiving the present through a blog, capturing the voices and the ‘encounter’ before it evaporates. Writing is an act of subject formation, of the artist. But where do I ply my works?
Writing has modes of working within, through and across the self. It helps in clarifying the chaos and process the present through my blog. I get to write without gatekeepers, and de-performing the act of writing as a show of dazzling brilliance. Content shapes text artwork as a product in the market. The mad rush for eyeballs, navigating editorial political agendas, lit agent shenanigans and an attempt to carve a formal career in writing sans an MFA program under my belt, puts the very act or the art of writing at stake. Did I start writing to pimp my work? Or was it a way to express for a young man to express who was obese, stammered and found a hard time to find conventional acceptance. I was simply to feel human, after a day of humiliating rejections by bosses and peers and feel good to have crafted a line which has come from somewhere, much above the mediocrity that one truly is. Art should be liberating for the artiste. Often the performance of the art paralyses to express any word which is of value and meaning.
I write now a days with the foregrounding that I am truly mediocre, and that writing should not be a performance to be ticketed. But if good writing helps communicate relevant ideas better, as in this hyper connected world, attention spans have shrunk- I am all for good writing. In a polarized polity, bad communication has consequences. Let writing be authentic, not as a trope but as a window into society, and the soul of the writer. Let it replenish our datafied lives, where content disappears, and words reappear again.