I distinctly remember the day I started this blog, May 24th, 2014. It was my first experiment with WordPress. While it wasn’t love at first sight, it was definitely an interesting experience. Writing: That’s how I began my journey as a writer in this space.
In two days, I complete 4 years of writing on this blog. A lot has changed in 4 years and a part of me wonders if it even makes sense to write this post.
Am I just doing it out of some sort of misplaced compulsion to record this anniversary?
Will it even matter to the handful of people reading, if I’ve been writing for 4 years or 14?
Or am I just doing this as some sort of reminder that a writer does exist, somewhere deep within?
As I entered my 4th decade last month, a strange sense of detachment descended on me and my writing soul. I was no longer compelled to write for the sake of comments, likes or shares, at least on this blog.
On the other blog, however, I approach things with an almost clinical precision. I slave over my blog posts, work hard on the SEO, optimise my images and ensure the content is readable. Here? No such thing. I write because it catches my fancy.
The really interesting thing though? I love both my blogs and I like the diversity it encourages in me as a writer. In that sense, I believe the writer and the blogger are two, very distinct people.
The blogger needs to be read.
The writer can choose not to be.
If I never promoted my posts on social media, chances are that only a handful of people would see them. But chances are equally likely that the ones who come here voluntarily are the ones who will appreciate my writing for what it is.
I know anniversaries are special and I believe that they are usually marked by some sort of milestone. In this case, I could talk about my number of followers or the number of posts written or the extraordinary number of comments I got one year.
But a beautiful piece I read recently listed Zadie Smith’s top 10 rules for writing. And the one that truly spoke to my heart was this one:
Don’t confuse honours with achievement.
I’ve been rolling this sentence around in my head for the last couple of days and the more I hear it, the greater a sense of detachment I feel. They say that every special occasion must be marked by some sort of milestone.
Well, I think that this year, the one conscious decision I have taken is that I will no longer be submitting my blogs/social media channels for any award nominations. It’s not something I frown upon, oh no! I think it’s a wonderful way to garner appreciation for your work and it’s very gratifying too.
However, I believe there comes a time in our lives when we must step back and get into writing/blogging for the pleasure that it gives us and nothing more. If I do submit my writing, it should be for anthologies, short story submissions, novel writing, a manuscript query. For isn’t that the reason I started this blog? To hone my writing and perhaps get it the critique that it deserves? And find a home for it in some treasured place?
But, as Zadie says, let’s not confuse honour with achievement. Let’s not write for the sake of being lauded and appreciated. Instead let’s do it for the deeply satisfying sense of self that it gives us.
If you have been reading my blog over the last 4 years, I truly, deeply cherish the time you’ve spent here. I love the fact that my writing has managed to touch a chord, make people smile and even helped them make changes in their lives.
For a writer, there can be no greater reward. For that, no anniversary is sufficient.
Thank you and thank you again.
Linking this up with one of my favourite bloggers, Shantala Nayak, who runs the Chatty Blogs link up over at Shanaya Tales. Go check it out.