A Day Off

I am writing daily since end of August 2020. But I didn’t post anything on November 23, 2020. That’s about 90 days straight of blogging. But I missed one day. I broke the streak. Was I too busy? No. Was I too depressed? No. Was I too stressed? No. It just happened.

I guess, same happens to so many other plans we have. We can have one Off Day. Afterall, it is not a competition. I just procrastinated till the very end of the day and then just dozed off.

Writing is a deep dive into your own gut feelings. It is not like I didn’t think of anything all day.

I guess what matters is the ability and want to continue. Anyone can have an off day. We just have to resume the streak from next day onwards. Or compensate the missed day by writing 2 times the next day.

Stay safe!🙏🏾

So I recently read: Off the Corporate Bus and into the Creativity Boat

Off the Corporate Bus and into the Creativity Boat
Off the Corporate Bus and into the Creativity Boat

A Confession

I started reading this book at the beginning of this year and finished it only a week ago. No, it is not that big a book but this year has been particularly bad about book reading for some reasons. I had to give reading up time and again and got involved in one thing or the other. Yada yada yada, I want to apologize for not finishing it earlier. Sorry, Ashoo Ma’am!

But that cannot stop me from writing a review now when I have completed it, finally!

This book is one of the most unique ones I have ever read. It is a non-fiction and a fiction book combined into one. To sum it up, the book revolves around a conversation which 2 people have about a person lost on an island and from that conversation, the author discusses ideas which form the basis of the concept of creativity.

I won’t go into the fictional part of the book but rather I would like to focus on the non-fiction part. Most of us, I would like to believe, have a creative side of us. That gets overshadowed and becomes latent with age due to various reasons like responsibilities, family, education, and society. This book tries to evoke the dormant part of our brain which deals with creativity and encourages the reader to explore it again.

After each chapter of the fiction, there is a lesson learned which discusses various forms of creative expressions. This deals, with a lot of conviction and scientific logic, as to how our minds form ideas. Examples from Photography, Writing, Art, and Music are explored with a lot of research.

You can read this book in a couple of days while sipping tea and enjoying the rain. I am pretty sure that a book like this would appeal to everyone’s senses who feel that they used to be creative but then life happened. Certainly, this can be the trigger to reinvigorate the hidden creative part of you. You might take out the instrument you bought long back but didn’t play or finish the incomplete poem you wrote long ago and pick up a new hobby if not done yet. Although the book’s title says ‘Off the corporate bus…” but of course, not everyone can leave their jobs and become artists. But one can take some time out and try to do a bit about their hobbies which they used to have in their childhood. Sometimes, to break the monotony of life, one has to do go back to their childhood and do the thing which made them happy. That is what the book aims for.

If you want to read this, you can purchase the book from here: https://amzn.to/2wUzTB0

P.S.: My name is mentioned in the credits of this book as a contributor to the illustrations. I am so glad I could be of use for a book like this. The illustrations I made were certainly not a piece of art but rather diagrams, to be frank. When I was making them, I had no idea what they would be emoting. But after reading the complete book, I understood the clear picture, as the protagonist of the fictional story within the fictional story of this book was told, that sometimes to see the clear picture, take a step back and observe again. You might find them showing a lot more than what they depict.

Thanks to Ashoo Khosla Ma’am again!

How to start a Blog?

I had started blogging in January of 2007. That time, my sole intent was to earn money. So, I quickly set up a Google Adsense account and started putting ad banners of all sizes on my blog. Initially, there were more banners than blog posts. During those days, even the Earnings Per Click (EPC) was good. I started writing more and shared the blog link with all my friends. I even went on and set the Home Page of the default browsers in my engineering college to my blog. That time, I hadn’t created a Facebook or a Twitter account. Probably, no one I knew had. So, the only way to share the blog links to get more readership was to go to other blogs, comment there and hope to get a reply. If you were lucky and your comment made sense, people would click on your profile which would then lead them to your blog eventually. And guess what, people were less cynical those days. Most of the bloggers of that time connected with each other. Commenting and regularly sharing new links among each other had become common. By 2008, the camaraderie grew and joint-blogs started. Bloggers started networking and regular meetups were organized. By then, I realized that I liked writing. I realized that putting thoughts on a blog opened up many new avenues in the mind which I didn’t know existed. I made many friends that way as well. (Also, I never was able to reach the minimum 100$ mark which is needed for Google to release the payment. So, it means I haven’t earned anything yet from my text-blogs).

So, I continued with blogging without worrying about money, although not very regularly. But I kept on publishing some content here and there even when most of the bloggers I knew gave up and switched to usual social media microblogging.

Now, I am proud to say that I am still continuing. Writing and sharing means a lot. It makes one minutely better than those who don’t. Not everyone can write. Not everyone who can write is brave enough to share. So if you are writing and sharing, it adds a bit of flair to your persona. Also, this is always a give and take relationship. To write more, you have to also read more. Reading other blogs can give you as good an insight as a good book will.

As I have declared that I am going to blog regularly this year, I have already started to write daily since last 2 weeks. At least 6 people I know, have shared their intentions of starting blogs of their own. The main aim of this very post is that I want to help those who want to blog, but either doesn’t know how to blog or need a push to blog.

Here are some pointers which would help you:

Make Writing Your Passion

Don’t worry about the readership or money.  First, start a blog and write.

Make an Account, NOW

To start a blog, you can make an account on WordPress.com or Medium.com. These 2 are the most popular platforms nowadays. You can use tumblr.com or blogspot.com as well. Personally, I would suggest Medium because it is also a great way to start reading more.

Start Writing

What to write? It could range from your movie reviews to your travel experience, or something you know which you want to share with others, or some quote which you liked, or your opinion about a certain issue. You can write about your cat or you can write about how to file Income Tax Returns. One thing I know and have experienced is that writing can help you understand yourself better. By writing, you don’t react, you respond.

Where can I help?

For your and anyone new who wants to write, sake, I have started a New Publication on Medium.com. On that, I would encourage everyone who is new to join. By doing so, we will create a small community of new bloggers. Whenever you think you have matured enough as a blogger, or have reached a threshold of say 10 posts, you are free to leave the community and carry on with your posts elsewhere. No hard feelings.

We can figure out moderation rules and stuff later. I just encourage you to jump in and start writing. Please drop a mail to [email protected] once you have set up your blog.

Mutual Benefits

If we can start this community with even 5 people, your 1st blog will already have 5 new readers. We can encourage each other to write more. You encourage me. I will keep a check on your progress. What say?

For the above point, the link to the publication is this: https://medium.com/kycnow

Kickstart Your Creativity Now — A Blogging Space for New Creators

Mail me / ping me / talk to me and start with your first blog. Share the link with me and I can add you as a Writer on KYCnow. You don’t need to link your aadhar to be a writer, I promise even if the name is misleading. 🙂

Recommended Reading

Humor is dying

They say that Print is dying. Which is technically correct, print has always been dying ink onto paper. But sadly, digital media is actually killing the newspaper. Not because everyone now has a mobile phone with Internet and everything is available online easily. But because the quality of newspaper hasn’t increased much and admit it, it is difficult to hold while you are on a commode, unlike your phone which is so easy (until it slips from your hand and…)

The print is actually dying faster nowadays because new age websites which present content in lists and bullet points have become immensely popular. Their motive is to break down the story into 35 points or average IQ of the reader (whichever is lower) to make people understand the point the news is trying to make. Now since I am a very happy going (jolly?) and optimistic person, I don’t like to read sad news only. Enough of killing, corruption, crimes against women and hatred against creed, caste or religion. I expect a piece which is full of satire, wit, and name calling of anyone with whom I don’t agree with. So to find genuine humor in a newspaper, either you have to read a Hindi newspaper where all news items are deliberately presented with a headline which unintentionally sounds funny, or you have to find lighthearted humor pieces online.

Online there were funny blogs and funny columns. Then there were sites like Faking News and Unreal Times, to name a few, which were doing a fine job but their problem was that people didn’t read anything apart from first 8-9 words which happened to be their headline. But they surely had wit and good humor if not the best. Then in the last couple of years, new websites came up which you won’t believe, that they could blow your mind the next minute you log onto them. I wouldn’t share their URLs because hyper-linking is endorsement but I will give slight hints which might appear as Buzzfeed and their desi copy paste jobs like scoopwhoop, etc.

Ok, serious stuff from this line: These websites present comedy (and sometimes pictures from email forwards of the late 90s) with lists and have GIFs or just normal photos accompanying the 2-3 word text. This is because pictures are louder than words, we all know that and editorial quality of such websites is almost zero, why write text when you can post pictures. One of the common topics they touch is nostalgia by posting lists of 298 things you could do in the 90s but cannot do now. Or 85 radio advertisements which people miss nowadays because they don’t listen to the radio much. Or 36 types of people who are sexist because 24 hours a day they all talk about 36 sized people. But the lists and GIFs or normal pics with 28 pt sized text in Impact font with a stroke of 3 pts. are just for distraction. The best part about them are the headlines. These headlines might make you cry or blow your mind or make your limbs dysfunctional. The template for these headlines is so brilliant that it can never go old.

Now my point is that such websites are killing humor, shamelessly. They are making a reader keep his/her brain aside and laugh where they tell them to laugh. There is no subtle hidden humor which can make you smile. They have content which begs you to LOL by reminding you 25 things you might find funny but they aren’t but since we have added GIFs of emergency cute animals in them, they surely have become adorable.The reader doesn’t have to implement even a bit of the gray cell to read some genuinely good stuff which doesn’t accompany any picture. (like this text, hehe). The attention span had already taken a hit by those 140 character websites and now the sense of humor or the HQ or Humor Quotient has shattered into 128 pieces which got mixed with the brain which had blown a while ago. I tried giving them some attention but couldn’t laugh at it, in the same way, I cannot laugh at sitcoms which have a laughter track in them. Where are the good old pieces which tingled your funny bone and also shared the horrific news by mellowing them down to the level of humor? What happened to subtle humor which changed your opinion about things without making you go through pictures which take a huge amount of time to load on your mobile if you are inside a loo and you have only 2G?. I hope people move over these lists and come back to the real deal of text and larger attention spans. Amen.

So, if you didn’t read anything above since there were no bullet points or ordered lists, the summary is this: Humor is dying. (Same as the headline. Did it blow your mind?)

P.S.: My last post on this was an NSFW comic. I loved making it because it incorporated elements from few of my fav. web comics. Though, most didn’t understand that. Can’t blame because you like spending time on 9Gag more than the sites from where they curate stuffs actually.

Featured Photo by:

Austin Chan