Friday, February 17, 2006

It is ok to write crap

The problem with being a successful blogger, I'm guessing, would be, that with every post you write, you raise the bar higher for your next post. So every time you write a superb sparkling bit of prose, you tend to exert yourself some more for what is to come after that, making sure that it has more jazz and pizzazz than the previous one. You keep doing this, and pretty soon it so happens that you've raised the bar so high for yourself that you require a pole every time you need to vault yourself through another blog post.

Take, for example, the fiendishly clever greatbong. He's such a prolific and gifted writer that every post of his succeeds in tapping into newer, richer veins of humor that had previously lain undisturbed since the beginning of time. But occasionally, if he writes a post that falls short of total perfection, say, a post that is a tad less humorous than usual, or a trifle less polished, his audience is immediately all over it like Salman Khan on the slumbering homeless, subjecting it to unselfishly generous doses of criticism. Sometimes I wonder if greatbong lies awake at night worrying about his next post and the bar it definitely would have to scale in order for it to make it past the discerning scrutiny of his audience. Because if it were me, I know for a fact that I sure would. "Too much pressure, too much pressure", I would mutter to myself as I begin to count sheep and wonder if that act of counting sheep to combat my insomnia, in itself, could become the subject of a great blogpost.

But there is a reason why I would never find myself in the greatbong's position and this is why. For every reasonably eloquent post I write, I follow it up with one that is so mind-bogglingly ordinary, so grotesquely pedestrian, that even as I write it, I feel sorry for my mother who was responsible for the presence on this earth of someone capable of writing trash of such an inferior quality. For example, take the post I'm writing as we speak. Even as I type these words into Blogger, I have no idea where this post is heading or why I'm writing it. Of course, one reason for writing it would be that I had always wanted to link to the greatbong, and this is as good an excuse as any.

So this is my lesson for all you budding bloggers. First of all, don't take any blogging lessons from someone who has blogged a mere 6 months longer than you have. Like me. And secondly, don't raise the bar too high for yourself. Try not to pamper your audience too much with consistently excellent blogging. After all, we do not wish to spoil them now, do we? Throw in some mediocrity now and then. If you keep insisting on the highest standards of blogging excellence from your own self, you will wear yourself out and most probably have nightmares where you dream that you've been fired from your job and have to subsist on blogging for a living (I'm not even kidding). And then, you're just a couple of blogposts away from full-fledged dementia.

On the other hand, even if you occasionally write utter bullshit, your audience is gonna be lenient with you. They probably won't leave you just because of a couple of bad posts. They are forgiving that way. So take it easy on yourself and your sanity. Go on, write those shitty posts. Execute some occasional plunges into the well of mediocrity. Seek repose in the brain-soothing filth at the bottom of the cellars of uninspiredness. For it is when you have plumbed the bottom of that mire that your rise above it will be all the more satisfying to the perfectionist inside you. And to your audience. Keep in mind though, I'm not saying make a career out of it, just do it often enough to keep your audience from getting too judgemental on your ass.

Look at it this way : Rich foods might tickle the palate, but fiber is essential for a complete diet.


zambezi said...

you write better than me, i m still better looking than you.

Alpha said...

awesome man. you are truly a genius. nice excuse for churning out crappy posts, which frankly I don't see here.

zambezi, how abt posting a photo. we'll decide.

neha vish said...

:( I have nightmares. I don't spell one word the way some people think it should be spelt - and there's a turf war!

Anonymous said...

Sometimes I wonder if greatbong lies awake at night worrying about his next post and the bar it definitely would have to scale in order for it to make it past the discerning scrutiny of his audience.


Sunil said...

I used to have nightmares......what if just one sentence was not flawlessly constructed? Would i ever be able to see myself in the mirror again if that happened?

Then i attained blogging nirvana. I realized that I look like shit anyway, and the mirror's going to tolerate me no matter what. So now......I can write what ever i want.

Such joy! (....plotting a post on the number of stars i counted last night.......)

Anonymous said...

Dude, that was so mind-bogglingly ordinary, so grotesquely pedestrian, that I feel sorry for your mother. Keep up the good work.

Anonymous said...


greatbong said...

I am honored. What you say is absolutely true...I am never sure if my latest post will be panned or appreciated. For instance, I never thought that my short story was *that* bad. During these periods of insecurity, I say to myself: " Goddamm.. I will write anything I want to least my wife will like it."

After that it's all good.

Abi said...

Gosh, now that you have written such a jem of a post, I am really scared: your next post is going to be "so mind-bogglingly ordinary, so grotesquely pedestrian". Just say it won't be so, Gawker! Otherwise, it's going to be a sad day, tomorrow.

But, I have to chide you for making a seemingly casual blog post ("Even as I type these words into Blogger, I have no idea where this post is heading or why I'm writing it.") that's so ... elegant. You have just raised the bar for the others.

Subliminal subversion?

Raj said...

Touche, Gawker.

By the way, this 'essay' format is a refreshing break from your "newsitem' format (a la Onion )that you seem to prefer. Let's have more of these too.

Arthur Quiller Couch said...

Simple way to get a large audience who put up with inconsistent quality: assume the persona of a young female. If said young female also mentions sex now and again, book deal's on the way.

I like GreatBong too, he's very good.

R. said...

well gawker i have a different view on this, everyone has a right to criticise something thats put on public space. If the writer doesn't like the criticism, then he/she should remove the comments option. Truth be told I have my reservations on the comment moderation thingy as well :)

You must admit, that only appreciation makes for bad writing & writers. Btw are writers opposed to free speech when it comes to their own writing?

zambezi said...

i bought the sony sxrd 50 inch. freaking cool stuff. it will be delivered on wednesday. i am a very poor man after it though.

gawker said...

Jesus Christ thats a lot of comments.

First of all, thank you everyone who said I havent written any crap posts. To you, I would humbly request a closer glance at my work.

Supremus : No one thinks he writes crap all the time. Unless he means crap in a good way.

zambezi : yes. i am the ugliest Indian north of the Mason Dixon.

alpha : thank you

neha, sunil : yeah, i hate spelling / grammatical mistakes in my posts too. Being anally retentive sucks major ass.

niblettes : thank you

anonymous : I hear ya brother.

abi : this post hardly merits the title of a bar-raiser. refer to anonymous.

greatbong : The only reason I will not encourage you to follow my advice in this post is because i want you to stay awake at night, creating excellent posts. I am selfish that way.

raj : If I only write about such stuff, who will save the world?

arthur : That is true, I guess.

rabin : I am not against free speech or criticism. In fact, I embrace them so much that I become a slave to them. That is what my post is about.

mumbaigirl refer to anonymous.

nobody : What if playing to the galleries brings me pleasure?

zambezi : you are better looking than me. Therefore, money doesn't matter.

Ripple said...

Fully agree !
And you have succesfully raised the bar for yourself once more.

Sunny D said...

You really are an amazing writer.. I bookmarked u :-)