Saturday, 4 April 2015

It doesn't go viral? Whatever!

“I run this blog purely out of leisure and passion – for writing of course.”

They say that in life, there are 2 groups of people - the early bloomers and the late bloomers. I guess I’m under the category of the late bloomers. When I was in primary school, I never understood why the library existed. Why would anyone visit the library during his or her precious 30-minute recess break? I hated the library, I avoided books, and I couldn’t be bothered with reading.

In secondary school, I, along with everyone else, was forced to study literature. It was a torture. I wished Shakespeare never existed, I could never read past the first page of Macbeth, and I dropped the subject as soon as I could. I wish I hadn’t.

During my stint in Basic Military Training, I wrote a heartfelt narrative on my defining moment as a recruit. It was a mere personal reflection. Yet, to my surprise, my humble piece of writing managed to attain the title of best essay of School 3. Somehow, the affirmation that I received from my commanders and peers fuelled a subtle inclination towards writing.

For the first time, I picked up my pristine copy of Macbeth and finished the entire book in one sitting. I was eager to explore new writing styles. With “Notes” on my iPhone, I started penning down my frivolous attempts of crafting poems and prose. It was not sustainable. At the (accelerating) rate that I was going, I needed a greater platform for me to store my writings. Blogger, of course! I remember how I used to blabber on and on about Korean boy bands on blogger. It was perfect.

“I run this blog purely out of leisure and passion – for writing of course.” That was exactly a year ago, on the 4th of April 2014. The day that I created the blog. The day that I pondered about my manifesto - the “About Me” section that proclaims my impetus for the blog. I was filled with anticipation, eager to share my passion with my friends, to tell the world that I LOVE WRITING.  

And I did.

As my blog grew in reach, I started joining communities and networks on social media. I met groups of like-minded people who had similar aims – to become better writers. We shared our works, we encouraged and we critiqued. I also met groups of people who had different aims – to monetize their blogs, to go viral, to become virtual public figures. I was intrigued when I first met them. “I want my writing to be known!”

Innocently, I clicked on a link that was shared in the group. “How to make your post go viral?” The advice given seemed pretty straightforward! Netizens love (Buzzfeed-ish) lists (10 ways to…), sensationalised gossip, and #icanrelate topics. Immediately, I went on to embark on my first ever list with an #icanrelate topic. “6 ways to tell if your friend is a closet mugger.” I replaced words with GIFs. Everyone loves GIFs, don’t they?

Closet mugger/Snaek as defined by Urban Dictionary. 

Finally, after an hour of researching and editing, researching and editing, I was satisfied with my personalised list. It was just like the ones on Buzzfeed – the ones that go viral. I was about to press the “Publish” button when I felt a profound tugging in my heart. I was compelled to do a final check on the post. I read it (not that there were many words to read) over again.

It was as though someone had poured a bucket of ice water over my head. It was as though I was slapped out of a reverie. I was appalled, disgusted and horrified at what I was seeing on the screen of my Macbook. “I did NOT just write this piece of crap.” Instantaneously, I spammed the “delete” button in frenzy.

Embarrassed. Ashamed. Disappointed.

“I run this blog purely out of leisure and passion – for writing of course.”

“I want my writing to be known!”

That was clearly not my writing. I was overwhelmed by the intonation of “viral”, that I was becoming one of those “Like” chasers. I had allowed the voice of the public to overpower my own voice. I had allowed my passion for writing to morph into the lust of fame.

It was an awakening reminder. Fame is momentary, but passion lasts for a lifetime. 

It doesn’t go viral? Whatever!

No comments

Post a Comment

© Melody Sim | All rights reserved.