DESPARETELY SEEKING SUGGESTIONS
Written for a prompt on project 365, a newby blogger seeking advice from veterans
Dearest Sir or Madam, more likely the latter, please guide a confused babe in the woods in this confusing virtual world of letters, where writers outnumber readers by a ratio of 10:1. That is if you can call a wrong side of fifty overweight graying man a babe, and this strange land populated by such fabulous beasts as urls, linkys, widgets et al as wood…. But in the virtual world anything goes. And batting my eyelids won’t be visible behind my thick minus six progressive glasses, but still do help me out.
I need to unravel the eternal enigma of the amateur writer- how to grab eyeballs. How to get someone who doesn’t owe me money, filial loyalty, bonds of brohood or is otherwise indebted to me, in other words complete strangers, to read the outpourings of my soul. And read it to the end, controlling impatience, irritability and the myriad distractions of the millions of other posts, as well as that shadowy realm of the real world, inhabited by live humans who exist outside the laptop screen.
In the ancient times of snailmail and manual typewriters and little magazines and stenographers, life was simple. You simply dictated your ramblings, and sent the manuscript in double spaced type, one side of the page only, by post, addressed to the editor, along with a stamped self addressed envelope, and you got a polite rejection letter, or more rarely a cheque by post. Or you wrote longhand and dropped it at the friendly neighborhood little magazine publishers place, to see it in print when they could afford the next issue. The whole affair was leisurely, and took months, and you were gratified to see your babies in print, around once a month, sometimes with a monetary reward, but you didn’t know if anybody ever read it.
Nowadays I have to type it, with great difficulty, and through many trials and errors manage to upload it and share it on the social media, then wait for the elusive blue columns to see who has read them. Then waiting in vain for ratings and likes, turning greener than Greenpeace at the sight of you veterans with one million views, five thousand followers, comments ten pages long, likes from hundred odd people., and dozens of awards advertised on the margins.
Your pieces come in myriad fonts, liberally peppered with pictures, videos and links, with many alluring exertions to comment and share. Your background and profile pix grab me by the collar and make me read. My piece in plain B&W text stand out forlornly like the spinster aunt at a ball in old English films, waiting desperately for a dance.
Tell me, should I change my Nome de plume to Partygirl and the profile picture to a early shot of Madonna (from whose first film I have stolen the title). On second thoughts, no… it might put off the ladies, who seem to constitute 80% of the population of this blogging world, and the only ones who sometimes read like and comment.
Modern poets, whose work no one reads, have a protocol. You listen to my ravings and I listen to yours. Anyone who welshes, runs away without listening to others after having read out one’s own, they are hunted down mercilessly by the thwarted poets. Does this work in the blogging world too?
Stories flock my mind, fighting to be born, held up by the roadblock of my tech illiteracy. After giving sweat and blood in getting it into the netsphere, how do I find readers, followers and get those awards?