Tuesday, November 27, 2007

On writer's block, blogs and 'dumbocracy of news'

Married, with a day job. That could perhaps be, practically speaking, an alternative definition of a writer's block. If you throw kids into the equation, the situation could be far worse for a writer. That's the recipe for a guaranteed dry spell.

Laugh, laugh. But I cannot take much credit for this observation. I thought of it after reading this snippet in Outlook. Here it goes:
Nalini Jones, author of debut short story collection What You Call Winter, recounted her meeting with Ruth Prawer Jhabvala. "How can you write?" Jhabvala asked Jones, who has a double writer’s handicap: married, with a day job. "I could because I was in India," Jhabvala went on to add. "Over there we have servants to do everything."

Next topic. Blogs. Tehelka's Shoma Chaudhury (I admire hers and Tarun Tejpal's writings in Tehelka) thinks that 'blogs are totally overrated'. Why? Becuase they lack rigour (True in most cases). And in an interview with the famous journalist and editor Tina Brown, she almost makes her agree. Brown personally does not like to blog because it does not bring her any moolah. However, she has her eyes fixed on the cyberspace as her next El Dorado. She says:

That’s what the DNA of my website will be. Rigour. I don’t want any more spouting of sloppy opinions. I don’t have the time. ABC just fired 75 TV journalists and hired 75 bloggers instead, responsible only to themselves. It’s insane to do that to your brand. This is just the exuberance of a new medium. No one wants to look uncool, but who’s reading it? People keep asking me to blog, but I’m not going to lower my standards, and why would I write for nothing? Haven’t done that since childhood.

The Tina Brown interview is excellent in which she talks about the dumbocracy of news.

By the way, did you read that news that Facebook has tied up with ABC News and Facebook members can track US politics with those '75 bloggers' recruited by ABC?

Sounds interesting? Here's Wired's take on this development:

ABC News said today it signed a deal with Facebook, which, as far as we can tell, basically entails ABC News-branded election forums where Facebook users can vent discuss politics. ABC News reports from the campaign trail will also be folded into Facebook's U.S. Politics application.

Although financial details weren't disclosed, we can't help but wonder how much cash ABC News spent to get into Facebook's exclusive club -- the arrangement sounds suspiciously similar to deals signed with AOL and Yahoo back in 1999, when dot-com startups spent millions of dollars for real estate on the portal sites. And occasionally went bankrupt in the process.


Read@Peace said...

Shoma Chaudhury's obviously reading the wrong blogs. There's so much good stuff in India alone. And yes, Tina Brown proves money talks when it comes to writing. But we knew that about so many so called 'writers' anyways.

Zafar Anjum said...

Ha ha, yes, hope Shoma gets on to read the right kind of blogs):