Notes from a journalist turned blogger

Writers who are journalists turned bloggers have to take on some special issues… if you’re one you’ll know what I’m talking about. And if you’ve been on the desk for a while the situation is even weirder. The thing is while at the desk you carefully cultivate a writing etiquette and slowly it becomes a reflex deeply rooted in your brain.. while blogging it’s just a pain in all the wrong places.

Compulsive obsessive word count disorder
Yes this is the first one.. the urge to check word count every few words.(92) I still have the itch to do it (100).... and I have to continuously remind myself.. this is not a newspaper.. this is MY blog and I can fill it up with thousands of words of whatever I like.

Cap it
THEN there’s the thing about ‘first word in all caps’. Don’t ask how many times I’ve had to go back to a post and remove that ‘all capitals’ from the first word. Oh and there are so many other style elements… go away all of you… I’m a free woman …I’m a blogger for godsake!

Break it up
That’s what the editor told us.. if your piece is too long break it up.. and so the fixation with subheads. I simply can’t get away from the image of a reader frowning in distaste at a long page of unbroken prose. Being an avid reader of novels I lurve unending pages of prose.. but then reading and writing seem to be locked in two different zones of my brain.

Picture this
No article, features article specially, is ever complete without a picture. Don’t ask how many long hours I’ve spent surfing in-house photo libraries, Google images and a host of other sites looking for the perfect picture. For the blog of course it doesn’t matter. Yet if I don’t have one in my camera, I still fall back on Google images. Without a picture the piece seems so… incomplete. (BTW if you Google ‘journalist’ you just get images of the electronic-media.. had to search under ‘writer’ to get this one.)

And last of all.. the dreaded Media Net
If you’ve worked for a paper, specially the leader of them all, you know immediately what this is.. the bane of our existence at the desk. God forbid you mention a brand.. any brand in your write up.. or you let it slip past your editing .. you get a congratulatory call all the way from Delhi. “Why did you ‘promote’ that brand?” You write about a restaurant you can’t mention the name.. you can write about a disc.. but no name… you write about shops, resorts, watches and jewellery but.. no mentioning names without permission. Oh it takes plenty of practice and hours and hours of dressing downs (putting it mildly) to get it right. And finally when I did get it right, I quit.
On my blog.. Gawd I so love the freedom of it all.. not only can you name the brands you can even provide links to them.. Yay. Yet each time I do it… I get a guilty twinge.. a pang of conscience, part of which is still behind my work desk at FC Road.

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