This blog has been running since October and I have also had a blog before, some years ago, so I just wanted to take a few moments and share my experience of blogging. I often check the statistics on my blog first thing in the morning to see what people are reading and what they are finding most interesting among the things that I have to say. From this continual reviewing of my readers, I have come up with some conclusions.
The first surprising fact seems to be that more people read my blog in America than in my home country of the United Kingdom. I don’t know if this is more to do with the fact that there is an ‘American’ feel to my blog, or if more people are interested in creative writing bloggers in the states. It could also be the fact that more people in America tend to read blogs, or that they have more leisure time than we do in the United Kingdom. If I were to make a bold political statement, I could say that more people in America are interested in what a British Asian has to say than in the British Asian’s home country. Whatever the case, the fact is that the American readers are substantially more than the United Kingdom readers, who hold the second position in the number of people reading my blog.
The second surprising fact is how international the readers are. I know that English is now considered the world language, but it is always amazing that people in Nigeria, India, Sri Lanka and Russia are reading my thoughts, feelings and creative writing, for whatever reasons.
A third thing that I found surprising is what people are reading. Last year, my most visited page was my film review of Roald Dahl’s Esio Trot. I had written this piece expecting that no-one would be interested in it and it was mostly done to summarise my own thoughts about the film. Yet this review was sent out to an international audience. This year, alongside my own original poetry, some of the most visited pages were my translations of Hindi film songs. This was another surprise, since I have always thought of ‘Bollywood’ or Hindi films as something that only Hindi speaking people are interested in. The evidence is to the contrary: the western world is seemingly very interested in what Hindi films are all about.
I also find it surprising how people come to my blog. People of all different persuasions visit and follow my words. There are the beautiful poets who will always go where there is poetry. Some others were interested in my very few comments about food. More recently, there have been people interested in what I have to say about fashion. I had hoped that more people would have been interested in what I had to say about fiction and book reviews, but perhaps the market in this is heavily saturated and I don’t appear to be offering anything new.
There are also some other thoughts I want to add about my blogging experience and my readers. The first thing to mention is how disappointing it is to a blogger when people only read his or her most current pieces. Of all my poetry, it is only the most recent pieces that are read. People generally read the freshly published piece and then never go on to read what has been written before. Perhaps this is because of the time constraints that we all have and the busy lifestyles that we all live, yet it makes the poet in the case feel like he has wasted his previous efforts, when he was also trying to say something. My shorter fiction has been mostly neglected in all this, since this was the very first thing that I posted. The second thing that I will mention is that most of my readers, excluding my followers, who keep me constant company, but are not mentioned in the statistics, only come when the particular piece is ‘freshly pressed’. I am sure my blog doesn’t register very highly on internet searches, but this is also disappointing. I only write when I feel that I am saying something, so it is very disappointing that some pieces I thought especially fine are not being read. My personal favourite piece, ‘Russian Roulette with a Russian Blue Cat’, is hardly ever read at all, for example. But it is this piece which I found the most fascinating out of everything that I had written. Another disappointing thing is the lack of comments on my pieces. I have received constructive feedback in a few cases, but there is not much communication from the readers. I just wish that people would take some time to say what they think about a piece, instead of the simple ‘like’. Lastly, I will mention that more people seem to read my pieces when I publish them at night. I think this is because the American readers are more interested in my work, or it could have something to do with the busy lifestyle in the United Kingdom, the fact that most people read for pleasure at night time.
Now a few words about my personal experiences of blogging. I find blogging exhilarating. An artist always wants an audience for his performance and the presence of readers is an inspiration to me. When my work is liked by others, I feel that it was not wasted, that it elicited some reaction. However, blogging can also be deflating. When no-one reads, I feel that my work is worthless, unappreciated. This ties in with the number of visits to my page. Although I know that my followers are not being included in the statistics, I always want more people to read what I have to say and am always hoping for the statistics to magically jump up. After all, I am not writing for profit, but for pleasure – the pleasures of other’s eyes. I want to share my work, thoughts and opinions with the world. So it is always somewhat of a disappointment when the magical jump has not happened. But yet, the lack of the number of readers that I want is both a curse and a blessing. The lack of readership inspires me to keep on writing, to win more and more readers, to try and make a difference in the world. It is worth saying that this experience of writing, when a man can have readers and reader’s responses almost immediately, from total strangers, is unique to our modern world. And this uniqueness is very profitable to the writer, as he continues to learn his craft and to develop emotionally and intellectually.