There are many dilemmas of being a writer. Those who write for a hobby with no professional ambitions are perhaps the luckiest. In some ways, this article might seem as a rant but I intend to share a very glaring problem as a writer who unfortunately writes with the ambition of being a professional fiction writer. Lets jump right into the matter without further ado.
When I am writing anything say, a story, an article, a poem, etc most of my focus should be on the content of what I am writing. Which still holds true. But there has been a rather very sad intervention in the past few years with the advent of filters and beautiful aesthetics on social media. There is a lot of focus on the appearance and the first glance of your work which determines the impression of your piece/post on the viewer. And I feel this is problematic because a writer now has to make their piece “look good” and that means they have to put a lot of effort, time, and worrying after it. It is being made even more difficult because of many major online writing websites and apps which have now equipped the writer with a host of choices for fonts, cover images, and filters to make their posts look good. In such a scenario, the post that gets the most viewership in letting us say, a selected number of posts is the one that traps your eyes the best. In my opinion, this is very discouraging to a person who has the resources to express their words I front of a huge community of readers and writers but has to put a lot of effort to also impress the eyes of viewers to make sure their words are read. This whole problem only goes on to show how much we judge every little thing in our lives based on their appearance. As far as aesthetics is concerned, words have their own aesthetic and I strongly feel that they do not need to be coated with added layers of visual and musical effects to make them more desirable to read.
A way of understanding this tendency could be to draw and retain people’s attention to the concerned Instagram page, or website, or application. Adding new features based on strategies to attract viewership is not something new to social media analytics. I understand that Instagram is where you showcase the most good-looking and best version of what you post. Anything that “looks” mediocre does not have a good chance of becoming very popular on Instagram. From my own little inspections of the multitude of poems, flash fiction, stories, musings, haikus, and other pieces on many popular writing apps, I would say it is not uncommon to find posts with beautiful cover images but the words not as much great. Nevertheless, every person on such a platform is doing their best to make themselves seen in the community with all the resources they have and I do not want to judge people there. Coming back to the facade of visual honey traps which I have a problem with, perhaps that is the reason why it is suggested that writers do not take to put out their work on Instagram. And rightly so, most of the best writers in the world and all the good writers around me are either not present or do not showcase their creative side on Instagram. Except a tiny link or description inviting you to their blog, because why not. Words are a different world on their own. Writing is itself art. When words are sugarcoated with flavors that may or may not have the meaning in them as is intended by the words behind them, an art form is tampered with. And this is an immensely dangerous realization because it shows us a dark truth that we will go to any extent to make sure that we make every bit of ourselves that we put out in the world look attractive and in that desperation, lose a lot of the original beauty and originality of who we are and what we convey to the world.
A writer in (hopefully)progress.