Blogs have to struggle to get recognition in today’s world of visual graphics, and therefore remain unexplored and underutilised.
It is very easy to catch a random stranger drooling over a YouTube video but rarely any engrossed in reading a blog. Blogs are short, on-the-go and compact reads that you can access on your mobile phone. They are accessible internationally and therefore reachable all around the world.
Unlike publication, you do not need sponsorship, struggle, fan following or any backing to reach the entire world anymore. But how many of us actually use this cost efficient opportunity? Furthermore, blogs are the best ways of self expression as they are personalised spaces you can create and use as per your own liking without any third party involvement or clause.
It is like an interactive book with newer innovations. One can add songs in the background of the blog to be played while reading; create tabs as different zones on the blog itself and avail an array of features to make their blog more creative. The writer as well as the reader grows on their journey as the blog progresses.
However, they have always been underutilised by the readers as well as the bloggers. It is very difficult for a blogger to become acknowledged without tying up their blog with another medium of expression like a YouTube channel or book publication. It is almost like the blogs are not independent mediums anymore. One of the major reasons for this is the distraction and consequent laziness of the readers. You will see perfectly crafted blogs without traffic and meaningless videos trending on YouTube simply because they are videos.
In today’s fast moving world, nobody has time for long term commitments with a blog. It is easier to be a passively engaged viewer with a video or laugh away the stress with memes. Reaffirming that, Shivani Gautam, the blog owner of ‘The Abode of the Uninspired and the Lost’ says, “The problem is when you don’t have viewership. It drives bloggers crazy and it is one hard thing to get. They don’t have any motivation to write further, they start doubting their worth.” Without the support and traffic to motivate the writers, the blogs do not go on and end up as just one among the huge heap of abandoned blogs on the Internet. This is why painstaking mediums like blogs remain unexplored.
Over the years varsity students have come together to celebrate free writing on the internet for the space it offers. Living the tradition, many platforms have sprung up in various colleges in the recent past. These platforms are essentially transforming the way in which writing as an art form operates. Here are some of the creative writing platforms that started at Delhi University and are now running successfully at a national level:
1.) An Inception
This platform is a brainchild of a bunch of students from Motilal Nehru College and aims at covering all the creative writing forms at one platform. It has sections on health, poetry, short stories, campus news and lifestyle with the poetry and short stories sections being the most consistent ones. The facebook page of the website has regular updates and anecdotes too.
This platform was started together by some students of Hindu College and IP University. It celebrates free writing and responsible expression. Major sections on the website include literature, poetry, short stories, politics, photography and cartoons. The website is also associated with Youth ki Awaaz, a major online platform in the country. What’s distinctive about this platform is its ability to include photography among other creative fields. The authors at this platform hail from across the country.
3.) Born of a Million thoughts
Started by a student of Lady Shri Ram College for Women, BOMT is the newest of all the platforms at the varsity but is growing at a fast pace. This platform is fairly diverse and has content ranging from interviews of eminent personalities to personal accounts of students. It also has sections on poetry, fashion, entertainment and food. Moreover, you are most likely to find a BOMT correspondent at every major festival in the city.
Delhi University launched its creative writing e-journal- DU Vidha on Friday, 13th December 2013. The proceedings started at 3:30 at the University Conference Centre, North Campus. Accompanying the issue were ‘Iqbal, the humanist’ a talk by Prof. Abdul Haq , Professor Emeritus, Department of Urdu, University of Delhi and a book release- TAZKIRA-E-ILAHI a rare 17th century Persian text by Prof. Abdul Haq. The first issue of DU Vidha, which is a half-yearly journal, was launched by Prof. Harish Trivedi, Advisor, Academic Publications and the editor of DU Vidha. This journal is a bi-lingual (English and Hindi) issue with “free open-access online”. Vidha in the name of the journal bespeaks the literary forms of writings.
The editorial board consists of Prof. Harish Trivedi, the Editor, Dr Sunita Paul Kumar, Ms Ruchi Kaushik and Mr Vasant K. Sharma as Editorial Co-coordinators and the Student Editor, Paromita Patranobish. The contributions for the journal are invited by email or snail mail in the form of short stories, poems, paintings, sketches, photographs and other literary genres in both Hindi and English. The pieces in the current issue are contributed by students from all corners of the University, be it first year students or those pursuing PhD, with colleges ranging from SRCC to Non-Collegiate Women’s Education’s Board. The contributions are mainly from the students but the faculty and staff members are also free to give their entries.
There were more than 500 entries by the students from all over the university, of which 32 were shortlisted for the issue. The short listing has been a rigorous process of selection. The entries were collected using three ways; direct submission by email, entries that were collected at Antardhvani, the cultural fest of the university and contributions from two colleges- SRCC and DCAC through the literary fests.
“The contributions for the journal are from the young minds which are still shaping up their talent. While short listing we could find some pieces of perfection and were outstanding. Students are really enthusiastic about this initiative and I hope that this gets better and better” said Prof. Harish Trivedi.
Fancy yourself as a writer? Looking forward to letting those creative juices flow this year? DU is reputed for its versatile and brilliant ECA. Creative writing as an extra curricular activity in DU does get its share of opportunity if not ample attention.
However, this does not imply that there is no scope for budding writers in the varsity. Numerous intra and inter college activities are conducted throughout the year to hone this talent. Literary associations of colleges, some more active than others, have a major role to play in this. Creative writing competitions are part and parcel of almost every Delhi University festival. An opportunity to showcase your writing prowess is offered in inter university festivals like Antaragini and Rendezvous as well.
English departments throughout the varsity also organize departmental literary fests, where writing competitions are often the highlight of the event. One of the most famous writing competitions in DU is Flair, the literary event conducted by Hindu college. It is a short story writing competition for which entries are invited in October and November and the best entries are published in a journal dedicated to Flair that comes out in July.
An emerging trend in creative writing competitions these days is the use of visual and one line prompts. Creative freedom is offered to the participants as the format ranges from free verse, short story , script writing to poetry.
Inter and intra college writing talent is also inculcated through the medium of college magazines. Students often find a mode of self-expression via these magazines and journals. Some colleges like MirandaHouse and JMC even have a separate prize/scholarship for students who have shone exceptionally in this field.
Truly a writer at heart? Keep an eye out for Wordspill, DU Beat’s upcoming creative writing competition.