Being a writer is a solitary road that can often be cheered and encouraged by company — virtual or real. So whether you are a poet, blogger or a fiction writer caught at the crossroads and when words fail you, despair not. Whatever the time of the day or the night, help and support is just a click away thanks to Facebook, Twitter and Instagram groups that have like-minded members ready to help with suggestions, tips and reviews on what you have written. These online forums inspire and encourage writers and poets to post their stories and poetry for the members or open forums to see.
There is not just work being discussed but also group meetings, discussions and healthy debates within these forums. Some of the popular works going viral do not necessarily spring from published books but from writers, bloggers or sometimes quite simply individuals with a flair for writing day-to-day incidents with a dash of humour.
Some of the popular online groups that foster budding writers and poets are Haiku Poetry, The World of Poetry, Instant Malayalam Poetry, Aksharakkoottam, Malayalam Short Stories, Likhitham Stories and Mashikkoottam. One of the writers whose stories have caught the fancy of the online world is Akhil Dharmajan. Director Aaryan Krishna Menon and writer Honey Bhaskaran too have a large number of followers.
Inspired by children and their queries
Peeli, Sana, their mother Sowmya and father Aaryan Krishna Menon, as well as the new baby are familiar to 33,000 individuals who may neither have met nor spoken to any of them. This is all thanks to the impact of Facebook that chronicles the life of the Aaryan family on almost a day-to-day basis. Aaryan’s anecdotes that narrate the capers, possessiveness, questions and mischief of his children can bring a smile to anyone’s face. He jots down their antics in a humorous vein on his official page along with notes of his wife Sowmya, home Kailasam and family members.
If two days pass without Aaryan jotting down anything about his family, he gets concerned messages from his followers enquiring if all is well.
“The questions children ask amaze and stump me. Some incidents that either touch me or make me laugh are what I post on my wall.”
There is a flip side to the social media attention. “When Peeli was born and I posted a photo, I got a message saying ‘don’t worry; the next will be a boy’. Here I was celebrating the birth of a girl in a household that has only boys and I get this message!”
On the other hand, there are heartwarming incidents too; of how a man wanted a boy child, changing his stance when he read the escapades of Aaryan’s daughters.
Akhil’s thrilling Kadha
Akhil P. Dharmajan started off by penning short stories on his FB page but did not get much response. He published it in book format, that too did not meet with too much success. But Akhil did not get disheartened. He started writing his novel Ouija Board on Facebook – 37 chapters of it in eight months. “I got mocked and ridiculed for that because not many had attempted something like this before,” he remembers. The novel snagged attention though and his followers jumped to 13,000 by the final chapter. Akhil started an online page Katha for him and for other writers interested in posting their stories. This page now boasts of 22,000 followers.
“You get an immediate response on FB. Gauging that, I can improve my succeeding chapters” he says. Akhil reveals the negatives, “ I was informed of an impersonator who used to ‘copy paste’ my story chapters and pass them off as his own and the funny part is that he got a lot more followers and shares than I.”
Akhil smiles and says , “I did not write anything for a month and he also did not.
The pressure was more on him than me and at last, he revealed that it was not he who was posting the chapters.”
Akhil is busy with his upcoming book Mercury Island, of which he has finished 17 pages and hopes to write the climax soon.
A great space for budding writers : Honey
Honey Bhaskaran—a Dubai-based author — has published 11 books and is popular in social media circles for her comments and views on events that affect society. She is a person who has recognised and harnessed the power of social media. She posts information on her upcoming books and welcomes online reviews.
For Honey, social media is a big help. “Social media helps in getting reviews of my published books and in spreading the word about my books through shares.
To a certain extent, the reviews can influence readers to buy my book.” Honey is frank enough to say that a lot of new authors who stick to the printed world do not get due attention compared to an author who uses social media effectively.
The negatives as Honey explains are, “A female author, by virtue of being a woman, faces negative backlash for what she has written! Any woman who reacts to events strongly faces this!” Honey has a point to make to those ready to spew vitriol. “No activist writes or does anything for their personal benefit but fights for society. When it is a woman making strong statements, the moral police step in because they do not consider men equal to women.”
K.V. Sumithra is the author of three books — anthology of poems, memories and travels. She often posts her poetry on her Facebook page which has an ardent fan base ready with their comments , suggestions and applause.
Shoukath Sahajotsu is a Malayalam philosophical mystical writer who has penned more than 10 books. His thoughts that he updates on Facebook find
resonance with a large number of people.
Joseph Annamkutty Jose is a radio jockey as well as an author who actively posts the social media to voice his thoughts. Several of his posts have gone viral and he has more than 72,000 followers.