Alvin In The Room: Journal

Writing can be so simple, but something makes it so complicated

Hong Kong, 2016

Hong Kong, 2016

To write means to express my own thoughts to others. You write because you can't gather all the people in the same place at the same time, and a piece of writing can be read anytime anywhere. To write does not only for others but also yourself as one think quite differently at different ages, while he or she doesn't realize changes in life have occurred. That's why we have to write especially for ourselves, the future selves as a reminder or way to look back.

But now writing becomes not so simple. First, somebody does regard only persons with good language skills can write, and the so-called language skills refer to grammar and the beauty of words and sentences. If these are so important, writing can be more difficult.

Second, we used to write in our own notebooks and through letters, but now we share on Facebook or blog which allows more people to read, but the number of likes, followers and the hit rates always lead people to consider popularity and the preference of the public. We no longer focus on what we want to share, and even we tend to introduce what so many people have written about, as a result.

Third, if you regard writing as a kind of job or business, you aren't actually writing but manufacture products like in a factory, by focusing on quantity rather than quality, to achieve sustainability. To do so, you will think how you can finish an article in a faster way, by choosing to translate passages, to have junk food like '50 reasons to buy iPhone SE' and '5 tips to become a billionaire'.

Do I mean that writing can't be a job or business? Probably not. But media and publishers should re-innovate their business addressing the problems above, as under the current business mode, they still find it difficult to survive due to the tense competition. Do I mean not to write on Facebook? Probably not but one have to reconsider whether number of likes and followers can create a great deal of business potential, say 500 vs 50,000.

People are talking about the death of literature due to the growth of other kinds of entertainment and social media, but I would say it's a matter of burden according to the quantity in which people should get rid of. Focusing too much on it can lead to a worse piece of article. What I mean is you no longer have your own thoughts and life experience in articles which can inspire people to think about it. If you want to write a better piece, you need to live better, to live in your own way. It's not to 'manufacture' as many (fake) pieces of articles as possible on Facebook to increase traffic of content consumption. This is the death of literature. Yes, writing your true thoughts and facts needs courage because your own words are not necessarily attractive to many readers, but you also have to face the truth that mass production is not better but can be much worse than that.

So, just make it simple. Write what you want when you want to write. If you like you can have many ideas to share. The process itself can let one gain as writing lets you review your thoughts. Writing at least is your part of life and as a path to your bright future!

寫作,本來是為了向別人表達自己真正的看法,因為不是每個人都同一時間在同一地點,所以需要寫作,把當下的想法,讓其他人在有空的時候來看。此外,每個人在不同的時間、不同的年紀,也有不同的思緒,但不一定在將來清楚記得自己曾經怎樣的思考,所以寫作也可以看作成「給未來的自己」,或是在將來提醒著自己什麼。

不過寫作已經變得很複雜,或是偏離原意。先是有人會認為,有文筆的人才可以寫文章。為他們來說,有文筆的意思即是否運用四字成語、有沒有什麼結構美、文法和是否合乎邏輯。本來只不過把心中的想法和見聞寫出來,卻形成一道門檻。

其次是寫出來的途徑從書信或筆記本變成在Facebook或blog這類社交媒體,無疑讓更多人看到,但是這些平台卻一定有like數、點擊數字、追蹤自己的人數、在線人數等,這些數字讓更多人在寫的時候都會考慮到人氣,考慮到對方是否喜歡某些題材、考慮發佈時間,如此一來這些所謂的考慮讓寫作的人不能專注在表達心中所想,最後只為了大眾喜好,甚至重覆很多人都介紹過的事情和觀點。

第三是當寫作變成事業的時候,為了維持高點擊數字、增加追蹤者、增加收入,除了寫出來的內容變得與個人想法有所偏離外,還有就是要求自己有一定數量的文章。好比在工廠工作,在一定時間產出一定數量的文章。為了達到數目,找外國網站迅速翻譯文章、寫「50個買iPhone SE的理由」、「震驚全球1兆人的故事」、不問自取轉載⋯⋯總之要有量,看起來有重量。即使出版社,每年出書的數目是不能忽視的,因為數量愈多,收入理應愈多。

也許,媒體和出版社都應該思考出一套新的經濟模式,擺脫量所帶來的問題。因為量也不見得他們的日子好過:始終是大家擠在同一跑道上而已。在個人(包括自己有一個Facebook專頁那些),也要重新審視like數、粉絲數目增多是否很顯著的對自己有利甚至有益,例如500個followers和50,000個的其實分別不大。

The death of writing或是the death of literature,也許就是上述「量的包袱」,這個包袱愈是沉重,文章質素愈差,其實是一個惡性循環。什麼是文章質素?其實並不是文法文句四字成語,而是一個人本身有沒有自己:自己的想法、自己(獨特)的經歷⋯⋯就香港人來說,每一個人都要考試讀書和工作,平平無奇的生活根本沒可能表達一些觀點來。只在有冷氣的辦公室的出版社編輯並不能有自己認為值得分享的題材。寫作要的是勇氣也要專注,因為自己真心的觀點真的不一定有人支持;寫下真正的想法也需要面對「大量生產其實也好不到哪裡去」這個現實。

其實寫作就是想寫就寫,想的話自然會寫很多,寫的過程中也在與自己對話,也是整理個人思緒的一環。或許真的不需要去想什麼是否作為自己的工作。終究,寫作是日常生活的一部分而已。

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