Friday, February 3, 2012

Have I Gone Astray? Help!!!

I launched my blog two months ago. 
Well, a little less actually, since the first posting was on December 12, 2011. 
From the beginning, I have been receiving encouraging remarks, mostly given in private, either through email, sms or in person.  These compliments made all the hard work felt worth it. 
Quite a handful, however, said that the blog is way too heavy and too serious for them.  I shrugged it off, saying that the blog is meant to be serious.  It is a commentary you see.  How can a commentary, or tafsir, be light.
One English teacher, a daughter of my good friend, said that it is a nice cut and paste work.  Hah?????  Is my writing that bad?  Have I failed to write coherently, as the cut and paste work generally is?  Or, does she think that I don’t know all those stuff I wrote?
Some asked me whether I have my sources.  What sources?  I couldn’t write all those things without having references.  This is a blog, my dear.  I am not going to burden myself and my readers with bibliography.  I am not doing a Ph.D. thesis, you see.
In short, I chew all those feedback but then spitted them out, without digesting them.  They all seem like natural comments to me. 
But last night, while having a talk over a dinner with my colleague, who used to work with me some years back, but is now separated by the South China Sea, for I am in Malaya (as the West Malaysia used to be called), and he is in North Borneo (as Sabah used to be called), I felt rather disturbed. 
He is a follower of my blog.  He has been reading it religiously.  "It is quite a task to read your blog," he said.  "I have to scroll up and down to keep track of the idea.  Maybe because of the subject matter, or perhaps due to my English command, but that’s not how I want to read a blog," he continued. 
It is rather boring, too academic, and feels like reading a textbook.  That was the gist of his comment. 
No one has told me that my blog is boring, or too academic, or reads like a textbook.  I can brush off all other comments.  But this comment I cannot ignore. 
You see, I can laugh it off if people say that it is heavy, for Seerah and History are not joking matters.  But when someone says that it is boring and too academic, then I feel concerned.  Yes, I care about my blog.  More so because he is one of those who religiously follows my writings.    
Well, I didn’t lose sleep because of that comment.  It is not a sin to write a boring blog.  A futile exercise, perhaps, but can still be remedied.  Besides, the pageviews keep increasing.  Hence, all is not lost…not yet.
In the morning, I got another surprise.  A facebook friend of mine dropped a message: About your blog, I haven’t ventured into it yet…too heavy a reading, he he he….
In case you are wondering, I didn’t expect that kind of comment from her.  She is an academician, you see, a lecturer at one of the universities.  If my blog is too heavy a reading for a person of her standing, then what chance do I have with the less academically inclined folks?
Now my dear readers, if you read this far, please take a moment of your time to answer this question: Is my blog too heavy a reading for you?  If you don’t find it heavy, do you think that it is a little too heavy for most people?
If you don’t mind and have some ideas, please suggest how I can make it readable, enjoyable and fun without compromising the substance.
I thank you all in advance. 
P.S.: If you have something to say in Malay, can too.


  1. man,
    i'm the person who have all the time reading ur blog or other people's blogs.....light or heavy n as long as it never touch our country politics.
    so don't let us wait too long for new updates. time is running out for most of us. tq.

  2. I have read thru 2 articles - Is Jesus a Jew? And I do think it is lengthy, and it is an article that I have read from a book before. I do agree that it is good to share, yet reading a book and going thru a blog is a different experience. I would like to recommend that as a writer, you should summarise and compare several sources of similar topic; that would make it really interesting.

    1. You have read that article before? I doubt so, and it cannot be. I guess you are familiar with the Jewish history.

      For other comments, many thanks.

  3. I was introduced to the blog by your reader, Maal. I read your blog while I am having my lunch. Definitely don't find it lenghty or boring buat stimulating whilst I take a break from the clutches of corporate person. Stay the course brother and keep churning your blog. Rizal

    1. Noted Rizal, and thank you very much for taking your time to comment. Appreciate it.

  4. Dear SM,

    It’s expected. A writer experiencing self-doubt. When you first wrote you write without much reservation. Now that you have the visitor’s attention, you’ll think of what it'll take for them to visit your blog again. You begin to wonder whether they like your blog or not. One reader thinks it’s too heavy – another thinks you should substantiate your writing with footnotes and cross-references. It’s tough.

    It all depends on which audience you are trying to appeal and what is your blog purpose. Those who re-visit will likely be your audience who sincerely have interest in the subject you write (not necessarily your friends or people you know). Audience like me – who wants a comprehensible background of Islam and seerahs without the challenging effort of reading history heavy on citations and references.

    I think most comments referred to one particular post “Is Jesus a Jew 2/2” – which in my opinion is NOT lengthy but packed with too many accounts to cover a broad range of history from different eras -- in one blog post.

    Over all, I don’t find your blog boring, text-bookish, or too academic. Your writing is eloquent and not pretentious. Write on SM, write what you feel and understand. After all, this is YOUR BLOG and SHARING is your end vision. If your readers want something entertaining they’ll go to political blogs. If they’re looking for heavy, in-depth historical accounts – hit the books.

    Rgds, TSZ

    1. You nailed it right in the bud, my friend. I guess I was a little too concerned, which I shouldn't.

      Taking Business Admin at college, and having read too many business books than I fancy, I started to think like a businessman rather than a writer.

      You, and a few others, including those who replied privately, have put me back on track.

      Many thanks TSZ, and many thanks to others for feedback.

  5. Is my blog too heaving a reading for you?
    Here is my answer if it can help.
    I've read all the seerah series you wrote. in fact at one time i cannot wait for the final episode. the way you wrote it make me felt like reading sidney sheldon book. just cannot stop. interesting.

    heavy, too academic, who cares actually. have to admit i dont get (understand) one or two articles that you wrote. but that doesnt stop me from returning to this blog. could be its my own bad. too thick to understand you post.

    my opinion, this is sm deris blog and i can feel some uniqueness of this blog i like it.. so far.:)

    keep it up. (until you cannot get up) :P

    1. Very kind of you to say that my friend. The "uniqueness" part especially. Many thanks

  6. I have only just come across your blog this morning, and have spent the last 3 hours reading just about everything you've written here. I find your writing and thoughts interesting. I especially appreciate that it is bereft of politics and of referencing to what I think of as "being Muslim out loud" as it would appear to be practised by some in Malaysia (more loud, less being Muslim).
    If anything, I would say you have taken a light touch in approaching the topics - I find them neither too academic nor heavy, and certainly appreciate the lack of referencing. TSZ has very eloquently touched on this point.
    As for the comment by your academician friend, one shudders to consider its implications...
    One cannot write to satisfy everyone; thus be true to yourself. Kudos and keep it coming!

    1. Yes my friend. By now, I have come to terms with myself, in relation to my blog, that is. I have tried to make each entry as light as I could, but if it is still heavy for some, then there is not much else I could do. If I were to write differently, it wouldn't be me writing, because after we reach a certain age, our style and thinking process are pretty much formed.

      Thank you for taking your time to response. Keep coming back. InsyaAllah there will be more or less two entries per week.

      As for "referencing," well, as we know, if we point one finger to others, three are pointing back to us.

  7. your blog is intellectually intriguing, not an exaggeration to say that it is a Godsend, all this while I have to cross reference many things on the net, and you know screening the reliable sites out of the unreliable ones is not an easy task, so reading your entries particularly on the anbiya made me understand better the verses I read in the Quran, one suggestion I have here _it's a bit hard to read your blog on the h/phone especially the old posts-it keeps saying the file is too big and closes by itself, perhaps you can try to present it some better ways ? rk

  8. I like your style of writing and structure.