Friday 20 April 2018

30 days writing challenge - day 3 - About Writing Itself

So, I got lazy again and procrastinated, obviously for non-acceptable reasons. But let’s not beat around the bush anymore and get to writing.

So, often, I get asked by people about what is writing? Why do I even write? What do writers do? DO they consume copious amounts of chai and coffee? Do they ever make money? Is it a successful satisfying career for me?

I get asked so many questions by people who I believe are genuinely curious about the process of what I do in my life. They claim that they do not understand fully, what I want from my life. I know these are all people who mean well from me, but it’s tiring to answer the questions repeatedly. So, here it is in brief, for reference. 

However, before I delve into it, here are a few thoughts about a song I like. In context to this post – I like only the first verse. However, the rest of the song is great too.

मैं पल दो पल का शायर हूँ
पल दो पल मेरी कहानी है
पल दो पल मेरी हस्ती है
पल दो पल मेरी जवानी है
मैं पल दो पल का शायर हूँ ...

मुझसे पहले कितने शायर
आए और आकर चले गए
कुछ आहें भर कर लौट गए
कुछ नग़मे गाकर चले गए
वो भी एक पल का किस्सा था
मैं भी एक पल का किस्सा हूँ
कल तुमसे जुदा हो जाऊँगा
वो आज तुम्हारा हिस्सा हूँ
मैं पल दो पल का शायर हूँ ...
So in a way I relate with the song, though not all of it. What it means is that I relate with the transience of life, thought and its expression. So, one of the reasons I started to write years ago because I wanted to be able to read and re-examine my thoughts, just like I did to the books dad got me to read when I was young.

Another reason I started writing was because my journals became a safe place for me to express myself without hesitation. On one hand, it stifled the transparency I may have achieved much earlier if I had figured out more public forms of expression. On the other hand, it was an empowering experience to be able to write something rather than speak it and then not have people judge it. 

At some point in recent past, I started writing because I started getting paid for it. Initially it was challenging because getting paid meant writing what needed to be written and not necessarily what I wanted to write. Over years however, I think I am able to find balance between my personal voice and the expectation of the client. It’s been a tedious process, a work in progress and an ongoing journey.

Most of anything, I believe I started writing because I needed to. It was an intrinsic need; the need to express. It was as necessary to me as was the need to eat, breathe and sleep. Over years, I have realized that writing is as basic a need as sex to me and it’s orgasmic and cathartic when it happens with honesty.

Now that we’re done with the why’s and the wherefore’s, let’s also probe into questions around what the writing process is all about. What gets my creative juices flowing, what kicks my brain, what triggers my thoughts and how easy or difficult is it for someone like me to be able to write.

Well, the fact is that my mind is one of the messiest places I know of. My mind maps look like a myriad of words scribbled in random connections on a sheet of paper. There are days when I am on a binge writing spree and others when I couldn’t write at a gun point. Yet, I have support systems and people who encourage me to write regularly.

Source - Internet. Please let me know if it's your image and I will be happy to link it.

I enjoy coffee, but no I don’t drink it more than twice a day at any cost. I am not one of those serial coffee addicts. I don’t smoke, I was a teetotaller till 28. I quit again at 32. So all in all, my mess is my poison. So are the people who I meet, people who love me and the people I meet.

Yes, my writing has finally started paying me well enough. Yes, it’s slowly and gradually shaping into a satisfying and fulfilling career for me. I get paid to learn new subjects and write about them. It reminds me of the book writing I did once for one of my Physics teachers. But that is a story for another time. 

Till then, like Anais Nin says - We write to taste life twice, in the moment and in retrospect.

© Anupama 2018

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