As a professional it is easy to get drawn into the race. You want to be more, to earn more, to be promoted more often and so unknowingly you start playing to the race. You follow the rules of the race. You try to beat others at the game.
Soon you lose sight of what made you stand out, who you were when you joined. Unconsciously now you want to be ranked on a scale that is being competed for by millions of people out there.
Nothing wrong with that. Only that, it leads more to conformation than to originality.
You give up all those things that brought you joy, to do the things that you think will make you richer and more successful. And slowly, your spark, your innate talents start diminishing.
The writer in me wants to break out from this mould that the world has slowly seduced us into.
The more books I read, I start thinking “if only I could write like them”. If only the words that I strung together shone like a string of pearls. In only I could convey loss and joy and their enormity with such ease. If only I could do all that, would I be considered a great writer.
After much introspection, I realised that unwittingly I had begun to play in that race. In the race where the rules were decided by other “successful” writers. In an attempt to write as well as they did, probably I was ignoring the aspects of writing that I was better at. The parts of my articulation, where if I did practise I had the potential to be world class.
Such thoughts popped into my thinking at times. And other days I would still be feverishly writing. Trying to build a more cogent story, bringing in more emotions, dredging up my soul for the best words that I knew.
But this lesson in writing is for those writers who are at the brink of understanding that there is more to them than that story or that book.
Why do you write?
I will tell you my reason. I have always wanted a handbook for life. A book which tells you that there will be birth, growing pains, hunger, poverty, riches, heartbreak, relationships, parents, the death of loved ones, spiritual awakening, death and moving on. But the handbook will talk specifically of the constant struggle that you find yourselves in. There will be days, months, years and decades where you will feel as if nothing is changing. And then one day when you look back, you will have suddenly recovered your best self.
The stories or story in this handbook will talk of the “euphemism” of being human.
That was my reason.
What is your reason? When people read what you write, what should they feel at the end of the book, the chapter, the character? What?
And how do you want that this feeling should help them?
- Are you content with them feeling full and introspective after reading your book?
- Do you want them to take action and change ground realities in their life?
- Will your book make them stronger in will, skill and drive?
- Does your story instigate them to change their own story?
These are artistic pursuits worth pursuing, at least to my simple mind.
I have realised that as a writer when you are clear about why you are writing, the words flow better. The stories make more sense and your vision has a clarity that it didn’t earlier have.