I’m not a night owl and that is a fact well-known among friends and acquaintances. Yet, today I felt this urgency to stay up past my bedtime and write. I begin by saying this because I consider it an important milestone in my writer’s journey.
It’s been almost a month since I posted on the blog or even visited the blogs of friends and regular followers. One major reason was travel. With life taking a little breather after almost two years of lockdown, the family thought of taking a vacation. A rejuvenating break, so to say.
The holiday gave me ample time to read and contemplate on my own writing journey. I read Stephen King’s ‘On Writing’ and listened to Elizabeth Gilbert’s ‘Big Magic’, re-read Khaled Hosseini’s ‘The Kite Runner’ and some poetry online.
While I was exploring my own thoughts about writing, I happened to have a conversation with the author of the children’s book, ‘The Nameless God’, Savie Karnel. I wanted to know the story of how she had become an author. Apparently, the plot of ‘The Nameless God’ had visited Savie a few years ago but it was an accident in 2019, that made her pen the book and send it out into the world. As she put it, after the accident, the thought that she might leave the world without having that one story out, kept haunting her. She didn’t want to and so, the book happened. The beautiful story looks at the most complex situations of adult human life and presents simplistic solutions along with subtle lessons on humanity.
Savie’s reason for writing ‘The Nameless God’ stayed with me. I had just finished listening to ‘Big Magic’ and her words were like the perfect climax to Gilbert’s. Almost a practical demonstration of the latter’s book.
Those of you who have been visiting the blog are well aware that I am prepping for NaNoWriMo 2021. I will not say that I have aced this preparation time, but I have managed to do quite a bit and I hope I will be able to take it forward from here. The intention is very much there and I am determined. Not because I am in a hurry to get published. But because I have enjoyed the process of birthing every aspect of my story in the past one month. Because I have allowed the fear of not writing up to the mark rest in peace. Because I have decided to be brave. ‘Without bravery,’ says Gilbert, ‘our lives would remain small.’
In 2021, I had taken the decision to send my work out to literary magazines and to anthologies. While I had no success in the former, I did manage to get published in a few anthologies. What did this teach me? Certainly not giving up. I still have a few submissions out and I will continue on that path. However, at the same time I will allow myself to be read by as many and by all those who identify with my writing. Neither do I plan to treat my work as Kohinoor. Of course, it’s precious to me, but its worth multiplies when it is read. I understand that.
Over the past two months, as I have moved from being mindful of producing near-perfect writing, to simply writing, my joy about the whole process has increased manifold. Today, I know that I will write despite everything.
Recently, I read a friend’s Facebook post, which had been written after a rejection of her work. She argued that there’s no point in trying again and again if you can’t be the best. I don’t know what you think of this, but for me I can’t go about life choosing not to try. Always easier to back out. But if you love the craft, trust me, you can’t stay away. Not for long.
Prepping for NaNoWriMo, ironically, has eased me out. Or, maybe, reading all the ‘magic’ about writing has. I feel relaxed when I write. And that should be the purpose of arts, shouldn’t it? So many times, I read accounts of authors, established and aspiring, talk about the uneasiness that not writing, not getting acceptance has caused them. I’ve been there too. Some of my previous posts might even reek of discontent with writing. While persistence and consistency are the most important components for an artist, without joy all art becomes burdensome. Like a chore you are forced to do. If it’s not coming from a place of joy, it’s not worth it.
Finally, as Elizabeth Gilbert says, ‘There’s plenty of room for everyone.’ Art is subjective, so are its connoisseurs. In this world of quick readers and short attention spans, short-lived friendships and mutual benefits, don’t tire yourself by forging too many alliances. Give yourself the authority to choose, to prioritize your writing over everything else. After all, you swore your allegiance to the craft when you started out. Write like you don’t care!
I am not sure if my thoughts will resonate with you. I just put them down as a reminder to myself that I am here to write. If you feel connected by these ideas, welcome aboard. We are on parallel journeys.
Here are a few pictures from the trip. And my announcement at NaNoWriMo. It’s ‘Unnamed’ because I’m yet hunting. Also, because names play an important role in the story.