Why I Write: Writing Helps Me Arrange My Thoughts
Writing is something I took for granted almost all my life. I grew up in a family that spoke well, read a lot, and wrote poetry just for fun. My mother, a teacher, often wrote prose, scripts and plays for her school events. I grew up assuming that writing was something everyone does and probably effortlessly. It was only years later after the birth of our son when I was at a crossroad regarding what I’d like to do that I realized writing had underscored everything I had worked at till then.
I recently read about theoretical neuroscientist Dr Vivienne Ming’s concept that success comes when one is open to pivoting careers, business strategies and life habits. She talks about the benefits of reinventing oneself every seven years and says typically if you start at age 11 and live to be 88, you have 11 opportunities to become truly great at something. This resonated with me as my experiences have been varied. While still in college, I worked as a Radio Jockey with Times FM, then toured the country acting in a play directed by Aamir Raza Husain, was an event manager with Fountainhead, a flight attendant with Delta Airlines, and a voice artist. With the start of motherhood, I knew I wanted to be around for my baby and I also wanted to work.
It was only years later after the birth of our son when I was at a crossroad regarding what I’d like to do that I realized writing had underscored everything I had worked at till then.
At some point the realization struck that irrespective of what I had done, writing always underlined it all. I wrote my own scripts for my radio shows and was applauded for concept notes and creative ideas for client events. I decided to do a creative writing course and signed up for the one offered by the Writer’s Bureau, Manchester. It provided the flexibility I required with studying and handing in projects while also tending to a baby and I had access to amazing mentors. The course started me on my journey as a professional writer 11 years ago. Since then I have written content for blogs, magazines, websites, brochures, coffee table books, scripts for events and audio visuals and am now an author of a children’s book Chaos at Keoladeo, published by FunOkPlease and Penguin.
I write because writing makes me happy. Before I start a project I am invariably nervous and a feeling almost like stage fright grips me. But then I start. I put down ideas or ruminate over them until I finally let them all flow onto the paper or a screen. Then I put away what I’ve written. It’s like an adventure. I feel excited to revisit it. I edit, change and then most often am happy with the result. Organizing thoughts and themes, throwing in imaginative narratives, experimenting with tone, sometimes adjusting the text to suit the brief, sometimes writing with abandon, it’s an exciting, ever dynamic process of which I am the boss and master.
While I am a social person, I have learnt that I also enjoy working in isolation. Earning a living, doing what I enjoy without the parameters of 9 to 5, commute to an office and workspace hierarchy suits me.
I love travelling. As a freelance writer can, if I need to, take my work along with me and that is a blessing. People I interact with, on hearing about my travels, SCUBA diving experiences, love for nature, birding and life experiences invariably want to know more. Writing allows me to put down my thoughts and share my observations, travel resources and experiences.
Writing helps me arrange my thoughts and make sense of the world. I believe I write better than I speak. This may be because the impromptu spoken word doesn’t allow for a re-do. Some of my most creative personal pieces have sprung up when I’ve been upset and so writing helps me calm down and relax. I wonder if perhaps I write also because I read. I can’t remember a time when I didn’t have a book by my bedside table. I am an avid reader with Indian fiction being my most favourite genre.
I write to capture my world as I experience it right now. My thoughts woven into a fabric, based out of collective narratives of my interactions with the people around me, the politics of the world, the state of the environment and what I feel about it all. I guess I write intuitively for posterity, in the hope that future generations can understand life as it was albeit from my perspective.
Priya Fonseca a writer and voice artist. When she’s not working, you can find her enjoying her hobbies that include SCUBA diving, travelling, bird-watching, trying out all kinds of food, reading, astronomy, yoga and running. Her book, Chaos at Keoladeo, published by FunokPlease in collaboration with Penguin Random House India is the first in the National Park Explorers Series. The views expressed are the author’s own.