Why I Write: Writing Gives Me A Thousand Lives In My Single Life
I often deal with this query, “How do you write” rather than “Why do you write”. The latter is the question a writer often ask him/herself and true to Hemingway’s words: “writing is bleeding”. Everyone who has been writing or attempted to write even once knows of how one bleeds before and after. Writing needs wild imagination and also the discipline to see ‘THE END”. Above all, you need the motivation to come back to write the second one. When even the gods can’t guarantee you the future of the “greatest story ever written” waiting impatiently to be picked by a publisher, motivation can go out of the window. For many.
Irrespective of whether you are an amateur writer or a published author or the author of international bestsellers, the colour of the bleeding is the same for all. They all confront the same fears and ambivalences. Though in our country barely any author can survive on writing, many aspiring writers think our authors are counterparts of J. K. Rowling or George Martin in terms of financial gains. “How much do you earn?” I frequently hear this question. They forget that while their favourite authors’ books are read by half of the world’s population, Indian authors are bestsellers if they can sell 10,000 copies which is a colossal task considering “Indians don’t like to read”. We have the answer for this unliking too—our land is God’s own cricket ground.
When even the gods can’t guarantee you the future of the “greatest story ever written” waiting impatiently to be picked by a publisher, motivation can go out of the window. For many.
When your “masterpiece” is just occupying the space in your laptop and reminds you of the odd possibility of becoming an author—forget about being a successful author— your family and friends ask you a question, “Are you crazy to waste your time and life?” The question is valid. One has to be crazy to be a writer. I think I am crazy too. It’s not an exaggeration when I say, writing is the best thing I ever did in my life. The explanation for this statement is very difficult to comprehend in words. As Helen Keller said, “The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched. They must be felt with the heart.”
To start with, I wasn’t an accidental writer. I wrote poems about family members and stories for my cousin during my growing-up years. I loved the freedom of being on my own and being the master and the slave at the same time. My first crime thriller, Goodbye Girl, happened purely because of this unbelievable sense of happiness. Some characters were my family members while others were from the biggest hidden crime world spread from one end to another which had hidden faces of top-level personals in our social hierarchy. Goodbye Girl opened a new world which I have never seen or felt before. She liberated me. Taught me. Changed me. Humbled me. When I look back, the Goodbye Girl journey was a very special one. Then, I had no hope of being a published author nor I knew the metamorphosis of a writer to an author. But I wrote every single day until I finished it without thinking even once WHY I AM WRITING! Because I loved writing. I loved bleeding. I loved being in an alternative world where in reality I never could be.
Goodbye Girl was so hard-hitting and nobody believed it to be possible to happen in our land until a year ago when every brutality detailed as fiction came out as the front-page features of all leading newspapers and TV broadcast for months notably the case called, “Muzaffarpur Shelter Scandal”. I wasn’t shocked anymore as I had met many people and painstakingly researched for the book. Then I wrote ‘Gone with the Bullet’ where I met with the representatives from the various intelligence agencies and some of “those unseen people behind some actions.” I would have never dared to dig out the unknown if not for the books. Maybe, some wouldn’t have ever spoken to me if I wasn’t a writer. If the risks, challenges and the revelations have some social impact even if indirectly, the quest becomes often more special.
I wrote every single day until I finished it without thinking even once WHY I AM WRITING! Because I loved writing. I loved bleeding. I loved being in an alternative world where in reality I never could be.
After writing two crime thrillers I realised the stories choose its mother. I was ready with my third crime book, but First Love happened. This time, in front of me I had all those youngsters who had fallen in love, who had their hearts broken, who had become bitter and miserable and hopeless…I wanted to show them Tina and her journey, as pure and hard as it could be. Like in earlier books, many of the characters in First Love are real but I put them in the box of a fiction world.
What I enjoy the most is the reason I look forward to writing. Here I kill, I rob a bank, I put myself in trouble, and get myself out, break my heart, long for love, find love, fly jets, perform heart surgery, swim in the deepest part of the ocean, go to the moon, and live in a world which never existed… When I create a world and a bunch of people as alive as I am, I feel closer to the creator. What else can give me the life and joy of a million lives in such a shortened traverse of my trivial life? The money, fame, movie deals, fans, autographs… everything is a bonus.
Everyone has a story to tell. Some manage to write it. But if the above bonuses are your primary concern to write it, I guess you miss out on the pure joy of being a part of your creations. I request you to forget about the end product and its future. Just bleed. Be there. Feel it. Be it. As Shakespeare said, “fill your paper with the breathings of your heart.” Then, an entire world of possibilities and happiness would wait for you. There is nothing called the right time to write. There is nothing called waiting for the inspiration to write. The only truth which exists in writing is that you write. Period. And it’s worth it, if for nothing else, for your own evolution as a person. You will learn much more than any degree could ever teach you. She will tame you to be a better human. And you will share the heart of the creator.
Image Credit: Fingerprint! Publishing/ Sheeja Jose
Sheeja Jose is an author with books like Goodbye Girl, Gone With The Bullet and First Love to her credit. The views expressed are the author’s own.