There are jillions of reasons why I write. I can’t claim to understand all of them. But the ones that I do understand, are, in no particular order:
I write because I am compulsive about it. Always have been. Back in the day, during school and college exams, I used to spring up like a Jack-in-the-box every ten minutes and request the invigilator for an extra answer sheet, sending shivers down the spine of fellow students.
I write because I’m brave like that. (Just think about it, you spend two lifetimes dreaming up, writing, rewriting, editing, tweaking, polishing a story only for it to be dismissed by a publisher (“Sorry, it doesn’t fit our list”) or dissed by a reader (“This book should never have been written”) in two seconds flat. Take it from me, writing a book in these hashtag driven times – where anyone and everyone with social media handle is a literary critic – is an act of courage indeed.
I write because words are my friends. I like spending time with them, I like having long conversations with them, I don’t get bored in their company ever. Unlike numbers – shudder – frenemies and arch nemeses. Especially word counts. And don’t even get me started on royalties.
I write because it makes for a great excuse to skip gym sessions, wiggle out of social commitments, and on certain occasions, get by the entire day without showing any signs of life.
I write because it’s only way to live the fabulous lives of (not Bollywood wives) others. Set off on a road trip across Spain with the besties. Meet a TDH stranger and gambol about in alpine meadows and gorge on goodies without worrying about deadlines or waistlines. Beat up a dozen baddies with bare hands.
I write because how else do you control the uncontrollable? ‘Well-intentioned’ relatives getting your goat? No worries, just bump them off mid-chapter. Nosy parker neighbours getting on your nerves? Chill, serve them just desserts in the climax. Believe you me, a book is the only place where I can sign out of a WhatsApp group without facing dire consequences.
I write because those rivers of joy flowing through you (you know, the ones Rumi talked about) are real. Just like #FOMO.
I write because then I can officially bingeread (in the name of research, of course). Case in point: When my editor asked me if I’d like to write a graphic novel for young adults, I replied, ‘Yes! Of course! Right away!’ with all the confidence of someone who’s never written a graphic novel before. And then, I dived headlong into the world of comic books and graphic novels. At some point I realised, I’d have to stop reading and start writing. And that’s how my first graphic novel, The Secret Life of Debbie G, came about.
I write because it’s SUCH a thrill when the muse finally stops playing truant and hard to get and hardball. Take that, writer’s block.
I write because it’s the only way I can deal with the curveballs life is in the habit of throwing.
I write because it’s a lot like meditation. Except, you have both eyes open and you are not staring at the clock.
I write because it’s the only way to make sense of the world, of the things that are happening around, of the things that make no sense.
I write because staring at a blank screen for an inordinately long amount of time, willing the right words to appear (and hitting repeat mode day after day after day) is my idea of fun.
I write because it helps me get to the heart of it all.
I write because it helps me get away from it all.
I write because I can’t not write.
And oh, did I mention, I’m kind of compulsive about it?
Vibha Batra is an author, advertising consultant, graphic novelist, poet, lyricist, travel writer, playwright, translator and creative writing facilitator. The views expressed are the author’s own.
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