I woke up one day and realized I am a writer.
Yes, it is a realization.
One day I was a normal person, living peacefully with my family, friends, neighbours and my dog—and the next day I woke up with the realization that I am a writer. With this feeling inside, the pressure started building up, telling my subconscious mind that the entire life I was living previously, has now suddenly started looking at me with awe and expectations.
People feel a writer’s life is extraordinary, glamorous—with money pouring in from every crevice—in short, out-of-the-world and superb.
Do writers make a lot money and go to newspaper interviews every now and then and quote themselves?
Let’s have a glimpse of an unpublished writer like me:
Eat, sleep, write, and repeat.
That’s how my days go. I record every second of my day—morning breath, yoga, enjoying a healthy breakfast (or sometimes no breakfast at all), good or bad weather, witnessing a hangover or barking of a dog and try to put each moment into words before I hit the sheets at night.
I must feel and live the moments before I express my feelings. The time when I am not writing, I am reading. When I write, I must be clear, concise and know why this word fits better than the other as I can’t afford to be an amateur.
As a writer, I sometimes spend hours (which often turn into days) plotting and writing a story, without food, without a bath, looking like a maniac with Cheetos stuck in my hair and no contact with the outside world.
I write about everything and I love the details.
I write about the smile and the way it curves on the face. I also write about how the sunlight enters the wrought-iron paned windows of the old creek mansion. It seems easy but is ruthlessly exhausting. I might come out of my room once, late at night for dinner, and then lock myself back again in the grey corners of the room. Social networking is distracting to me so I apologize to my best friend for not wishing him his birthday, and to that big thing you did dudette (I really can’t remember) and to that colleague who got promoted.
There are times when I write for hours at a stretch, thousands of words at a time.
Then suddenly a dry spell hits me and I am no longer seduced by my typewriter. No matter how hard I try and the amount of caffeine I ingest, nothing, just nothing crops up in my mind.
I am like a werewolf.
When the full moon comes out, I turn into a whole new creature, hunting for words or for perfect phrases. As the dawn arrives (poof!), I am back to being an uninspired human. Yesterday, I could have taken down Voldemort, but today I don’t even have the strength to fight Malfoy.
Competitions come and go with victory and defeat at regular intervals, but people don’t remember me, no matter what.
The tone I attain, after my sudden “realization” of my self-proclaimed profession, is borderline mocking. How to explain that writers don’t choose their profession?
Want to know why being a writer is not a profession of choice?
Because there is simply no money, naah, nada and a big zero, that’s all! No money whatsoever.
Now remember, when a person is an unpublished writer, he/she will be a result of the investment of their family and friends, regardless of their age.
Real writers don’t write for money.
If you ask me, I’ll say I write because I think if I don’t pen down my feelings, I might explode with the bubbling emotions inside me. So, I don’t care about the money, I write because I write.
Untimely insomnia and completing tasks before deadlines are two factors get ingrained in a writer and become a part of their DNA.
I have to learn to tell people about my work—not to gain attention, of course, but if people don’t read what I write, I am just a diary-filler or a journal-keeper but not an author.
I can’t proclaim that I’ll write “someday.” However when I write, somewhere in my subconscious mind I know that someday I will get published.
Just like Spiderman can’t exist without Peter Parker, every unpublished writer needs a day job.
I can’t just sit and wait for a thought to pop up. I have to get out and earn my bread.
So can you connect? Do you feel the same? Happiness in pressure? Do you regret it? No? The answer should be, “no.” I write because it is my escape from madness.
I write to lighten up and I won’t stop writing. Neither should you!
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Author: Vishakha Shukla
Editor: Ashleigh Hitchcock