An Open Letter to all wannabe writers
To whom it may concern,
It is believed that whenever a person dies, a library is burned. Everyone has stories settled in their souls, and eventually, the world needs stories, but in tangible form. There is certainly some truth in this because each and every one of us haves stories woven into our DNAs, holding a desire be told in one form or another. But there is a burning question: How many of us have the patience to bring these into books to the from the vast ocean of our imaginations?
Over the years of my writing life (also through comments made by other writers), I’ve observed that a huge gulf exists between a writer adoring his book or write-up through the fulfillment and the work that is perceived by others. It may sound like I have a chip the size of the Empire State building on my shoulder – the woe-is-me persecuted writer. But I would suggest that few other professions exist where individuals are so upbraided and misunderstood. On the other hand, criticisms are no less than blessings for a writer if accepted in a positive way. They let us acknowledge various other opinions and imaginations because you never know what may inspire your next poem or prose.
Here are a few comments and questions that fellow writers and I hear often:
When are you going to get a proper job?
Why aren’t your books in all the bookshops?
Are you going to be the next JK Rowling?
Will you ever go back to work? Can I have a freebie?
I’ve got a brilliant idea for a book. Listen to this . . .
How much money do you make being a writer?
Are you enjoying it while it lasts?
These questions may sound hilarious and sometimes meant in jest, but they actually put a question at our dedication towards our work, the months and years of our hard work and our ultimately on our belief as writers. Amanda Palmer (artist, writer, musician, and all-around creative) once said that “You’re an artist when you say you are. And you’re a good artist when you make somebody else experience or feel something deep or unexpected.” But don’t, dear reader or rather potential writer, underestimate just how long it can take to craft this emotion tugged to the written word which does make you feel something. It can take hours, days or even months but there’s nothing that appears worthless.
Satisfaction is not usually our cup of tea. There’s always a voice in us that yells for more. Also, we love what we do and maybe we wouldn’t prefer doing anything else. But it’s no bed full of roses. It’s a demanding, fraught journey charged with obstacles and minor heartbreaks. And sometimes we may even feel demeaning (especially when one is under constant attack of above questions), but let the passion in you hold the pen. The consistent desire to succeed can be the driving force in this terrain of words, thoughts, and inspiration. The trick is to believe that anything is possible and then go after that anything.
So, to return to the notion at the beginning of this letter: do we all have a book in us? Perhaps, yes. But bringing that book into existence demands a great deal of inputs like love and hard work; a feat of perseverance, patience, the art of tormenting over single words and single sentences to get it just right; editing and re-editing, again and again, and again. The key here is to never stop writing and spreading. It is true that these things don’t happen overnight, but it will happen certainly if you give the undivided attention and put the time in. Believe you me, the wait is worth it.
Imagine asking a lawyer or a doctor when they’re going to get a proper job, or if you could have a freebie.
You wouldn’t, would you?
That’s something worth pondering upon.
Thank you for reading this.
A Writer (once a wannabe)