What Does It Take To Be A Writer?

February 9, 2019


What does it take to be a writer? I have often been asked more often than I would like if writing feels like hard work or am I just sitting in a café, day dreaming gloriously and the words pour out just as deftly as the tea pours from pot to cup. This comes with the realization that I am doing things that people feel require no effort at all, no complaints there though, effortlessly getting paid is an ambition I have always nurtured. Their imagination is not far from reality and I would not even claim that the work is very taxing to my brain, in the first place. Or maybe it is but the fact that I was used to studying taxation in the literal sense of the word, and failing repeatedly at accounting exams makes this an almost miraculous joy ride.


I started writing professionally around 2 years back and as I sat that day checking the resume I have sent to editors when I started out, I could not help but find immense amusement in the way I approached people who were at the top of their game. I wrote like a kid out of college, with zero to minimal experience and a rose-tinted insight into the realities of an industry I planned to enter so effortlessly. But then again, I was a kid out of college and a naïve one at that, delusion should be forgiven at that age, I feel, it can almost be amusing to watch and the kind of innocence never really comes back. I am sort of diverging from the point, if there is any at all. I worked on whatever I could get my hands on in the first two years and started being choosy only recently when I felt like I had a slight hold and control on the kind of content I could push out and take up. I declined work and rejected assignments that paid with the pretext of not being offered “good content” only to be left wondering what exactly falls under “great writing”. Am I supposed to churn out pieces like Bukowski? Am I supposed to have immaculate sentence construction and a writing style like Wodehouse to grab people’s attention or simply to just satisfy my own creative urges? What am I supposed to write that will truly qualify me as a ‘great writer’?

Existential crisis they call it. I guess most people feel a tiny bit of this emotion without actively thinking about it. What is the reason and purpose of your existence? Is there any purpose at all or are you just floating through life? Doing everything we do every day, getting excited for everything most of us get excited for and going through the exact same motions, day by day, year by year. Only to be left wondering, if you did it all. If you saw it all, felt every bit of it. And if you lived. Really, truly, genuinely lived. I still feel all this extensively, I feel lost on days when I don’t end up slumming it in front of my laptop. I feel the most alive when words pour out and when I have things to say, things to convey and conversations to have with people who feel about things just as intensely as I do. And that gives hope. That all is not lost yet, that there is a long way to go and a long journey to take. That there will be a million more opportunities, tremendous inspiration and countless experiences that spark the kind of writing I have always aspired to do. The kind of writing that does not always come easy, the kind that lights up the soul, rises a fire and maybe, just maybe, one day, changes the world.




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