Sorry, guys and girls, this post will be a bit longer than usual – but I just could not think of a way to shorten it. There was some urgent business to sort out in 2012 that took a lot of time, so I am publishing it much later than I should – once again, my apologies.
This post is about what it really means to be a writer. As, without a doubt, it happens to every writer, in late summer 2012, I had what should call ‘a crisis of doubt’. I doubted the value of my writing, its importance, and my general ability to write. Then, one day, I opened my email and found this:
I have read your blog quite a number of times in the past one month. I basically go back for the motivation it gives me to write more.
I too have a story and now when I look back, it is filled with fear. Yes, a fear of being rejected, not being liked (as a writer). I started writing when I was very young. I remember I wrote my first story at the age of 10. Then, I started composing poetry, first in my mother tongue and then, in English. Over the years, I realized I was able to express myself better in English than in my own mother tongue.
Anyway, though I won a lot of appreciation from my schoolmates and teachers for my poems, I never really considered it to be an option to make a living. It was just a hobby for me. And it continues to do so till today. But then, after a while, things changed. And my poems became less frequent and I thought I did not have much ‘inspiration’. Well, I guess it was a self-sabotaging thought and it worked as such. For a few years, I did not write anything. Then, God granted me my first child, a daughter. I wrote for her – only one poem, but I could write again. She brought back the writer in me. I started keeping a diary for her. It was a private thing only for her. And then, my son came along. Then, I started blogging. Both of my children gave me the much-needed inspiration or will.
Just a couple of years later, I started writing stories. Well, at first I was not writing them, but just inventing some stories for my children’s bedtime. When I had to narrate the fairy tales to my children, I realized that how difficult it was to explain to a small child the concept of love and marriage. And then, I started finding those conventional fairy tales as violent too! I mean I didn’t want my daughter and son to learn about killing and death at that tender age. So I started inventing my own stories, simpler and yet with a meaning and a moral at the end. And after months of doing this, one fine day I told myself that I could actually sit down to write stories. And I did. I wrote some on my blog. The initial ones were simple, I guess because of months of conditioning and fitting to the children’s needs. Then, one day I wrote something for the grown-ups. And, I loved it. Well, the story for obvious reasons, but also the fact that I was writing it. Since that day, I thought of publishing. I wrote to many publishing houses in my own country, and most of them even did not bother replying. The ones that came back said they were too busy. Then, one of my friends made me aware of the hard fact that in India, if you need someone to publish you, either you need to spend some money or you need to know the right people. I did not know anyone in publishing and spending money for getting myself published did not seem charming to me. So I waited. More than 2 years passed and nothing happened. I even started thinking that perhaps I should just be happy posting only on my blog.
Now, why am I telling you all this? Well, it was then I stumbled upon your blog and it inspired me to take some action. I read your post about a bad book. And I remembered all the bad books that I had read in past months and I knew they were all published, mine was not. That post of yours kept resonating in my head for so many days that I knew I had to take action. I had to get published. And another friend suggested to use Kindle, where coincidentally you had also published your book. Perhaps it was a sign. I took it so
[Note: the book is not available temporarily because I am revising it and creating an improved edition - I will publish it again as soon as it is done]
So, finally I published my book, on Kindle. It is a collection of stories, and it is called ‘Love, It Is!’.
I wanted to thank you for the motivation you provided to me when I really needed one. I think your blog was definitely helpful for me to see the reality that whatever I thought of my work didn’t matter if I could not take it to others. So, here’s a note of sincere gratitude.
This very sincere and personal email helped me understand the importance of my words and of my work. A writer is someone whose words are, as David Foster Wallace said, able to ‘comfort the disturbed and disturb the comfortable’. A writer is someone whose words can inspire people, shape their understanding of the world, entertain them and help them take action (here, feel free to tweet it!).
It was the first time someone said I had that ability. And it meant the world to me. I had the ability to help Manisha overcome her fears and doubts – and this is the true meaning of being a writer to me. But it’s not my blog that brought back the writer in her – it was her children Chunchu and Shiku. Jeff Goins, a writer whom I admire very much, also writes about his son Aiden as a source of inspiration and success lessons. This reminds me that simple, most natural things in life – in fact, life itself – are the most powerful creativity boosters. As it says on the poster for the ‘Water for Elephants’ movie, Life is the most spectacular show on Earth.
So, if you feel just like Manisha used to feel, if fear and doubt is preventing you from writing – just find stop worrying, start living your life and inspiration will come. Also, one of the best ways to get inspiration is by inspiring others. Enjoy what you’re doing – and keep writing.
Write with a Difference. Publish with Success.
Thank you for reading!
Manisha’s Kindle book is available for puchase on Amazon USA and Amazon UK. It’s a $0.99 bargain full of heart-warming love stories, so if you’re into this genre, feel free to click and support the author who inspired me!