Some days I hate being a wordsmith

Being a writer in a communication agency is no joy ride. It often involves putting in words things that are ambiguous and intangible concepts to most people. It involves trying to figure out the unsaid, in a conversation with the client. If sometimes also involves doing the impossible, which is to sugarcoat a proven disadvantage. Or worse, to lie about a product.

I can’t pretend I do it well. I don’t call myself an excellent copywriter by any standards. I know I have a long way to go. But what I do know is that I have a flair to write. Sometimes on my blog. Sometimes in a brochure. Sometimes a website. Sometimes an ad. I do it all with varying levels of comfort, satisfaction and outcomes too. My journey as a writer (after today, I’m wondering if I can even call myself that anymore) has been one of constant exploration. I am one of those unlucky few who is still on the search and hasn’t found what I’m looking for. But I am also one of those lucky few for whom every milestone in this journey has brought strange, unexpected and valuable lessons.

Every now and then on this journey, there comes a day when I question why I’m doing what I am doing. I wonder if I am really cut out for it. I wonder if it is really the form of writing I want to be pursuing. If it is really the kind of writing that brings out the best in me. At times the answer is a clear and resounding no. At times I’m inspired and raring to go.

Today I asked myself the question once again. And I wondered if the road ahead is worth the toil it is demanding of me right now. I wondered if there is after all something in it for me. This time however, the answer is a mixed bag.

I kickstarted this very intensely brain-draining day with this upbeat, but mindless song:

One thing is for certain. And since its clear that I cannot imagine a life without writing, my quest has always been, and continues to be, to find that niche for myself, within the world of words. And I think I can safely say that search is far from over.

Some days I want to just throw it all and say to hell with this industry, this blasted path to learning and enrichment, all these clients and their wicked ways. All of it. And I want to relegate myself to something less taxing. Something that’s going to be a lesser drain on my poor brain. And it suddenly occurred to me, that someone out there is actually writing Chris Brown’s lyrics. I want that guys job, I say.

15 thoughts on “Some days I hate being a wordsmith

  1. One question: Being a wordsmith, do you think you are up-to-date with all the rules of English grammar? Do you think it is necessary to be up-to-date? I mean, when you are good in spoken and written English, and can write for a business audience flawlessly (or with minimal intervention by an editor), it is essential that you know the name of each and every tense or be able to explain the kinds of adverbs or nouns?

    I am not saying it is OK for your work to be shoddy and poorly written, but if you have a natural talent for writing and are good with words, how much is ‘knowledge’ of grammar necessary? Can grammar rules be learnt as you work? Can you teach someone how to write or does it have to come from within?

    I have been thinking about this for some time now. Thought I would ask for your views too, since you happen to be in the same field.


    1. I am far from up to date with rules of grammar. Actually I dont have a good basis to begin with. Because I have never studied it. What has got me by all along is purely a flair to write — in general. Luckily (or unluckily) a lot of these rules are flouted when writing “copy”, which is what I do, more than just business communication. That said I dont think its necessary to be fully well-versed with even tiny nuance. If you are, its a good advantage to have. But I dont see it as a prerequisite in my line of work. Also I have seen some writers have a natural interest and inclination in being proper. They take care to learn, stay updated. I on the other hand find grammar stifling, quite conveniently :)


  2. Pingback: Like a bubble in a glass of champagne « hAAthi

  3. I clicked through to comment and realized almost every other comment said exactly what I wanted to say. Not to worry, no matter how far down the road you go, it is never too late to turn back. Not easy, not impossible, never too late. Loved the post, was going me too, me too all the way!


    1. Haha, so yes, again I realise Im not alone in how I feel. But Im not looking to turn back, just go forth actually. In the right, best possible direction for myself. And thats the toughie..


  4. It was interesting reading the entry. I don’t write for a living. Infact the writing I do as a part of my living is all boring, staid stuff. I do love to write as a pastime though and daydream about becoming a full time writer. But clearly that is not a smooth ride either :) As they say, the grass is always greener on the other side.


  5. Story of my life. :) I could have written this post, verbatim.

    I write for a living with a media firm, though I doubt I can call myself a writer. I enjoy writing and, like you, I cannot imagine a life without writing. I am yet to find that niche for myself in which I am the best, but I am plodding on. Some days, I wonder if I am really fit to be in this field, some days I hate spinning out an elaborate tale out of nothing, and on some other days, I am inspired and raring to go.

    Such is life. :)

    Reminds me of a passage I read in one of Paulo Coelho’s books a long time back. I don’t remember the name of the book or the exact lines, but it was something to this effect: Everyone has dreams that keep them going on. They just want to go after their dream, leaving everything behind, but they cannot. Job, money, investments, etc. are the means to fulfilling that golden dream.

    So true, na?


    1. For me it isnt even that. I dont work for the money. Thankfully, I dont need to. My life doesnt depend on it. I work because it makes me happy, somewhere it satisfies my creative side. Which is why Im always on this journey to find the next thing that will scratch that creative itch.

      But wow, you write for a living too? And share my feelings? We should meet and brood over coffee :) Then we’d both feel a lot better on days like these.


      1. No, no,no, I think I didn’t convey the right sense of the quote. It isn’t about the money.

        Thankfully, I don’t have to work for the money too. I work because I love to, because it stimulates me. In fact, I gave up what could have been a lucrative career in Accountancy to take up writing/editing.

        The quote more or less conveyed that you keep searching for your purpose in life, and that job, money, etc. are ways to reach that ultimate goal.
        You have to read the exact words to get it. :(

        And yes, I write for a living too, and share your feelings. It would sure be nice to meet up and brood together. :)


        1. Ah yes, that makes sense. And since we’re all more or less on the same quest, Im beginning to wonder why not just chuck it all and go bake brownies for a living. Maybe there will be less scope for self-doubt.


  6. Also, lyrics for Nicki Minaj that you could actually write stoned :D There was a time I used to dream of writing and singing (*horrors*) with Eminem. I can’t believe I just made that crucial confession on a blog other than mine :D

    But seriously, though I can’t speak for writing as a profession, I can say that almost everyone has days when they doubt how good they are at what they are doing, and telling themselves how a better version of this job will be so much better. You need to remember what the good days are all about. There’s got to be reason you stuck around till now :)


    1. Oh yes of course.. Without a doubt, there have been many good days. But the point Im making is about this neverending search. While for large patches of time things tide along well, its some of these moments of self-doubt that sort of put things in perspective no? Makes me wonder if maybe Im chasing after the wrong thing. Maybe my true calling is writing a book? Who knows, maybe its writing for a magazine? Maybe its in editing. Wordsmithy has so many different facets to it. All I know is that I still havent found what Im looking for. That one space that will embrace me wholeheartedly, and then there will be no looking back..
      Sorry Im rambling again.. but you know what I mean?


  7. Whoa..u spoke / wrote..all that i have on my mind…the term ” varying levels comforts” while writing…justifies my blogging.
    When i read own posts..i realize..when / where..i expressed well…where i flawed..
    Some works, come out well..others just fizzle out.

    I m not into the profession of Writing..i do it out of passion..still face mood swings. I can visualize how critical it must be for u.

    Coming back for more…keep churning up posts..


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