This business of writing

I’ve had my head in a muddle the past few days. Well you already know that, but from the obvious things I have written about in the last few posts, I’ve had my head mixed up with the state of my writing, in particular. I’m tossing up ideas of a overhaul for the blog. I’ve gone full circle and back on that one. I’m sending out my samples to people around Goa. I am constantly getting disappointed with the lack of enthusiasm around here. I have a couple of half-baked ideas but I am sputtering at the start, unable to give it that heave-ho that it needs to turn into a well-formed work. And it seems like the words that need to find their way out are just bubbling beneath the surface. I’m feeling a bit stuck.

There is work. And there is this blog. And somewhere I want the two to meet. I know most people would scream and shout and tell me never to mix the two. But I am on that road already — the one that takes you to the thing you love, gives you that mighty high from the joy and satisfaction that comes from doing what you really love all the time, and makes you want to never leave. So no, I don’t think I can chuck this again and go back to a life of writing contrived, empty words that don’t mean anything to me. Words that don’t reflect me in some part.

I want to continue to write about the things that I care about. Things that I can put my voice into. Things that I know and feel for. Blabbering on about my life as a self-proclaimed Goan, about bringing together my love for food and the love for words, about my experiences as a kitchen newbie, about Goa, about travelling around, about living away from home and finding your way around.

I want this to become the thing that brings home the bread. The thing that I spend endless nights labouring over. The thing I want to come back to again and again. I want the two to meet. To become the thing I do. And not just the thing I do when I have nothing else to do.

I guess what I’m saying is I want to be a writer.

I am neither qualified, nor do I have any accolades to prove it. All I have are my words. Lots and lots of them. But being turned down by half twits, getting edited by people whose grammar is worse than mine, sending samples into the ginormous black hole that is “writing opportunities in Goa” has a way of making you wonder what those words are worth, if it doesn’t lead me to being this writer that I want to be.

When does one become a writer? If the word “writer” conjures images of a misanthropic person holed up in an attic, banging away his/her next bestseller on a typewriter Macintosh, wipe that away now. I have shied away from calling myself a writer for so long now. Silly really, considering its the only thing I have consistently stuck to, since the day I could string a few sentences down together creatively. Since the time my dinky baby poems were published in a community magazine. Since those adhoc attempts at interning with music and lifestyle magazines. Since struggling and fighting to keep a high school magazine alive. Since the time I spent endless hours of college class time furiously scribbling stories in a notepad hidden under the desk, rather than taking down copious subject matter notes like I was supposed to. Since I decided to take off on a whim and enter the world of advertising. Since I bumbled along that for 6 long years until I realised it wasn’t the kind of writing I cared for. Since I quit it all to the writing I like. Since I decided to spend my days and nights dedicated to indulging in the things I love — and reading and writing all about it.

And that brings us to where I am today. To spewing one too many words, here and here. To days spent chalking out story ideas in numerous word documents. To jotting down random thoughts on my phone, in a book, while I’m out running, when Im shopping, in a car, on the beach, desperate to turning each of them into words that tell stories. To a point where I write and rewrite blurbs and plot lines in my head all the time. To constantly thinking of new ways to express my food stories. To turning to this blog, every day. Penning down so many of these words. Whether I post them or not.

This is my scribbling pad. My training area. My practice. My daily riaz, as it were. Having a deep background in Hindustani music, its ironic how these concepts of discipline, structure and tedium that my mother (also my music guru) dinned into me for so many years come back to me now. The art may differ, but the path remains the same.

Music then, writing now. But the daily rigour continues. And then I saw the same thoughts echoed here, in a way that really spoke to me.

If I keep writing words then I’ll become a writer.

So I guess what I am saying is I want to be a writer. But in so many ways, maybe I already am.

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21 thoughts on “This business of writing

  1. :) There’s absolutely no joy better than making your passion, the thing you fill each day with. So write away! I always go through slumps myself until I rediscover the thing that makes me feel alive again. Clearly your progression from the slumps to the thing you want has been much much faster than that of most people I’ve seen. So yahh for arriving here.

    1. I never thought of my progression from the slumps as fast, so this is interesting. In fact even now, on my low days I tend to crib about having wasted so much time to get where I am now. And I wonder about what life might have been like if at the bright and young age of 18 I knew exactly what I wanted to do!
      Thanks for giving me that perspective, I suppose you are right too..

  2. vishalbheeroo

    No doubt, I am a huge fan of Revati Upadhya, a multi-talented and fellow blogger friend. Such a candid post of being a writer still saying not being one. Just one question: How do you romanticise ur posts and make it soo beautiful and glamorous. Glad to know that you have a background of Hindustani music. I have still not been able to overcome my procrastination. I would love to get into ad world. Temme something how do one plan to write a book and continue from the last idea penned coz m struggling , rite now and I hate it. Five stars for this one Revati, aka, Haathi:)
    Vishal

  3. Quoting Stephen King here who quoted in his book “On Writing”, “If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot. There’s no way around these two things that I’m aware of, no shortcut.”. I know you read and know for sure you write-looks like you already have a lot going for you. Good luck in pursuing this passion.
    I have started reading your blog regularly, though I don’t comment always. There are very few blogs out there I enjoy. Yours is one of them.

    1. Oh that book is SO close to my heart. I read it at the start of the year, not quite sure what to expect and it changed me in more ways that I could imagine..I remember the bit you have quoted. And it has stayed with me ever since :) The other unforgettable bit in the book was the one I wrote about here: https://haathitime.com/2013/01/22/the-write-reading/
      And thank you for your kind words. I’m honoured :)

      1. Yes, water of life-hence drink it up!!!
        Writing also does come with its struggles and I liked how he wrote about his own before he became famous. Makes one realize that if you ‘really’ want to ‘enrich’ others with your writings/work, you better be darn good. I loved it when he bought a dryer or was it a toaster (not quite remember now) for his wife with his first paycheck. How simple yet powerful eh? Good luck again. You have a flair for it-exploit it!

  4. Dude…..you write beautifully. This blog is one of my favourites to read and I’m not just saying that to be a good cuz-in-law (that’s totally a thing). Just keep doing it is all I can say. I haven’t quite figured out where I’m going with all this writing business either but your writing is a real inspiration.

  5. Aiyooo please don’t go by the Goan standard of anything. We can’t all be Sonia Faleiro. At least you’re writing and if you ask any writer, that is the first and most important if not ONLY step to other things. My favourite writing blog is by Chuck Wendig (terribleminds.com) He’s such an ass-kicker and anytime I feel like wallowing in self pity, I just go read him and STFU, if you know what I mean.

    1. Hehe..no Im not going entirely by Goan standards, but it *is* a bit frustrating to want to do something but struggle to find an avenue. Remind me to write to you about what happened at that newspaper place I was at.. SO frustrating..

  6. But you don’t have to strain to look a mile ahead to see if the “big” turn is coming. You can’t. You’ll only give yourself a sprain in the neck. Walk one step at a time. I suppose that’s how everyone did it. And that is the only way you enjoy your walk.

    All the best! I am rooting for you.
    :)

    1. Haha i suppose youre right. Its not so much the anticipation if a “big” turn, but really any little avenue right now. Its getting a little hard scouting for those sitting in the little bubble that is Panjim!

  7. Woman, you ARE a writer – in the most enviable way possible. I wish I had the same eloquence when it comes to words like you do – there’s something about the way you bring them to life that makes me sigh and wish for an afternoon in Goa. I loved that post – it spoke to me too because like you I’ve always wanted to be a writer as well but life took me down a different path. That being said, blogging has ignited it again but like all things worth doing it takes practice and it takes dedication. Things that I’m not afraid of, but overwhelmed by. But, like the gardener I’ll keep planting and keep writing and no of us can hopefully take our word-filled dreams and make them a reality. Keep going :)

    1. It was thanks to you that i came across that post. And its stayed with me ever since. Its also nice to know there are others on a similar journey. Makes everything less dismal and overwhelming :)

  8. I believe the more one writes and that is if you enjoy it.. the better you get at expressing yourself.. and then slowly your individual style emerges.. and rarely does anyone know at 18 what they want.. or who they are.. who they want to be.. at that age you think you know what you want!! does that make sense??? it is age and experience that reveals who you really are..

    1. Definitely age, experience and changing passions, I think. And its true, one can only keep at it in the hope to get better. And I think thats what I am after..

  9. Pingback: Day 118: This day, that year | hAAthi Time

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