Are you really a Writer?

The year is almost over and if there is one thing that I have been extremely unhappy with then it is the meager amount that I have managed to write this year. It is barely a few things. And this ache to want to write is now itching me right to the tips of all my non-writing fingers and waking up a bit early each morning and jabbing away at the laptop while the sun is still on its way up is my attempt to fix that feeling.

I find my thoughts flowing so much more easily when I am not sitting in front of this laptop, its white glow against my face, the blank page staring at me, intimidatingly. I can think of so many more things when I am in the train, or walking back home from grocery shopping or in the shower. But each time I think, I can’t note it down now, I will remember it for later. How will I forget this bright and clear thought? I will write it on the computer directly later. But that later never really comes. It was a real alarm bell a few days ago when I began to savour completing a particular minutes of the meeting I had to write for work and I caught myself writing it with so much love and attention, changing sentences, carefully choosing the correct word that I began to realize with sudden embarrassment the desperation in what I was doing.

As much as I agree that writing is a creative process and there are times when you can’t really force it and can’t plan the ideas but I think one does need a discipline to be called a writer. Each day one must show up in front of the computer or notebook or wherever one creates and give the writing process a fair chance to weave its magic. It will not happen sitting around making schedules or plot outlines in your mind. I can imagine there will be days I will be pseudo-banging my head against the keypad, squeezed out of ideas or too much in denial to write about what I am actually wanting to get out. And on those days, I hope to read this and understand what is happening and remember to stay on.

When I created my Vision Board a few months ago, one of the images I included was this:

reallyawriter

This question stares me down each day when I open my planner and there are days, I must tell you, that I wince at the immediate response that emerges.

What makes someone a writer? Being published? The quality of one’s work? How one makes their living? None of those. What makes a person a writer is the fact that he/she writes. And to call myself a writer, justifiably, I need to write.

Hence came to the rescue of my self-beating up party, the New Year, time for all the New Year and new me bullshit. Let me get it straight, I do not buy into all of that. A particular date being a reason for one to change is as baseless as waiting for the sun to arrive at just the right position to begin to write. And so, being the silly defiant person that I am, I begin two days before all the hullabaloo sets in and each one of us is flooded with words and images of New Year resolutions and promises.

I envy the people with the luxury of all the hours of their day dedicated to writing. But I cannot submit my full time job or the domestic and personal demands on my time as an excuse. It reminds me of Charles Bukowski’s Poem:

“– you know, I’ve either had a family, a job,
something has always been in the
way
but now
I’ve sold my house, I’ve found this
place, a large studio, you should see the space and
the light.
for the first time in my life I’m going to have
a place and the time to
create.”

no baby, if you’re going to create
you’re going to create whether you work
16 hours a day in a coal mine
or
you’re going to create in a small room with 3 children
while you’re on
welfare,
you’re going to create with part of your mind and your body blown
away,
you’re going to create blind
crippled
demented,
you’re going to create with a cat crawling up your
back while
the whole city trembles in earthquake, bombardment,
flood and fire.

baby, air and light and time and space
have nothing to do with it
and don’t create anything
except maybe a longer life to find
new excuses
for.”

The truth is I have time, if I plan well. I have ideas which I need to learn better how to translate on paper. I have a laptop, a pen and too many notebooks. And most importantly, I have the crazy desire to create. What I only need to find in all this is courage.

 

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