A rant on Writing

A few days back, Ideasmithy asked a few people about their thoughts on writing. I didn’t respond for a while, not because I didn’t have the time to, but it suddenly brought back a whole new word back into my vocabulary – “writing”. I love blogging, especially when I feel mildly creative and stories hit me out of the blue. The instant feedback is wonderful. Blogging is perfect for my short attention spans. I grab a story, shake it by its collar and make it sit still for that one passport-size photograph.

But blogging has actually killed several of my stories. I strip them off the details in an attempt to be pithy. In a way the story is perhaps better. But it never really lives up to its potential. On the other hand though, blogging has brought my poetry alive. Verse that would otherwise be forgotten in the backpage of a school notebook finds a place and an audience.

Do I consider myself a “writer”? Probably not. But writing helps me keep my sanity. In the middle of all this introspection – I came across a post by Radhika at Entelechy.

am i again going through that clumsy phase, which, like most young girls stepping out of their sheltered lives and protective families, and into the wide world for the first time, leave them so naively attracted to the idea of love? now that i can sit back and laugh at how confused i had been, how almost-annoyingly innocent, i can’t help but suspect if the i-want-to-fall-in-love affectation has just been replaced by another syndrome. i-want-to-be-a-writer.

So, am in love with the idea of becoming a writer, without quite doing anything about it? Is it that I am smug in the knowledge that some people think I am capable of writing a novel, and rather not risk actually attempting one. Is there something called a failed writer? Would I think far less of my ability to write if I found out that I have a mental word-limit of 2500 words? Of course, I could focus on short stories, but the rules aren’t that different. It involves a risk of finding out that you’re not that good at what you think is a big part of you.

While I am still confessing, let’s face it – I am not particularly creative. I am however, relatively good at observing. And I am even better at making it seem like my observation is a figment of imagination. I steal regularly from life. Could I pull that off in an entire novel?

I don’t think the Universe is conspirational. I think the Universe doesn’t really give a rat’s ass. So whatever needs to be done, will have to be done by me. Like sitting for longer than ten minutes in one place.

16 Comments

Filed under Rants and Rambles, Self

16 Responses to A rant on Writing

  1. It involves a risk of finding out that you’re not that good at what you think is a big part of you…..

    If I could handle that risk honestly, I can do anything!!
    Is enjoying the journey instead of evaluating the risks an easier option?

  2. ??!

    >>I steal regularly from life
    Don’t almost all novelists/writers?

  3. Ana D-P

    i think u could easily publish a book of short stories from all the intersting fiction yo have on yr blog………

  4. The real question is – why does publication matter? Okay, so you don’t have what it takes to write a novel. So what? You enjoy writing, yes? Why isn’t that enough?

    Besides, it’s not like publication means anything. I can think of dozens of people who have little or no talent but who have books published. In fact, I’d say the problem is precisely that too many people use writing as a form of self-definition – are more in love with the idea of being ‘writers’ (or ‘poets’ – a much maligned term) than they are with the writing itself. The day people stop using publication as a crutch for their egos we’ll see the quality of what gets published significantly improve.

  5. dipali

    Maybe fiction fragments are a whole new genre that you have created, as valid as the others, older forms. And they are excellent- keep up the good work. (And a novel. please)

  6. How do you define a writer? A person who gets his book published? I believe a writer is someone who is blessed with the art of painting a picture with words; someone who lends language to the most complex expressions; who tells a story that enthralls, inspires, and questions its readers. A writer doesn’t merely write – he/she observes, imagines, dares to think beyond the obvious.

    George Bernard Shaw says it in a better way, “I write for the same reason a cow gives milk”. It is inside you and it has to come out. I write because I feel I have to. And yes, your work definitley needs to be published :)

  7. writing can be exhausting and depressing too, sometimes. and frustrating too when you have to get it published.

    and i think the bigger problem is finding out that there’s nothing left within you after your first story.

    one problem is coming face-to-face with the reality that you are not good enough. and a related problem is when you know you are good but you just don’t get a break.

    and that’s where blogs, as you rightly said, play a big role in addressing most of these issues.

    but if you ask me for my honest opinion, i think you can write. and i think you should work on a collection of small stories and poems. and then venture into a novel. or a detective series or something :-)

    keep blogging until then!

  8. Just write a book, You will find the answers in the end!

  9. Dumeel-Kupam-VaVaL

    Define a goal
    Follow through on that goal
    Indecisiveness is a major player in all set-backs.
    All this energy consumed in thinking whether you are good enough
    should be channeled towards your goal of writing.
    Being a good observer should facilitate your dream of becoming a writer and not hinder it.
    How can you gauge your ability as a writer if you have not tried?
    Also i see mental block here….by setting limits for yourself as below 1) 2500 word limit
    2) Not being particularly creative.
    A non-positive mind-set is the worse thing you can have before embarking on a goal.
    From my scan of your blog you definitely can write.
    So Give it a whirl!
    You have nothing to lose.

    Sincerely
    Bat in a slum

  10. Dumeel-Kupam-VaVaL

    Define a goal
    Follow through on that goal
    Indecisiveness is a major player in all set-backs.
    All this energy consumed in thinking whether you are good enough
    should be channeled towards your goal of writing.
    Being a good observer should facilitate your dream of becoming a writer and not hinder it.
    How can you gauge your ability as a writer if you have not tried?
    Also i see mental block here….by setting limits for yourself as below 1) 2500 word limit
    2) Not being particularly creative.
    A non-positive mind-set is the worse thing you can have before embarking on a goal.
    From my scan of your blog you definitely can write.
    So Give it a whirl!
    You have nothing to lose.

    Sincerely
    Vaval

  11. “I am however, relatively good at observing. And I am even better at making it seem like my observation is a figment of imagination. I steal regularly from life.”

    that just spells w-r-i-t-e-r. and btw, you are fantastic!

  12. Keith

    I think it is important to just write, if that is what you enjoy.
    You are a writer whether you blog, write short stories or write long novels. You can’t get hung up on being a good writer or bad writer, sucessful or failed. How is a good writer defined ? Are you a good writer because someone says you are ? or a failed writer determined by that same person ? Neha, you are already a writer whether you label yourself as one or not. You are a good writer I might add !

    Keith

  13. Is it that I am smug in the knowledge that some people think I am capable of writing a novel, and rather not risk actually attempting one. Is there something called a failed writer? Would I think far less of my ability to write if I found out that I have a mental word-limit of 2500 words?

    I suppose it might turn out to be better if you set the bar as low as “I cannot write and I do not have it in me”. You can always surprise yourself, pleasantly of course, anytime you like. At least it would detract from the needless introspection that masquerades as potential.
    No?

  14. Jassim Ali

    Maybe you should try twittering ?

  15. so many writers out here!!!
    :-)

  16. Exactly my feelings… Are there more of our clan out there?