During the past (almost) one year, I have said this one statement more times than I can remember:
“Thank you for encouraging me. This means a lot to me, and you have no clue how much.”
Writing – I can easily put that down as my first love. It’s one of the first things I can remember about my life, my childhood that I loved doing. Stories were always a part of my life, whether I was reading them, writing them or imagining them. I grew up with stories as much a part of me as … well, it sounds clichéd, but here it is – as my thoughts.
It was surprising that I never realized how much they were a part of me until I was nearly 22 years old. I don’t remember when becoming a published author became a dream for me. When I had to choose a career for my life – it looked as though I’d become a programmer, a coder. What did I know! Somehow, my first job as a trainee was that of a technical writer. It looks like a co-incidence, but I don’t think it was. It was more of a well-planned life by God, Who knew better than I did. Before this job, the only writing I ever did was small articles once in a blue moon. I remember there were times when an idea would keep me writing all night and the next morning I had to attend an early lecture at college.
And then, my professional writing career began. It was after a year and a half of professional writing that one day, (really, one day) a story idea hit me. It was more of a first scene of the story where I saw a young man sitting in his home, looking out of his window. I saw him, I saw what he saw, I heard what he thought, I felt what he felt – and so began my first story when I penned down that moment. This was back in 2002. Since then, the story has developed much, the character has too; but that one scene that defined the man to me, has remained the same. I’ve even updated the plot, but that one scene – the first one I ever wrote – is still the same. Even the language edits on it have been rather minor.
That was a strange year. By the end of it, I had started to jot down ideas for at least five stories, and then in the next year, this number went up to 14. I had a hard time trying to balance writing, personal and professional. I was learning – a lot. As time went by, six of the stories that I had been working on started to take shape. My interest took me to look for other writers and editors. I made pen friends with many of them, learnt of them, some of them read my work and helped me learn – it was an exciting journey. I loved my stories, and I loved working on them. They became my dream.
Then, in 2005 something happened that altered my beliefs – not something bad, don’t get me wrong – something very good, in fact, it’s the best thing that happened to me (No, I didn’t fall in love). My priorities became clearer. I gave up writing fiction, however, as a result of that. I did continue to write for my profession, though. But again, all that changed in early 2006. A tragedy (of sorts) struck me, and I gave up all kinds of writing. Actually, I didn’t even have to give up – it just disappeared from my life. Writing was a thing of the past suddenly and whatever I’d written didn’t mean anything to me. In fact, I forgot that I used to write and that it brought me joy. My dream was lost and forgotten.
However, life teaches us in many new ways. Earlier, joy had been a teacher; now, sorrow became one. A new kind of writing began to surface in my life. I wrote songs. I wrote my journal. I wrote my feelings and thoughts. I read the Bible and wrote what I understood. In 2008, I think, I got my first blog where I put these up that were a result of my learning. Surprisingly, whatever I wrote held no grief – instead, there was peace, a calmness, a stillness, a stability, a strength. There was hope, there was love, there was joy of a new kind. There was faith.
It was in 2010 that I was reminded by a close friend that I used to write. The test that life had put upon me was not over. It was strange though that while I was still going through the mess of my life – my dream, my writing was brought back to my notice. It was as though God was breathing life into dead and forgotten desires. I hadn’t written for many years, except for the writing done at work (which was very minimal ever since I’d moved into a management role). I remembered it, I hunted my old files; I found them safe and was overjoyed. I read them again, and could hardly believe that I wrote them once upon a time. But, I found I could not write.
I was teaching other people to write – but I could not write. It seemed years of neglect had switched off my imagination department. I read my stories, tried to get it going – but to no avail. Two of those that had been my favorite didn’t help me much, at all. It seemed I could read and enjoy what I wrote, but that I’d ever complete them, seemed a distant, if not an impossible, task. It was funny – the number and type of attempts I made to get my mind to think up words to write. My mind worked rather well in making my writing mind to work, but I s’pose I didn’t know I was missing a key ingredient – inspiration.
Life is never short of teachers. You know what they say about inspiration coming from anywhere? Well, guess what! In 2011, (my life’s mess still intact) I began watching a TV show – Iss Pyaar Ko Kya Naam Doon? Who would’ve known what was going to follow!? After watching it for about two months – I and my jammed imagination – started getting a nearly daily dose of the key ingredient. In January 2012, I wrote a comment on the facebook page of the show’s director. It was a simple comment. I made a few friends online.
I wouldn’t say I was a fan of the show or the actors – I think I was more tuned into the plot and the characters than anything else about this story. To me, still the only thing that captured me was – the story. The one comment that I put up on the facebook page became a daily review called ‘What I LOVED’ – something that had meant to be a bullet lead-in to a few things I’d liked in a particular January 2012 episode.
I began to write. Daily. What’s more, people read what I wrote. Even more, I got feedback! For a writer, who had lost their dream and forgotten about it – being told day after day that someone somewhere appreciated whatever they wrote – I can’t put it in words what that meant. It was only in October 2012 that I realized that after a 6 year drought, I’d been enjoying an outpouring of words almost every night of the current year. By the time, the show ended (abruptly), I had put in:
- 1370.31 hours
- 2036 pages
- 492012 words
Astounding! Even to me – who had lost all hope to ever write again. And this doesn’t include the writing I did outside the WIL. I started a new blog. I wrote articles on the show and outside the show.
Coming back to where I began this write-up – Yes, my buddies online and whoever read my work and took the time to write back to me, have no clue what it’s meant to me. Here’s a heartfelt thank you to all of them, everywhere. May God bless you and your dreams.
I am currently back to working on my stories. Working on four of them right now – a romance, two dramas, and a fantasy adventure (yes, a fantasy – that’s how much the imagination is overloaded now). There is a romantic comedy I want to resume working on, but maybe in a few weeks or months. I love every part of writing a story: charting the plot; sketching the characters; setting events, sequences, and developments in a timeline; mapping all events to main storyline, actual writing of it, editing it – I love this whole process.
I don’t know what I’m going to do with them; publish them as books, sell them, make movies on them, bury them in my writing desk, post them on a blog, or enjoy them alone – as of now, I am writing and that means a lot to me. My dream has been returned to me. I am yet only fiddling with it. I want to see what I can do with it and how far I can take it.
Let’s see what life brings in the new year.