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In Which I Talk About NOT being Insecure

By 06/02/2013writing

Thanks to Alex J. Cavanaugh for organizing and hosting the Insecure Writers Support Group every month. Go to his blog to see the other participants, and understand what the group is all about.

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Peaceful Writing

Peaceful Writing

I’m almost 30 chapters into my first ever novel.

I spoke about writer’s block in the September 2012 IWSG , which was all about denying my fear. I was afraid, deathly afraid. Of writing. Of not writing. Of my characters. Of being my characters.

Today, as I move on towards finishing the first draft, 73000 words in, I should be full of fear again. Will I able to finish this? Will I be able to edit it? Do rewrites? Will my beta readers hate it? My editors destroy it?

This is precisely what Thich Nhat Hanh talks about:

“Carried away by our worries, we’re unable to live fully and happily in the present. Deep down, we believe we can’t really be happy just yet—that we still have a few more boxes to be checked off before we can really enjoy life. We speculate, dream, strategize, and plan for these “conditions of happiness” we want to have in the future; and we continually chase after that future, even while we sleep.”

His solution is this meditation:

I have arrived, I am home

In the here, in the now.

I am solid, I am free.

In the ultimate I dwell.

This helps me focus in the now. My immediate concern is whether I wrote a few words today, and that is all. Once my words for the day are done, I can focus on living the today, with all it has to offer me.

And why worry about publication? Even if I get traditionally published, or my book becomes a success, my life essentially would be the same — I would still write everyday, live my everyday life. If not, my life would still be my life, with its daily joys and challenges. (Notice the number of times I repeat Live and Life? That’s deliberate.)

Either way, I’m already Living that Life, aren’t I?

I’ll work each day as it comes, each setback and progress as it hits me, and keep writing. Writing everyday. That’s what writers do, after all.

Damyanti Biswas

Damyanti Biswas is the author of You Beneath Your Skin and numerous short stories that have been published in magazines and anthologies in the US, the UK, and Asia. She has been shortlisted for Best Small Fictions and Bath Novel Awards and is co-editor of the Forge Literary Magazine. Her forthcoming literary crime thriller, The Blue Bar is represented by Lucienne Diver from The Knight Agency, and will be published by Thomas & Mercer on January 1, 2023.

I appreciate comments, and I always visit back. If you're having trouble commenting, let me know via the contact form, or tweet me up @damyantig !

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14 Comments

  • K'lee L. says:

    I love the post and the meditation by Thich Nhat Hanh you’ve included! I’ll be utilizing it in my own daily movements…thank you.

  • I am not unhappy but would like to write something, not any old rubbish but something worth reading. A new entry on my blog is needed. Not something written in the past but in the ‘now, for the ‘now’.It is odd but since turning eighty, it is as if my mind has closed to ideas and profound thoughts. Or is it just tiredness? Any other oldies out there with the same problem?

    Lovely to see you still going upwards and onwards — good for you, Damyanti.

  • indigobunting says:

    Such good points. You’re an inspiration. 30 chapters in—that’s so exciting!

  • Sopphey says:

    I love this post. You’re absolutely correct. I came to this realization this week too, as sometimes I worry too much about the words and not the story. Our biggest goal as writers is to keep writing that story.

  • tara tyler says:

    you said t! keep writing! even if we take a break, must pick the pen/keyboard back up!

  • manjishtha says:

    Thanks for the inspiring post. And if it is going to be any help, allow me to quote another inspirational quip from a top celeb of India (you would know, its Zeenat Aman) “When you are happy with what you are doing, you don’t miss anything.”

  • mlchesley says:

    For most of us, it is the love of writing that pushes us, drives us. Not the monetary gain. Although, that’s a bonus. 😉

  • Shonit says:

    It’s the season of love and everyone is busy planning special ways to make their Valentine’s Day memorable. Taking each day as it comes is a wonderful way of looking at life.

  • If we’re not happy with where we are right now, doing what we are doing, we’ll never be happy with anything more either.

  • That’s very true. If you publish and get success or not we will all keep on writing.

  • Yup, that’s what we do best. Write. Being happy in the moment is something I also need to learn how to do. Trying out my new signature here to see if it works.
    J.L. Campbell – Shop Owner, The Character Depot

  • This is such a great post for the IWSG! I am the world’s worst worrier and have always had “conditions for happiness” that I set for myself. I’m learning finally to live in the now but it’s easier said than done. Very inspiring! Great to meet you through the group. 🙂

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