Write every day has been my mantra for more than a decade now. At book events, I’ve often been asked why I write, and today that question is being asked by the Insecure Writers Support Group.
I’m late for this post, because 2020. That’s my excuse for everything these days, and I’m sticking to it. Life seems to call for extra effort these dyas, including writing.
Write what you know, they say, and enjoy what you write. I can’t say I always enjoy writing, or even what I write. I’m happier having written. As to why I write, I find that the answers have changed over the years. I began because I was jobless–sad, but true. I was told that in a globalised world, I could make money off my writing. I tried that for a while. Articles and content writing did bring home the bacon, but about twelve years ago, right around the time I started this blog, I also started writing stories. Terribly written, almost-nonsense kind of stuff.
I joined a writing class, picked up tips, as you do, bought a few creative writing books, and was hooked. I was first published in Singapore in 2009, with this piece, and I’ve never looked back since.
I’ve mostly been writing because I couldn’t help it. On some days I wanted to write because I wanted to be better at it. On others, because of habit. Now, with about 50 short pieces and a novel published, dozens of short stories in progress, and two completed novel manuscripts besides, I write because that’s who I am. I don’t know what else to do with myself.
In 2020, which has been my year of wuwei, or effortless action, the pace has slowed because of covid lockdowns, no travel since February, and limited social interactions. I’ve let go a bit, trying to write, edit and submit, but at an easier pace. This is also the year when writing has been a bigger refuge than reading. Perhaps it is my brain that senses the pandemic and keeps my body on survival mode, or my inability to focus on any worlds created by others. I’ve read fewer books this year, but I’ve written a little more: done a complete rewrite of my current WIP, and a bunch of flash pieces. I’ve also been writing a few columns, like this one: The Price of Self-censorship.
More than ever, I find that I’m using my fiction to express my angst, because I don’t feel safe talking about it on this blog, or social media, or even my columns. On some days the rage I feel with the world is incandescent, on other days the helpless frustration gets really dark, and I need to muzzle myself in order to preserve my relationships. Our world is becoming increasingly polarised, and no matter what emphasis I place on compassion, once in a while, channeling my rage into characters is the only way to dissipate it.
What about you? Why do you write? Why do you think writing is an important activity in today’s world?
Go to the site to see the other participants. In this group we writers share tips, self-doubt, insecurities, and of course, discuss the act of writing. If you’re a writer and a blogger, go join rightaway! The awesome co-hosts areJemi Fraser,Kim Lajevardi,L.G Keltner,Tyrean Martinson, and Rachna Chhabria!Pls go and give their blogs some love.
My debut literary crime novel,”You Beneath Your Skin,” published by the fab team at Simon and Schuster IN is optioned to be a TV series by Endemol Shine. It has now also been longlisted for the Tata Lives Fiction First Book Award.
It is available in India here.
Reviews are appreciated–please get in touch if you’d like a review copy.