Saturday 10 January 2015

A few words on writing

I am a writer.

I’m not a professional writer. I haven’t earned anything from my writing, including from my two published novels. I am not one of those celebrity writers who are featured on magazines and have fan clubs and people getting them to autograph their books.

But I’m still a writer.

What does this mean? I’ll try and explain.

There’s this thing about being a writer, and that is that you can’t help it.  You don’t write because you want to, you write because you have to. You don’t make a penny out of it. You sacrifice all hint of a social life, spend all your spare time, and often sacrifice relationships, relaxation and peace of mind because of the devil on your back driving you on to write.

 Yes, it is a devil, a cruel and unscrupulous one, which it’s impossible to shake off. I don’t know how many times in my life I’ve resolved to stop writing, completely and forever. And for a couple of days, each time I do it – I’m excluding my phases of acute depression here, during which I also sometimes stop writing simply because I can’t concentrate – I feel great. I feel liberated. And then I begin to get uneasy, a process which rapidly escalates, until in a maximum of two weeks or thereabouts I find myself putting the chains on my hands again.

Ask any writer if he or she really enjoys writing, and I’ll wager the response will be a confused look. “What,” this look will say, “are you asking? Do you enjoy breathing?” You do it because you have to.

In fact, writing is bloody hard work if you’re a writer and not just a casual dilettante. You have to be a cruel critic of your own work, plotting out storylines, ruthlessly excising things which you’d like to say but which wouldn’t fit, keeping it all within the boundaries of suspension of disbelief, to make sure you don’t repeat yourself (recycled plots are the worst thing in the writing world) and all the rest of it. If you’ve ever written a story you’ll know what I’m talking about.

Sometimes – very rarely – it comes easy. Sometimes five thousand words can flow out of your fingers onto the keyboard in one evening. Mostly it comes very, very hard, and that devil keeps flogging, flogging away, until you finish it with a sigh of relief.

The strange thing is, in my experience, the easy stories often don’t go down nearly as well as the really hard ones, the ones you finished and then never wanted to reread again, the ones you would gladly banish from your memory.  Those are the ones the readers fall in love with, while the ones you love, the ones which came from the core of your being, drop away forgotten into the mists.

Such, apparently, is life.

If I could stop writing, I would. But I can’t.

So you will all have to suffer me a little longer.


Frankly, this article was written because the devil on my back was flogging me on. I’m ill and would rather rest, but I couldn’t without writing something. Normal service will be resumed, hopefully, tomorrow.

But, before I go, I’ve something to tell you.

1. I live in India, which is in Asia.
2. North Korea is in Asia.
3. Syria is also in Asia.
4. Kim Jong Un is in charge of North Korea.
5. Bashar Assad is in charge of Syria.
6. Russia's Putin is friendly to both Assad and Kim, and the West likes none of them. 
7. The Western nations are the natural guardians and owners of the world. 
8. Logically, therefore, Kim, Assad and Putin, being the Enemies of the World, are united in the Axis of Evil II.
9. There is a North Korean player in the local Football League.
10. I saw two planes flying over the day before yesterday trailing contrails.


                      11. I have a terrible cold.

Is this merely a coincidence? I think not!

The Axis of Evil II must have sent sneezetrails to do this to me!


Trite as it sounds, this is true. Sadly. [Source]


  1. I don't know if you can define professional writer by whether or not you get paid. But that is not really the point. You are an excellent writer, disciplined and, well, disciplined.

    I don't know what the deal is about easy stories and hard stories. Maybe the hard stories come from a place deep in your soul, a different place than the easy stories, ah, hell, I don't know. Too much psychoanalyzing. I'll just read.

  2. Somewhere along the way, this same thing has happened to me. I start to feel guilty and almost... frantic if I don't write. I'm nowhere near a professional writer, but it is sort of my center.

    I can start and stop drinking, eating, exercising, etc. with no shred of inner turmoil. But writing is sort of a drumbeat that is always there.

    Hope you feel better soon. I hope the military of the country where I live was not responsible!


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