First things first, there is no need to be a writer unless you want your book to be sold on Amazon for less than INR 33 or 0.5 USD. There are better things to do in life other than writing some shit on a blog page to show your ill-literary prowess and expecting it to get viral. That too when you have no idea how site indexing on Google works. If you still don’t know what the term in the last line is all about, the following words are for you. By the end of this thousand word rant, you’ll be convinced to not be a writer. If you persevere despite that, well, you’ll join the club of self-proclaimed writers who think very highly about their writing skills that are as explicit as Mia Khalifa’s sense of humour. She might think she has it but others don’t give a damn about her having it.
Who is a writer?
Someone who sleeps when they don’t need to, eat when they have to and write when they don’t want to. Yes, you read it right. To be a writer you have to write when you don’t want to. The work you do is your source of income so there is no point in procrastinating under the pretext and glory of writer’s block or the lack of creative energies or any of the bullshit that many “writers” talk about. If you write, you write. Whether that is bought or not, read or not or even completed or not, it doesn’t matter. You write irrespective of what may happen. Just now, somebody on Instagram posted four lines one below the other. They think they are a writer. Good for their thinking but Mark Twain would be very disappointed if he saw this nonsense. Anyways, you can be a better writer now that you know how low the bar has been set.
Who should you write for?
There are various schools of thought that say very different things on this topic. Some say you should write what you wish to read and it seems like a good option. Read something shitty and get angry. Write what you would have rather read instead of that pukeworthy piece of poop. Another way to think of it is to write for someone who thinks you’re ugly. Or pathetic. Or super charming. Or anything else. Keeping this in mind you’ll get to experiment with a number of subjective biases and these biases will translate into writing for various kinds of readers. You can also write for a newspaper or a political group or for anybody who gives you orders to write. They’ll program your identity to align with their goals and make you write what they want to read. Not the best route to follow but some people are doing so. You see them in offices sipping coffee and beating their keyboard to death. With time, also dies the writing spirit that they once had. Go as close as you can to kill that spirit and just when you’re about to chop it to pieces, get away. You’ll come back with a voice that you never had before.
What is the process like?
There are various ways to write. One is to work on an existing idea and expand it with some of your original thoughts. Other might be to reverse what was written in the last line. To get into the meat and potatoes of writing something worth reading, you better pick up something to read and decide for yourself what the author did. Was the author giving a message or just describing something? Did the story happen with every event unfolding in a linear way or was the timeline distorted? If the humour part from that article was removed, would it turn out with the same convincing conclusion as it did before? When you ask questions you may or may not arrive at an answer. But there will be a light bulb that will glow in your head which will clear the dirt you might have about whatever you wish to write. Your wishes will turn into work which someone might read. That someone might as well be you. Who cares? You wrote. That’s it. A content writer just called himself a writer when all that she did was to mix and match content from three different sources to compile into a new one. Don’t work like that content writer. Be original.
How does the final work look?
Okay, so let this idea pierce your head for once and forever. The first draft of any of your works is not the end. Every marvellous piece of writing was once a crappy collection of a few hundred words and a few dozen pages. It was edited and it became crisper and clearer and more reader-friendly. But here is a catch. Every first draft doesn’t have to go through rechecking and editing. You may write to write and discard the whole thing altogether. Why bother? There will be another day tomorrow and new thoughts will come and better work will be done. Staying clutch to your writing is not a viable option until you are Harper Lee and have written, “To Kill A Mockingbird”. And on the inside, you know aren’t Harper Lee. So don’t hoard and be generous with your efforts. This guy who has a blog on Tumblr, he just posted a few hundred words and is eagerly expecting a thousand views in the next four hours. Too bad. Don’t be like him. Write and forget. If somebody has to read, they will. Come the next day and write something new.
Why you should be a writer?
You don’t have to. Just because you think you want to write it doesn’t mean someone would like to read it. It can be the opposite. Somebody might want to read something that you can write about but you never actually do so. Whatever be the case, try for yourself. And start experimenting without giving too much attention to becoming the next superstar among bibliophiles. My job as a writer is done if you’re taking one or two points back with you when you close this window on the screen that you have in front of you. Happy writing, unless you think you have a writer’s block just like that guy who was bitching in a 200 word FB post about not being able to write. Don’t be like him.