Why I want to be a Writer?

As I mentioned in my previous post, I wanted to do a series of posts reflecting on my writing journey that lead to the book “Carthick’s Unfairy tales”, which is due to be released in Amazon Kindle platform very soon. In my earlier post, I mentioned how the choice of publication platform is determined by what motivates ones to take up writing. In this post, I want to talk more about what motivated me to take up writing. In some ways that is the most critical aspect as it determines not only the platform, but also the topics, genres and themes one picks for writing and on and how much one can invest oneself into the pursuit of this art.

One of the things that attracts people into writing is the glamour. Probably it didn’t have that in the past. But the spectacular success of the likes of J K Rowling, E L James, Dan Brown and that of Chetan Bhagat, Savi Sharma closer to home, has all youngsters starry eyed dreaming of overnight rags to riches stories and stardom. Now I would not be telling the truth if I were to say stardom has scant attraction for me. But then I am a realist and I learnt probability at school. Writing a book hoping to be the next writing sensation of the country is as good as buying a lottery ticket. A costly one at that if one is going to devote years and years of his life towards the realization of this dream. I am sure many of us have heard of stories of village lads running away from home and landing up at the gates of Bollywood and living up to old age without even getting past the gates. It is fine if one is ready for such a choice. If one feels the very thrill of being at the gateway to glory is worth the sacrifice of a mundane, nondescript life of a clerk or a customer service executive plodding through life with nothing to look forward to but the evening TV shows, contended weekends with family and an annual vacation to the nearby hill station.

The second way is to see it as just any other career. But here is where the concept of scalable professions and non-scalable professions comes in. Scalable professions are where professionals are required in numbers. The demand is always more than supply and there is always a place for a competent new entrant. Most typical jobs are like that with ‘competent’ being the watchword. Now art is not like that. One piece of art can service numerous people and there isn’t demand by volume. So, it is a 'winner takes all' game wherein a limited number of artists who meet the market demand will make big money while others will be left high and dry. There are people who make a living through writing – but that is usually through allied professions such as editing, copy writing, content writing etc., not writing fiction books per se. Of course, some genres like romance and erotica may have greater demand which can support careers. But other genres won’t be able to. After discovering my passion for writing, I realized I would love to do nothing but writing fiction for a living. But clearly in this game, either one becomes a super star or ends up having to go to bed without supper.

Hailing from a middle-class family, I am really not in a position to go for an all-in or to hope to make a career out of writing. Art being subjective there is no formula for success and one can end up falling short despite being on top of one’s game. Audience preferences are like winds in the sea and one needs good amount of luck to survive. So I had to think if I had other motivations to write. A bit of soul searching indicated I did love writing for its own sake. Ever since my childhood, I have been imagining stuff. When my grandfather used to tell me stories, I would ask what-if questions on what would have happened if things had occurred differently. As I grew older, I would spend hours lost in flights of fantasy, imagining myself to be a detectives, warriors or a wizards. Within my mind, I would travel across space and time fed by materials from works of fiction. For a long time, I felt my adult life would be like in the stories. All I had to do was quickly grew up. Then I  grew up quickly or otherwise. But found adult life was nothing out of the storybooks. It was at that time writing began to appear as the attractive avenue to channel by hyper active imagination that real life was never going to be. That is how I came to fiction writing. I wanted to write irrespective of whether I achieved fame and fortune or could make a career out of it or not.

Nothing in life is black and white. Who doesn’t want to become rich and famous or at the very least have a stable life doing what you love for a living? So, at times, these things do motivate me. But I know, if I hope for them, only disappointment awaits me. So, I write just to bring out the stories my imagination desires to bring forth. And to do that, I can do it only on the sidelines with a job to support me. I am resigned to the fact that I would have to do the writing alongside a regular day job till the day I retire. Of course, the hope remains that I could make it big or make a living of it. But not calling any bets on it. My interactions with other writers with their own dreams, some very passionate, tend to distract me at times. I sometimes tend to take on their dreams as my own and lose my way. At times, I get competitive feelings when I see other writers achieving even limited success. I wonder if they are denying me the share of the small pie that I anyways know is difficult to grab a piece of. At those times, it requires some clear minded contemplation to free myself of negative thoughts and get myself back on track.

But overall, I have come to the conclusion that I just write for the pure joy of giving expressing to my imagination, spending just enough time and money on it so as to not disrupt the regular life. With no hopes of anything in return. The way people pursue other hobbies such as music, sports, painting etc. I could of course do it without spending money choosing to just do it in private and keep it with myself not trying to get anyone to read. But I am no Charles Strickland of Moon and the Six Pence and that kind of stuff just does not seem real to me. So, I would do what I can to get readers, bringing my works out through blogs and books. But try not to feel too dispirited if I don’t receive necessary level of reception.

Comments

  1. Lovely read Karthik with some relevant pointers for people to consider before diving into writing for glamour or for money. All the very best. :)

    Cheers.
    Ushasri

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    1. Thanks Ushasree. Glad my thoughts resonated with you.

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  2. A rather mature head on young shoulders, you have Carthick. Curious, I thought not many imagined themselves like I did in my youth, and no Percy, I am not that long in the tooth! I must admit though, I WAS Magnon and all those space operatic battles I won! Coming back, you sir have a lot of talent, an imagination that defies imagination (does that make sense?) and I hope that Dame Success doth favor thee.

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  3. Writing has no money unless you are among those few lucky ones. Lovely write-up.

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  4. I am 5 to 7 years away from my retirement. I write poems, short stories and novels (NanoWrimo). Though I do not have any profound expectations from this hobby, it would be nice if I can make a living out of writing. It could help me in my post retirement years. Carthick, your above post has precisely captured my current status of mind. I wish you resounding success as a writer.

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