August 16, 2013

Anyone can write

Dear M,

You remember the animation movie Ratatouille? The late Chef Auguste Gusteau believed that "Anyone can cook" and his book, which has the same title, inspires Remy, the rat, to cook. Beautiful movie.

You frown - I am back to the cooking topic! But have no fear. I don't have enough knowledge about cooking to fill even one blog post.

I believe Anyone can write, too. It's no big deal. Just write what comes to mind, about what inspires us, on topics that we feel firmly about. Feeling firmly about - that is the pre-requisite, there is pretty much nothing else. And the more we write, the more we polish ourselves. Our vocabulary gets rounded off, our confidence gets sharpened, and our writing begins to gleam.

Anyone can write. But not everyone can be a writer. One does not become a writer just because he writes. Just as one does not become a photographer merely by carrying a camera around. The most important thing required is dedication. You don't find time, you make time. And to make time, you need to be dedicated. And to be dedicated, you need to be motivated. To be motivated, you need to be interested. To be interested, you need to believe in it.

I have lost count of the people who have asked me for help with publishing. For them, everything begins with publishing. The enthusiast that I am, I have given them all sorts of advice, readily. Then, after half an hour of conversation on how to bowl publishers over with our brilliant work, I ask them if they are done with the final editing. That's when the truth begins to unravel. Forget the editing, the writing isn't complete yet. Oh, what percentage is pending? Well, I think just about nearing completion... but a long way to go... in other words, I must have written about 10% of the book.

I can't say I am disappointed. It was foolish of me not to ask this question sooner.

Everyone wants to be a writer. There are enough success stories around to make people believe that writing is a lot of easy money. This belief and the truth are strangers - they haven't set their eyes on each other, they do not even know about each other's existence. The real (success) stories are not best sellers most of the time. Not every writer discovers an easy path to fame. Yes - clearly fame is the attraction here. Fame is money, and money is attractive.

For the most part, writing is a long, unpleasant, winding path that pretty much leads to... another long, winding, unpleasant path. Only a few dedicated ones can keep up.

You know, I first planned on calling this blog something on the lines of "Don't ever be a writer" because I don't think I have a lot of positive or encouraging pointers to give. But that isn't completely true. Finding succes with writing  is hard and most of the time I would never change anything. I am glad I made it this far, and I have enough fire left in me to go a long, long way forward.

Except that sometimes I ask myself: I can write. I am a writer. So what?


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