The Things Writing can do to You
I’m reading a lot these days.
And I’m having trouble getting enough sleep.
I keep reading till late at night, I read at work and I can only think about getting to know how to realize my dreams of being a writer. I keep looking at a plethora of digital marketing courses online and then chicken out when they ask me if I work at an agency, if I have my own business or if I will be willing to shell out money for the same. I have become a miser. Because of the lay-offs at work and because I realize I haven’t made any substantial investment and just blew away my money on friends and parties and people I don’t care anymore about.
I can only think of how to equip myself better with all those skills I’d need to be my own boss. Or have my own content. Or honestly, just to be content. Corporate jobs sustain you and give you the illusion of permanence. There are things you hear people writing about on Quora. But, you do not necessarily follow those because you got a cushy chair, a fixed amount of money coming in your account and money to finally get those things you wanted and eat at fancy restaurants.
By the way, I have lost interest in all of those too. Just like I lost interest in having a romantic attachment or dating or sex or any of the things I used to get depressed about before.
I turned 25 last month.
I read the kind of content people here on Medium write all the time. And I aspire to have that myself. My bio on Facebook, Quora and even on Upwork says — aspiring writer. Because I don’t want to cheat people; I am yet to be a writer. In spite of working in a newspaper writing features and editing, rewriting copies and writing 800 answers on Quora, I don’t call myself a writer. Mastering the craft is way more than just earning by it. It’s when your writing adds value and relevance to people’s life. (I heard this while I was watching the intro module of Greg Jarboe’s content marketing class; nope, not yet signed up for any course). When I read one of the many Public Editor columns on NY Times on dwindling number of women editors, I took the statistic the writer gave and used it in my speech at the Women’s Day event recently. You see, added meaning?
I cannot think of anything else other than that. How do I create that kind of relevant and valuable content which has the potential to be marketed in the first place? There is an abundance of writers these days; there’s a whole tribe of Chetan Bhagat-inspired writers now. I wonder where all that talent before the release of Five Point Someone was. Lurking in the corner, hesitant to come out because, hello, literature, reading, writing is for losers! Or like the revenue-generating monster says — It’s just copy paste, people! Nevertheless, I am hell-bent on proving to naysayers that writing isn’t something anyone on earth can do. It’s a craft which requires nurturing, focus and loads of practice over a long period of time.
I am new to the technical SEO writing. I have been offered a freelancing position at a good SEO company recently and apparently, I passed their test somehow. If things go well, I’d be asked to generate a fixed number of articles in 24 hours every day. The clients will supposedly benefit from that. So, I am adding value. Yet, it’s not mine. It’s not something I think of all the time. My mind is pre-occupied with making something out of my life and its more than earning money by generating content which will be at the mercy of editors. I have been doing that so far.
I am lazy as hell. Nothing sticks with me after a few days. And I do not like to stay up at night working on something unless it’s absolutely necessary, like assignments or projects, things which I have to do. I have never stayed up past midnight with goggy eyes and aching throat reading write-ups online and thinking of how I get it done; will this course help me? How can content marketing help me if I do not have that kind of content to market? Do I need to learn to generate marketable content before I study content marketing or will it be covered once I begin studying digital marketing? And when these questions swarm my mind, I refuse to click that enroll button.
All of this began with the news of lay-offs at work. I had been meaning to change my job this year, but I do not wish to be thrown out. Or maybe I am tired of it and wish to leave and do something different. If I have the capability of holding people’s attention, I may as well start with teaching hormonal youngsters the things RK Narayan taught me. I will get handsomely paid for it. However, I cannot ruin my CV which is at the mercy of job markets, increasingly turning digital. And that is why you need to digitize what you write.
I went to the profile of Nicolas Cole when my mind was clogged. I remembered how he had become a writer and entrepreneur and answered many questions on the same on Quora. I went to his blog, found stuff and somehow it connected with me. And I thought maybe that’s what I need too. Knowing the ropes of digital marketing. The thing is while Cole has thousands of up votes on many of his answers, I hardly have a few hundred. So, where does the problem lie? Yeah, content.
My stint with news organisations and publication houses won’t help me if I don’t know what to write about and find what people like to read. And then model my work accordingly. That is a long, tiresome process. It took Cole 4 years to get there. That’s why I wonder what would have happened had I done the same when I began working one and a half years ago.
I told you, illusion of permanence. Something which marriage or relationships give you too.
I was told by my childhood friend that I was someone who lived in her own illusion world and refused to come out of it. I can always give a thousand reasons for that. But the last two-three years forced me to come out of that illusion. Last year, around this time I handled a host of things — my job which was a few months old, my MPhil curriculum and its myriad of assignments and teaching a seventh grader, preparing him for his final exams. I was also busy handling a rather painful heartbreak. I’d read a lot on Quora and ended up answering a lot of questions there. That’s one good I did the entire year. Slowly, I realized how I had taken up a few writing tips and begun producing answers that way. Some questions forced me to recollect some of the things I had forgotten about and it enlivened my day. I stumbled upon Medium through Quora and have been hooked to it ever since.
Writing is more than just a source of bread and butter; for some its life blood. We’d die if we don’t write. More than anything else, it is that spirit which doesn’t allow us to let go of it. And if you have the same fire in you to make something out of this so common talent, you might as well hold on to it.
I remember what one of my professors said in college once — “Everybody is a poet till the age of 23. It’s what you do after that which counts.” I was really happy to write two poems recently for a poetry competition on Quora and though it didn’t win, I was happy to have finally found that I can still write poetry and derive pleasure out of it.
I am still on a quest to find what else it can do for me. These sleepless nights are all welcome for now, I know they’ll help someday — they always have.