Writing, my great muse, and the meaning of everything — Part I (?)
When I started writing (which, as far as I can remember, was around the turn of the millennium), I remember being a fearless critic of my own work, and an equally lazy editor. And the degree of mutation that has since then clouded, blessed, and cursed my work in equal measure, leaves me with nothing other than an overwhelming sense of clarity about the things that matter most to me.
I owe this clarity in parts to the inspiration meted out by fearless writers such as Tim Denning and Tom Kuegler, modern-era Bukowskis who have taken great pains to put out their knowledge for free consumption. Their words, in turn, inspire people like me to develop a clear understanding of ‘Why’ I started writing in the first place. In the early 2000s, when my understanding of the written word extended only to an extreme amount of adulation for Joanne Kathleen Rowling and her series of Harry Potter books, I remember not being bothered about the imaginary reactions of my imaginary readers, even in my wildest imagination (pun intended). But as time flew by, and as the world taught me to unlearn my courage, I found things as disturbing and meaningless as book contracts, marketing agreements, MBA degrees and literary awards, staged to keep me from focusing on my ‘why’.
Crowns may or may not add to your sense of self-actualization, but they most certainly keep your head heavy.
…But, we digress.
In 2010, surrounded by the kind of turbulence that pushes good writers to churn good words, I was able to write some stories that meant something to some people, without me ever having to bother about what this something was, and who these people were. Free eBooks enjoy the luxury of returning no readership statistics, and the only joy I derived back then, came from the simple sense of completion of purpose. It was mostly during those times that I remember feeling ‘whole’ as a writer, if that makes sense.
When I started writing, I did not want to be an influencer, I did not want to become an overnight sensation, and to be brutally honest, I don’t think I’ve understood, till date, what being a ‘bestselling’ author really means.
There is a certain amount of risk associated with the consumption of too much content that you do not fully understand, because you take in something that can either generate fear (disguised as practicality, as Jim Carrey says), or twist greetings of any season into terrible threats. One of my favorite authors (and, by that extension, people) of all time, Mr John Green, famously implored the graduating class of 2013 at Butler University, to always look at graffiti in a language that they wouldn’t understand, and consider that someone was wishing them a happy birthday. Before my books were published, I had been exposed to works such as Love in the time of cholera, when I was in seventh grade. If you haven’t read this book, and if you are in no danger of developing a desire to write books in the near future, I can tell you this — It is at once the most powerful book I have ever read, and I still consider that it ruined any chances that I ever had of becoming a half-decent human being.
Great work inspires, crushes, and rebuilds your creative spirit.
But that was not the greatest danger that I ever faced. Much later, after the aforementioned “Book Contract” happened, I was consumed with the idea of selling my books to a fault, and my desire to be inherently prolific was suddenly replaced with this sense of being in a “race”. The country I was born into, takes inexplicable pride in people who make headlines, and I too, unfortunately, for a very long time, was so drawn with the idea of pleasing journalists who may or may not have understood why I wrote in the first place (and they’re not to blame, I never really took the time to point out the most inconvenient and beautiful truths to myself), and I am able to do that now, because I find myself fearlessly in love.
And now, back to Tim & Tom — the two people who have managed to fuel waves of inspiration and impetus back into my life, allowing me to approach both my personal life and worldly aspirations in the same lens with equal fervor. Tom has been sharing tips on how to push myself to be good and consistent on Medium, and Tim has been asking the right questions.
But I owe a lot to two wonderful women, one of whom (Tanu) happens to be an excellent musician and creator in her own right, and the other, my mother, because facing their realities in the light of my own allows me to do the three most important things that are necessary to unleash my writing upon myself:
A. Their love leaves me no choice but to let go of the fears that hold me back, because I see no fear in their love for me.
B. I have started believing (and yes, I know Steve Jobs said this first, but the labors of love are seldom explained well!) that if I start living every day as if it were my last, one day I will most certainly be right.
C. I have, after repeatedly ignoring the advice of stalwarts such as Simon Sinek, really started understanding ‘Why’ I write.
Wait, I’m getting there. It’s almost home stretch now.
It’s time to thank Tim once again, for sharing the subtle trick of convincing yourself about why you do what you do. He has developed a “message to the world” which he admittedly changes infrequently, but only for the sake of adding clarity.
While I was reading his eBook, I became enamored with the idea of starting to work on my own “why” message, because yes — It is going to serve as a true guide in lieu of kindred spirits, when it’s time to confront my fears and keep doing what I know myself to do best. And keeping the true nature of writers, I kept gnawing away at it, until it presented itself as a clear message, which I will use to end this post. It started with:
My goal in life is to inspire people to love unconditionally, embrace their individuality, and create to the best of their ability.
And then as I started chipping away at everything that seemed unnecessary in that pursuit, I was left with (successively…)
#2: My goal in life is to inspire people to understand the true nature of their problems and arrive at solutions that do not harm others.
#3: My goal in life is to right the wrongs I see before myself, without hurting people in the process.
#4: My goal in life is to be the best version of myself, and to turn the best of my imagination into reality.
#5: My goal in life is to become an icon of trust that unites people, and inspires them to create and love without barriers.
#6: My goal in life is to love, create, and inspire everyone around me to do the same.
And I think the seventh time around, Tim really got to my nerves, because now I’m left with this:
My goal in life is to create the world I want to live in.