6 Years And I’ve Been Hiding Everything I Write In Secret Drawers
“If you are waiting for the right moment, you aren’t a writer. You’re a waiter”
I’ve been writing poems ever since I was twelve, wrote my first book when I was 16 and my first play when I was 22.
Sounds fancy, but here’s the catch. All my writing existed in the old-fashioned paper and ink format and I could never get myself to show it the world.
I remember distinctly being admitted in a hospital when I was sixteen and it was a really depressing environment for everyone. Everyone was sick, sleeping in a single room in the Delhi winters, waiting to recover and go home. I’d sit with my sketchbooks and a diary where I’d jot down the abstract stories in my mind. This was a time when the only game on my phone was Snakes. Yes, nothing much to do in that hospital but entertain yourself.
One night, I read out the story to everyone in the sick room. They laughed at the funny parts, and found themselves teary-eyed in the emotional scenes that were overtly dramatised by my emo, teenage self. The connection was magnetic and I truly loved every bit of it. Soon the doctors started showing up to our private story-telling sessions. I wasn’t afraid to pour out my stories to this crowd, expose the emotions behind my words, simply because I didn’t care if it was profound enough for the audience. They seemed to have no other form of entertainment and found themselves easily engrossed. That was my first audience ever.
Social Media, however had a way of telling me what I long knew deep inside. Come across a status update you wrote two years ago and it sounds silly. You wonder why you ever thought that way. It isn’t polished or profound enough. It reeked of teenage insecurities and a fish-bowl perspective. You’ve learnt better now and all your writing starts too look outdated.
That settled it, I couldn’t write something out on the internet and take complete responsibility for writing what I did.
In school we had a Secret Writing Society where we’d exchange poetry with each other. You didn’t have to think too much about being too abstract or too emotional. If someone didn’t like it or didn’t get it, you could simply shrug it off with the classic teenage move — “You don’t understand me. It’s too deep”. It was liberating in many ways, writing every day, but school ends sooner than one anticipates.
I studied fashion design but I picked up a job in fashion writing. The responsibility of saying what you want to is completely taken away from you as soon as you hit publish. It was like finding Narnia in your cupboard. Your words, your visuals, everything has a brand name attached to it. Now I could write without thinking it is completely stupid and pointless to write. I had to write, every day and in return, my writing was promoted by the brands I wrote for.
Writing however isn’t all I wanted to do and I quickly picked up marketing projects, branched into different forms of content and content strategies. There comes a point when you become the brand, and you’re not the one writing anymore. It is absolutely wonderful to be a content developer in companies, however, you will realise, that all the things you could write about and you wanted to say, you end up using in conversations at the bar post office hours.
So, I finally put my foot down and stopped worrying about how my website should look, having a proper content strategy in place which would basically restrict me from writing about the numerous fields that interest me. You could simply pick a website like this one and write whenever you want to say something that you are thinking. It is a spiritual process, that allows you to be in the present in a wonderfully fulfilling way. You don’t have to think about your SEO ranking, how engaging your content will be on social media, whether your personal thoughts would echo ideas for the greater good and be politically correct. Writers need to go back to their Secret Writing Societies at school and write what they really want to; Engage people with their stories instead of their marketing campaigns. If you’re hiding away all your work in secret drawers that no one has ever seen, open up your windows and start typing. Life is too short to wait.
And as for me, I’m going back to school fashion.