A young girl of about 14 or 15, studying in grade 9, presented her essay 5 times to her teacher. The same essay. She kept editing, kept writing. Kept writing, kept editing. She showed her writing to her teacher again and again. A mere homework for the rest of the class was a mental vacation for her.
That girl, as you might have guessed, is me. And the essay was from where I started. Started to write like a maniac.
Writing and me since then have shared a deep connection. The art of writing to me is a way of life, an indispensable necessity, a deliberate choice. And as I am framing these lines, I can not help but be reminiscent of all those years since I first jumped on this wagon.
So, today, in this little piece, through the tale of words, I am going to take you all on a journey. A journey of how I started writing, where I am today as a writer, of what all has happened in between. And if you have, at some point in life been madly passionate about something, you and I are going to meet along these lines.
Part I — The Essay
It all began with the 9th-grade essay. When I was writing the essay, I felt so alive. I was constructing stories in my head, building images on my mind, creating scenarios with my intellect. And when all those, all those were transferred into paper via words, I experienced the magic. The feeling was as good as the warmth you get when the first ray of sun touches your cold back. Or when your mother gives you a warm hug at the end of a long tiring day(okay, maybe not this much). But all the while, as I was writing the essay, I was sure that writing gave me such immense happiness and satisfaction which most people spend their lives craving.
And as I grew older, the burning fire of writing that resided within me got bigger and more fierce. Not just in the essay, even in exams, I left no stone unturned to test my writing prowess. In case studies of exams, or in any creative writing question, I wrote as my life depended on it. I used to do case studies first in every subject’s exam because I wanted to devote my full time for crafting an ideal answer. Also, after the exams were over, papers were checked and handed over to me, I used to read my answers and judge my writing caliber. Every. Single. Time.
Like this, with each month, season, year, I grew fonder of writing. All was well. But then came the “+2 vacations”.
Part II — The Blog
I was attending a training program after my grade 12 completion. A sister of mine who I had met during the program introduced me to blogs. She taught me how to create a blog, showed me her own blog and also helped me learn about using a blog.
A few days after knowing about blogs, I started my own.
My first blogging account was on Blogspot. The account gave me a platform to share my writings. A liberty, that gifted me an odd sense of motivation. Since the first blog post, I think I wrote about 30 or 40 posts on Blogspot in that year alone.
I had a laptop in my hands, ideas in my head, and a platform where I could write and share. To add up to the experience, I had loads of free time due to the completion of my grade 12 exams. So, then what! I wrote like there is no tomorrow, I wrote like it is the only thing worthy to do in the world. Every day, me, my laptop and my mind used to sit together and craft words. It was magic. But the more magical feeling came when I shared my first blog post on Facebook. And though I loved writing for its own sake, not to please anyone, when the first positive comment appeared on my Facebook post where I had shared my writing, I was on cloud nine.
I read it in a book “The Power of Moments”, that when you do work that fuels your passion, your heart feels good, but when you are appreciated for the same, that act elates the entire experience. The same happened to me. With positive feedback dropping in my blogs, I got more motivated. Many people also gave constructive feedback. I graciously accepted them too. And so due to the power of validation, my already strong love for writing became crazy. Again, I did not write for others, nor for being appreciated. But the feeling that you are appreciated for doing something you love made me feel ecstatic.
Those days, I used to write one book review per day. Read a book for 4 hours straight, then write a review. Repeat again the next day. In this way, due to my love for writing, I also loved to read. Reading even gave me ideas on how to improve my writing skills, taught me more vocabulary, helped me to take ideas from the author’s writing styles, and so I began reading and writing simultaneously.
Part III — The Undergrad Enlightenment
When the plus 2 vacations were over, I started my under-graduation. Naturally, I had a lot less time to write then. But there was no complaining. Because be it as exam answers or a simple assignment, I left no opportunity unused to experiment, improve and work on my writing skills.
It was on those days of under graduation, I also experienced a strong sense of enlightenment. If I may use that word. After weeks of thinking, reflecting, introspecting, I realized that I am madly crazily heavily passionate about writing, public speaking, reading, and managerial activities. When I learned this about myself, I started devoting certain lengths of time every day to each of my passions. These are not going to be mere hobbies, I had decided. I am going to improve upon them every single day. And so, like that, I decided every 30 minutes at least I will dedicate to writing. And guess what happened after that? Within 6 months I became a brilliant writer.
Part IV — A Lesson Learned
Well, LOL, I did not. In fact, the contrary happened. I wrote more poorly than ever before. Prior to this decision, I wrote whenever I felt like it. An idea walked inside my mind, then it walked out on a paper. My relationship with my love writing was going great. But when I decided to make writing a part of my routine, things didn’t work out.
Later, when I reflected on the whole thing, not working out did make sense. When I wrote whenever I wanted, I wrote because I felt like writing (which by the way was several times a week). But when I forced myself to sit down to write every day, I was forcing myself to create writing ideas. From “I want to write”, I went to “I have to write”. This self-created obligation did not work for me. So, I set my old ways into order and wrote whenever I wanted.
Part V — Writing is a Choice
Then around in the year 2016, I created one more account on WordPress for another blog. Now I was writing in two blogs. It was going all great until I attended a workshop on writing called “Writing is a Choice” by Empowerment Academy. This 6-hour workshop was a turning point in my life as a writer. Because after the workshop I came home, read all my blogs, the next day deleted all my posts, and permanently removed my account on Blogspot. The workshop was a big slap to my face because it showed me the mirror of where I stood as a writer.
I never showed it, but the appreciative few comments on my posts were apparently getting into my head. I thought I was good, and my hunger for improvement decreased with each passing day. Only after the workshop, I saw the clear distance between where I was as a writer, and where I wanted to be.
For the next few months, I wrote nothing. I reflected I read, I reflected, I read. And after about 3 months, I started writing again. This time with a hunger for improvement. And with that hunger, with each writing, I craved to improve with each write-up, with each blog post. This trend that started in March 2017, is still ongoing and continuing in my writing journey.
Part VI — Writing like a Maniac
These days, I write everything. If I see a few children dancing on the street, a metaphor or an anecdote writes itself on my mind. I quickly note that down on a paper or think about it hard. Then I go home, open my laptop and write something on it. I also write about things that bother me. I write when I am angry. I write when I am sad. I write when I am happy. I write when I can not sleep. I write when I sleep too much. When I finish a good book, I write. When I am reading the book, even in the process of reading, I write what I am learning. After good conversations with people, I write about them. After reflective conversations with myself, I write about them. I write short stories, tiny paragraphs, poems, thoughts, journals, book reviews, book summaries, articles, speeches, and just about anything. And the more I write, the more hungry I feel. I feel hungry to write more. Hungry to learn more. Hungry to improve more.
And recently a very strong incident happened that gave me a powerful sense of satisfaction. I was writing. And while writing, I forgot about time, my own body or the world I was living in. I was so engrossed in writing that my one leg had turned blue due to the lack of blood circulation. But till I wrote, I had no idea about it. Only after I completed my write up, and got some sense of the real world, I looked at that leg. I tried to move that leg. A sharp pain went through those legs till my heart. I laughed and laughed and laughed and laughed looking at that leg of mine. I laughed in the disbelief that I forgot I had a body to hold while I wrote. I think I started writing when it was broad daylight. By the time I finished, the nights were dark and my room was darker. I laughed again thinking I lost track of time while I wrote. I laughed with the pain in my leg, and joy in my mind. I laughed for a good 10 minutes until my stomach started hurting alongside my leg. And then I thought to myself, “Oh god, I write like a maniac.”
Part VII— Then and Now
I started writing when I was about 14 or 15. Let’s say 15. Today, it has been 7 years since I started writing. Between the first essay I passionately wrote in Grade 9, to this piece of writing, a lot has changed. Have I become better? Maybe, may not. That’s for the readers to tell. But between these seven years, one thing has remained constant. That is my passionate crazy mad love for writing. The bliss I have felt while crafting words out of thoughts remains constant. The ecstatic feeling when lines and lines of phrases fill a previously empty page remains constant.
As of now, I have written a little over a hundred articles, wrote for national daily newspapers, for websites, for school magazines. I have also worked as a content writer for a year. Every day I write one thing or the other. Not because I have to, because I can not help it. Food to the body, air to the lungs, water to the thirst, and writing for the soul, that’s my jam.
And today while writing about my journey, I do take pride in how far I have come as a writer. (though there is a long way to go). But above all, while I write about my path as a writer, I thank that 15-year-old girl who had said multiple times, “Sir, I have written the essay again. Could you please check?”