Am I A Writer?

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My notebook and a book that’s full of beautiful inspiring essays by writers on why they write

Today I’m going to write to contemplate what I want to write about. What am I good at? It’s definitely not poetry 😉

Am I good at writing short stories?

Am I good at writing novels?

Am I good at writing essays on a particular subject?

Or should I change the questions and ask this in a different way.

Do I want to write short stories?

Do I want to write a novel?

Do I want to write a collection of essays?

But I think before I even go there, the question that I should be asking myself is,

Do I want to write at all? Am I a writer?

From the time that I can remember, when my parents gifted me my first journal to put down my thoughts into, I think I was around eight or nine years old, I have been writing. I loved my diary and would diligently write down an account of my day, especially if the day had been a good one, which I wanted to remember and cherish forever.

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Over the years, I have maintained my journaling habit in one way or the other. There was a phase when I didn’t journal or read much. I was into partying, getting drunk, hooking up, and exploring my identity via music and philosophical discussions or arguments with friends that happen at 2 am in the morning, after you’re down many drinks and probably a joint or two. Those were some six to seven years that I didn’t journal or write or read at all.

But then, I got married, and journaling became a way to let out my frustrations and challenges. No one prepares you for the married life I think. Even if you have married the person you wanted to spend the rest of your life with, no one prepares you for the expectations that comes with marriage, or the commitments or the adjustments that come with it. I used to talk about it almost daily with my best friends, but eventually, even they started to roll their eyes, and I didn’t want to come across as whiny all the time, when I was living ‘the life’. Enter writing and journaling again. By then, paper and pens had given way to laptops and blogs. So I started writing more online, writing more on my computer or my laptop. But I wrote and read a lot.

Then came motherhood and somehow that just spearheaded this entire passion of reading and writing in my life. Earlier, it had been there too, but not to the intensity that I have it now. My relationships, the books I read and the thoughts I put down later on my personal online diary or in my blogs are what keep me going and keep me motivated and hopeful for the future. It excites me like nothing else does. If I don’t read or write even for one day, I feel like I didn’t do something important. I feel like I forgot to brush and that my brain is stinking or that my mind will burst if I don’t calm it down by reading something good or by writing down my thoughts.

So that’s where I am right now. I have always been a writer and a reader. If you can call journaling and blogging – writing. But I have only recently started my hand at writing short stories, which started from the discovery of Julie Duffy’s Story A Day challenges that take place twice a year – once in May and once in September.

By participating in the ‘Story a Day’ challenges, I felt as if this was something I could do. I like to finish things I start, or at least have a logical conclusion to them. So even though I haven’t had a month where I’ve written for all the 30 prompts, I have tried to think and write at least more than 10 prompts and stories for those now. I’ve even published them on my blogs and received some constructive feedback from fellow writers and bloggers.

So I know that short stories are something I can write, or at least try to write.

I have also participated in the NaNoWriMo challenges over the last two years and failed miserably. Both times, I’ve had a vague idea of a story that I want to write, but both times, I make it probably just to 3000 words and then get stuck. The idea of the story that sounded so ingenious and exciting at first, starts feeling plagiarized or copied. Because I read so many books, sometimes I feel like my story sounds like a mish-mash of some of the stories I’ve already read. I get stuck with getting the plot to move on. I get stuck with the personalities of my characters, I get stuck even with their names! I have a lot of fear when it comes to writing a novel, than when it comes to writing short stories, I’ve realized.

But I have this itch inside me to prove myself to be a writer and at least publish something, anything, once in my lifetime. Does that happen only if you publish a novel? What other options do I have?

I don’t have the answers to the questions above, but what I do know, is that I’m not ready to give up. What I do know, is that I have many years ahead to figure out the answers to all these questions and in the meanwhile, I’m going to enjoy the journey of trial, error, practicing with fellow writers and via challenges, failing and failing, but enjoying the journey nevertheless.

Because, writing makes me feel alive.

Questions to you guys:

Have you had a dream that you thought you didn’t have a talent for, but tried your hand at and succeeded in the end? I’d love to hear your stories 🙂

I’d love to receive some recommendations on books that will help me write better, or online courses that won’t burn a hole in my pocket 🙂

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