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Saving the ‘writer’ in me

It’s been ages since I have written. Not literally, if poetry writing is counted. But writing to prompts ( 30 days of NaPoWriMo prompts) does not feel like writing because you write more from the brain and less from your heart. It feels like exercise. I’m not complaining- a) because I chose to do it and b) because exercise is definitely good.

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And through 30 days of writing, no matter what, I not only feel proud of having followed it through despite a hundred reasons to stop but also managing to get a few good poems written. During this year’s NaPoWriMo, I also met some really good writers, some of whom have become friends (meeting every year during April). I also got invited into a Facebook group of English ‘pundits.’ It was an honor to be invited.

I floated around the house, the first few days, like a commoner who had been granted access to the Buckingham Palace and then allowed to stay with royalty. Receiving a ‘like’ or a ‘heart’ on my poems from royalty, became my ultimate goal and I pushed myself harder and harder. I think it helped my writing. I think I improved. However, it was a lot of pressure and I wasn’t enjoying writing anymore. I had started measuring my poetry with somebody else’s yardstick and I was losing my individuality, let alone the words. They were running away from me.

The ‘pundit’s’ poems came in torrents, flooding my thoughts and stripping me of my own. So many of them, first thing in the morning. And then at noon. And before I went to bed. It was like joining the Illuminati. In my heart, I knew I wasn’t one of them. I could never be. At one point I wanted to be like them. I lamented not having graduated in English Literature and choosing Finance instead. I had to be reminded that the lifestyle I so enjoyed was the making of my education in Finance which may not have been otherwise.

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Anyways, soon after NaPoWriMo, the group started awarding its writers’ and details of the bio of winners was published. I wanted to run as fast and as far as possible. Every member of royalty was a M.A. or a PhD in English Language and Literature, each having chewed and regurgitated on Eliot, Shakespeare, Tagore and many, many others for several years. Being in the palace was all very well but it wasn’t helping me with either my confidence or my writing. I wasn’t happy anymore. I was terrified. It tested my tenacity as a writer. It would be a lie if I tell you the thought of quitting did not occur to me more than once.

I felt it was the only way to safeguard my voice, and I believed I had one. Just like everybody else.

‘The world does not comprise of a few thousand odd readers. I am sure there will be people who will not only read my work but like it too,’ I repeated the words oft to myself. And, I did not quit. Quitting somehow has never been my thing. I decided to stick around and learn by reading what the pundits wrote, but shield myself from feeling overwhelmed or incompetent. It’s easy to feel like that but that’s what you need to protect yourself from, from self-destruction.

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Self-talk has always helped me. In that respect, if one had to find a likeness between me and an animal, I could very well be compared to an earthworm. Not the ‘burrowing’ bit but the fact that it grows back its tail when cut into two. The earthworm takes around 14 days. I took seven. I worked round the clock in my head.

So, to all my readers’ ,this post is my comeback, kind of like me ‘growing back my tail.’

And to all the WordPress readers here, ‘I love you’ll.’ Thank you for your kind comments always. I had to bring back your comments in my head, to make me feel, there was hope for me and I could do what I loved doing- writing.

I welcome feedback on my writing and tips to improve from all of you out there. Because you’ll matter to me and because I don’t want to let myself down.

Thanks again for reading my morning rant and for your encouraging comments. You’ll keep me going. Love you all.

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15 Comments »

  1. Smitha, I love your can-do attitude. There’s a valuable lesson in this article for many of us (including me), who tend to give up on our dreams far too easily, because we compare our progress with that of other people. I like reading your articles. You have a compelling style, interesting stories, and a unique perspective that keeps readers engrossed. I’m glad you haven’t let the work of other writers hold you back from believing in yourself and your talent. In overcoming the totally untrue feeling of incompetence, you’ve passed a huge barrier in your path to achieving your aspirations. Well done. I have every confidence that you will succeed in any writing-related enterprise you undertake.

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    • Oh I should have spoken to you when this battle was raging within me but it was one of those things that I had to do on my own. You understand. Thank you Mona for always being encouraging. Your comment means a lot to me ( you know why ๐Ÿ˜Š. I love your writing skills). And thank you for this feedback on my writing. I guess I needed to hear it from the reader. You have no idea how valuable your words are to me. Even a ‘earthworm’ needs a little love. Thanks a ton Monaโค๐Ÿ˜˜๐Ÿค—. Love you.

      Liked by 1 person

      • You already know what I would have said, because you know how much your passion for writing inspires me. This is a battle you had to wage yourself and one that you had to win on a personal front, in order to progress. Keep writing Smitha. I will keep reading. Love you too.

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  2. It’s sometimes easy to feel overwhelmed by other writer’s achievements, or knowledge. I know nothing about poetry beyond what I learned at school and it has always been something I’ve seen as something not really for me. I’ve only started reading poetry again by reading blogs – I still often feel I don’t ‘understand’ poetry, but it doesn’t matter, I can still enjoy it. Sometimes I write for ‘work’ – i.e. I submit stories and novels with a view to publication or winning prizes, but sometimes I have to step away from that to re-discover the simple joy of writing – although I’ll still submit a few things this year, I’ve decided this year is about enjoying writing rather than working at it.

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    • I love the way you write. For me you are a ‘pundit’ too and honestly I would love to have your feedback on how you think I can improve. Strangely being so good yourself, you are truly encouraging. The people I’m talking about honestly are so full of themselves. And they can easily be condescending. When you write for ‘work’ and you get paid or you win, there’s no doubt your writing is good. If I got paid, I may be a little more confident. But I guess, I’ve been too scared to even approach anybody because I’m just not sure. Would love it if you could advise me Andrea but there’s no pressure. Your comments itself are life-saving for meโค

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