I started my career as a freelance article writer, way back in 2004. After a lot of querying and self-learning, I started getting regular assignments. It was wonderful – I was generating income from my talent, not from what I had been obligated to study (Architecture, we remain incompatible right from the day we met). Soon, I graduated from $10 articles on the net to exclusive feature articles on local and international magazines. The gigs were satisfactory – they gave me good contacts and nice bylines.
I had no reason to complain. Except, I did.
Something was missing.
Oh, it was a great time, no doubt about it… my vocabulary increased, my self-taught and admittedly less-than-impressive writing skills improved, my knowledge about the publishing industry grew… but I didn’t. I remained the same.
I was only looking outside, at the material world and writing about it. At some fundamental level, it was not acceptable. It was not satisfying the Knife. Not many could understand why I shifted paths again, and even I was in the dark for a long time – why the heck did I do it? The answer came to me only after I wrote my first chapter book.
Writing is magic. When I read, I am in a magical world, with so much of possibilities, away from all the terrible realities of day to day life. I can tolerate physical pain while reading a great book. I wanted to create the same experience when someone read my words. An experience that only I can give.
I mean, even if I did not write about the side effects of Lasik surgery or ten ways to organise your kitchen, some one else will. There’ll always be some one who can and will do a better job at that. That sucked. I wanted to be remembered for something only I can offer to the world.
Writing fiction makes me feel like God. A sin in many cultures, perhaps, but (IMHO – not to antagonize any of my wonderful nonfiction-writing friends) it is much more preferable than writing about facts and statistics. I am not aiming for the Booker here – I only want to create beloved books that will ensure I will be remembered long after I am gone.
To be honest, my fiction writing skill still kind of sucks – I am nowhere near being an expert, and just yesterday I got a rejection for one of my proposals. But at least it I can visibly see myself getting better every passing day… and the editor said she really liked my writing and was rejecting me only because my story did not suit their current requirements 🙂
We all need to, at every stage of our lives, look at what we are doing and truly as ourself – is it enough?
Go stand before a mirror and ask that person staring back at you – Are you doing the thing that makes you feel good, great, or absof@#$inglutely awesome?
Now, pick the right word that describes your current status. Are you willing to remain there forever, or do you want to step out of your nice rut and aim for something higher?