The Introduction section in the first of the Shiva Trilogy series begins this way: They say writing is a lonely profession. They lie. I am amused by the clever wordplay in the statement, given it is coated sagaciously. However, I beg to differ with its meaning, because not every expression in this written declaration accords with reality. Writing demands loneliness, when practised as an exercise. Irrespective of one’s choice of context or subject, the process of manually scripting elements of speech into a series of meaningful expressions defaults to solo efforts. Thus, in essence, writing is a lonely process. However, I agree that it isn’t a lonely profession. But then, no profession is.
They say writing is a lonely profession. They lie. Such witty wordplay.
Any writing usually sets off with the spark of an idea or a thought seeding out of the blues. You’re probably sitting, staring unmindfully at your ceiling fan when a tube light switches on somewhere. Its flickering courses through your senses like that sooty dust accumulating on the fan’s blades. Although your idea seeps through without a definite shape or intent in the beginning, not unlike that amoeba we spun out at school examinations, sooner than later it begins to convene as an assembly you’re no longer able to put off addressing. It is as if the amassing dust particles on the fan need marshalling around the edges with a sketch pen, particularly with one bearing a pointed nib.
When much of one’s energy and mind space goes into a battle with their thoughts, interruptions don’t feel welcoming. Especially ones that demand our attention, requiring us to take part in the conversation or huddle. It snaps apart our unfocused focus. The stream of imagery perceptions that had only begun their flow like a scarping tributary about to join the river threaten to dangle. An ongoing deliberation of inserting an analogy, that unceasing battle of bettering the written expression, and the identification of a potential spot to emit a punchline faints into the oblivion. Tout de suite. And so, an unsolicited interruption has the power to break a writer’s reverie. After all, it isn’t at all times, and with everything that one can pick strands of conversations from where they left last.
Writing is no less than a self-torture technique of shutting oneself with a writing effigy of any sort. You don’t need a team or members to prove your points. You don’t need people to make or confirm your arguments to. You don’t need a conference room setup, video calling convenience, or even the likes of dialling anyone at a designated time. When it comes to writing, your appointments, timelines and commitments are with yourself. Your struggles and conflicts are self-brewed. And obligatory. For instance, the dispute of fine-tuning a statement in an article due for submission in the next hour is self-inflicted. The decision of selecting the vivaciousness in your painting of words is self-argued. The brain-fucking exercise of choosing between option a or z from the handful others that have already walked your cerebral ramp is self-fought. Any written piece is all about deeming true and honest expressions, whether meant for a reading by the third eye. As a writer, it is the least we owe to ourselves more than we do to the world. Every element in the writing process is invented, reflected, brooded over and resolved by the originator, no matter how meaningless or eternal. However minuscule or otherwise, a written piece is a representation of its creator. And if the creator cannot enjoy that writing badly, it is Writing Failure 101.
We writers can be a fitful lot occluded with self-conformed vanity oozing confidence and esteem on the outside. But here is a secret. It’s all a veil. Our alter ego is the zone of the endangered. For, it is here we place our duct of vulnerability. It is in our alternative personality that we enter into non-negotiable disputes with ourselves. It is here we conjure, contradict, bargain, recess, reconvene and arrive at writing-specific choices – not decisions. Like, analysing the logic behind a specific story, or finding ways to make it convincing (with conviction). It is in our alter ego we overcome every one of the self-conjured demons by quashing reasons after reasons, confession after confession to arrive at a version of sculpting smoke. Pride and writers do not go hand-in-hand; they cannot be lines within the same palm. Because, writers fight their pride at every step, steadily apprehensive of the valley of unknown. For, there will always be someone to step up and trash our notions and dissect that last of the hair-splitting details, calling it shitty, senseless and baseless. In other words, serving us the one-time server crash of all our morals and belief system. Cap it up with an engulfing insecurity of if we are ever going to be good enough to rule a verdict. Between versions. Between expressions. Between wordplay. Between sentences. Between stories. And between paper balls lining three-quarters of the trash bin. We will scratch our heads, snipe away on those begrimed nails, chew our dandruff off alongside the other dead skins on the cuticles, to seek an inward tale of comfort in those outward signs of nervousness. All this, while banding the battle of oomph between y’ll or you all to use in a chic-lit.
The lie may be the truth when they say writing is a lonely profession. But I suppose the one true statement is, writing is a lonely process.