Am I a ‘Writer’?

Reading is a dying art, he said.

Really? Then why does it seem that every other person I come across is an aspiring writer? Is it that the right to freedom of expression, otherwise so suppressed, can only be exercised through writing? If everyone only writes, who will be left to read?

They say to be a good writer, one needs to read. Read. Read. Read. Write. Write. Write.

Am I a good writer? So far, my readers have told me I am. I do believe them. Nonetheless, self-doubts often plague me; especially, when I sit in front of my computer and stare at the blank screen, willing for words to flow – only they don’t.

Something similar happened to me today during the first class of a Creative Writing course I have signed up for. Soon after the introductions, the topic for the day was announced – Opening Lines.

We discussed various opening lines from numerous famous novels. Then as an exercise, we were asked to write one ourselves.

The assignment was to write an opening line on one of the three situations given to us –

  • A man or woman with a broken heart
  • A child who hates school
  • Someone who is a compulsive liar.

That one was an easy choice, I thought. Since I am a terrible liar the third option was definitely not my choice.

A man or woman with a broken heart? Love? Romance? Wait, haven’t I already written about a man with a broken heart. Ha! Assignment completed, I thought triumphantly.

I looked up and saw the others huddled over their papers, writing furiously. A familiar scene, I thought wryly. My mind raced back to the time of my final exams when I would look around at students sitting on adjoining desks and stare at their pens flying across the answer sheets. Only this wasn’t school. And I wasn’t an intimidated student anymore. I was a grown-up woman, who took on challenges like she took to shopping.
Thus, my next thought was – since I am taking this class, why not do it right? Challenge myself and learn something new. This obviously meant choosing something that hadn’t been attempted before.

That left me with only one option to write about – a child who hates school.

I tilted my head as I reminisced about my school days. Nah, I didn’t hate school. Sure, I was a weak student but that was only during the last two years of my school, when academics bore their weight on me. Even so, I didn’t truly hate school. It was only the exams and tests that I detested. Those were the only days I would pray. I would turn to God and ask, no beg for his assistance. I would plead for a ground-breaking earthquake. I would prefer though if God let it happen at night. I clarified as much with Him because that is when it would be empty; thereby leaving only the building as a casualty to the attack.
It had to be that or torrential rains, again limited to the periphery of my school. That way the authorities would cancel the exams and declare it a holiday.
Of course, none of that ever happened.

But this wasn’t my story. And this wasn’t an autobiography. The real challenge would be to conjure up fictional characters and write a story about them, I reasoned. That meant, writing about a situation I had hadn’t lived through or created myself.

That was the real test, wasn’t it? Except that I failed miserably.

I stared at the blank paper in front of me. An opening line about a child who hates school but wasn’t me, I reminded myself.
No words flowed forth. I looked around at the others writing away furiously. Just as I felt transported back in time, a painful realization dawned upon me.

I am not a writer. I can’t write. I had been fooling myself thinking I could write. I had been in a bubble and the bubble had just burst.

I took a deep breath and tried to come up with a name. Ayesha. What about her, I thought.

“Nothing! She is just a child, who hates school”, my alter ego told me.

I wrote Ayesha on the paper, and my pen slowly traversed the paper. I watched as some strange power took control of my hand dragging it across the paper, spilling words onto the white sheet.

We were to write a 100-words for the assignment. Just the opening paragraph, our instructor had said.once-upon-a-time-719174_640

2 hours later, on my way home, my thoughts were still racing; as words flowed forth in an endless stream.

I am a writer, I told myself and smiled happily.

But reading is dying, he had said. I frowned as I recalled the words of my instructor.
Very well then I shall keep it alive, I promised myself. They say to be a good writer, one needs to read. Read. Read. Read. Write. Write. Write.

So much to do, so little time, I thought as I bounded up the steps hurrying to transfer my thoughts into words.


Special Thanks to Rashmi and Visakha for their suggestions and inputs.

 

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74 thoughts on “Am I a ‘Writer’?

  1. Lovely write up! I’m sure every writer goes thru this phase of self-doubt and critical examination of their writing skills…but the way you express thoughts and feelings in your blog speaks volumes about you as a writer!! Kudos!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I think we all have a writer within us. You do express yourself well and I think you are a great writer. Someone who can express your thoughts, like you do, from your mind onto pen and paper, or keyboard and blog (the internet) is definitely a writer in my eyes. I like how you think and express those thoughts.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Last year I attended my first ever creative writing class and I am glad it was just for a day. Though I thoroughly enjoyed the class, when it came to writing a 100 words story I went blank. I just couldn’t write. I couldn’t apply the strategies that were discussed. When I came home though, I kept aside all the “steps” that make writing perfect and wrote a piece directed from my heart 🙂 Loved your post.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much! Glad you liked it.
      I think writing from the heart is the best kind of writing. All the other steps can be implemented later, during editing. 🙂 Glad you hit the mark later. 🙂

      Like

  4. Pingback: Page not found – Wandering Soul
    1. Thank you so much! I have been feeling out of sorts lately, so your kind words gave me the extra motivation I needed. 🙂

      Like

    1. Thanks, Jahnavi! I love all your short stories. Thanks to the photo prompts, we have discovered an amazing story-teller in you 🙂

      Like

  5. Loved this post 🙂 You are such a good writer ,
    And for the record, I even stared at the blank sheet for a long time while others were scribbling away., but there is a HUGE difference , you have written a piece so beautiful and descriptive here. All the best 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much, Niyati 🙂 Much love 🙂 🙂 all the best to you, too 🙂 Please feel free to reach out if you need any help 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Reading isn’t dying; not now, nor never. We are all trying to find that one writer who takes us into a world that we want to live in. Follow you dream and there will be a day when you will create a world that readers will clamour to live in, and they’ll bring along their friends and relatives too.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Wow that was some thought marathon in a span of two to three hours of your class!! I laughed hard about the things you wrote about your school exam days, boy I could relate 100%, I remember wishing in my college finals, “God please make it rain so hard and the whole town is put on red alert so that I don’t have to go and write the paper tomorrow!” God almost heard my prayer but said, “It’s burning summer darling. Come on, have some mercy on me!” I thought that was all the more reason it should have rained!

    You are absolutely a writer! this post is the witness, the standing proof that you can conjure up words and put them on paper so simply that everyone can resonate with them. Wonderful article.

    Ps. Art of reading isn’t dying! I still read like a monster whenever I can. So let’s not worry and be focused on our next big novel! 😉

    Liked by 3 people

  8. This is a very good post and well written! I guess you are a writer 🙂 I am more the reader since my imagination for fiction and stories never was that amazing (that’s what teachers told me, I was the better observer and analysing what I had read before) I enjoyed reading your post and actually think, a creative writing course would be something for me, too. Not for becoming an author or anything close to that, but for myself and discovering myself a little better. Btw, lovely title of your comment box!!! 😉 All the best for you!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks so much, Isa! I would certainly encourage you to go in for such a course.
      Thanks for the kind words and compliments . 🙂

      Like

  9. Most certainly a writer! 😀 Loved this post.
    I would have gone for ‘Someone who is a compulsive liar.’ Not because I am one, but because I find it extremely fascinating… about what must go on in the head of such a person. How complicated life would be. Compulsion to lie is such a biggest challenge. Compulsions are like… not being able to control oneself to do it… sort of like a disability… I find it extremely interesting.
    I’m asking myself right now why I didn’t study psychology instead! :’)
    Thank you for a good read and giving rise to all these thoughts and words 🙂
    Reading is definitely not dying. No way. Not with all of us around 😀

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I work in a completely different field at the moment. I’ve thought of being a writer, dancer, psychologist, cardiac surgeon, photographer… it’s funny how different each field is. I’m currently a scientist – R&D :’)

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Thank you Wandering Soul, I really enjoyed the post. It brings to mind the endless debate about art as product vs. art as process – and I say that writing is both! If writing can enliven your day and get your mind sparking in different directions then the process is working and you are a writer, and the beautiful thing about blogging is that the product is a blog you share with everyone, and the product (new, improved, revivified) is also yourself!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you so much! 😀 I’m glad you agree 😀 We could soon be asking, “Reader, Reader, where art thou?!” 😀 Though I do have one die-hard, loyal reader. ME! 😀 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  11. I so enjoyed reading this! I think it’s cuts straight to the heart of the secret (or not so secret) doubts of many a writer. I often stare at a blank page and find myself just waiting for the pen to move. The solution though, is just as you said … read. read. read. write. write. write. And no, reading is definitely not dying. As long as there are good writers, there will be avid readers!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks, Kim! That’s reassuring. You are so right in saying, “As long as there are good writers, there will be avid readers!” So, now the challenge is to be a good writer 😀 😛

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Nicely written. When you mention ‘reminiscing’ your school days during the writing process, I can feel the pressure and anxiety come through in your post about writing something worthy of your wisdom. I often do the same. Keep at it!

    Liked by 3 people

  13. I love this post, so descriptive and it really is pertinent!

    “So much to do, so little time, I thought as I bounded up the steps hurrying to transfer my thoughts into words,” you wrote. This is a great opening line in my opinion. 🙂

    Liked by 4 people

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