For a time, I thought I wanted to be a writer. I don’t know what I was thinking. My introduction to writing itself was an accident of circumstance. There was a competition and they had no one to go participate. I was picked because my English was good from a lifetime of carefully monitored reading. And by a lifetime, I mean about five, six years. And still, at one point, I thought I wanted to be a writer.
When you think of somebody being a writer, you automatically pull up the image of a middle aged man, probably bearded, wearing a shawl or a sweater, sitting at an old fashioned no nonsense wooden desk. An ink pen in his hand and sheets of yellowing paper on said desk. The crackle of a fire somewhere nearby and the chill of hillside air. But the reality is more like a girl lounging in her nightpants tapping away at a laptop or her phone trying in vain to be a writer. Maybe I was enamored of the image.
I’ll never know. Sometimes writing is a beautiful experience, all that it’s supposed to be. Words flow onto paper even before you think them. The story demands to be told and you’re just a muse holding pen to paper, or fingers to a keyboard. You form sentences, create images, imagine characters and tell a story that’s already real in your head. It’s magical. There’s no dissecting or duplicating the process.
But sometimes writing is overrated. It has to do with days, even months of frustration. Of banging your head against the figurative desk. Words get stuck, there are no stories, the voice feels stilted, and you feel hopeless. You try to write something beautiful, but it reeks of the trying. There’s no effortless beauty or flowing sentences. It’s all a giant blocked up mess, until you’re reduced to writing about the block itself. I used to think writer’s block wasn’t a thing. Joke’s on me.
I can write, but I wasn’t meant to be a writer. I read works of the greats. The writers who were meant to be. They fit my image of the perfect writer. Their work flows, it speaks, it tells a story. Ruskin bond, J.K. Rowling, Stephen king. Effortless, prolific, beautiful. I feel jealous. And resigned to being an admirer. Maybe I wasn’t meant to create. But that’s the thing about writing. You never know. You don’t need a gift for writing, a flair for language or a mastery of technique. You just need a story waiting to be told. And there’s a story to be found anywhere, as long as you’re open to listen. So maybe there’s hope yet.