Guest blogger Heera Nawaz writes

11 Oct

Where there’s a will, there’s a highway

After I finished reading ‘Mindblogs1.0’ by Christina Daniels, Nirmala Govindarajan and Zahid H Javali, I was euphoric. Here was a down-to-earth, well-crafted book by three well-known bloggers on topics one likes to read about. After reading that there was a section for readers to contribute, I decided to throw in the towel and give my views as a mindblogger on a subject dear to my heart, and that is my passionate obsession of writing.

Let’s start at the very beginning. It’s a very good place to start. When did this inspiration of the Muses strike me, hard and fast? It did so when I was barely 7 years of age when my first poem was published with all the hoopla and fanfare, which is ecstatic music to a 7-year-old’s ears. From that time onwards, there has certainly been no looking back, and I was charged and recharged to write prolifically and with an almost effortless aplomb.

To be a writer, one also has to read voraciously in order to charge one’s batteries. If one does not read, the public can detect lack of newness, originality and ideas, and followers will taper off. A writer’s life is never easy. It requires hard work, grit and determination and the tenacity to overcome critics, brickbats and burnout. One must burn the midnight oil, work hard but at the same time have a fresh and lively style of writing which is not hampered by plagiarizing others’ styles. One can never take short cuts.

Coming to my writing, I can be inspired at all times of the day and at different times on different days depending when the Muse of inspiration strikes my brain which never stops working. I shift the chaff from the grain, select the quality of thoughts, ideas and vocabulary necessary to write that piece and then to the outside world, I go into hibernation where I write the thoughts coherently and fast in an almost frenzied fashion. The thoughts tumble out and structure themselves in my brain as I write. The thoughts are clothed in emotional garb, I being careful not to let emotions rule my writing, but just embellish it. I write better on sad topics of pathos than on happy topics perhaps because melancholy and tragedies are said to be cathartic healers, which purify.

My output of writing varies. Since I have a 12-hour-a-day teaching job at an international school, I can spend barely 2 hours a day on my writing, so I try to restrict myself to writing not like in a structured routine job, but whenever inspiration strikes. On some days, the output of writing is huge. On some days, it is meagre. But less or more, I want all my written sentences to be sculpted and moulded and cast in structurally correct form and to be expressed in my very best style.

Am I scared of burnout? Yes, I am. I know writers can get choked like sports’ persons and they can also run out of ideas. They can ramble on and on with no real thoughts, and they for want of ideas may in their writing repeat the same thoughts in different garb, with no freshness of appeal. I don’t want that to happen to me, and I guess a good way to avoid burnout is to take a break, read new authors, travel to new places and pray for new ways of perceiving the same topics. Being a perfectionist is difficult, but there is no other way. If one falters in one area of writing, there will be a number of writers to fill that void since the field is so competitive. To be a writer, one has to keep running just to stay in the same place.

How do I take rejections? Initially, rejections really fazed and deterred me, but now I’m learning to take rejection with a pinch of forgiving salt. I console myself saying that even very talented writers have their quota of rejection, and who am I in front of them? The secret is to discern the following quote, “A critic or a rejecter is a person who knows the way, but can’t drive the car”, so relax, at least you can drive! Facing critics and arguing with publishers is a part and parcel of a writer’s life, and rejections must be handled with grace, while one zeroes in on one’s writing mistakes and one learns to ameliorate them while aiming for more perfect writing the next time.

I can vouch for the fact that my old school, Bishop Cotton Girls’ School in Bangalore, has a school song which should be an inspiration to every writer. It is called `Nec Dextrorsum, Nec Sinistrorsum’, which is Latin for, `Neither to the right nor to the left, but on straight on…….’ It would do the writer well to realize that calm seas never made talented sailors, but it is the rough seas that did.

So, in the maelstrom of aggressive and competitive writing, I have decided to never let go and indulge in my perfect best in every single article and poem I write. I pray to never be traumatized by rejected articles nor to let pride go to my head for accepted articles which are heaped with encomiums. Instead, I strive to strike a balance and follow a slow and steady path even if it’s a kin to walking on a precarious tightrope.

So, with heady stars shining like diamonds in my eyes, I am keen and I intend to follow every dream and never, ever give up. I will take every rejection like a test drive, learn from it and move on. I will strive, seek and never yield and will look upon my writing as a cricketer would a sixer. To conclude, I would like to reword the following saying, “Where there’s a will, there’s a way.” Instead, for the erstwhile writer, it is “Where there’s a will, there’s a highway.” Amen to that.

Heera Nawaz is a freelance writer whose ‘middles’ appear regularly in Deccan Herald, among others.

Do you want to write a guest blog post? And see if your writing can make it to the book Mind Blogs 2.0, the sequel to Mind Blogs 1.0? Then go here

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