If you have wondered what I have been up to all these days, and for that matter, what I am up to in general, here is the blog post that will tell you. I have been and am writing, my friends. Until recently, I have been working on two novels, and some short stories. A few weeks ago, I attended a workshop on the art of world-building in science fiction and suddenly wrote up the first pages of a third novel. So now I am working on three novels. Plus those short stories. Also I am totally excited about a poetry workshop coming up next Saturday. Because I do ocassionally write these short lines on a sheet of paper that tend to sound lyrical, at least to me. So soon, I shall find out if they qualify as poetry or not!
Never having trained for a career in creative writing, I have felt pretty lost in the beginning. It is so important to have teachers, mentors, and a peer group, in whatever you might choose to do in life. Through them, you find out ways to improve, goals to aspire for and ideas that inspire. In isolation, it is a lot like fumbling around in the dark. You might eventually find the door, but in the meantime, you stand to break a limb or two, bumping against all the obstacles. Not to mention, lose steam going round and round in cirlces.
But I am really lucky to have found a thriving community of English-language writers in Munich, supported by a wonderful independent bookstore and its proprietors Lisa Yarger and John Browner, and an inspiring teacher in Rita Banerjee. Ever since I found out about her workshops, that’s two years ago, I have diligently attended all the ones I could. Back when I was still doing science, I found conferences to be very inspiring. I would come back from one of those, all fired up and raring to work on some new idea that I had.
These literary workshops do the same for me. I look at my work with new eyes and come back encouraged and inspired. And I write, revise, write, revise and I enjoy every moment of the process. That is how I know that I have found my calling. Do you enjoy what you do? Do you like it so much that you don’t mind the ups and downs that come with it? If the answers are yes to both, you will know that you have found your calling too.
I also try to read a lot, because to grow as a writer, not only do you need to hone your skills by writing a lot, but you also need to read a lot. I know people who feel that they need to justify themselves every time they curl up with a book. As a writer, every minute I spend reading can be counted as work. Which is great, because I love reading as much as I love writing.
Finally, because as a writer, I struggle with the ending of my stories, I shall end this post with a paraphrase from the book I am reading currently – The Great Indian Novel, by Shashi Tharoor:
“The story does not end when the storyteller pretends it does…there is no end to the story of life. There are merely pauses. The end is the arbitrary invention of the writer, but there can be no finality about her choice.”