After a hiatus of more than 2 years, I have decided to restart writing. This blog post recounts my journey of why and how I started, why I stopped, and why am I starting again. Read on, if you please.
I started writing in August 2013. At the time the goal was simple. I wanted to actualize my thoughts. I have always believed that writing is thinking. The more you write, the better you think.
I committed myself to write a minimum 150-word blog post every night before sleeping. No exceptions. I titled my blog ‘A Narcissist’s Upanishad.’ Each blog post would contain one key thought or a memory or an incident that was top of mind that day.
James Clear, Author of Atomic Habits, proclaims: “You don’t rise to the level of your goals but fall to the level of your systems.” It wasn’t obvious to me at the time but dawned on me as I went on my writing journey. Having a system of setting aside 45-minutes every night before sleeping to write worked for me. Writing made me more empathetic. Writing made me more grateful. It was immensely fulfilling for my soul. Writing improved my communication skills. Here’s time for a myth buster. Good communicators aren’t good writers, good writers are good communicators. This cause-effect relationship is lost on most. And one can improve their writing skills. The only way to write better is to write more.
Writing every day and putting it on my blog also opened interesting avenues for me. I interacted with some incredible people. I started having deeper conversations with friends and acquaintances. It helped me build connection. It brought me joy.
With time I started observing themes in my blog posts. I started piecing together disparate blog posts into a coherent narrative. It gave me a story. I wrote a 3-book part-fiction, part-memoir series. I took help from a writing coach in so doing. I titled the books: Want What You Have, Passport is my Favorite Book, and Lean into Relationships. I published them on the Amazon KPD platform. I ‘sold’ more than 1500 copies collectively. The reason I put sold in air-quotes is that most of them were free e-book downloads that didn’t earn me any royalty. I ordered paperback copies from Amazon US. Holding my author copy has been one of my life’s top moments of happiness.
So why did I stop? Let me tell you a story.
A few kids would play every day in a park adjacent to a confectionary shop. Their play was disruptive for the business. The shop owner one day told the kids that he is deriving a lot of entertainment from watching the kids play. He would like to offer them $2 each. The kids were ecstatic. The next day the businessman gave them $1 each saying that he didn’t enjoy today’s game that much because of a few players. The kids started blaming each other for reduced rewards. The next day the shopkeeper only gave 25 cents to each player. The kids revolted. They wouldn’t play for such a measly sum and stopped playing in the garden.
The validity of the story is questionable, but the lesson is not. The kids got enamored by the extrinsic rewards, which drowned their intrinsic feelings. I behaved like the kids in the story. I felt disappointed that no one was willing to pay for my writing. I felt dejected that the world doesn’t care for what I have to offer. I felt I was wasting my time. I felt maybe I was not good enough. And maybe that’s the truth. But it shouldn’t have mattered. I forgot that I wrote for myself. I let the need for approval and acceptance from others overpower my own voice.
So why am I starting to write again? Here’s my philosophy. When the light of your soul begins to deplete, people who love you the most see it first. Even before you do. My wife observed that I wasn’t the same joyous person that I have always been. So she did a thing. She designed a new website for me and gave it to me as a birthday gift. She encouraged me to write again. She reminded me of the 8-year old me who used to write a diary. She guided me not to lose a part of my identity that brings me so much joy. She helped me remember why I started in the first place. Writing is Thinking. Writing also is Thanking.
If you’ve read thus far, thank you. I will leave you with two conclusions. Write more to think better. Marry the right person.