Guest Post: I’m going to slit my wrists if you don’t publish me…

… Well not really. Hmm, scratch that, I’m only kinda telling the truth.

The fact is I have had my moments, you know the type, the devastating (albeit occasionally histrionic) outbursts of “it’s not fair! Why me? What have I ever done to anyone? Who was I in a past life? Hitler!” Okay, so maybe that last one is just me. However, I have spoken to enough writers to know that emotions of desolate desperation at never being read (at least by enough people) or known are ones that attack many of us at some point in our turbulent creative journeys.

I have been writing from a very young age, seriously trying to get some sort of recognition for the past seven years or so (on an off and on basis in all honesty) and have given up on my attempts at many intervals during my writing “career”.

The countless knockbacks classily framed in those “sincere” rejection letters that have so obviously been meticulously crafted for me personally [come on publishing/literary agents, at least change the font and colour when you cut (and may I add creatively misspell) and paste my name assuring me there is someone out there with whom my story is going to click eventually, I just need to find that needle in the haystack] were enough for me on an individual basis to throw in the towel once and for all.

I would just stop, there would be no calm before the storm or voodoo inspired smoke signs before the eventual demise of my pen (or keyboard), I would seriously just get up one morning and that would be it. No more writing, no more creation, nothing. Nada. Blank space full stop.

When I look back on those times when my imagination would be firmly tucked away in the abyss that occupied the supposed artistic section of my cranium, I wonder if I was truly fine not writing. I have been innovating places, people, stories, worlds, everything and anything really that my brain can possibly conjure up for so long now, I don’t really know how not to do it.

It was only when my extremely insightful father asked me one day, “Why do you write?” that I truly reflected on the reason.

“Why do I write?” I asked myself aloud one day. I mean before all the drama and the hypocritically enamoured materialism set in, why was I writing at six? It wasn’t for the publishers. God knows I never really wrote anything to be read, I just wrote because I had to, because it made me happy, because it kept me sane and safe in a world I still, till this day, often struggle to comprehend.

Screw the publishers, I thought. Kick the literary agents to the kerb, I mentally screamed. I will write because I don’t know how not to. Not for the money, or the elusive and often fallible “fame” associated with compiling a bestseller, but solely because I can’t not write.

When I would open up the dam I had forcefully deployed to block all the creativity within me and commence on my imperfect path to writing heaven, my mind would seriously punish me by not allowing me to sleep for weeks, often months. It was like opening up a realm of wonder, full of untapped imagination that was just waiting impatiently to pounce, rip apart any sort of entrapping realism I was attempting to band aid on.

The reality is it is much more torturous for me not to write than it is to. Sure, the chances of being read by anyone really is meagrely slim, but those few and far between who do, make me so much more grateful. Who knows if I’ll ever be “famous”, but accepting my fate as a writer (successful or not) makes me that much more content to do what I don’t just love to do, but in unbridled reality, have to do.

Last time I checked, breathing isn’t an option, it’s survival and I don’t need the act to be recorded on television or anything. Similarly, writing for me is living.

So, what does writing mean to you? Truly?

MP Sharma

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