10/08/2015 by Siddiqui Fayesal
If someone is still hanging around here to listen to me whine then they’re in luck. I’m just about to open a steaming vat of undiluted whining for them.
If you must know, something has happened since the last Journal Entry. On the downside, the last one was a week shy of a year ago and there was enough time for something grand to happen, but all that has happened happened in the last month or so.
It’s not that I’ve been very diligently working on my so-called novel since the time I took that train ride to Allahabad and bought myself a thing notebook. That was way back in the June of 2007. An educated guess brings to mind the magical word count to be around 50000 which is, as amarllyis tells me, longer than The Great Gatsby. Only when she put it in perspective did I realised just how much of trash I have written over the years! Not only a waste of paper, ink and time but also the unbelievable amount of pride I put in those 8 notebooks filled with pages and pages of ugly writings, crossed out rhymes, ridiculous characters and unstable plots is unhinging me now!
Imagine what I have been doing for a little more than 8 years! Imagine the times when I looked at the exact timeline and told myself that there is still time to correct it. I’ve suddenly left with those characters dying right before my eyes, my story line going around in circles and my plots ruined and destroyed into nothings! It embarrasses me to say this aloud, but I know I could’ve prevented this epic ruination if I had listened to a simple friendly advice given by her.
Don’t go back to read and review until you have finished.
That’s what she said.
But I did not listen to that tiny bit. It wasn’t only her. There were others who gave the same bit of friendly hint towards self-preservation. It’s not that I didn’t try. I did. I really did. The funny bit is that every time I strayed from the path I told myself that I was right. I convinced myself that I knew what I was doing and that I was right and ‘they’ were wrong.
‘They’ also included greats like Hemingway and King. Big deal if Hemingway whispers in my ear to write like I’m drunk and edit like I’m sober. Of course, I understand that the source of that quote to be of a disputed origin but you do get the point, right? I am also aware that a writer doesn’t become a writer by listening to, and following, the ‘Greatest advice’ of ‘Great Writers’, but it’s getting increasingly difficult to switch off that irritating part of me that speaks to my head in that confident and obnoxious tone. It keeps giving half-arsed advice to my writing head and hand.
I really don’t know what I told myself in the abstract part of my head during those circumstances when I refused being sane, and which I can’t translate in any human tongue, but if I squeeze my eyes shut and concentrate with all my will bent upon it, I can speak to my inner voice and can tell what was going on.
I kept telling myself that I wanted to be a good writer. That’s fair, isn’t it? Complete honesty.
But from that thought a stronger emotion sprang out over which I had no control. That greedy note told me that I MUST be a grand writer and on my first attempt!
Now that, apart from being completely messed up, was something that I have never been guilty of. Ambition. Forget about this huge unrealistic crap that I was expecting from myself, I wasn’t ever the types that aimed for the stars. I always aimed at the next step ahead. That. Is. It.
I hate myself for becoming what I have become. There are some writers, popular and pulpy no doubt, but writers still, who I had started hating simply because they catered to an audience that I didn’t approve of. Of course, I still feel bad about some brilliant writers, catering to a respectable audience that I would aim for too, being ignored because they write literature and not populist fiction.
But that, as they say, is another story.
For now, I have stopped writing for one major reason. That novel has become an elephant in the room. It has become a big ugly walking beast that is spiraling out of my control simply because it has become something that I wasn’t expecting it to mutate into.
The word count does not justify the plot, or rather, the plot does not do justice to the word count. It’s a 50000 word strong NOTHING. My characters haven’t moved much, they’re talking but getting nowhere. The story has progressed a bit, but not at the speed at which I would have liked. I have cut out at least 3 characters to shorten the story and to concentrate on the current lines that I was writing on.
All a waste.
I am known to not leave anything incomplete. There have been times when I have returned to my incomplete poems after 3 years and completed them. But, apparently that’s my comfort zone. I’m not saying I’m scrapping my novel or the story that I have written till date, but I am surely slowing down on it. I have decided (yes, very smart I am) that writing is a process of learning (see!) and that to have such bullshit dreams of writing an awesome book on the first try is a gross disrespect to the art of writing. I am, I still maintain, into writing for the process, not the end.
I only have to keep at it.