An Ambivalent Journey as a Writer
Growing up, as an introvert can be a disadvantage in many ways but at the same time has helped shape my career. After all, it was poetry that kick-started my journey in the written word. It was the only way that I was able to channelize my emotions and express them. This was the starting point of my poetic journey. The first time I ever wrote a poem was when I was in 9th standard and it was for a competition. I remember how it meant so much for me at that time that I do something with my life. Of course it was just an online competition, so I began to write and within no time had my submission sent in. It was only later on that I got to know that this poem had been selected in an international poetry contest where I came as a semi-finalist. This was in 2002.
A morbid poem, most of my poems had themes of recluse, loneliness and dark thoughts; but that’s what triggered my writing in the first place. For without any deep emotion I wouldn't have been able to write anything at all. After all, it is so rightly said that poetry is a spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings that takes its origin from emotion recollected in tranquility. Sometimes writing can be a therapy for us, when we can’t voice out how we feel.
Thus my journey into poetry began as I started to pour my heart out through words. I filled pages and pages with verses that came to my head. I even took part in national contests to which I surprisingly began to mark my spot in the poetic life. I received a merit award in an all India poetry contest in 2003 – Kshitj Kalashri Award and was also nominated as poet of the year by the International Society of Poets in 2004.
In school I was the winner of creative writing in 2001, which was a big achievement for me, since I was pretty weak in my studies. See, this is the magic that poetry has behind it – I could really find solace in writing and really express myself. A book was published of a small collection of my poetries when I was just 17 years old under Tulika Publishers.
However, I was drawn towards psychology and already had it planned in my head that I would establish a career in this field. So, I continued my studies in college –pursuing this field, which led to my completion of a Bachelor of Arts with psychology majors. Studies were tough and I was caught in two mindsets at the end of it, a deep loathing towards studies but a desire to pursue psychology. At the same time I had to also make use of my abilities, leveraging them to the best of my ability.
I spent the next couple of years trying to find some sort of meaning to my life while also engaging in different corporate jobs. I even did a short one-year postgraduate diploma in communications to hone my skills in the field of print media, which was my forte, and area of profession.
For me, writing was the most comforting way I could express myself. I never had the intention to write so that I could become a published author. I just had emotions, a whole bunch of feelings exploding beneath me, which needed to come out. Words were the only way they could be released and it was my heart, which bled on paper.
It is really hard to fit in writing when our lives are taken up by a lot of other activities. One thing is for certain; writing does come around whatever your circumstance is, especially when you have turned to this form of expression in the past. Slowly though, my poetic skill was weakening and more and more attention was being paid to my profession. I couldn't have it both ways, or at least I didn't know how to balance them both out at that time.
My career involved wearing a number of different hats; which were all quite unalike each other. Doing a job was more about finding what I was capable of doing, rather than what I was passionate about. From a job at an NGO, I quickly found myself merely losing focus of what I actually wanted to do. By that time I had worked in a print company, completed a post graduate diploma in communication, worked at a digital wing of a television channel, at an IT company and also a digital advertising agency.
I had literally spent 10 years of my life trying to find a way to survive with a job, but nothing worked. That brings me to present times, where I am just a freelancer, working at my convenience and pursuing hobbies that fulfil and add meaning to my life. Poetry at this point of time was at the lowest. Most of my effort went in obtaining a job rather than working on whether I was really happy doing the job. Maybe I have gained a lot of experience in the whole process but once thing was for sure and that was that I was not happy in those jobs.
After a long period of ten years (of not writing any poetry) and having a fair share of experience in the corporate field I began to once again take interest in the field. Of course, this wasn't easy because writing can be painfully tough even if you have written in the past. The funny thing was that I was a writer of every kind, having done SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) content, social media content, web content and content for other platforms and projects.
I was filled with emotions, turmoil, anxiety and apprehension of what the future would hold for me. I felt helpless and vulnerable to the world. Voices kept chattering back and forth in my mind and I couldn't control it. There were times when my mind felt it was home to a, drunken monkey that kept chattering, flinging from branches and jumping around. It was stressful, as I couldn't calm the monkey mind down if I didn't write.
As I have expressed in one of my poems, The Unobstructed Faucet, “Slow down, life, you’re going too fast”, I need to catch up! You’re going to fast”. First, it's a drip; then it's a drop; the faucet gets loose all over again. Pitter, patter, splitter, splatter – the water falls all around.”
I attended my first poetry event in the beginning of 2017 just to get my poetic skills back on track. At that time I was a bit anxious not because of my poetry but because I would be performing in front of other people. This opened doors to my participation in many other poetry events as well; but in today’s times there is a growing trend in the field of poetry that is taking over the written word and that is the spoken word.
Thus, I have been jointly working on both my written word while also trying to work on improving my confidence, voice modulation and recitation. So now I have realised there can be no real separation between written word and spoken word, i.e. poetry and spoken word. There are plenty of experts in this field, many whom are extremely talented in this field. It can be very difficult to perform/read or even recite your poetry when you cannot even match the talent of another person, but growth has to be healthy.
Writing is a lonely job. Reflection and solitude are two of its important hallmarks. Being the reserved person that I am, I love to spend a lot of time on my own and that's exactly what is required of writers. As soon as I get words out onto the paper I feel energetic and alive. Although extroverts may be fantastic writers and I do not in any way discredit that, I just see what works best with my personality and temperament.
Writing, in any form requires a lot of thought and balance of emotions. Whether poetry or prose, I continue to work on my writing. There is no particular end to when you can say that it has been perfected and it will always remain a journey of its own.