Well, it must have hit you like a thunderbolt from the heaven or maybe you fell on the pavement and hit your head hard. Whatever it is you have chosen your destiny and everything it comes with , let it be rejection, brickbats, silver fish, authors block, the bad back or the sore butt and constipation due to long hours of sitting in one place!
So you declare, “I have decided to become a writer.”
Most of the times these kinds of declarations happen when all is fine at home and heaven. Your mother is cooking your favorite dish and your father is secretly looking at half naked celebrities splayed on the newspaper’s middle page. Your ancestors are in heaven watching the half naked angels dance or sing or bathe or whatsoever they do.
Sum total : The day is beautiful and so you have to ruin it!
Your mother will just accept it with an affectionate smile. She has more patience for your delusions than a trained psychiatrist treating serial killers.
Your father will be more aggressive. He will put his foot down : the one things fathers across the world are great in doing! He would declare in his bombastic voice, “Have you lost it? How do you plan to make a living? Are you expecting to fleece me for the rest of your life? Damn it where did you get the idea from? Must be those idiot friends you roam about with. Are you doing drugs?” he will roll the newspaper into a tight baton and then throw it down for good effect.
He will see that you are infected with the grave disease called stupidity.
“You think it is easy to become a harry potter? You think everyone is that lucky? You need to have connections. Where is your connection? Have you even read a good book? How can you write when you cannot even sit in on place too long? You need patience to write. And what do you plan to write? About sex? Are you going to write about sex? Porn? God I knew it! you are one wayward thing. It’s all your mothers fault. Are you listening what this fellow is saying? He wants to write about sex so that the whole world can look down upon us….characterless fellow. They will wonder if you have AIDS. If I have AIDS. ”
Of course he is morally and financially superior to you. That is in case you are dependent on him. Chances are you are dependent on him because this writing bug usually starts sucking your blood very early in life!
You feel nothing for such yelling pedestrian people when there is a greater calling. The drums of war are banging in your head too loud and clear. Your father can see that. Almost all of us above forty and not a celebrity have tried to feed their artistic inclinations and failed. And after forty these artistic inclinations are called hobbies.
By the way your father is talking so pay attention :“ Money like that doesn’t grow on trees. Who is going to fend for you? Feed you and cloth you? Where will you get the money to fuel that car of yours?”
“Publishers? They are sharks…..they are not your family to appreciate all the garbage you keep throwing at us. Get into college. Get a job. Forget all this writing shit. Do you know how many of these writers died poor and naked and hungry? William Wordsworth or what his name died of TB….because he was poor. He did not make a penny his entire life.”
He will list the names of all such poor and TB effected writers, poets, painters, musicians he knows for good effect.
Of course you know William Wordsworth but you are not sure if he died of TB or if he got his rightful pennies.Right then you don’t care who died of what. Once the devil has spoken you will become deaf to all reasons.
“It is not in our genes. Do you know anyone from our family who wrote anything but letters. And you? what have you ever written? Begging letters for money to me and love letters to the entire population of girls. How can you write a book?”
Well, you are definitely offended by this almost true insinuation.
“So what if I have never written a book. I can start now.” You want to say but you don’t. You will some distant day show the man how wrong he was but right now you need your pocket money. So you keep shut.
“I am well here and hope you are in the well there. That is a letter you wrote once! And you want to write!” Then the derisive haha. “what is there to write? People have already written everything. People have even written about men, gods, aliens, vampires and goblins. So what is left? Nothing. The only thing you can do is write upside down or write everything in capitals….or maybe create your own language.”
“Half the world is as it is illiterate. The other half reads textbooks so that they can earn a decent living. Who will read your story books?”
“Do you know how much time it takes to write a book? Can you sit that long on your butt? And what is this just another excuse not to do any chores!”“And then you will pretend to be an writer and drink and smoke like a sahib? I will not take such bullshit in this house.”
Which means you cannot write in your father’s house. That doesn’t mean he will throw you out immediately. But when you fail and he throws you out you know he had warned you.
If you have no self respect: The first thing to do when you begin to write other than finding a pen and a page is to find a walking talking ATM. Someone who will believe in you till the day his love turns to sympathy then irritation and then murderous thoughts. Then you find another ATM but don’t give up.
If you have self respect : find a day job that at least feeds you, buys you fresh underwear and lets you send tons of mails to agents and publishers.
But let me warn you here: irrespective of what you start writing with, self respect or no self respect, you will be left with nothing even close to it after a few rejections. So if you ask me it is better we start with no self respect. That way at least we will lose nothing!
In the meantime if you decide to give up writing peace will return to the world!