What Writing a Book Taught Me

Writing a 90,000 words novel was – gosh. Let me think.

I wanna say “hard”, “difficult”, “tiring”, “annoying”, and even “depressing” sometimes.

But nope.

It was beautiful.
Breathtakingly beautiful.

Sigh. Of course, I only felt that like once in three months when somebody would ask me, “What are you even doing with your life?”, and I could just console myself with – “Well, I did write the book of my dreams.”

But that’s not a very long lasting state of joy or satisfaction. The rest of the time, be it before completing, or after, or even during the writing process, it was just very hard. It’s a very long process getting it all out of your head, and not just out. But out in the right way.

Most people assume writers have all these stories already fully complete in their heads and all they have to do it is squeeze it out of their brain onto a page of paper.

Well, I wish it were that simple. I wish I had it all planned in my head already. I wish all I had to do was push it out. Because then it would only be a little physical straining. But it isn’t that simple.

When I started I Like Sunflowers, I didn’t even know that sunflowers were going to be involved. And neither did I know how much I liked them. Or if I even liked them in them in the first place.

Yeah. And somehow I wrote a book called I-LIKE-SUNFLOWERS.

Writing never begins with keeping the reader in mind. Eventually you will have to consider that somebody will read it. That’s for sure. Otherwise I’d have written a thirty page thesis on how I like watching pandas be pandas for hours.

But good writing never begins with the reader being anywhere in the picture. Writing is for the writer himself/herself more than you can imagine.

No writer ever starts writing ’cause he/she wants to let the world know something. In fact, real writers write to show themselves something they’ve been looking for, for a long time. Something they couldn’t comprehend themselves before they sat down and looked for words to give it life.

Writers don’t write when they know. Writers write when they’re lost.

Writers use writing like birds use their wings. The page is our wind and we use our words in different ways to fly in a direction our heart wants us to follow.

So, basically, writers write for themselves. It’s as simple as that. And yes, it is as selfish as it sounds. Nobody writes ’cause they “want” to save the world. No good writer ever does that. They write to save themselves first. Save themselves from the boring world; from drowning in a sea of normality; from blowing up into a million pieces because they just can’t understand what’s happening to them.

And somehow along the way, they manage to save others too. Sometimes. That’s when the world takes notice and praises them for all the work they did to save the world. When in reality, it all begins with one selfish thought – Keep yourself alive. Find your soul. Write to save it.

My point is that that’s what writing an entire book literally taught me. I didn’t understand it until I was doing it. In that moment, typing all those words like a maniac, making a thousand typos like an idiot, trying to finish a book, before I convince myself to jump off a building instead, I realized I was writing for myself more than I did for anybody else. Nobody needed to know my story, I needed to know it first. And the fact that I found it and managed to materialize it into words brings peace to my soul.

But why would anybody not know their story already, you ask.

Well, honey, that’s where the difference lies. If you asked that, you know you’re not a writer. At least not yet.

The reason writers are praised for what they do is because they find things in a story most people always overlook. They see more and hence, they see everything that’s missing in our everyday lives when put out as a story and immediately notice the structure it lacks. The structure the stories they create usually have. The structure they teach themselves to find.
They’re built that way. To overthink everything and wonder why something happened the way it did. Not “why does the sun rise in the east” kind of questions, but “why did Cathy end up choosing Edgar over Heathcliff” kind of questions. But the only difference is that these questions they have, they ask themselves in their everyday lives and not just when they’re reading classics.

That’s what makes a good writer. You look at your life as a novel and you start looking for answers. And everything will feel incomplete until you find a beginning, a middle and an end.

That’s what writers mean when they say they breathe through their words. ‘Cause that’s just how we function. That’s how we reason our existence. That’s how we fool us into believing we know what we’re doing.

We stop writing.
We don’t find meaning.
We suffocate.

Peace out.

Me trying to be interactive –

What are you presently working on? Need not be a book. Could be any form of art/study that you’d consider your way of breathing. Tell me all about it in the comment section.

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