Tuesday, February 12, 2013

The February Resolution

The first time I sent in something I wrote for a competition was when I was eleven or twelve. The internet revolution was just beginning in India, and I had just discovered Class on the Web. The site had a lot of material related to my school syllabus, but I was more interested in the monthly 'Creative Writing' competitions they were conducting.

The first piece I sent in was a poem. The first paragraph went like this:
The little girl sat thinking,
With a heart fast sinking
"Oh, so much work to do!
But I want to watch cartoons!"
I guess it's probably a good thing I don't remember the rest. But don't judge me - I was eleven, okay?

Anyway, even though the poem was pretty bad, I won a prize. It was a whiteboard, a tiny book-sized one, and came with a blue pen. I never actually  used it though. Eventually, the ink in the pen just dried out from lack of use.

When my grandmother's eldest sister, a famous reader herself, learnt that I had won a 'writing' competition, she gave me a gift - a beautiful book, with a colourful cover and thick white ruled pages. She presumably wanted me to use it for all the brilliant verse I would no doubt now spew forth. But I couldn't bring myself to use the book, it was much too pristine. So it stayed empty. I don't know where it is now - I guess it must have gotten lost during the later shift to Delhi.

But strangely, despite that early encouragement, I've written very little since then. My friends talk about how they had articles published in newspapers when they were kids, but I never did any of that. Sure, English teachers loved to read my essays aloud in class. And sure, I've 'edited' a couple of magazines in my time. But that's about it.

This might seem funny to people who've been reading this blog for a long time. Yes, I've been blogging for eight years now, on and off. But the posts on this blog are pretty much all I wrote during those eight years.

I did a self-diagnosis last year. My problem, I decided, is that I don't like actually showing my writing to people who know me. The decision I made last year to start writing this blog under my own name was an attempt to correct this problem.

But it hasn't worked out. First of all, I wrote barely twenty posts last year. And secondly, I can see a clear difference (both in quality of writing and content) between the stuff I wrote under a pseudonym, and what I've written in the last one year under my own name.

And then last week, I learnt that I had won this. For those who can't be bothered clicking through, it's a short story competition, the second edition of one run by the Indian Women's Press Corps. The prize money is good - 25, 000 rupees. That lends it a certain weight in the eyes of people who can't really tell one competition from another.

But for me - it's not about the prize money at all. It's a sort of - vindication. YES, I'm a writer. Not an aspiring writer, not a wannabe writer. A WRITER. And that feels damn good.

I'm suddenly glad that I took a year off from work. No matter how the real reason for that break turns out, it allowed me to get back to my writing. I've been writing short stories. I've started work on a novel. I've been participating in short story competitions off and on.

Unfortunately, it's still tough for me to show my stories to people and get feedback from them. Even the short story that won - I didn't show it to anybody before sending it out. In fact, despite the win, I STILL haven't shared it with anybody, not even those closest to me. Especially those closest to me, I should say.

But I realize that if I want to do anything remotely serious with my writing, I need to start sharing it with people.

So here's a resolution. Since we're way past New Year's, I'll call this a February Resolution.

I will write at least one hundred posts on this blog this year. 

That's a post roughly every three days. That's going to be a bit of a challenge of course, considering the fact that I wrote hardly anything last year. So I'm going to allow myself to cheat a little.

1. I can post short stories, no matter how bad they are. Feedback would be much welcome.
2. The longer stories can be split into two, and those WILL count as two posts.
3. Once in a while, I can post inspiring/interesting clippings from books and blog posts, such as this one.
4. Travelogues count, too. And yes, they will obviously be split into multiple parts, because my travelogues are generally long.

So if you don't want to see a LOT of me in the next few months, unsubscribe from this blog NOW. And if you do want to read me, get ready for a bumpy ride!
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naween said...

A hundred posts! Yippee!! :D :D
I loved the rules too :)

Devika Rajeev said...

Care to implement on your own blog? :D

Jina said...

You are a great writer. I love the fact that you are more. confident about it now. If it took a prize, so be it.
There are fans waiting here..:)

Devika Rajeev said...

Jina: :) :) :) Thank you!