Word of the Week #171:

Efficacious

“That field has no scope.”

How often have we heard that when we say we want to devote our lives to studying and practising the arts, be it writing or singing or painting or dancing?

Last week, we spoke about how the scope of traditional fields like engineering are grossly overrated in our society, and we tried to analyse the reasons why.

Tonight, let us look at the scope fields like writing do offer but are often grossly underestimated in our society, often for the same reasons.

Writing is fun. But is it really a profession? Is it feasible to think you can get paid to write?

Well, what if I tell you that I do get paid to do just that? And I get paid plenty, if I may say so…

So, let us ask ourselves, how did I end up here?

Am I particularly gifted? Well, that’s debatable.
Am I very rich? Nah, but I did have enough support to never have to worry.
Did I receive any specific training? Nope. None.

Then what did I do to reach financial stability while pursuing, and really focusing on, my artistic passions?

The answer is stupidly simple: I worked really hard for a really long time.

For five and a half years, I kept work on my craft, with no pay and little appreciation from beyond my inner circle, slowly but surely improving at what I do, spreading my roots in the industry, and seeking out opportunities wherever I could find them.

That’s hardly any more time than what most people spend on college and stuff, right? At least my route was totally worth it.

Tell me, how can a writer make money?

The first and most obvious would be by publishing books. But as any writer would tell you, the investment in that is extremely high, and the rate of success is exceeding low. Of course, that is no reason to not do it.

Essentially, one could say that it is the most likely to be artistically rewarding, and the least likely to be financially rewarding. And as we go further down this list, the former will continue to decrease, while the latter continues to increase.

If you want to make easy money as an author, one can try to write non-fiction books that highlight certain individuals or organisations. Co-authoring an autobiography can make you a lot of money.

Of course, you could also make some money by publishing articles in successful magazine or newspapers, or you can monetise your own blog.

Or, you can write for advertisers. That’s where Salman Rushdie started his career.

Or, you can write for TV or movies or, heck, even video games. Sidney Sheldon started his career in TV.

Or, you can find all sorts of jobs that require writers, from PR to content writing to creating subtitles. Really, the opportunities are endless.

And if all else fails, you can always work as an editor. As long as there are writers in the world and AI is not yet entirely up to speed, there will always be jobs for editors.

So, keep working, keep learning, and keep looking for opportunities. Your success might not be guaranteed, but that can be said about anything you try.

In the end, if you have spent every waking moment of your entire life in a passionate pursuit of your dreams, would that not count as a success?

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Word of the Week #166:

Paragon

“This is my everything.”

“That is my entire world.”

We have all heard such lines being used in popular art, right?

The concept is quite common in books and movies and songs. But does it really exist? And if it does, is it really a good thing.

If you cease to function without something, or someone, is that really healthy?

I think we have been conditioned to want things that we do not need, and, often enough, even things that are positively bad for us.

What do you need in a relationship? A fairytale romance? No, that is what you want, not what you need. What you is trust, mutual respect, stability, all that boring stuff that doesn’t quite jump off a page.

How often have we seen people give up on something beautiful, or at least promising, just because it was less than ideal?

How often are we seeing young couples getting divorced less than two years into marriage?

How often are we seeing new recruits quit their jobs within months?

Of course, I’m not one to stop someone from quitting something that is not good for you; indeed, the sooner you do it, the better.

Nor am I one to ask someone not to pursue what they want, or seek to change anything they seem necessary to make their lives better.

Knowing the difference between what you want and what you need is, according to me, something each one of us needs to learn.

I, for one, have always needed to pursue my craziest of wants, irrespective of practicalitities and feasibilities.

I am but a crazy guy, and I would rather die of passion than of boredom.

Honestly, sometimes I think I might be just one bout of extreme boredom away from being a comic book villain.

Wait… What was I talking about?

Eh… Nothing really matters… To me…

Word of the Week #163:

Sabbath

I know, I know, it is not Friday. Or Sunday. But I have always been a bit of a Maverick, right?

You see, on most days, I work a lot. Like, a LOT. Through pain, sickness, fatigue, boredom, distractions, whatever. I get my work done, and I am proud of it.

And I am also proud of the fact that I manage to get days to do just nothing at all.

Like, literally nothing at all. 

Shower? Nope.
Lunch? Nope.
Basketball? Nope.
Dinner? Nope.
Music? Nope.
Random streaming? Nope.
Respond to a random work mail? Nope.
Hours and hours of social media? Nope.
A million thoughts swirling through my head? Nope.
Getting off my comfy bed? Nope.

This is what I call taking a day off. Like, literally off.

This is how I can prepare for another week of insanity that has become the norm in my life. 

And sometimes, this is what you need to make sense of the world: Nothing.


PS: I actually did work 9 hours, today, and counted that as nothing. I guess something is really wrong with me. But, I love it.

Word of the Week #155:

Esse

Last week, we tried to answer an important question that people tend to ask us: Why do we write?

But there is another question, one that is arguably far more important, that comes to mind that one must try to answer.

Why do we live?

In a way, I am glad it does not come to my mind too often, for there is no simple answer I can offer.

Should life be more than the mechanical execution of our mundane routines, the fulfilment of our fundamental needs? Should life be more than just a checklist that we have to complete before we run out of time?

Should life have some sort of meaning or purpose? Should we need a reason to get off the bed every morning besides our bladders?

What about us artistic types who live in our own world and are unencumbered, at least relatively, by the mundane? Do we live to write? Or do we write to live? Are the two mutually exclusive?

Well, the later is absolutely true for me, and I believe Stephen King would agree.

“Life isn’t a support system for art. It’s the other way around.”

Stephen King

So, why do we live?

Does our life, our existence, make a significant impact on the grand scheme of things to warrant the effort we have to exert on a daily basis?

Directly, probably not.

The simple truth is that too few of us will achieve greatness in our lifetimes. And even if we do, that too is fleeting.

Every year, over 60 players join the NBA; so far, only 111 players have been inducted into the Hall of Fame. 111 players in almost 70 years… And I would be surprised if you can name 5 of those players who were inducted before your parents were born. Hell, I would be surprised if you could name one.

Too few. Too fleeting.

Not every scientist will be the next Newton. Not every writer will be the next Shakespeare. And I highly doubt that too many carpenters can claim to be the next Jesus.

But you can definitely earn a footnote in someone else’s discovery that changes life on this planet, and possibly beyond. You can always hope your stories inspire one child to see the world in a different light. And you can absolutely provide someone the comfort of a cosy armchair after a long, hard day.

If you think about it, we are the grand scheme of things, and it is a cumulation of every single thought, word and action of every single being that creates the world as we know it.

Life must, therefore, contain within itself the potential to change everything in the entire universe. And possibly beyond…

But that is the answer to a different question altogether.

The question remains, why do we live?

My answer is actually quite simple. ‘Cause it is all we know.

Word of the Week #154:

Bohemian

Why do you write? 

As writers, we have all been asked this question, have we not?

In interviews, in queries, in casual conversation, we have always been asked this question.

And more often than not, we would respond with some words that make some sound like the perfect combination of an artist and a scholar. That is how we want to be seen, right? That is what benefits us. 

Why do I write? 

The answer is actually quite simple. I write because I do not know what else to do.

I have long believed that in humans, and perhaps in all sentient beings, along with an ability to understand arises a desire to be understood.

Some among us may be blessed with souls that are lucid. Clear. 
Some are cursed with darkness and discord.
But if you dive into the deepest of our depths, you will see that it does all make some sense.

So, why do I write? 

Why do I write ten thousand words and pray ‘t be worth the price?
To see a method to this madness, ten words would not suffice.

Word of the Week #137:

Proposition

As I mentioned a few weeks back, I am currently in the process of querying, and for the first time I feel like I am actually doing a good job.

Now, for those unfamiliar with the term, querying refers to contacting literary agents and hoping they like your work enough to want to work with you.

Over the past few weeks, I have noticed that the process is eerily similar to asking a girl out.

Think about it.

Firstly, you always present yourself in the best light. You talk about yourself and what you do, and hope they like what they see.

You learn about their interests and preferences, and modify your approach to convince them how you can cater to those.

You adhere to their rules, even if you do not understand or appreciate them.

“Double-spaced manuscript? Sure! Why? Well, this is not for me to ask, is it?”

You start feeling good about yourself. Why wouldn’t you? You’re nice. You have worked hard all your life. You should have confidence in what you bring to the table.

After you have poured your heart on the page and hit the send button, however, you find every single thing you would have done differently, from that one comma before a conjunctive adverb to that shirt you wore to your high school graduation. What teenager appreciates Pink Floyd! Well, there is nothing to be done about it now.

And once you do send it, you are consumed by your curiosity. You cannot possibly just sit there and wait for a response; you have way too much on the line. Unfortunately, that is what you have to do. You cannot keep badgering them.

“Did you read it? Did you like it? Did you like me? Say, want to make this official?”

You may keep thinking that the whole day, but saying that will get you labelled a creep. You do not want that, do you?

And if, as is quite likely, maybe you get a rejection. And not even a thoughtful, well-crafted rejection that tells you what you did wrong or what you could have done better. Nothing that shows you that they respect the efforts you made. Just, “Yeah, I don’t wanna…”

Obviously, your heart sinks. You are devastated. You want to ask, “Why? Why not me? What do I lack?”

It is true. It is natural. But ask yourself this, is that the kind of men you want to be? Really, are you going to be that guy?

Surely, there could’ve been many reasons why you did not make the cut.

Maybe they’ve never seen a guy like you and don’t want to take a risk. Maybe they’ve seen too many guys like you and want something new. Maybe this is just not the right time for them. Maybe they are already with someone. Or maybe they believe you are just not ready.

All understandable reasons, you would realise.

So, what do you do now? Well, you cannot keep wallowing forever, right?

Maybe you work on yourself a little more. Understand what sets you apart, and what holds you back. Present yourself better. Maybe trim down on some of that mass around the middle.

You keep improving, and you keep looking. Because you know that once you find the right now, together you are going to build something magical.

In the end, that is what makes this endeavour worth it.

HWAITING!