Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Conversations: Writing


"Why have you stopped writing?" he asked. I could tell that he's disappointed.

I stood there, unable to answer, like I always do when faced with difficult questions. Numerous explanations raced in my head, though none of them sound satisfactory. They were more like convenient excuses.

"Because I don't see a reason to. Because I don't have the time to. Besides, no one reads my writing anyway. So what's the point?" My mouth decided to move on its own.

He gave a loud sigh and began pacing around, perhaps finding the correct words for a reply.

"I thought we've been through this before." He stopped a few feet away, his back against me. "I thought we said that we were just going to write, without caring about the results? I thought we were going to just enjoy the journey and not worry about the destination?"

"I know... but...", I tried to interject, but the words were lost to me. He has a point. I did made that promise to him. But for one reason or another, the whole writing thing just felt like a bother to me.

While I do enjoy writing, there are just so many factors to consider when writing. Your language, your grammar, your spelling, your tonality. The list is endless. And by the time you've gone through the list, you suddenly realise what you've produced isn't of a good quality anyway.

"I know what you're thinking. You think that you're mediocre, that if you cannot be good at it, you rather not be anything at all. Isn't that right?"

It's like he read my mind.

"Let me tell you something, Mr Self-Entitled. Nothing comes easy in this life. Everything takes practice, lots and lots of it. Your practice and practice until you get it right. Success comes at the expense of hard work. Like they say, blood, sweat and tears. There's no simple way around it. Do you understand?"

"But I've been doing this for four years!" I shouted back. "It's not like I don't know about this principle of hard work. It's not like I've not tried. It's just that sometimes some people are just not made for something and despite how much they try or practice, it's just not their cup of tea. So why force something that's not meant to be?"

For a brief moment, we stood there in silence. Only our thoughts filled the gap between us. I waited for him to talk first.

"Look, I know what you think. And you make perfect sense. But if you're going to frame everything you do in terms of the rewards or what you'll get in return you receive, you will never truly be happy. Because your intention and motivation is all wrong." Ouch.

But he was not done. "In fact, sometimes you may not even end up with the results that you want. If you start measuring everything you do, if you start pegging an expectation to your actions; without first learning to love what you do, you'll never get anywhere!"

"So what then? Are you just going to suggest that I do it without hoping for anything?" As much as I hate to admit it, he's kinda right.

"Yes! What else can you do? Write for the sake of writing. Do it because you love it, not because you want something out of it. Heck, the thought of getting any rewards should not be even on your mind. Recognition and rewards should be a side benefit, not your main motivation. Are you willing to try that?"

I looked at his face, that arrogant face of his when he knows he's right. I don't enjoy being in the wrong, but I don't see any alternative argument. "Alright, you win. Write for the love, not for the recognition. I suppose I can do that."

"And make sure you stick to that belief this time." He added, and smiled.




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