My goal for 2019 is to write a novel even though the only fiction I’ve ever written is a short story, one that I never attempted to share or publish. Writing has always been a fulfilling hobby, one that I pursued through my teen years and that I took up again in my thirties, as a blogger. Up until last year, and after a decade of blogging, I was still a dabbler, someone who wrote to express themselves and enjoyed the process but one who hadn’t yet discovered it to be the meditation it is. Oof! you exclaim, rolling your eyes at this apparent hyperbole, much like my 20 year old son would.
Writing as meditation
The Merriam Webster dictionary defines meditation, as an intransitive verb, to “engage in contemplation or reflection or to engage in mental exercise such as concentration on one’s breathing or repetition of a mantra for the purpose of reaching a heightened level of spiritual awareness.” When I started my writing, it was a natural extension of my love for books and for reading. (I liked to write but I loved to read.) But as the years passed, the need to express myself via writing became a necessary habit, both to chronicle my life journey and as a means of processing for emotional growth. Things made more sense, patterns of behavior became clearer, and I understood myself more when I wrote it out. Yes, that’s why maintaining a journal is a recommended practice in the self-care toolkit. With time, I noticed that my writing became, more and more, a way of accessing a nourishing quietude, a meditative practice where the words fell with the quickness and solemn hush of monsoon rain in a thick forest.
But is that reason enough to write a book?
Perhaps not. A tiny idea for a book has taken hold of me though, and it beckons with the lure of treasure beyond my wildest imaginings. It will be a fantastic book, my muse whispers, an exciting story! She is nodding her head wisely. All you have to do, she says, is put down your self-doubt (and let’s be honest, other people’s doubts as well) and commit to writing. I am tempted by her confidence and her wisdom though I do have a few reservations, including the aforementioned self-doubt. Sure, the story sounds full of potential, but what if I’m, at best, a mediocre writer? What if this idea that I can write well is all in my head? Is it all in my head?
Are there any guarantees?
Every time you start a project, wouldn’t it be nice to have a guarantee of success? If there’s anything my life journey has taught me, it’s that there are never any guarantees. (It also helps if you know what parameters you are using to define success but that’s a story for another day.) There are no destinations that you grandly arrive at. No final treasure at the end of the journey. There is only the journey. You don’t have to wait till you get to some faraway destination to find your treasure. No, the treasure is given out freely all along the journey, in the form of lessons and experiences, that you will use to grow further both materially in the physical world, and perhaps more importantly, in your inner world.
This is a chronicle of my writing journey. It starts at Day 1.