About writing

I love deadlines. I like the whooshing sound they make as they fly by.

– Douglas Adams

Writing, whether for a living or for passion involves deadlines. They might be set by an editor or by one self but they nearly always in my own personal case, go by without me being able to perform.

To people this might seem like a lazy joke. Sometimes I am asked to write on one thing or the other but what they do not understand is that I do not control the pen, rather it controls me. There are a myriad of examples out there in our times and before them of people who wrote a single master piece and they could not write any more. I believe it is because their pen had no words left.

Writing is and always will remain a mystery for me. Perhaps in my capacity for words I am over romanticizing the concept, but the reality often stares me in the eye, in the shape of a blank word processor screen.  I cannot write on demand! Yes for the longest time I have written direct on the word processor, no drafts no scribblings, my pen seems to have acquired a taste for tech and its exhibitionism for sharing.

It is not a tap I can turn on and off, it is not like an artists brush that once dipped in paint will put something on canvas. The pen writes by itself and often when one is in the oddest of situations. This is why there are several master pieces and plots saved on the back of restaurant tissues by writers worldwide. At times though one can wrest a bit of control from the pen and force it to shut up as one cannot simply write about anything they feel. Societies laws must be observed as well. However even then somewhere in the middle of the night the pen takes back control and writes out the writers insanity in any form that it pleases. Sometimes I cannot stop writing… at times I wish all I could do was write.

The pen i speak of is a writers soul, which consumes motivates and drives him or her, it is the love for the written word which is manifested on paper. It is the exaltation one feels when they see their name in print, it is also what drives writers mad.

I am but a servant of the pen, I am a candle burning at both ends.

  1. Faisal this is seriously one of your best posts ever!!! I am most impressed by the flow of your thoughts, your frank and candid acknowledgement of your writing process which atleast I can totally relate to and I am sure most of the writers would be nodding their heads in agreement. Trust me, this is coming from a person who has started writing once again after 12 years. Great job, keep ’em coming…keep writing and don’t ever stop!

    Of the writer’s soul you speak of, here’s sharing something similar that my favourite painter, Van Gogh said: I put my heart and my soul into my work, and have lost my mind in the process. 🙂

  2. faisalk:

    This is why there are several master pieces and plots saved on the back of restaurant tissues by writers worldwide.

    this caught my attention…so true.

    there are many facets of writing…not all involve deadlines.

    the ones i enjoy best are when the muse strikes and the pen or the fingers move rhythmically on the keyboard, creating symphonies

    and then there are the rare odd times when you sit back and are in awe…when not a word or comma can be deleted or altered…that is when a reaffirmation of heavens sinks in…but rare is the operative word…

    most of the time it calls for numerous re-writes, fact checks, playing around with formats…

  3. Faisal, thoughtful post, thanks for sharing.

    I like to consider that my writing falls into one of two categories: writing for myself and writing for clients.

    Obviously i can let loose on the former and adhere to the job’s requirements for the latter. Sometimes a personal post (read: rant) might even be the direct result of a paid gig 🙂 Sometimes I get inspired by a job and write about that and find that just beginning the process of writing gets the juices flowing again. So its nice to have that balance in life, at least for me.


  4. You are, my dear, romanticising. Something you have so often accused me of. It’s a wonderful thought; words tumbling automatically off keyboard and onto screen; mysterious, eloquent, coherent.

    It is also utter balls. Writing means hard graft and application, stringing recalcitrant words together even when they do not want to come. Laboriously stitching sentences because you have to. And like anything, practice makes perfect. So get to it and write.

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