Abhimanyu Krishnan's picture
Abhimanyu Krishnan May 1, 2012 - 4:32am

I hope I've placed this in the right section. I'm new here and I'm not quite sure of how to get around the site, but apologies if this is in the wrong section.

Here it is, a throw away piece on writing and it's challenges. I would appreciate some feedback.


There are a lot more points that one could add to this, and I would welcome opinions. This is far from being a complete product, but I figured that I would just put it out there.

Why I Don't Write... As Much As I Should


For a long time now, I have been battling rather unsuccessfully with the reality of writing. My foray into this field began with enthusiasm and dreams of acclaim, but now having grown out of such immature thoughts and actually ventured into the process of writing, I find myself undeniably lost.

Part of this uncertainty comes from the complexity of one’s motivation, which is unique to each writer, therefore comprehensible and meaningful to him, and him alone. It is impossible to pinpoint the exact source of a writer’s compulsion and further interrogation is met with a terse ‘I have to do it’. Perhaps this is because the subject is a very personal one and the writer would not like to confine himself to a set number of words, or accidentally forget to mention an important aspect. No one would like their reason for existence to be described limitedly and inadequately, in this undignified manner. The core of a writer’s passion is beyond description and words.

George Orwell’s essay ‘Why I Write’, to which the title of this essay alludes, declares that there are four major characteristics which compel a writer to voluntarily endanger his esteem. And for the most part, I agree. I would like, however, to draw attention to that which causes a writer to drop his pen, to stop and ponder the sensibility of his actions, and question the quality of his work.

The notion that writing induces a state of euphoria in its creator is a misconception. It is not the rejuvenating joy that it is widely perceived as. The feeling is more akin to a withering plant, slowly being sapped of its life. While there is a momentary pleasure at the sight of a wonderfully conjoined set of words or in the basking of a beautiful description, on the whole, the entire trial is a vicious assault on the writer’s mental strength. He will have to face and entertain both internal and external attacks, criticism from his closest friend and his discouraging publisher, speeches of sympathy and appeals to better judgement. These poisons will fill his day and permeate his works.

Of all the traps one will inevitably fall into, self-doubt is the most persistent and ubiquitous. Unlike other hindrances, personal condemnation will never leave one’s side. It is always present in your mind, from start to finish. I despair for those many books that have gone missing as a result of this. This forces you to succumb to failure, even before you might have begun. It is easier said than done to accept failure, and march on with your work with a doomed mind. It is a real mark of character that there are those that have managed to travel side-by-side with this demonic passenger and complete their work.

A large part of effort is spent withstanding criticism, sometimes justified, and sometimes rejected irrationally from the writer’s side, in order to defend narcissistic identity. Every burgeoning writer will go through a series of invective and morale-depleting critical opinions. The fear of public disapproval is most disconcerting. After all, to whom is the writer trying to address? The negative response of the public is the most crippling of all outcomes, in that all the work and time spent is ostensibly wasted. 

And then there is talent, which should be the least of one’s concerns. Words and phrases can be beaten into submission and forced to do one’s bidding, for if one surrounds himself with words for a sufficient amount of time, he will become naturally proficient and elegant with it; they will be enslaved. They are but tools to be used in the hands of a workman. Taming one’s inner demons is a far harder prospect.

Despite this war with the mind itself, one is inexplicably compelled by some force, some description-less entity that nudges one towards the act of writing. This primer is the very reason for the writer’s existence, and acceptance of the senselessness of the situation along with the blocks that accompany a writers career, is the only way to guarantee some progress in the career. There is a fulfilling satisfaction in completing a book, but the writer leaves behind his beloved work so that he may move onto the next. He ends a battle with his demons, victorious and in glory, only to begin the next. This is his curse.

Matt Attack's picture
Matt Attack from Richmond, Va. is reading As I Lay Dying, William Faulkner May 1, 2012 - 9:22am

You need to post things for review in the workshop. If you have any questions please read this


Also, welcome! I'll get an LBL for this later on in the day. 

jyh's picture
jyh from VA is reading whatever he feels like May 1, 2012 - 9:53am

Well put.  To utilize your analogy, I guess I'm engaged in skirmishes and raids, yet to commit my forces to a decisive battle