Why I Write ?

George Orwell lists “four great motives for writing” in his famous essay Why I Write?. 
1. Sheer egoism: “desire to seem clever”
2. Aesthetic enthusiasm : “pleasure in the impact of one sound on another”
3. Historical Impulse ; “desire to see things as they are, to find out true facts and store them up for the use of posterity.”
4. Political Purpose : “desire to push the world in a certain direction”

So, tell us.. Why you write? 

The moment the conversation shifts towards my interest in writing, I am greeted by reactions that are pretty much baffling and invariably end up as talk stoppers.

The first in the series is a emotionless exclamation, “Oh!”
This, you will agree, is not very enlightening. Were they impressed or did they just understand me to being the devil reincarnate?
No clue.

If, circumstances willing we get beyond this, then the next thing I get is a, “so…why???”

Excuse me, what was that?

It’s simple. Why do you write? What’s your motivation? Is there a lot of money in it?

Earlier I didn’t have an answer to any of these. The only response I could come up with was the entirely honest but lacking in self reflection statement- I just like to write.

Given the nature of the reply, I would receive advice on furthering this and best wishes. With that, the conversation would move on to other interesting topics.

However, when this started happening one too many times, I decided to give it a deep though and I made some shocking realizations.

I first wrote as early as when I was in class 6 at the adamant insistence of the school librarian who would not take back the book she had issued unless I wrote a review for it. I did and the next thing I knew was she wanted more. Groans.

Half a dozen books later, a thought spoke very loudly to me. It said, ‘hey, you wanna waste time doin’ this? Surely you can write something of your own, no?’

Light bulb! And lo and behold my first short story was born.

With this started my first phase in writing.  During this time, I wrote because it gave me a chance to show to my teachers and friends what I was good at and well, win prizes too! (a special one, always from the librarian, of course!)
Parallely, I began to acquire a sort of reputation of being ‘the kid who wrote well’ and had people adding their speculative bits on how my future in that was going to get shaped.

So by the end of this phase- school- I had set the foundations of my identity getting forged with the field of writing.

Phase 2, no doubt was the college time when I surprisingly did not write for a very, very long time. Unlike most of my peers, college was a challenging time. My need was to get relief from whatever I was going through. And that came from going back to the past and doing what felt was assuring- writing.

And when I started to do that, amazing things happened. I started getting recognition not just at my college but also with a couple of international universities. I was now actually creating an identity for myself.

So, end of phase 2 – college- people acknowledged that I was one girl who knew her language right and hence was going to make it big in the corporate world.

Phase 3 naturally was the start of the working life where I was given to understand that the job I was in was the heart and soul of my life. Nothing else mattered. Nothing. I reasoned that should that be the case, I should not be feeling suffocated. I felt otherwise. I longed to write and then made a shocking discovery- I no longer could!

Words just would not come. Ideas, the way they would pop up in my head before, no longer did. I was in trouble. No tears or prayers helped.

So end of phase 3, I was missing my identity. Rather, I had none to call my own.
However, by the grace of god and sustained efforts, it was back, though in a new avatar- which I made peace with since childhood and adulthood are different anyway.

And having learnt the importance that writing plays in my life this hard way, I made the resolution never to lose it again. I am now secured in this belief.

Nevertheless, I did receive a jolt when my publisher asked me rather innocently, ‘why did you send the manuscript to me?’ The ‘if-then-else’ loop in my brain was only too happy to respond by saying, ‘For you to read it of course!’

‘So, I need’nt publish it then?’ he asked.
Here, honesty raised it head and saying ‘well…’ fizzled out.

Truth be told, I have a story to tell and I want people to hear/read it.
So then, said my publisher, ask for money. Don’t do it for free.

My love for writing should not come in the way of that. Now, this is a very delicate trade off to achieve. But yes, the soul searching has to be done and thus balance achieved. Else, I should just stick to writing dairies.

—- By Ambalika Bhattacharya
Armed with degrees in engineering and communication as well as having worked in many well known institutions, she has seen quite a
bit and learned quite a lot. 

Author of the book “In Focus ” You Adored, Me Ignored “

A mentorship series on writing effectively and beautifully. You 
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