Friday, January 6, 2017

Of Walking, Running, Writing, and Publishing and What Ambition Has To Do With It.

Ambition is a strange thing. On the face of it, it pushes you to achieve goals that you may find way beyond your reach. It makes you snug after every small and big accomplishment -- you know that warm fuzzy feeling of self-pride and satisfaction? In the long run however, it makes you more and more discontented with every passing day -- you are forever running to acquire more, to scale greater heights, never satisfied with what you have achieved.

In this race, which you are often running with only yourself, you are so busy looking ahead that you have no time to look around or enjoy what you have worked hard to attain, until the day you realise the futility of running.

If you are lucky you understand it sooner than later, and manage to find some time to smell the roses that you have worked hard to grow. If not, you realise it after the roses have withered and all you are left with are stubs of a once healthy plant.

My writing sometimes seems to me like that bed of roses to me. The one, which I sometimes stand and stare at with joy and, and run away from at other times.

In the years that I wrote for myself, and for the art and the craft of writing, it gave me immense satisfaction. I felt truly gratified after finishing a blog post which would have taken nights to finish (I never write my blogs in the day) or a poem that was scribbled in an auto travelling to work or at the bus stop waiting for the girls. But from the day the ambition of being published got on to my head, I started to run. I began running to achieve more and more, running to defeat my own shortcomings as a writer, running to see my name in print week after week. And let me tell you, I immensely enjoyed the races too; I got the same warm and fuzzy feeling, the same sense of smugness every time I saw my name in newsprint. It was something I had always dreamt of.

What it robbed me of, however, is the spontaneity and joy. The excitement of doing something only for my craft, for learning more, for the few people who genuinely care for my growth as a writer. And the thrill of writing just about anywhere -- in the car, on the top berth of the train, at work, in between meetings -- just about anything.

When I read my old posts, I am sometimes surprised by the quality of writing and the clarity of thought. I cannot say if my current work is worse than before, but it surely isn't better.
So this year, I have decided to tame my ambition. To try to smell the roses more often. To try and look around as I walk -- not run -- towards my success. For if I am destined to succeed, I'd succeed anyway, and if not, I'd have at least enjoyed the race.

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