Sajal Choudhary

I tell stories

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What does it take to be a writer?


It can be pretty damning, to promise something, and not follow up on it, just a day later.

I did that, yesterday. But maybe, the promise was taking things a little too far.

That was yesterday though. Today, is a new day, and today, I want to talk about what being a writer is all about. Like always, something happened which has prompted this line of thought. And like always there’s a story.

I began writing in college. I saw a superb article in the university papers, and decided that I wanted to do something like that. With that, I approached the seniors, and got into the field. They expected, or maybe, wanted me to be a reporter, but that didn’t quite work out the way they had hoped. I liked stories more. I liked telling them.

That day, happened some five to six years before today. I wrote for an online publication, wrote stories mostly. And that was that. Then, in the final year, I began writing the first novel, which I finished, just now.

A couple of days ago, a friend of mine, asked me to read his first effort.

This friend of mine, had no background, and/or, interest in writing from before. He does not read. The only book he has read till date, is, ‘I am legend’, and that too, because he really loved the Will Smith starrer. This friend, basically one day decided he wanted to write a story, and managed to do so, in fits and starts.

When the fat lady sings..

I am proud of my friend.

I finished reading the novel sometime today morning. I finished it, and I could see a hundred things wrong with it. The grammar, the tenses, the dialogues, the way the same person said opposite things in the same paragraph.

I could see it all, and I could see the story.

I could see Sukhi, and Mannat. They are the protagonists of this story. I could feel their pain. I lived their lives, no matter how cheesy, or melodramatic it was. I lived it.

And then, at the end of it all, I found myself wondering, what does it take for someone to be called a writer?

Look around you, and you’ll see that everyone is a writer. We all write. It is a need. We write emails, and blog posts. We write stories, and poems. Everyone who can, is a writer.

But that does not seem right does it?

It feels wrong that all the pain that we go through, when we create people, and their lives, the situations that make, or break them, has no reward. It feels wrong. I mean what’s the point, if anyone can come up the street, and call themselves a writer.

I think, the only thing that matters, the only thing that differentiates a writer, is that they write. We write. We sit, and we tell stories. Everybody else, is an impostor.

What do you think?