“I have got plenty of stories to tell you, will you listen?” the reflection in the mirror seemed to say. What I was looking at was me, but something was different about me, the reflection. I seemed younger and more energetic, as if the weariness of life had failed to touch my reflection. I smiled and said, “I would love to listen to you.” Writing for me is not about telling stories; it is about listening to the manifestation of light within me, the real me. Listening to him fills me with joy, and the spills resulting from the cascade of joy are the pieces of writing I produce. Writing is a three-step process for me, in the first I listen in order to write the introduction paragraph, following which I brainstorm to produce the body paragraphs, lastly, I read the content and write the conclusion by what I understood from my writing and the insights I gained from it.

A blank page is every writer’s nightmare. If we get intimidated by this nightmare, what we deliver is the reader’s nightmare, a poor piece or a blank page. For me facing it results in wobbly knees and a fuzzy brain, which is why I reach out for help, and the inner me is always ready to help. The first step in my writing process is to get an understanding of the prompt. I think about the numerous angles from which the topic can be written about, and decide on the path I wish to choose. I then repeat the choice to myself a couple of times, to check if I am sure about my choice and to convey it to myself. If I am sure of my choice and it has been conveyed, I make an effort to mimic a meditative state, because only still water can have a clear reflection. I want to listen to what I have to say clearly and my method of communicating with myself is to reflect emotions and ideas. Although the process might seem long it takes only a couple of minutes, it is the listening and expressing what I listen to which takes time. The reason I like to listen rather than think is because when we think we only scratch the surface, but when we turn inwards to listen, we take a plunge into the deep ocean of our subconscious mind.

I am rewarded by the first paragraph after I am done listening. Now I start my brainstorming process and transition from a listener to a seeker. I put forward questions, which I write down, because when I articulate the questions, they are no longer vague and I know what I am looking for. Similar questions are put together, and then each of them is assigned paragraphs in which they will be answered. Weary of the process I cock my ear once again to listen. It is transforming from a listener to a seeker and back to a listener which materializes the body paragraphs. It is only when I write the last paragraph that I am a writer. My understanding of the lessons learnt by listening to myself and seeking answers are summed up in the last paragraph. In my opinion, when I write the introduction, I am a tool to put into words what my subconscious is feeling, the body paragraphs are a dialogue between me and my subconscious mind, and the conclusion are my words, it is what I feel.

Writing for me is digesting the insight I gain into myself and my surroundings. Reading my work helps me understand what I see during the process of writing. The complexities seem simpler and the conflicts resolve themselves when I read them. This in turn gives me a glimpse of even deeper insights, though these are meant only for me. The strong urge to share what I see and feel during these insights are the spills of joy I had talked about earlier. Strangely the urge is fulfilled through writing even if I do not share my work. In the end, comes the part I dread all along, revision. Revision is the hardest part of writing for me because it feels like work and getting rid of my own words is an extremely uncomfortable process. I enjoy writing, but I tremble at the thought of revising, which is why I am often guilty of not revising my work.

Listening, brainstorming and reading is the process I follow to write. My work is my work, but it also is not. Barring the last paragraph, I am merely a messenger. After I am done writing a piece, I relish the feeling of contentment I get from it. The listening, brainstorming and even the revision, that is if I took the time to do it, seem worth the time. When I write I feel as if I am exploring my mind, which never fails to surprise me with its novelty. If you are still wondering ‘who am I as a writer?’ I am a student seeking to learn from myself, the me who resides in the subconscious.

 

 

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Samarth Khanna

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