A couple of months ago, I created a logo for this blog. When it came to the idea of a tagline, I paused and thought about the 400-odd posts I’d written in this space.
Across fiction, non-fiction, blogging tips, writing tips, poetry, gratitude posts, the one thing that stuck out was this: I always want to be writing from the heart.
To be honest, that’s not as easy as it sounds.
How do you write from the heart? How do you write freely when every word or sentence or post you write can be dissected, misconstrued or mis-interpreted to mean something totally different from what you intended?
And how do you do it without coming across as either pretentious or overly sentimental?
Here’s the key:
Write without expectations.
I know that sounds trite and condescending in some ways but I assure you I don’t intend it that way. Let me explain.
As 2018 wound down and 2019 began, a change set in. Where I was busy chasing things, people and achievements in 2018, I suddenly stopped, slowed down and stepped back.
I was going about my business, my goals and my life all wrong. I wasn’t supposed to chase things. I was supposed to be working hard at what I enjoyed doing.
What I enjoyed doing was writing and helping people.
Once that shift happened, things began to slowly fall into place.
Books came back into my life almost as if a higher force had summoned them.
As I got back to books with a sense of gratitude, I started looking at my life online as a mere extension of my existence.
It wasn’t the end of the world if someone didn’t read my blog or appreciate my work. It didn’t mean that people didn’t care if they didn’t reach out to check on me.
It just meant that I had to gently lower my expectations to practically zero when it came to anything and anyone.
Not with malice, mind you. But with empathy.
The year 2018 ended with my mom having a nasty fall, fracturing her nose. In that split second when I heard the news, every insignificant thing flew out the window.
Page views, subscribers, online friends and acquaintances or what they thought of me: none of it mattered.
What mattered was my mom.
Two weeks later, as I write this post, the thing that stands out for me is this lesson:
Work with all your heart on the thing that you love. Everything else will follow when the time is right.
Oh and pick yourself up, brush it off and keep going. Maybe even laugh about your misfortunes.
That’s what my mom told me last night. Except that she actually said, ‘You know, I feel like Shahrukh Khan.’
‘You recall those movies where he always falls, beaten up by thugs and has blood flowing from every pore on his face? Then he gets up and keeps fighting. That’s what I feel like. So, any time I feel the pain come back I tell myself,’ You’re Shahrukh Khan. You can do this.’
If my mom can compare herself to a Bollywood movie star at the age of 60, pick herself up and keep going, then I have no excuse for all the self pity and visions of grandeur I’ve built for myself in 2018.
The only answer is Grit. Passion and perseverance and doing it with the one thing that you love doing. Whether it’s fiction, poetry, writing tips on this blog or tutorials, blogging tips and parenting posts on the other blogs, one message is loud and clear. Whatever I do, I must do it with one intention.
For me, that’s writing from the heart.