Writing – Why Bother?

bkcover its your life As I eagerly await the cover design for my fifth book from my publisher, I am reminded of my first  book and the gumption it took to get it out there.It’s Your Life – A Practical Handbook for Chronic Ailments” was written from my firsthand experience as a primary caregiver for different members of my family, at different points of time.  I have spent over a month outside the general ward of a government hospital, because my brother’s brain injury did not allow him to be moved.  The year of paralysis after that.  Asthma attacks and heart attacks.   Kidney failure.  The list is long.  The experience deep and lasting.  I have interacted with patients and families from different walks of life.  From diverse strata of life.  That is where I learnt how to listen.  Because that is all that you can do in those situations.  To offer platitudes would be futile and insensitive.  In response to all this gut wrenching helplessness and the mind boggling challenges of navigating an often inefficient and sometimes corrupt medical world, I drew on the pragmatism instilled in me by my parents. I kept learning, testing and unlearning in the best way that I could, so that my family would receive the best support that I could muster. As I looked around, I realized that most people were struggling in these situations.  Their emotions would cloud their ability to function rationally and many of them were overwhelmed by the dictatorial authority figures and medical jargon.  So I began jotting down my learnings in as crisp and useful a manner as I could. What was intended to be an article on a friend’s complementary healing website turned into a concise, but detailed handbook.  And I had no clue whatsoever as to what I was supposed to do with it. But as I started sharing the draft with others, the response was unanimous.  Every reader felt this book should be put out there.  How, no one knew. But for all my noble intentions, there were practical challenges.   I have no formal background in writing or publishing.  Nor did I have any contacts in this field.  Also, I had no funds.  With my husband on dialysis, every rupee was precious and carefully monitored.  After a lot of discussion within the family, my father finally declared, “You have to do this.  Even if one person benefits, its worth the effort.” These words have guided me ever since that day.  I keep writing and sharing, with the consistent prayer that someone, somewhere, benefits. It is not always easy.  To share personal experiences (like this one). To share openly.  There are any number of opinions that can come your way. “Oh, you self-published?”   “You gave it away free, is it?”   “Isn’t it too short to be called a book?”  And sometimes I bought into these stories – of how self publishing, or gifting the book or making it concise  – were shortcomings in some way. Despite two print runs, one translation, The Caregiver’s Manual, and the hundreds of downloads and heart warming feedback from across the world, I now marvel at how apologetically I would confess that I had written two books.  Only after “Emotional Freedom Techniques” came out thanks to Wisdom Tree, did I feel it was safe to call myself an author.  SOUL made it a little more comfortable and now I finally feel ready to release my fifth into the world. Today, I have gotten over the step motherly treatment I have given my first two books.  I look back amazed at my dad and my husband.  I feel grateful… for the faith they placed in me.  For the printers, who refused to take payment once they read the book. For the donation from a pharmaceutical company official for the second print run.  For the cover design created and contributed by my healer friends.  For the translators who translated the book into Marathi.  For the innumerable friends, family, doctors, patients and medical social workers who took it upon themselves to reach this book to wherever they thought it was needed.  For the  feedback from readers that has frequently left me in tears. So when someone asks me, “You know, I always wanted to write a book.  I have this idea I am working on… what do you suggest?  How do I get myself to sit down and write it?  How do I get a publisher?  What will sell better, ebooks or paperbacks?” and so on… I have no suitable reply. But for those who ask, “How many copies have you sold?  How many Likes did you get for that article, and you must have spent hours writing it?  How many hits does your blog get?  Do you really make enough money from writing?  Why do you do it?” For them, this is my answer. After “It’s Your Life”, there has been no real choice in the matter.  The books, articles, poems – they write themselves and insist upon being freed into the world.  And  because the urge to honour them, to reach them wherever they are meant to go, is far greater than any resistance, excuse or inhibitions I may have – I offer them to you. That’s why I bother to write.  And in the bargain, I have gained a little understanding of:

Karmanye Vadhikaraste Ma Phaleshu Kadachana” ~ Krishna, Bhagwat Geeta (Do your duty and be detached from its outcome, do not be driven by the end product, enjoy the process of getting there.)

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12 thoughts on “Writing – Why Bother?

  1. I so resonate with what you have shared Sangeeta…………writing just happens!!! Love you!!!!

    and all the best for your next…:))))))))))))))))))))))

  2. As usual, you always touch my heart. Love you and very proud of you. Looking forward for many more books to come from you. Keep writing.

  3. Dear Sangeeta,

    Thank you for this inspirational piece. As is often the case with your writing, you help lift our thoughts to loftier – and in my opinion (and I am sure yours) our true place. The place we often forget as we get caught in life’s doings (which is after all our humanness).
    You remind us here about the true essence of work – to serve. As your wise father said ….even if it helps one person.” I am sure that is already accomplished, but holding this as our North Star is a beautiful reminder of why we do this – and for the joy of expression.
    Wishing you all the best from this new book – looking forward to reading it (let us know as soon as it is ready for purchase).
    ~Everything good for you and your family,
    Warmly Louise
    PS Thanks for the recent reblog on A Different Kind of Spring Detox http://wp.me/pxJUg-17q

  4. Thanks for sharing this so heart-fully!!

    I am going to keep this around to remind me of doing my work without attachment to the fruits.. “Water the roots and surrender the fruits!”

    Love,
    Sheetal

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