Early next week, I will sign the contract with my publisher for my debut novel. After the strangely quiet satisfaction of acceptance, there’s a residual feeling of anti climax and regret. Before you wonder what sort of ingrate would not jump with elation at an opportunity like this, let me explain. I know I am that minuscule percentage that has made it this far, and actually bagged a publishing contract. Trust me, I am more than grateful. But let me explain, why it does get too late and why I urge you to pursue your passion sooner rather than later.
- Age: I feel overwhelmed. With an ill husband, ailing parents and being no spring chicken myself, I wonder how I am going to handle the hustle bustle of book launches, literary festivals and other promotion podiums. It would have been so much easier if I had started when I was in my 20’s or 30’s. Life seemed to hold less surprises and setbacks. Also, I had boundless energy and enthusiasm.
- Greed: Being reasonably well-settled financially, there were so many times I thought of quitting the rat race of query letters and rejections. The desire to be published lacked the fuel of material necessity so my greed for success was limited. I kept questioning why I needed to subject myself to this ordeal of the waiting game.
- Discipline: I have been writing since my teen years in fits and bursts but I only decided to write my novel as a promise to myself which I needed to complete before my fiftieth birthday. I had no discipline because I had built none over the past three decades of being mother and wife. My family was completely unused to my unavailability and I literally used to write in the wee hours of the morning, stealing time for myself.
- Competition: Back in the day, television had a single channel, the Internet was something out of a science fiction film and publishers welcomed writers with relatively open arms. Choosing to write in this era of social media overload, its self publishing portals, and millions of books available at your beck and call, is extremely challenging.
- Relevance: In the yesteryears, good writing had a lot more value. Today, writing is about a quick fix. Commercial and pulp fiction is ruling the roost while poetry and literary fiction are waiting in the the sidelines, just relics from the past. I spent years studying Shakespeare and poring over Byron for my degree in English Literature. Today, I dare not speak their names in my work.
This is not just a piece about writing. It is a piece about life itself. Sing, dance, travel, act, skydive, bungee jump, learn tennis.. do whatever your heart desires. This is the moment. Not only can you enjoy it fully and whole heartedly, you can give it your absolute best. Time and tide wait for none. We do not realise the unchangeable truth of that proverb in our seemingly invincible youthful days. Then reality hits home at the final stretch. Chase your dreams before your legs get too wobbly to run after them. Start now. Tomorrow is too late. Carpe Diem. Seize the day!
Alisha “Priti” Kirpalani is the author of “A Smattering Of Darkness: Short and Shorter Twisted Tales,” (available on Kindle Unlimited) a collection of short stories of varying lengths encapsulating the grey shades of the human psyche. Her new novel will be released later this year.