Seems people turn authors at practically every age you can think of, once their hormones have kicked in. I started writing in school. It probably started with the mandatory essay a week for English Language class, then expanded into articles and stories for the school magazine and intra- and inter-school writing competitions. In college, I was too busy with hanging around, sports and studies—in that order—to have much time for writing. During my professional life, especially as a banker, I had occasion to write copiously: an endless stream of marketing, credit (lending) and administrative reports. Cooking up dry, spiritless business reports with jargon topping completely buried my natural tendency to write humor.
When I became an entrepreneur, the writing thing pretty much dried up. That rough 12-year period, when everything I had financially, physically and mentally was annihilated, ended when I ran away (crawled away, licking my wounds?) from Kathmandu to Chennai.
In the process of recovering whatever mind and spirit I had had, I started writing again, without plan or purpose. I wrote just about anything that came to mind: stories, essays, satirical “news releases” (usually on political developments, just for the hell of it) with a readership of one. Me. The process of writing was cathartic. Unfortunately, I did not save most of what I wrote—mindless stupidity that proves I hadn’t fully recovered yet.
A little over two years ago, I got inspired by a two-hour video sales pitch for a “how to become Kindle bestselling authors” package that cost about US$ 2,000. There wasn’t enough money in my pocket to afford that package, but there was enough information in that video to encourage me to try out Kindle for myself, and over the next year, I published three non-fiction books. While they have not exactly had me rolling in dough, they have been all the encouragement I need. I did everything: writing, editing, formatting and designing, and I think they came out fine for first efforts.
I have been writing every day since, though not at the output levels I would like to achieve.
Over these two years, I have tried to get engaged—on as sustained a basis, as far as I can manage—with other authors and readers on social media and wherever else I can find them. I have had some success and a great deal of fun. I made some great friends, of the kind that would warm the hearts of any of the three categories of authors I describe below.
1. The hard-boiled egg
These scribblers are pretty much closed to external influences. They are tightly disciplined, the “Plan exactly what you want to implement and implement exactly what you planned” type. They are folks with rigid blueprints, outlines, character charts, time spans, word counts and budgetary allocations. They hang up prominent DO NOT DISTURB boards and use software to shut out everything except word processing on their computers.
They are like happily married folks who avoid risqué conversations, porn sites and singles bars, and confess at church every time they have a wet dream.
2. Sunny side up
These scribes are open to surprises and contingencies. They are reasonably disciplined, but stay on the look-out for new ideas and inputs. They are the “Plan what you want to implement and implement what you planned. And keep an eye out for the accessories, addons and apps” type. They are folks with flexible blueprints, outlines, character charts, time spans, word counts and budgetary allocations. They have Disturb ONLY If Absolutely Unavoidable boards on their work desks and use software to shut out everything except word processing and Facebook on their computers. Oh, and Skype, too.
They are like happily married folks who don’t mind the occasional double entendre or the odd visit to porn sites and singles bars, and jump their spouses every time they have a wet dream. They go to church, but find nothing to confess to.
3. Scrambled eggs
These writers start work with an idea in mind. They are completely open to anything that comes along, anything that promises to add to their book. They are the “Plan what you intend to implement, start implementing, and we’ll see where it goes” type. They have no time for blueprints, outlines, character charts, time spans, word counts, budgetary allocations. They do have Disturb, But Without Expectation boards somewhere around, and feel their computers are being underutilized if their browsers do not have word processing and at least a dozen tabs open, including Facebook and Skype. Ah yes, Google+ Hangouts, too.
They are happily unmarried folks who specialize in bawdy, occasionally visit a porn site or two to check out the latest in S&M and hop singles bars, with a doubles bar thrown in every four or five stops. They have difficulty choosing from their little blue books every time they have a wet dream. They go to church sometimes, to scope out the broads… or the hunks, as the case may be.
Now, I am not passing any opinions about the good or bad in each of these three author types, because I got no such opinions. You are one of these three types, as I am. If you won’t show, I won’t tell, and hopefully you will give me the same consideration.
And if you think I have missed out on some author types, it is your duty to inform folks, down there in the comments section.
By the way, whatcha doin’ this weekend? Apart from writin’, I mean?