Seven steps to success
ONE: Now that I think of it I started writing quite early. It was disguised as 1000 word answers to questions in English language examinations where the stipulated word limit was 250 words.
TWO: Once school ended, writing took up a different form: texting.
THREE: Armed with a Nokia 3300 I used to crank out 300-word pieces on college gossip; sometimes I wrote debates and speeches for my friends who were brave enough to take the stage.
FOUR: But all of this happened before I was introduced to the amazing, limitless and little known entity called the Internet. As times changed my modus operandi changed too. Now with a dial-up connection and 200 odd friends on Orkut, I started to write little blogs about the college, the transgressions of my friends, and smartly disguised love odes to girls I had crushes on.
Motivation: At that time, I know I was doing it to get laid – my version of driving a tinted Alto around college.
FIVE: However, of all the things that I thought about the Internet is, I never thought of it as accepting and inclusive but had to change my mind because of what followed. The readership of the blog went beyond the people I knew and every time I clicked on the button ‘Publish’ I imagined myself beneath an old banyan tree with all these people listening intently to me with their chins resting on their knuckles, almost exactly how I imagined myself when reading Roald Dahl or Ruskin Bond or Enid Blyton as a child.
Motivation: To have their attention, to get them to smile, to have their hair stand on their end, to have that kind of power over someone was almost addictive.
SIX: I was goaded into writing my first book by the readers of my blog and I was foolish and young enough to think I could do such a thing – to aim to have my book amongst authors I had read and sometimes worshipped.
SEVEN: I wished to sell at least a hundred copies. I had no burning desire to be widely read. A hundred is all I wanted to sell.
Over the years, I have sold more than 100 copies, written 11 novels and a few short stories. But why I write what I write, is still a question I can’t justly answer.
To say I have ideas that can change the world or are far-reaching (though I sometimes try), would be wrong to say because I know it’s far too noble a thought for me to consider.
Writing, I would say, for me is personal. I love it. And it is a very selfish pursuit. It allows me to have a conversation about things I care about with people who might or might not be going through the same things. It surely beats having that conversation with yourself.
Writing doesn’t come easily to me; it’s hard work but it’s the only pursuit that makes me happy, and it’s really as simple as that. It’s not because I’m good at it, not because decades down the line people would read my books and still find them relevant, but because it’s all I ever wanted to do.
Motivation: I want to be good at it and it’s fun. Imagine! For fun. Why should anyone give up that?
It’s like being on the beach for a lifetime if that’s the kind of thing you’re into. It’s like being an engineer on an oil rig who really loves to dig up oil. Imagine a pro tennis player at the Wimbeldon, being cheered on by thousands, and now take away the thousands, and he or she would still play and enjoy it.
Writing for me is just as adrenaline pumping! Just as addictive. I enjoy the process as much as I enjoy being read.
Also I have literally no self-control. I have to write.
Durjoy Datta has written or co-written over 10 novels, most of them bestsellers, and two television shows.