How Does it Benefit You?

Coincidence it most likely is. Or it could be that I carry a visible only to others sign of “underemployed” on my person. Because twice during the course of the past week I was asked this question – “Why do you write? How does it benefit you?”. I mumbled some explanation to the posers of the question – different answers each time, making up in bravado what they lacked in logic – and made a mental note that I should make it a bit more public the motivations (?) that make me put pen to paper fingers to keyboard

Someone who has illusions of emancipation from the dire bottom of Abraham Maslow’s pyramid yet not having scaled the pinnacle of self actualization would try to make economic benefits from most acts. That’s understood and is quite normal. I have always been, continue to be and will surely maintain the trait of being bit of a buffoon in such matters. I do not have any intent of monetizing my writing. This blog does not run any digital ads, I have written for other publications and have never asked for money. So I guess that question “How does it benefit you?” is perfectly in order and the reasons have got to be outside of monetary gains

I write to clear my mind. Ever since I started writing – in whatever form – I noticed that the act of stringing my thoughts together forced me to clear my mind of clutter and helped me focus. This starts from the time a writing idea germinates. And on the other side of the coin, the alternate hypothesis reinforces this feeling. I am able to  easily correlate my writer’s blocks with periods where my mind wanders too much around. Distraction is a bane to thinking. So writing helps me think clearly (thinking clearly is a good thing, I hope you will agree) and sweep out cobwebs of my mind. Hence I write

I write to inform. The pompous idiot that I am I almost wrote the earlier line as “I write to teach”. Bunkum. What do I know that I will teach? Wisdom has eluded me as judiciously as economic development has in the hinterlands of India’s North East. I have however in my quest to learn accumulated information – information from different fields – which sometimes I feel compelled to interpret in the context of a particular line of thinking. That is what I put down on paper – my interpretation of information. I put it up on a public platform so people could come and tell me what they think (like recently a commentator, calling himself Verbal Clint, called me Kobiyashi. Ha Ha – actually no, that happened in the movie Usual Suspects. Verbal on this blog was kinder. He read my piece and pronounced me a “sad idiot”)

I write to leave a legacy. There was a time some ten years back when I lost someone with who I had shared a room in my college hostel. Losing a close contemporary makes one aware of mortality. And the thought of mortality lead to thinking of legacy – how will the world remember me when I am no more? Again, who am I to tell people to judge me in a particular way? All I can do is dip my fingers in paint and leave my fingerprints on a wide canvas. These prints are my writing. Hopefully they will survive the ravages of time and people will find it worthwhile to read them long after I am gone (hey Google, just don’t indexing these pages, ok?)

That’s it. These are the only three reasons why I write

Incidentally, not all authors write for identical reasons. For example, here is the brilliantly honest George Orwell telling you why he writes

 “I have made it appear as though my motives in writing were wholly public-spirited. I don’t want to leave that as the final impression. All writers are vain, selfish, and lazy, and at the very bottom of their motives there lies a mystery

But then, if I were George Orwell I would have written Animal Farm, no?

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