Destiny and a Stay-At-Home Writer by Avantika

Almost everyone I know is writing, or at the very least thinking about writing. They’re writing their blogs, Facebook entries, websites, letters, memoranda, opinions, outlines, summaries, synopses, petitions and so much more. What are they writing about? A mother who recently lost her 2-year old son in tragic circumstances writes a blog to keep his memory alive. A journalist writes his blog to give so that what he writes is the whole truth and not vetted by editors. Lawyers prepare opinions for clients on whether they should pursue a claim or not. Politicians sweet-talk their way into getting as many votes as possible. A songstress writes about her beliefs and what inspires her. There’s the writer who chooses to make a living by writing full time. Some are experts in non-fiction work. Some have scaled the literary heights and become internationally published authors. Then, there are those who continue to dream of making it big in the literary world. All of them use words and this got me thinking about the concept of Transformational Vocabulary.

Anthony Robbins writes as follows:
‘The words you consistently select will shape your destiny. … The way we represent things in our minds determines how we feel about life. A related distinction is that if you don’t have a way of representing something, you can’t experience it. While you can picture something without having a word for it, or your can represent it through sound or sensation, there’s no denying that being able to articulate something gives it added dimension and substance, and thus a sense of reality. … But, is this just semantics? If all you change is the word, then the experience does not change. But, if using the word causes you to break your own habitual emotional patterns, then everything changes.’

Last week, I had reason again to think about the choices I made. My friend and I were at a local restaurant for lunch. This is how our conversation unfolded.

“Do you know that Janet thinks I’m very brave to do what I did?”

“Actually, I think you’re brave too.”

I frowned. “No-lah. I’m not brave. I’ve told you, I just hated it so much. Hate, Pauline. Not dislike. Not bearable. Just hate.”

“Yes, but you’re still brave. Not many people can do what you’re doing. To write your books, your blog and continue with it.”


In the past few days, I’ve been pondering over this issue of being ‘brave’. I thought I’d plot my progress in the last few years. Here’s what I’ve jotted in my journal:

While in the corporate world: Glamorous job. Well-paying. Stress. Perpetually living in fear of what the boss is going to say. Working for someone else. Having no freedom to say what I mean. Forcing myself to respect a boss who deserves no respect (although a ‘happily’ married man, he was seen kissing a subordinate outside the ladies toilet during the company’s annual dinner). Losing hair but don’t mind paying thousands to companies who promise that hair will grow back fast. Have a secretary but she’s so stupid she sends confidential documents to the wrong client.

The first month after I left the corporate world: Uncertain of whether I’m going to get another job. Free. Getting up in the morning without a headache. Counting my pennies. No longer giving generous tips. Swallow pride and insist that friends pay their share when we go out for drinks.

First year after leaving the corporate world: Don’t give tips at all. Learning what words like ‘editor,’ ‘non-fiction,’ ‘line-editing,’ ‘structural editing’ and ‘mss’ stand for. Learning to dye, treat and style my hair on my own as it’s cheaper than going to a salon. Decided that people who go for pedicures do so because they have too much money and are just too fat to bend down and clean their own feet. Am becoming a good cook as can’t afford to eat out anymore – as a result, skin feels smoother and looks healthier. Envy those friends who go to Bali for a three-day break at Club Med.

First year of writing full-time: Poor.

First year and one month of writing full-time: Have been told by family that they see me less now than when I was working in corporate world. Wondering whether online publishers have misrepresented themselves when they make statements like, “You can earn big bucks writing full-time.”

Some time after getting into the swing of things with writing full-time: have adopted a pet. Have been told that it’s good therapy for those who feel depressed. Still, love the fact I was there to look after aged parent. Didn’t need to worry about asking boss for compassionate leave and wondering if I’d have a job to go back to after three weeks. Able to go to the mall when everyone else is working. Find that friends who used to be close are no longer close – very little in common between a full-time writer and working for someone else full-time.

After a long time writing full-time: Hair has grown back – looks absolutely lovely now. Am gaining recognition as a writer. Finally understand what it means to do something I love. Have found new friends in writing circle who can, at the drop of a hat, tell me how to find the POP information for my email account. Joined Facebook and read comments from friends like ‘…hate work. Bosses are so fickle/erratic. Can’t decide if they want to allow us access to Facebook or not. *?#**#!’ Pity them!

Established writer: after years, taking first holiday. Not rich holiday in Club Med, like before. But have found a writer friend who lives in a house by the beach in Australia. Lovely place. Will only have to pay for the flight ticket and gifts. Looking forward to many nights discussing books we’ve read. Had a fleeting thought that, maybe I could go back to the corporate world. Felt the bile rising. Now, that, would take sheer courage … and it’ll probably be an act of desperation!

Reviewing all of this, perhaps, my destiny lies in writing full-time.


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