How I Started Writing

I’ve been asked this questions more than half a dozen times in the last month alone by my school friends and a few acquaintances, and last week when I had to write this answer for the FAQs section for my website, it got so long that I thought I might as well make it a post and leave a link back to it rather than taking up all the space with a single answer.

It always irritates me whenever anyone pings me on Facebook and start the conversation by saying “I never knew you liked writing” or something on the same lines. It  irritates me because it reminds me of how I let my mother’s expectations get the better of me. It irritates me because I never ever told anyone what I wanted to do, not even my own self. So I thought I’d finally answer this question once and for all.

How I started writing…

Like most writers, I was not a child-writer (you know children who start writing beautiful – or shitty – stories from an early age.) Though I did love reading, or to be more specific stories. Cinderella was my favorite, and because of  being left unattended due to my parents failing marriage, I used to think that I was living Cinderella’s life. Of course, the difference was that my parents were alive (lucky me!)

I used to spend almost all my time in pretend worlds (which now I know are called fictional worlds.) I use to line up all my dolls and bears and other toys upon returning from school and pretended to teach them whatever I learned in my classes that day or play house-house with my dolls and barbies and used to treat my 1.5-acre tree-covered property as a long forgotten island where I lived alone.

Whenever I was sad (which was oddly rare) I used to share my sorrows with my dolls and never real people. I have a disgusting amount of friends – zero to be exact – and I was happy being that way because I hated any company, except when it came to my toys and fictional friends (any guesses? Well, it was Cinderella.)

So I knew that I loved stories and books (and movies), but I found out that I wanted to be a writer on a very special day. I was in 6th grade and as per my school’s curriculum, we had our 1st ever library period in the very first week of starting of that school year.  I was completely mesmerized because my school library was very different than my local library – it was my school library (you know! SCHOOL LIBRARY!)

Of course, the first thing that I wanted to read was a good book, but our Sister Principal gave strict instructions to our Librarian to let us pick books from a particular shelf only. That shelf had some educational mags and some similar uninteresting things and I hated the idea of being restricted. And by that point, my enthusiasm for being in the school library considerably dropped and I began missing my local library.

So like everyone else in my class I picked up whatever I could get my hands on and began leafing through it when all of a sudden I came across a poem. It was named something like The Tree (I’m not sure now), but I was so impressed by that poem that I wrote it down in my new ‘Library Notes’ notebook. Which was huge for me because until that day I never really cared for poetry.

After that I read it again and again, switching between the mag from which I copied it and my notebook, for the entire period. After that whenever I used to go the library (once every week) I used to copy down the poems or articles I found interesting. The thing was I wanted to write so badly that having no idea how to write something on my own, I started to copy whatever I thought was good.

And so on I kept doing till finally, I had to give up those mags for studying references (yeah, I was a nerd.) That was the first time when I actually contemplated becoming ‘one of those people who write all this’ and I remember thinking, after all, there have to be a few dedicated people who wrote stuff for these mags and books? You see, for whatever reason, I was simply not aware at that age that writing is a career option.

After that year I lost my normal library routine because I got caught up in studying to fulfill my mother’s dream of becoming an engineer. And thinking that writing was simply not a career option for me, by any strech of the imagination, I never ever told anyone about it (mostly because I buried this dream so deep inside of me that I barely thought about it again.) That is until I started reading again (and that was after my parents’ divorce at the age of 16.)

I started reading and my grades started dropping (much to my mom and step-father’s discontent.) Still, I kept on reading because that was the only escape I had. I read most of Sidney Sheldon’s books and then started reading Nicholas Sparks. After that, I read Twilight and other few books. Due to the scarcity of time, I used to read only at nights taking out half an hour or one hour out of my study time which would always end up in 4-5 hours of reading.

After that, I never really left reading, no matter how my grades were affected (and this is something I’m really happy about and proud of.)

Then I got into Electronics and Telecommunication Engineering and finally coming to my senses, I rebelled against my mom and step-father in my 2nd year of engineering and dropped out of it, and married Vishal. And after that, everything changed forever because I finally started thinking about what I wanted to do. Still, it took me some time to finally realize that I can become a writer and start writing whatever I wanted to. So after I did 3D Animation Film Making I got straight down to it. I created The Reading Bud and thought of starting with baby steps by writing reviews of books I read.

And then later I started this blog, and here I am 2 years later with my first book getting published and already half way through my second novel 🙂

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31 Comments on “How I Started Writing

  1. That is a very touching story how you broke out of the prison dreams of others and lived the life you wanted to live. You are an amazing example, Heena. But your story also shows that once you are ready for that step and make the decision all things are coming together. I wish you success but most of all joy with your releases!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I can relate to a childhood without friends. My family was in the military, so we moved every 3 years, and any friends I would make I’d lose. So I stopped making friends, and books and stuffed animals became my only friends. Books were a great escape for me, and I think that’s why I started making up my own stories at a young age.

    I’m glad you pursued your dream of reading and writing. This was a lovely post, Heena. Thank you for sharing your story with us. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Fascinating! You started off by making us believe you were going to tell us how you started writing and then you craftily inserted your own biography in it. Brilliant! 😊
    I think it is a difficult thing in our country for someone to think they could pursue a career in writing, particularly with a science background like yours.
    All the best for your upcoming book and the rest of your career.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks. and well, this is the only answer that comes to my mind when someone asks me this question. My writing is the sum of all the events that lead up to it, and it’ll be an incomplete answer if I’ll leave out even a single thing. 🙂
      And agreed. The general mentality here is that either you pursue a career in Medicine or Engineering otherwise your life’s a waste. And Writing is not even considered a career option by any stretch of the imagination. So yeah, it is very difficult to be able to pull off being a writer in India, but someone’s gotta do it, right? 😉
      Anyway, thanks for reading. All the best to you too.
      Have a great day!

      Liked by 1 person

      • As a reader, getting context is always welcome in order to understand an event, as nothing takes place in vacuum. Plus I really enjoyed the post.

        As for career, look at what the Olympics have brought up yet again. We want our athletes to win medals, but can’t even accept sports as a passion for our kids. More’s the hypocrisy, more’s the trouble.
        Have a great weekend ahead. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  4. It is inspiring reading of your writing journey. Many of us bury our dreams and neglect the things that inspire us because of the pressure to study and be in the traditionally accepted fields of career.
    I am so glad that you had the courage to break out of the mould and pursue your passion.

    Liked by 1 person

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