On Writing

a journal entry by Haider


In retrospect, I struggle when it comes to reading my previous work , no matter how old or new. Even if it was deemed as my magnum opus at the time. Even if it was the one that provided somebody with a glimpse of light, or the reminder that they can still cry after all this time.


Oftentimes I have been asked, “how do you write?” Or been told, “I have so many ideas, but I don’t know how to express them”.


Writing is breaking yourself apart piece by piece, puzzle by puzzle. You may not understand what you have just laid out in front of yourself beforehand, but when you try to piece it all together, for some reason, it fits. It imperfectly fits perfectly.


The greatest pieces of literature, in whatever era you may perceive the greatest pieces of literature to have existed, have all come from a deep and vulnerable place. It sort of makes you think that all damage is good damage. Every great artist is chained by a greater tragedy they cannot free themselves from.


Whatever has happened to you has to result in a creative outcome in some shape or form. But when you can’t make it into something creative or make it sound poetic, you think whatever has happened to you is not bad enough, or that you’re not damaged enough. It’s not enough to write something worthy of praise, of love, of being read.


For a long time, I lived in the bubble of writing tragedy. I still believe I work best when I write something bleak and gloomy. I used to hear the praises I would get for writing something sad, and I would think to myself, “Yeah, this is it. This is the one. I need to write something like this. Something sad and gut-wrenching.”


But why? Why should I revolve around my tragedy? I cannot force my writing to go in the complete opposite direction if I am honest. If I write a tragedy, I’ll let it be. But, if I write something romantic or happy, does it not deserve the same amount of praise? Can that not be touched or felt?


The belief that you have the potential to write something that could possibly save somebody’s life or relationship, or make them feel something they’ve longed for or had trouble finding the words for, can all be overwhelming. It can be challenging to write around that. You never know where you are headed, or just where you would like to see yourself. But the beauty is in going through everything you go through to get to where you need to be. That is why you write. To float in limbo, in unknowingness, where everything comes to reveal itself on its own.


Every artist dreams of finding solace in their work, some rarely do, whereas others never knew that was what they were searching for. They go on to writing, and they could try making a home in someone’s compliment, or they could hate on everything they have done.


I don’t know what I am if not for my ability to make someone feel warm. I don’t know what good my hands are, my lips, or my mouth if they cannot make someone feel safe. But, if my words, just my words, can do that, then it compensates for the rest of me.


Writing is just an attempt to figure out what you would say if you could speak.