When you are a writer, a popular one at that, the stakes are always high, the general expectation is that you will bring out something that will be better than the last work. And that yardstick, your last work, is always a difficult one to meet. When I was in school, I had read Paulo Coelho’s “Alchemist” and was mighty impressed by the simplicity of the prose and the theme. The ending seemed extremely exciting to the kid in me. After some years I read a few of his other works like Brida, The Winner Stands Alone and Veronica Decides to die. All of them were a big disappointment. Soon I realised that Coelho was just an inconsistent writer, there were a few other works by him that were pretty good.
As years passed by, I slowly understood how difficult it is for any writer to maintain a standard brilliance in their writing. Except a few master writers, others find it very difficult. For example, most of the works by someone as popular as Hemingway is pretty damn good. Then there are writers like JD Salinger, Margaret Mitchell who were just one book wonders.
I have been writing for quite some time and I am beginning to suspect the credibility of the age old saying “practice makes you perfect”. Sometimes I feel supremely flattered when a random friend calls me up and asks me for a few writing tips or asks if I could take a look at what they have written and give them feedback. But that is obviously no measure of the quality of my writing. Every time I sit down to write something, I hope it turns out to be engaging enough to hold the reader till the very last sentence.
While as a reader even I have failed to understand that a writer cannot always sweep me off my feet, the writer in me very well knows that sometimes we disappoint.