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Writer's Journey - 'Gaurav CJK'

As I’ve mentioned in all my interviews/writeups about my journey, my journey as a writer came purely as an accident and unlike many, this story is far from inspiring.

There was always something musical and satisfying about rhyming, and my founts derived from an obsession with rhyme. I’d feel like a kid in the candy store when I’d find 4 words that rhyme with each other. And that’s how my initial poems came about.

For the next 3 years, I mainly wrote poems that emphasized rhyme rather than cognition. Without varnishing anything, a lot of those were unbearable hehe. But to date, if there’s someone who’s always been voracious about my writing journey, it’s my mom! I owe everything to her!

Post 10th grade, I had started posting my content on Instagram regularly and it was then that I realized that I must make sense when I write. However, the biggest revelation was given by Mom. She started observing that whenever I used to contemplate ideas, I would ponder the possible reactions I’ll get. In simple words, I was writing just for acceptance, praise, and impressions. I became obsessed with comments and the number of followers. Even though I did cross 1000 followers on my previous page, the content was quite mediocre. Over time, I realized that it’s important I write for myself because I love writing and I must believe in what I write.

2 major things happened during high school. Number 1 is exposed to Shakespearean Literature and Wilfred Owen's poems. I suddenly learned the monumental impact tone and language can have on someone. It made me focus on the intricacies within stories and it made my writing more technically nuanced. Secondly, I started listening to Lucky Ali music. I was moved by the unique sound production, his voice (of course), and most importantly, the lyrics. The words were always abundant in wisdom, and they certainly opened my eyes to egg a wider truth. The bond of truth with nature really encapsulated me and enabled me to think beyond.

With regular practice, I was able to adapt to a more simplistic and realistic sense of writing, with raw emotions, but I started working on my vocabulary to elevate the quality of even the simplest of write-ups and also improve my lingo during the conversation.

I was enjoying my fair share of writing until of course…arrived at our biggest reality check, Covid. I suddenly stopped seeking a muse everywhere and became so lethargic to write. I also had opted to take a backseat because of the start of my second year, which all became so arduous that I had my first breakdown in a while. A hug and a pep talk from mom helped me get back on my feet and I was able to rejuvenate my academics to have a decent run at my final exams. Around this time, I really started missing my writing and as soon as my exams got over, I got back to writing. The first poem I wrote was about my life during the pandemic. In this phase, I truly fathomed my love for the craft.

Around Christmas, an Instagram Community called Eunoia Prompts was celebrating their 1 year anniversary and as a part of the celebration, they were hosting a series of open mics. I participated in 2 of them and I managed to connect with more inspiring writers. I already knew the 2 founders namely ‘Moments’ (a pen name) and Nandini and they have been extremely supportive of my work since my initial years on Instagram. Moments heard my spoken word on the open mic and offered me a chance to be a spoken word artist for Eunoia and also host my own show. That one conversation and opportunity gave me immense confidence and I’ll always be grateful for it. Also, I want to give a shout-out to the host of my first open mic, Meghna, who waited for 40 minutes for me to perform as I had technical issues. Had she not waited, I may have not been able to gain the confidence?

Then followed more writeups, hosting, and participating in various prompt challenges. One such prompt challenge was organized by Split Poetry India (SPI), in accordance with Valentine's Day 2021. Nina Headily, a fellow writer and friend tagged me in the comment section of my channel, and I got to know about it. Through the challenge, I got to know more about SPI and contemplated writing my own book. This thought of mine reached maximum impetus when I placed first in the challenge. It was a pleasant surprise as I had never been placed in the top standings for any challenge.

I started working on the book and I noticed a pattern in the 10-15 pieces that I had already written. I saw situations with varying degrees of hope. Hence came the title and theme ‘A Tribute to Straddling Hope’. I started compiling the book in March 2021 but I could only complete it in June 2021 because I had my semesters in between and I needed a vacation to proofread the book. The book finally was published on 26th September 2021, which happened to be my 20th birthday.

This book is just the beginning and I couldn’t have been more grateful to everyone for the love and support it got.

Follow me on Instagram (@gauravcjk)

Here is my book link: A Tribute to Straddling Hope

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