I have learnt so much about the publishers and publishing houses in India and abroad that I am not sure If I should keep on sending my stories, poems, essays, articles to various online magazines, or should stop writing altogether.

Let me begin at the beginning. After my superannuation from Bhutan Civil Service, I came back to my hometown, Kolkata. Initially, I applied to various places, got shortlisted at a couple of institutions and was waiting for further information from the prospective employers, when the lockdown happened due to the pandemic. There is a saying in Bengali : Abhaga jedike jai, safar sukaye jai. (Even the sea dries up when visited by the hapless one.)

Tired of waiting, I started sending my stories. I started with a very prestigious platform where I had contributed regularly from Bhutan. Though all my stories were published in this popular site topping any Google search, I stopped sending the stories after a year, in 2020, when I had this feeling that I would never win the first prize because of my Indian origin (I may be wrong about it).

At least 5 Publishers in India had approached me in the meantime, the last one showing a great interest in publishing my book without even looking at the manuscript provided I was willing to finance the publication cost..! One even asked me ₹500 for the 5 complimentary copies.

The stories sent abroad for online magazines were not proving any luckier. I received a few letters from the editors complimenting on the stories but not forgetting to add finally that selection, after all, depended on the editor's mood..!

I was despairing of making my dream of being an author ever come true.

Having come across a notification from Lucent Dreaming about yesterday being the last date for submission for their monthly flash fiction contest, I wrote hurriedly to try out my luck.

I didn't even receive an acknowledgement reply..!

Let me reproduce it here to show my fellow aspiring writers that no doubt, writing is hard work, but in order to make it big as a writer, one needs to be Dame Luck's Favourite at the same time.

Who Wins Between Hard Work Vs Dame Luck?

Do you believe in the dictum that writers are born, not made? Possibly, you don't like what I told my grade -XII students one blissful morning when we were discussing an argumentative essay topic. I have forgotten almost everything we discussed that day but I still remember having told them, towards the end of the discussion, before they were to begin the actual writing that no writer is ever born, that writers by dint of their sweat, toil and blood turn out to be writers in the end.

Not only did my students have a lot of faith in me but they very seldom argued with their teachers, being decent and obedient by nature as most of them were.

Today, when age is fast catching up with me and I find myself in the sixties, the truth that I am yet to make my mark as a writer, after having toiled and sweated it out like it is hard to believe - has been nailed home to me harder than ever before..!

Things have come to such a pass that I have started wondering lately about the validity of what I told my students on a morning that does not appear to be blissful any more. Are writers really made by dint of their hard work? How come then that no one, other than some hundred students that I had the good fortune of teaching, and some hundred more readers, who came to know me through the stories and articles published in old issues of some papers, magazines or on my blog, very few people seem to have heard of me?

I have started asking myself lately if I will take leave of this unfair world mostly as a forgotten man - 'a could-have-been', a man who had the potential and the promise? A man who could have easily made it big had he been Destiny's Favourite Child? These thoughts and feelings are, speaking from experience, very unnerving and can nip the hopes of any aspiring writer in the bud. Yet, the never-say-die writer in me has clung to the daily writing schedule like a struggling ant clings to a drifting piece of twig in deep water for survival.

I have hardly finished reading and commenting on an article entitled : How to Keep Yourself Motivated on Penning and Planning, com when I stumble upon an email about Lucent Dreaming 2021 Flash Fiction Contest.

The name Luncent Dreaming faintly rings a bell somewhere. I click on it to find out more about the contest. Nowhere do I fish a mention of the topic or theme or prompt regarding the contest! I realise then that I am fighting a battle already lost. But take a chance and ride my LUCK I must. If God wants me to be a writer, this will be the start of a glorious writing career, I tell myself.

I open my google.docs and start putting pen to paper, not exactly, as no pen is required for writing here. If this piece ever gets to see the light of the day, one of my long-standing yet wrong notions of writers being made, will be dispelled for good. I am going to change the title from the initial "Born To Be A Writer" to " Who Wins Between Hard Work Vs Dame Luck?" though.

I wish that I had known this truth that without any amount of luck, no one can make it as a writer in this highly cut-throat competitive world, but as I am about to get back to the Lucent Dreaming website for sending my writing, I realise all on a sudden that if I am ever to make it as a writer, even after having written more than 1 million words, it has to be due mainly to my habit of writing daily. Isn't that habit tantamount to hard work?

I get perplexed at being not so sure any more about the winner between the two for an answer. That is precisely when I decide to leave the whole issue to Dame Luck.

The end.

Source: The Writer's Personal Gallery 

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