“A writer is working when he’s staring out of the window.”
~ Burton Rascoe
In April, I have had a good run so far, having written some 15 odd articles on os.me. I was keen to write something today. Did the digital equivalent of write a few lines then crumpled the paper and threw it in the waste-paper basket (its almost full now!!).
Why I could not write is because of something called as ‘writers block‘. The most difficult part of writing is not the writing, its ‘to sit down to write’. And that holds true with almost every activity that involves creativity, thinking, doing something from scratch.
If I have made you feel that this article is about some complicated ‘disease’ that writers suffer from, then my objective of confusing you has worked !! Its nothing, really, its our writer’s favourite excuse. Its the same as the ‘gala kharab hain‘ excuse of a singer. A singer typically puts up the excuse when he/she is not in the right mood to sing and fears that the singing will not be perfect and they would rather not let their impression be dented!!
The eternal truth about writing, is that one is writing more for oneself, rather than anyone else. Myself is whom I know best and I am the one easiest to please. If I think of even one more person other than me, that I write for, then I am decreasing my chances of success. Yes, writing for one’s spouse, parents, siblings, children, they all come a close second in terms of how much we think we know. But in reality, at a given point of time, how one reacts to what we have written, is quite unpredictable.
“Close the door. Write with no one looking over your shoulder. Don’t try to figure out what other people want to hear from you; figure out what you have to say. It’s the one and only thing you have to offer.”
~ Barbara Kingsolver
For me, ideas on what to write comes primarily from books that I read. Some mention on some topic in a book, triggers a chain of thoughts. Then i try and co-relate it to my own experiences and see the link. While I am writing for myself (God Promise!!) I appreciate the fact that there are many readers on this platform who have certain ideas in mind related to the topic. I try and see if I can bring those out as well, so then its more a cohesive discussion, rather than it just be I me and myself. This might surprise some, but many of my ideas come to me during my morning runs. Especially if I am listening to a book on audible while running.
“Sometimes the ideas just come to me. Other times I have to sweat and almost bleed to make ideas come. It’s a mysterious process, but I hope I never find out exactly how it works. I like a mystery, as you may have noticed.”
~ J.K. Rowling
While I cannot say for the writer community as a whole, I can say for myself, that once I am clear in my mind on a particular topic and the associated key points that I have on the same, I am mentally ready to write.
“Good writing is remembering detail. Most people want to forget. Don’t forget things that were painful or embarrassing or silly. Turn them into a story that tells the truth.”
~ Paula Danziger
Then the only hurdle (read block) that comes in, is when I am not sure if the final output will be presentable enough or if the arguments (points) that I put forth, which justify the need for the article in the first place. As of yesterday, I had 4-5 possible ideas in mind, but when i sat down to write this morning, I started and scrapped three of them.
“There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.”
~ Maya Angelou
The biggest barrier to writing is technology. With the omnipresent distraction of the phone, laptop and television, we are just one glance away from wrecking up our brain and losing the flow of ideas that we wanted to write. A little known fact is that there are still many writers, who write a book in the traditional pen and paper route, thus minimising distraction to almost zero (yeah, I know I can disconnect data on the laptop and get a similar effect!!). Barrack Obama’s manuscript of his latest book, A Promised Land, was handwritten.
“Being a good writer is 3% talent, 97% not being distracted by the Internet.”
So in a nutshell, if you feel like writing something, just make that critical effort to sit down to write. Set your self a time target, of writing for at least 30 or 60 mins, so you are able to get the core of the article in. Once the base structure is established, then the thrill of completion will carry you till the finish line. And remember, since you are writing for yourself, don’t try too hard to please the other readers!!
Featured Pic Credit: Purdue Global .edu
Article Pic Credit: Hetal Sonpal !!