Monday, March 12, 2007

Get rid of your writer’s block

Did you know the gallons of steaming black coffee that we gulp down while working hard on our copies or writing assignments doesn’t actually help! What would have helped, rather, is a few minutes of brisk walking or any other physical exercise. Well, I am not trying to talk about ways to reduce your calorie consumption or develop good food habits. Writing – for the Web, for the print, for the ad copy, or any other form of professional writing – is what I am trying to hint at. And I am trying to share my experience for those times when you stop writing simply because you can’t. When you just fail to continue jotting down the sentences in a logical flow, just the way your boss or the client would have loved.

Phases of magnanimous writing or not writing at all are usual for a professional writer. But imagine the timeline looming ahead and you not being able to deliver any content. Writer’s block – has it attacked you? It’s obvious if you have been writing for the clients and the bosses for years. It’s time you remember you have someone else to care about also – your own self.

Remember writing for yourself too.

If you have taken upon the career of a writer, it must have started with one certain thing – you loved to write. As you wrote and wrote and the bucks came flying in, you forgot, you have to satisfy your own dear soul too. So, the first tip to overcome writer’s block – care for your self. Forget your readers and your timelines, for sometime at least. If you want, move away from your computer. Take your notepad and pencil and walk down to the nearest riverside or garden. Sit down, spread your legs, stretch, look up at the sky, talk to yourself. BE with yourself. Perhaps, write a few lines that comes to your mind – a hysterical poetry may be, rhythm or no rhythm, or a parody, or just any nonsense, or even what you see lie ahead of you. Don’t care what the world thinks; this is an ode to yourself, so have fun.

....To be continued.

Friday, March 9, 2007

Writing my first blog

I knew writing the first sentence can be difficult. But it’s more complex than I imagined.

Suggestions of topics, topic titles, the 5Ws and 1 H, the pyramid, even the inverted pyramid can’t help at times. Start with an introduction, build on the main matter, and then conclude – easier said than done. Doesn’t help.

Toothaches, tasteless, flattened chewing gums, hot cups of coffee devilishly gulped, burning eyes. Doesn’t help.

The winter is receding. The temperature outside is above freezing point. The tops of the pine trees lining my garden are swaying with the wind. They talk of the spring. The urge burning within me rises!

Still. The wide green landscape, spotted with shrubs and poodles of melted ice, the azure sky, speckled with light sailing clouds, the hint of a forest bordering the horizon, the promise of a sunshine – they only lure me. Oblivious of the task at hand, I trod into the old world of dreams and laziness. Only to be woken up, moments later, by a sense of dissatisfaction and urgency. I have a task to finish. Right now. What if this is not a compulsion, what if I have given myself this job!

But, etching the first stroke is so difficult.

Before today, writing was not so tricky to me. How could it be – I was writing articles, snippets, releases, web pages, and other documents for so long. The problem started when I thought I would write my own blog. Writing for myself, to be concealed in the box, was not uncommon. But a blog! For the world to spot!! Huh! That’s a little difficult, as I can see.

One of my readers might look for a point, a logic, or a message in my post. But what if I provide none? What if there are no sides to take, no format to adhere to, no wish to be made? Does then sense recede?

I shrugged off the questions. I told them - go find an SME.

Something was pushing deep inside me. An unrest, rolling, jumping, and trying to release itself into the world. As if I have eaten something bad! The world seems so silent. Except the monotonous droning of the computer. Is it the sound of birth? It’s an uneasy feeling. As if I am struck with the absence of a plan, a material purpose.

Now that I am trying to take it out is a different experience, but all of last night and yesterday and the day before and the night preceding that held my consciousness – as if trying to tell me something I couldn’t properly hear. Fumbling, guessing, I was trying to find my way out through a puzzle!

Somehow, I have learnt the answer to the puzzle today. I knew it all through this morning. And so I am here – striving to put down the initial sentence. I have also known - once the ice breaks, and there is warmth all around, the imperceptible will come out tumbling. Flowing softly, smoothly, silkily.

So, my immediate task at hand is to make my first mark; to break the ice, to begin a journey. It is, as if to say, I am here – listen to me too. And hence, here is my first post.

Did I break the ice? Or make a mark?

Only time will say.

The ‘imperceptible’ that is fighting inside me to come out is just getting ready. I have yet to set things straight and fitting for it to come out. I hope, I will hear from all of you the welcome song.