A writer’s biggest struggle

Sometimes I sit in front of my computer, fingers hovering and sort of shadow typing only millimeters above the keyboard as if a long sentence is on its way the very next instance. Instead, what happens is a long – very long – dry spell where the ideas that were just flooding my brain and about to flow out have just vanished into oblivion. Seconds turn into painfully long minutes which test my patience and I tell myself that now was probably not the correct time for it. But, when this happens almost daily, when you always have ideas but never the words, it might force you to think if writing is for you or not. Or am I just lacking the discipline?

I guess, I have to keep reminding myself that writing is for everyone. How could it not be? You don’t have to be successful at it, even if you write a few sentences every now and then, even if you don’t post them, maybe it is good enough. I think, for a writer, the bigger struggle is not on the paper, but in the mind.

Isn’t it? What do you think?

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The Dream – A Short Story

TheDream

After a long dry spell of almost a year, I have published my third short story The Dream.

The Dream is the short story of a girl who wakes up every morning to realize she still hasn’t forgotten the devastating memory of seeing off the love of her life for the last time ever. Here is an excerpt:

She woke up to find herself crying hard. Tears filled her eyes and everything looked blurred. She tried to take a deep breath but choked on her sobs. Still lying down, she rubbed her hands over her eyes and large drops of tears fell onto the pillow, which she discovered was already very wet. She wondered how long she had been crying in her sleep.

You can download it for free in various ebook formats from Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/508280.

If you would like to check out any of my other short stories, please have a look at my author’s page on Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/shitijbagga

Started writing for OpinionCircuit.com

 

 

OC

For a long while now, I’ve been quite inactive with my present blog. But, that was for various reasons with the most important one being that I was busy getting married and very shortly after that, even my sister got married. So, it was a few months where I had no idle time to sit down and write blogs.

Now, I’ve recently joined one more blog site founded by a few friends and I found it quite exciting. OpinionCircuit.com

This is bascially a place where the founders as well as the resident editors (all of us love to write) blog their fair, frank and fearless views on various topics that are important to them. These include politics, society, etc. and are mostly India-centric. There are also a few articles that attemp Satire on various fields such as politics, bollywood, etc.

I have joined their team as a resident editor and have been writing a few posts. Do visit our website and support us by liking our Facebook page, follow our twitter handle (@OpinionCircuit) and help spread the word.

A Year of Blogging

one-year-oldI just realized that I have completed 1 yr of blogging yesterday, the 4th of August. It just seemed like yesterday that I started to write my first blog post where I wondered what one should write about. That was a question that I pondered over for the last few years before I finally made the final push and started to write.

I am a slow beginner, I take it. I always aspired to write my own blog because reading was such a great passion and writing cannot be left much behind. And there have been weeks and weeks of inactivity during the last year during which I couldn’t come up with a single idea for a post. Not even one line.

So, at the end of my first year, I went back and looked at my Blog stats and I find that I have:

97 Blog Posts (this is my 98th), 5,320 Views on my entire blog and 161 Followers

My most viewed post has been: Banning and Burning Books, which I wrote exactly a year ago on 5th August 2012.

Another spinoff from my blog was that I started writing some short stories, which I have self-published in the form of e-books through Smashwords.com. I know it is not a big deal and almost anyone could do it but I learnt a lot from even this small experience. I still have ideas in my head for further writing but either I do not have sufficient time or maybe I am not bright enough but that is for my readers to decide.

I can just say this. Whenever I feel like writing something that is important to me, I do and will continue to write it. At times, I will go missing – suffering from writer’s block – and I imagine I can live with that also.

As long as the spirit of being a writer – even though I might be awful at it – keeps burning inside me, I feel a sense of happiness.

On Not Writing

frustrated-snapped-pencil

For a long time now, I’ve been missing from the blogosphere. 40 days to be precise since I wrote my last blog post, I spent a lot of time assimilating what it meant to be ‘not writing’. Of course, there are times when a writer has something to say, and at other times, he has nothing to say. But there are times, when the writer has a lot to say but cannot due to the fear of being judged.

Being alive means going through a multitude of situations and emotions which inevitably arise from – as well as lead to – choices that we make. And these choices define who we are and where we are headed. Being a writer – and a candid one at that – simply adds another dimension to this in which he relives his choices and deals with them again through a character, a situation or even an opinion expressed in his writing. All this while, he is aware and afraid that he is putting himself under the microscope because more than anyone else recognizing him, it is his own heart that knows.

The most important ingredient in good writing is writing from the heart and that is where one runs the risk of exposing oneself to the world. I would imagine many writers writing in a manner that completely conceals their own selves behind a cloak that they create. But it takes a lot of courage for a writer to project his real self into his works – allowing one’s own mistakes, regrets, insecurities, disappointments and disheartenments to find form in the writing.

Will someone recognize the writer in the content and see him for what he really is?

And so, by exposing one aspect of my dilemma while simultaneously, and possibly, concealing another, I present this post to the criticism of the reader. I only hope that the reader will understand my absence and be lenient in judging my style of writing though I might leave many in a more confused state than when they began reading. Some of the drawbacks of being an amateur, I guess?

Just Write!

writingOne of the biggest problems I face when about to begin my next book is that I need to have the plot, the sub-plots, characters, etc. all figured out already. I need to know how my story is to be setup and how it is going to progress and my mind keeps wandering from the start to the finish. But since not everything is figured out yet, I start feeling as if I’ve not thought through it sufficiently and thus am unable to start. This further makes me feel as if my imagination is just not good enough to be a writer and I end up shelving that book even without having written a single word. I know it’s crazy!

But, the desire does not die away and after some time, I am back with my pen and paper thinking about some other plot which I can perhaps develop a little better. But that too often meets the same fate. I spend so much time thinking about the book but never much in actually writing it down.

The solution to this problem? Just write!

I discovered this last night. Struggling with the same problem for about an hour, I finally decided to try a different approach. I told myself that I will not worry about the book or its plot or characters. I decided that I will simply write a scene that I would love to see in any of my books and not think about what has happened before it or what will happen afterwards in the story. I didn’t even name the central character, I just called him (or her) ABCD. So, I began by writing a thrilling chase sequence in about 200 words only. It was extremely short but when I finished it, I realized that I could think of one scene each before and after the present and connect them together. I feel if I try this approach and keep going one scene at a time, I might end up inventing more about the story than I could with a pen and paper and just hoping for the perfect idea.

And in case I get stuck anywhere yet again, I can simply close this story and start writing a totally independent scene just like I did above. I might, for instance, start writing a horror scene and think only about that scene and nothing else.

What I found when I followed this strategy is that even if I had no plot in mind while starting to write, it does surprisingly gives me many better and smaller ideas that I can use to develop bigger ones in the future. Also, the fact that I am able to write down the scenes that I someday want to see in my books takes away the pressure of those ideas remaining in my head and haunting me to be written down. Completion of even a 200-word scene makes me feel a lot more positive and I can finally stop feeling stuck and start exploring more than that single scene.

I guess what I am trying to say is, the more you write the more it starts to get you. Writing is like a habit. Sometimes, it will come to you automatically but for that to happen, you need to start now. I am not a professional writer but an amateur but I recognize that the only way for me to have ideas is to write down whatever comes to my mind and not worry about the end result. As it is, writing one short scene is much better that writing no big ones. (Maybe that is why my first two publications have both been very short stories.)

And once you write that short scene, it makes you feel much better and more confident. Try it.

How do you deal with not having a completely figured out plot? Do you also give up or try something else?

Writing My Next Short Stories

Cover_Taking-Down-BobAny writer always fears injecting his own self into a character and thus polluting the story. Even bigger fear is exposing his own feelings to the world through fiction. Would the character’s actions expose his own insecurities?

After having self-published my first short story, Taking Down Bob, as an e-book available for free download through Smashwords, I am now looking forward to writing two more short stories withing the next couple of weeks. Whereas Taking Down Bob was a plot that moved forward quickly through its sequence of events, I was not faced with the daunting task of developing deep feelings in any character, which is something that I have always dreaded because it requires the writer to become one with the story.

My next short stories will be:

1. About a character who is depressed and bored with life and risks his life for some excitement.

2. A young boy falling in love.

Both the plots require completely opposite emotions and I would consider that a good challenge for an amateur writer like myself.

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