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?

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 Love

Love Hearts

I come online many times to this blog and start a new post, like this one, and I want to write something on Love. And I want my post to be carefully worded because I want what I say to mean many things. Yet, when I sit down to think about what I must say, I don’t have words to put forward. It is as if everything I want to say has vaporized and I would rather log-off yet again and wait for the next smart idea to start writing.

But so far as Love is concerned, there are no smart ideas. There are only real or surreal things to say and put forward but has anyone who ever thought and wrote about Love said things plainly enough? No. Or at least I know that I haven’t.

There is something about Love that causes the writer to keep going around in circles trying to build some sort of a palace of thoughts and feelings and emotions from there to address what he wants to say. Any discussion on Love has to make it sound mystical and full of reverence.

And so the point is, it is too damn difficult to say things plainly. There are no simple ways to define how Love is supposed to feel. It means different things to different people and for some people, what, who and how they love is always a big big secret.

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?

My New Shorter Blog Address – shitijbagga.net

it is party timeMy Dear Readers,

I have finally gone ahead and bought my own domain name for my blog. Hurrah!

It was proving a little difficult to mention my blog’s URL to friends and colleagues as shitijbagga.wordpress.com. They could remember my name but to ask them to remember “wordpress” as well was complicating matters a bit.

So, finally here it is, my shorter and better new URL: shitijbagga.net

Who said shorter can’t be better?

2012 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

600 people reached the top of Mt. Everest in 2012. This blog got about 2,000 views in 2012. If every person who reached the top of Mt. Everest viewed this blog, it would have taken 3 years to get that many views.

Click here to see the complete report.

The benefit of falling ill

illnessFalling ill is not always that bad, so long as you don’t catch anything nasty. Specially, if you are regularly working hard and are hardly ever with free time to do what you would otherwise do on an ideal day off. There is always “something” to keep you occupied and away from what you want to do.

So, today was that day for me. I’ve been feeling ill all throughout the day but it isn’t fever or anything. Seems some internal tiring or exhaustion, I cannot say.

Anyway, I spent most of the day working from home, since most of the work was unavoidable, but afterwards I did what I had wanted to do for years. I remained in bed and watched TV for almost 5 hours straight. And, I was watching my favorite channels like Nat Geo, Discovery and Animal Planet. Every hour passed by in a soothing manner, watching new and wonderful things these channels showed today, right from Air Crash Investigation to wildlife programs with snakes, lizards and crocs. It kept me relaxed for a very long time and I really enjoyed everything. I also wanted to read a bit but I knew that would stress me even more because I would need to sit in a proper posture, whereas watching TV was the laziest thing possible.

Now, it is close to midnight and it has just occurred to me that I could perhaps blog about it and encourage others to take a break for their own sake and do something calm and enjoyable even if it is as simple as reading a book or just watching TV. It really charges up your batteries and gives your mind a break from the everyday hassles of life.

I have switched off my TV now and would probably fall asleep next but I would like to know from you if you would also fancy the idea of falling ill once in a while to escape the grilling demands of everyday life and just relax. Do leave me your comments and tell me if you like this.

You now have 200+ total likes

“Congratulations on getting 200 total likes on Confessions of a Disquisitive Writer.”

Logged into wordpress this morning and found that, thanks to my last night’s post on Reader’s Block, the no. of likes on my blog have increased to 200+.

Well, it felt nice to read it the first time, but then I realized that more than 30 posts, spanning over 4 months of blogging is a big deal for me personally because I had been spending a few years before that only thinking about starting my own blog but I could never get down to it. It was probably the fear that I might not write as well enough as I want to. It was a huge dilemma for me because reading has been an important part of my life and being able to Write was important.

So, considering the fact that I spent 3-4 years only thinking about starting writing, but never being able to start, it is indeed a big deal for me to realize that I am suddenly 32 blogs old, and better still, over 200 viewers have liked what I have written.

So, here is a big Thank You to everybody who has liked my posts till now and those who may like them in future. Writing, well enough or not, has been a personal voyage to me and I am glad that I am able to share it with others through this medium.

Writer’s Block??

The thought bothered me a lot. I was sitting in front of the computer, going hard at the keyboard. It was office hours and I was trying to finish writing this email to our client. It has already been long enough to fill my entire screen and I knew it was only another couple of sentences. I finished that too and went through the entire draft once again for a sort of proof-reading.

I sent the mail but then the thought returned. I know I have the stamina to write long emails with consistency of thought. I even write 20 page and 40 page technical documents from scratch and write them effortlessly. But damn! When it comes to writing a short blog or a short story of 2 pages, I am hopeless. Utterly hopeless!

Then my mind started wandering. Sometime back, a colleague at office asked me what I thought I would be, had I not been a consultant. I know the kind of clichéd question that it is. And I hate it, absolutely. Have you ever asked this question and seen the kind of frivolous replies people give? One time, I heard someone say, “If I hadn’t been an engineer, I would have been a fighter pilot!” And what is my response to these answers? “Bullshit! Really? So if you were not doing your current job, you would have been a pilot? You mean you were THAT close?” Then, another senior at office said, “I’d probably be a Film Director.” Don’t even get me started on that one.

What I’ve observed is that people usually answer this question with something they know they could never become and yet it needs to sound something fabulous as if it were already a secondary achievement of theirs. It is as if merely by saying “otherwise I would have become so and so,” we are making our present sound better than what it really is. As if wishful thinking is something to be proud of.

Anyway, coming back to the present, the reason I was feeling bothered right now, during work, was that I attempted to answer that question myself. And the way to answer this was by asking myself what was the next best thing I want to do with my life if I had the time and resources for it. And I realized that in my case, the answer is very simple: I want to be a writer.

But then, do I also not make the same hypocritical mistake of saying that I would have been a writer had I not been what I am today? I mean, the two are not related at all so it is not as if being one automatically disqualifies you from being another. Also, have I written anything during the last 2 decades that even qualifies as good writing at any level? No, I’ve not done anything of that sort, but just read hundreds of books. Then how dare I say I want to be a writer, when I don’t know the first thing about writing? That was wishful thinking on my part as well.

The truth is, ever since I read my first novel (Jeffrey Archer’s ‘A Matter of Honor’), I had known that I wanted to write my own book one day. Now, 14 years and another 200 book-reads later, I know that the ambition is still the same. I just have to.

But I can’t! At least for now, I am not good enough. First, I have some ideas to begin, but none of my ideas is complete and that’s why, if you look at my blog, you will find very few posts (5 out of 25) actually contain me writing something. Most of them are either photographs that I’ve taken in the last couple of years (another hobby of mine) or short reviews of some of the books I’ve read, but nothing that I can call a substantial writing.

Everytime I decide to sit down and write a short story about ANYTHING, I invariably end up feeling miserable at my inability to do so and repeatedly feel distracted with my shortcomings.

Then, I read though dozens of blogs and realized that I too have been suffering from what is called “Writer’s Block”, a state in which an author loses the ability to produce new work. The reasons can be many but for me it has mostly been the awareness that my writing will not be good enough. And this is a feeling that has discouraged me from writing for I don’t know how many years now.

Over the past few weeks I’ve also become aware that there isn’t a level of “good enough” that one needs to meet to be able to write. I mean, my desire is not to gain appreciation or recognition from the audience. In fact I don’t even care if nobody reads what I write. That is not the point. I could never write for that since it would be unfair to my own self. But then, what my girlfriend always tells me is that I must write for myself. Write free, whatever comes to mind. Write something that I would myself like to read again and again.

And so, I realized that the only way to do that is to start right now. And what topic do I pick up? Pick up the first thing that comes to my mind. The first thing that then comes to my mind is that even though I am working right now, I cannot but think only about my inability to pick up a topic and think through enough to start writing about it without the fear of failure yet again.

Well, well! I just looked at my word processor and find that expressing this inability to write has already made me compose 850+ words and it is a big achievement for me, considering that 99% of my works end within 2 sentences and then I give up.

So, what I basically mean is that I don’t want to say I would be YYYY, if I weren’t XXXX already because whatever I did has always been my own choice. Nobody and no situation has taken away my desire to be a writer one day and so I want my answer to that stupid question to be that if I weren’t what I am right now, it wouldn’t matter much because my 2nd love – that of writing – is something that I am already doing side by side. Just that I am not a professional at writing, but that hardly matters to me now, does it?

The other day, I read a story by Guy de Maupassant. It was just a 3-4 page short story of 2 Frenchmen who sat at the shore of river Seine fishing and they get caught and executed by the invading army. That’s what I remember of the story and I might be slightly wrong. But the point is that by reading this, I realized that even the most simplest of writings can be beautiful simply if the author connects with the story and writes it from his heart.

All this, in no way lifts the writer’s block that I guess I am suffering from. It merely raises a corner a little for some of the thoughts to escape and find words by themselves, but I know that the moment I publish this, another calm will prevail that will not let me write anything for some time. How long? I don’t know but maybe 2 days, a week, a month? Who knows?

Still, I hope I start with something short but nice very soon..

P.S: Dear Reader, have you ever suffered from such frustration of Writer’s Block? How was it when you first broke through it? Do share your experience with me in the comments section.

Related article by a fellow blogger Christian Mihai:
http://cristianmihai.net/2012/10/04/overcomin-writers-block/

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