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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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?

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?

An excerpt from ‘Taking Down Bob’: Meet Dan

This is an excerpt from my first short story ebook: Taking Down Bob. This introduces you to an important character in the story, Dan:


Dan was one of the stupidest folks we knew. And his stupidity was popular all over. One time, I had quietly entered his room at midnight (thanks to his roommates) and moved his clock forward to two minutes before his morning alarm time and vanished. Soon enough, the alarm went off and Dan got up and even went to the washroom to brush his teeth, whereupon he realized it was still dark and the joke was discovered. Another night, while he was asleep, a handful of us lifted Dan’s bed along with him, carried it out of the room and to the end of the corridor and left it there. He woke up in the morning and was left wondering how the hell he ended up there.

But today, it was different. We spoke to Dan and explained the plan to him. All he had to do was pretend to be asleep in his bed with a blanket over his face. We would bring in Bob on the pretense of attacking Dan and once inside, someone would throw a blanket upon Bob and Dan could get the hell out of there while the rest of us took the Psycho down.

Dan was a little apprehensive at first but finally agreed. He was a good sport.

Discover what happens to him next by reading the full story for free from Smashwords. And if you like it, don’t forget to leave a short review.

Taking Down Bob: A Short Story

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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