Tuesday, March 20, 2012

For Want Of A Better Word

Hello helpful blogger friends,

I read all the suggestions and my friends here gave me a few of their own, and I promise I considered all of them...I tried to write on a couple of topics but it was much harder than I imagined. So I decided to wing it, let all my thinking and research go to waste, and came up with this.

And I'm pretty darn proud :')

Feedback is appreciated :)

For Want Of A Better Word

writ·er's block ((rtrz)
A usually temporary psychological inability to begin or continue work on a piece of writing.

It’s a lot more difficult than anyone thinks.

For a person who constantly uses a keyboard or a pen to express how I feel, having the biggest writer’s block just before a creative writing assignment deadline is one of the most frustrating feelings in the world. I’m sitting here locked up in my room to avoid any distractions, human or otherwise, with my fairy lights on and a mug of coffee that was empty before I had typed out even a single word. For a blogger who writes a blog that more people than I expected read, it’s horrible to have seemingly unending periods of uninspiredness and tons of incomplete posts lying in my drafts folder waiting for a spark of…what’s the word? My command over vocabulary turns into a worthless bunch of words and phrases that just don’t fit what I’m about to say. Actually, I’m not even sure what the point of it is anymore.

Last minute stress works for me in most situations, so much that when nothing else succeeds, I can almost count on a burst of motivation to jolt my mind into action in the final hour. I don’t have a problem with articulation. My catch phrase is, “you know what I mean?” And mostly, you DO know. I can conjure up enough synonyms to get my meaning across without too much worrying. But there are points in time when words don’t flow, ink begins to blot, and my keys get clogged with dust.

I’ve tried free-writes with no constraints, I’ve tried mindmaps, even tried being utterly profane (because somehow cusswords come so very naturally when nothing else does). I find it easier to write in sadness, so I have gone to extent to depress myself into some state of written coherence. Heartbreak, nostalgia, empty Nutella jars, and reading SMS language all make for brilliant catalysts to break the wall of…another word for silence…that’s propped up in my head. And when I’m really desperate, I pick up the last Harry Potter and read the last three chapters. The battle of Hogwarts makes the tears flow like nobody’s business.

Hyperactivity, though the extreme opposite of what I just said, can also be attempted. It can force your brain to concentrate. I turn to music in such moments. A little Backstreet Boys can do wonders to your energy late in the night, I’ve learnt. There exists nothing that Jason Mraz cannot cure. Coldplay takes you to another level of productivity. I might actually write a few sentences, God forbid. I get into a rhythm, typing faster and faster, hoping that the slump is behind me. But of course, iTunes must not cooperate. Justin Bieber begins to blast through my laptop speakers, and all is lost once more.

It becomes harder to be confident of my writing skills at all. Can I call myself a writer when I can’t fucking write? What kind of writer and hopeful-in-the-future-author can’t mould words into a story and make them effortlessly flow across a page? Did Shakespeare ever doubt himself? Did J.K. Rowling ever find herself in a state of absolute…damn, what’s the bloody word…? Would it make me feel any better knowing that the creators of books that my grandchildren will read to their grandchildren also had similar suicidal feelings when writer’s block slapped them across the face? I don’t know what to say. That’s a symptom.

I become adept at losing faith in myself. I know very few people with lesser self esteem in any case, and writer’s block further reinforces my non belief. I begin to think my brain is telling me something. It shut itself down because what I want to write about is not worth the effort. I make a list of all possible ideas that cross my mind, doodling and all. Yet everything I churn out, my brain disagrees. It creates a sense of dissatisfaction with my feelings. I think I’m not doing them justice, leaving them incomplete and somehow slightly unfelt. I don’t know how to explain it in a way that makes it comprehensible, I’m too unsure of it to do that. And again, I guess, that’s the problem in a nutshell.

What would I do if not for my ability to write down what I think and how I feel? How do I conduct myself knowing that there are things to be written and words to be inked but my mind is not up to it? Frustrating isn’t the word, it goes beyond. Insert an appropriate 
metaphor here.

I use writing as a release to clear my head, but writers’ block is an entity censoring any clarity-filled thoughts. It’s a sadist little bastard, you know. It creeps up behind me when I least expect it and suddenly that’s it, I have to say goodbye to MS Word and my notebooks for a bit. It’s better to not try since that only makes me feel worse.
The easiest way to deal with it is to not...but just let it pass like any other horrible feeling. And when it comes back inevitably, I will (try) to treat it like an old friend who turns up for undecidedly long vacations and eats all my food without asking (I could try another analogy but I can’t think of one). It’s one of the downfalls of being a writer, I guess, learning how to deal with your own ineptitude and still forging a path for yourself that you can proudly walk down.

I want to end this rant with a quote I read by Ernest Hemingway:

“There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.”

THAT pretty much sums it up.




  1. Ahhh very interesting read! Perhaps last minute work is truly your best :D
    And you included pop culture references! Yay.

  2. Loved it Kanika! You summed up everything so beautifully!!

  3. Relax. You just described every writer. (I do not mean Chetan Bhagat or some shit like that). As I like to call these periods of.. whatever the word is for it.. It will come to you, when it comes to you. Just chill.

    ..And I was nodding at the ways-to-get-depressed-enough-to-write and I mentally went 'check. check. check. oh wait. I have never tried this!' :) Off to read the Deathly Hallows now! :)

    1. Ha. Deathly Hallows works like a charm in my case!

  4. Loved it. You nailed it if I may say so.

  5. You Smart-pants, makes sense writing about a topic that hits you most, the irony of the very well written essay is that you're writing about how you cannot write.
    Bahut pyaar.

    1. You are a sweet thing. Ok bye <3

  6. Are you allowed to write fucking ? :O
    What cool teachers, boss.

    Neat writing love :D

    1. Art student bro, all works B)