A writer’s block can be infuriating. It isn’t a melody to go out of tune. Neither a slip of the painter’s brushstroke nor an itch on the sculptor’s wrist. It is akin to a difficult conversation with someone you love about where the relationship is going. If things are messed up, you must find a way to work things out. There’s just too much to lose.
But it isn’t easy. It can be paralyzing. A sharp blow to the eardrums. A lone whistle reverberates inside your head and seduces a series of dull aches. You have stared long and deep into the abyss. Now the abyss is staring at you and mouthing, “What are you looking at?”
A serious writer is not to be confounded with a solemn writer. A serious writer may be a hawk or a buzzard or even a popinjay, but a solemn writer is always a bloody owl
– Ernest Hemmingway
If you find yourself stumped for words, close the laptop or put the pen away and move on. Pick up a toothpick. Clean your teeth. Because dental hygiene is often overlooked. Don’t think of topics that may inspire you. Instead, ask yourself why you are unable to write. Find the source. Remind yourself that everyone has burdens to bear. It doesn’t mean that your ability to express yourself should be bogged down by them.
A writer’s block is, after all, a scream to resolve internal conflict. All you need to do is get over the fact that things may not be going according to your plan. You will be amazed at how many people feel the same way.
Writing isn’t a gateway drug that leads to popularity and fortune. It is a curse as much as an elixir. There is no excuse for you to stay away from it. You still brush your teeth before attending a funeral, don’t you?
Writing is about storytelling more than anything else. Unless you have been living under a rock, you probably have enough material to write about.
You don’t have to be a digital nomad, and travel everywhere – from Timbuktu to Tirunelveli, to discover engaging perspectives. Stay put wherever you are. Maybe, go outside for a stroll. Look around. A misplaced signboard. A car parked askew. Rows of trees with branches stretched out, like prisoners waiting for the rain. Look at the skies above. Half-eaten trails of vanilla clouds. Silhouettes of birds.
Immerse yourself in everything you observe or absorb along the way.
At any given moment, the world is magnificent. It is perpetually alive, like its inhabitants. It always has stories to share. All we need to do is look outside our windows to notice its wondrous possibilities. Chronicle the ecstasies. Challenge the structures.
Take a few steps back, kick your heels and charge towards the diving board. And leap, without looking for reasons to hold yourself back.
The easiest way to get over a writing block is to stop complaining about it and just write. Then, write some more. And don’t forget to brush your teeth.
(Photographs: Vedanthangal, Chennai, Kodaikanla & Thekkady)