Writing and Agony

I enjoy writing, sometimes; I think that most writers will tell you about the agony of writing more than the joy of writing, but writing is what I was meant to do. ~ Leon Uris

Today is one of those agony days. When writing is anything but enjoyment. But like Uris, I feel writing is what I was meant to do.

So onward march with the pen and the keyboard today , and fight them as they fight me.

Write the write

When writing becomes second nature

Writing ahead

Sometimes it is hard to write off the top of one’s head, especially after a large breakfast. All I want to do is go to the National Library and pore over a stack of books, but am instead holed up in my room, working. Well, preparing to work, anyway. Warming up. It is hard to warm up to the idea of writing endless emails.

But today I’m determined to print out the half-done stories as a reward for finishing the day’s work at blinding speed by lunchtime, (some hope, but well), and then carry the pieces to the library to finish.

Good plan, now to start working on it. In the meanwhile, leaving you guys with a link, in case you’re like me, still wondering about your most productive writing process.

Writing a Letter to the Creator

Dear Creator,

It is hard living in someone else’s head, spattered all over.

But what would you know about that? I live inside your head, not the other way around.

You dress me up, change my gender at will, you parade me in different countries, and sometimes, I’m not alone, you put me in there with other bits of me, dressed as other people, and have fun watching how I talk to another of my avatars.

For that is what they are, Avatars. The protagonist, the antagonist, the supporting cast, the bit roles. It’s me, all of them, depending on the time of the day, what you think up, how morbid you’re feeling or how happy.

“Be cruel to your main character,” you’ve stuck in bold letters on your table, and you sure take your advice seriously. You bash me up, kill me, make me wait to die, jump over hoops, lose the woman I love, make me dress up as a woman, a child, a dog, make me crash a car, lose a fortune. You know the drift.

But that’s not all. You chase me with a questionnaire, and I have to answer in character. You dress me up in skirts, ask me to pretend I’m a woman, and then ask me what I want. When I tell you, you make me wait for my own execution instead and then rescue me only if the reader would enjoy my rescue more than my death.

Bottomline: as long as you’re having fun, or getting something written, or published, all is right with the world. Who gives a rat’s ass what happens to me?

I wouldn’t say I don’t have fun. Even though it is me wooing an avataar, I love the romantic bits you let me play, though I hate it when you leave a sex-scene half-written and walk off to do your laundry, and then forget about the whole thing entirely when your friend calls. Have you any idea what it does to a man, being frozen in that position?

And then there’s the editor to think about. Just when I’m convinced I’m so- -and-so to whom such-and-such happened, the editor comes and makes you chop entire bits of my life, dream up others, mostly more unpleasant than the ones before.

Editors can’t stand me having cups of tea. I like my cups of tea dammit. They won’t let you let me rest either: Make a scene, they tell you, Show us through his actions what he is thinking, don’t bloody Tell us! There Must be some Disaster, he Must Fail, what do you think you’re doing, giving him such a cosy life, whoever would want to read that??!!

Now, I can stand you doing things to me, because I owe you my life after all, such as it is (or they are…thanks to you I have multiple lives, and things never get boring), but I owe nothing to that editor!! Why does he have to come and poke his nose in my business I don’t know.

So, I’m calling it quits. Going away. Holiday. Vacation. Ciao ciao. Heading for the exit.

Won’t be around to wake you up in the middle of the night because I’m having a nervous breakdown. Won’t follow you around as you water the plants or go out with friends. Won’t tug at your skirts and remind you to finish a scene so I can get on with things.

You don’t like it? Bah…fat good that will do you, Almighty Creator! The most you can do is kill me, so have at it. Sick of life as it is.

You’ll have to beg me on bended knees to come back. I’ll watch you grovel alright, and If I come back, it would be on my Own terms. I know better than anyone else you need your fix. I Am that fix.

So long then, and happy pushing around the Writer”s Block!!

Yours truly,


Writing about an Interesting Writer’s Block

A Character's Writer's Block?

A Character's Writer's Block?

I get by the times I have writer’s block by pretending I don’t and doing other things like revising and editing like mad.

But I have a character in one of my stories now, who is an award-winning author. Since I can’t get the story to close the right way, I thought I will free-write as her. In character, so to speak. And boy, SHE has a writer’s block, because this is what came out:

Most times, all I need is a blank bit of space. Sometimes, I’m hunting for one, because I think I’ve got the mother of all ideas and I just have to pen it down before it floats away.

Now is not one of those times. This is just the opposite, when I have to pin my butt down to the chair. When I have to shove a dictionary into my nose, in search of a word that would inspire me to piddle out a few words. One of those times I am praying for my faith in the practice of showing up on the page.

Not wanting to face what has happened to you, to block out the images that will not be denied gives you a writing hole the size of Grand Canyon. You step into one of those and it is a long way to the bottom. I’m crashing into the darkness just about now, the winds of turmoil speeding through my being, the blackness of grief like layers of fabric all ripping through, one by painful one, till I’m suddenly afraid this is all I will have, this falling in the dark, in endless folds of ripping fabric, till I reach a vacuum, maybe hit outer space when I emerge from the other end of the earth, and remain suspended in that nameless, ageless, nothingness. Maybe I merge and become a part of non-air, non-life, a piece of nothing.

This is a little scary, because the story is in her voice. If she is so blocked, one needs to find out why….or I won’t get anywhere with that one. I’m in fine fettle with my writing otherwise, did a 1000 words yesterday. Interesting how a character in my story can be blocked without me feeling it all. Or maybe it is me who is blocked and pretending away I’m not? The character came from my head after all, (admittedly at a workshop two months ago.)


Writing about gritting teeth

Writing can be a challenge some days—today was one of those.

The reality of the following line hit home today:

So often is the virgin sheet of paper more real than what one has to say, and so often one regrets having marred it.  ~Harold Acton, Memoirs of an Aesthete, 1948

Writing about wrong notes

Gustave Flaubert once said something that summarizes my state of mind today:

I am irritated by my own writing. I am like a violinist whose ear is true, but whose fingers refuse to reproduce precisely the sound he hears within.

Writing about taking stock

Writing on a blank page can be scary on some days, which is why I’ve discovered a new trick. I write a few lines, any kind of lines, just before I go to bed, and in the morning all I have to do is find that page and write. Takes the struggle away from filling the blankness, removes the huge block that faces each creative effort.

I thought I’d also take stock. Exactly how well have I done on my word-count resolution?

I’ve come a long way from writing nothing for days on end, to writing 13000 words from 6th Jan to 2nd Feb. Horrible by any self-respecting fiction writer’s standards. 13000 in 28 days? That is 464 words a day, much below the 1000 words I had resolved.

But I’m looking at it this way: I have not really written an average of 464 words a day (excluding blogs, re-writing, editing, and work writing) ever in my life. So, that’s progress. What I have to do is push the figure towards 1000 this month.

Thanks to Sarah for pushing me, I could not have done it without you!  I promise to do better this month!