Sunday, 2 January 2011

A Cure to Writer's Block?

Writer’s block is not a fly; you can’t shoo it away with a whisk of your hands. Sure, it can be personified in writing, but that’s about it.

Ideas, the ultimate tool for ending writer’s block. But where is their secret lair? Where do
you get them from? Are they solid things that you can just grab anytime you need them from some box somewhere? Are they like blurbs in a comic book which you can just reach out to and snatch the moment you want them?

There is one thing for sure, nobody just naturally sits down at a keyboard or grabs a pen and starts typing or scribbling things down. There is no natural flair through which ideas just simply flow down from a storeroom in your head to your finger tips. I WISH.

That leads us back to square one. Ideas come from inspiration. That doesn’t answer the question, does it? Where on earth do you get this inspiration? William Faulkner (1897-1962), author, said, ‘I only write when I am inspired. Fortunately, I get inspired at 9 o’clock every morning.’ Don’t you wish you could say the same? We can’t all be Falkners. Believe it or not, writers have to actually look for inspiration or try to get inspired. How? It takes exploration. There are many ways to explore. You can have fun with this.

For example, you can walk up to a complete stranger and start a conversation with him or her. Too bold and awkward for you? My professor once suggested that I walk around the University and eavesdrop on some conversations and then, base a story around what I’ve heard. This is a great way to get ideas and it often works! You, as a writer, are creative so even upon hearing the most mundane conversation, you can manipulate it; you can twist and turn it any way you like.

Movies, dreams, nightmares, books, certain locations, other peoples’ experiences and/or your personal experiences lead to an inspiration. Then and only then, the ideas will flow to the finger tips. Sometimes it’s a short process; other times, it’s a tediously long one. This is when your diligence is tested. The patient writer will always develop great stories. Those who rush their writing will only make the readers go, ‘Eh…that was okay.’ Mary Garden, Author and Journalist said, ‘My block was due to two overlapping factors: laziness and lack of discipline.'

I will share with you my exploration for inspiration.

I saw a Bollywood film, ‘I Hate Luv Storys.’ Yes, the misspelling of ‘stories' did bother me, but I watched it anyway. The moment I saw it, I thought that it was cheesy, yet humorous and sort of…different. The movie is about a hopeless romantic art director teamed up with an assistant who doesn’t believe in love. It’s a romcom satire, poking fun at clichés.

It made me think; how could I write a unique romance? I scrimmaged through my wardrobe, found a pink blouse and wore it. Not to mention the fact that I already had on pink-heart-spotted pyjama pants. Just wearing it did nothing for me. No inspiration…no ideas. I wondered if I should rub my stomach (ahem…abs) and pat my head like I’m some bottle from which a genie would pop out and grant me three ideas. The sudden thought of Christina Aguilera made me realise that I was losing it; it was time to move on.

Walking up to my beach-toned bookshelf, I picked out three poetry books: ‘Love Poems: Every Library Pocket Poets,’ ‘Timeless Thoughts on Love: An Anthology of Quotations,’ and ‘Indian Love Poems: Every Library Pocket Poets.’ Flipping through the pages, I hoped that some word or phrase would strike me. I learned that love is powerful, could be destructive, illogical, involve eroticism and…a whirlwind of madness. I was headed toward the right direction, but felt that perhaps I should try one more technique just to see if something more could be developed. I analysed my personal experiences with love.

My brother and my husband hold my heart strings, pulling me in two different directions. I only have one brother who is struggling with a disorder. I always said that I would never leave him and even if I moved out, that I would stay nearby. Perhaps in that case, I would be a ‘villain’ in the story.

I moved across an ocean, from New Jersey to London. My brother gave me his blessings because he understood that men like my husband are very difficult to come across. I was destined to be in London.

Unfortunately, that part of my life is too sensitive to write a film or novel about. I’m just not brave enough. I will, however, write an article about my struggle soon.

After this intense exploration, I have a few ideas, but I cannot share them with you JUST YET. However, I hope that this guides you to inspiration and ideas, brushing away the writer’s block. Remember that writing takes dedication, diligence and sometimes, a bit of struggle. Also, one must be confident in his or her work because ALL stories are worth telling.

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