– By Advik Jain, Batch of 2022
Writing about a writer’s block is better than not writing at all. –Charles Bukowski
I need to confess something, the idea to write upon such a topic struck me because I was too lazy to come up with anything creative or intriguing. No matter how hard I pondered, nothing came to mind. I attributed this to a temporary ‘writer’s block’. Now, a lazy mind is an ingenious mind and I had the Eureka moment that Mr Bukowski had, years before me. This blankness in the head is a rather dreadful feeling. It is every student’s undoing during an English exam, every author’s nightmare and every copywriter’s misery. During such temporary dry spells, a person loses the ability to produce new and creative work. Think of it as fatigue in the creative lobes of your brain, after which they refuse to heed your orders and following the example of our eminent freedom fighters, go on an indefinite non-cooperation movement. Interestingly, the very notion of a ‘writer’s block’ seems contradictory as human imagination is said to know no bounds. Yet so many people struggle to come up with new ideas.
This exasperating condition causes the poor victim to suddenly start pondering deep philosophical questions or develop a peculiar interest into why he or she has only 10 fingers every time they sit down to write a creative piece of work. This gradually starts to occur much more frequently than the rerun of F.R.I.E.N.D.S. You, dear reader, then realise that you have a writer’s block- the reason behind procrastination, stress or lack of approval for your previous works or a combination of all these factors. However, if you belong to the category of optimists and have a ‘the-glass-is-half-full approach’, then relax and rejoice. It is important (and easy) to comprehend that this is a temporary condition. And on a much lighter note, perhaps during these times of deep reflection, you might just stumble upon the answer to any one of the universe’s well-kept secret. If you do (unlikely) then you just might have a shot at being considered for the Nobel literature Prize or the Berggruen Prize (just google it).
Now that we have identified the condition, we can move on to the remedies. The first step would be to celebrate, for you now are in an extremely elite esteemed company of people: Adele, F. Scott Fitzgerald, author of The Great Gatsby or Herman Melville, author of Moby Dick and many more. The author, therefore, for the benefit of the readers and to meet a 700-800 word limit, would like to elucidate a few tips or ‘hacks’ for the cure of this accursed condition.
- Stretch a leg
Exercise has been scientifically proven to improve brain functionality and yet it’s a wonder that authors, in general, are some of the laziest creatures on this planet. Get up and get going. Hit the gym or do whatever outdoor activity that challenges your limits and cures your boredom and laziness. Afterwards, you might find yourself on your desk writing or, even better – on your bed dreaming about your next publication.
Turn towards an aeons-old practice to help yourself. Try to channel your inner spiritual spirit to force your mind and body to exit your current physical state of confusion, laziness and procrastination.
Nothing helps the mind relax better than a good nap. It’s even better when you just can’t seem to get your work done. So, if you are stuck and can’t write, go catch some sleep instead of binge-watching on Netflix or Prime Videos all day long.
- Try to enter and stay in the ‘zone’
Persistence is a virtue, so better put it to use. Keep on racking your brain for ideas even when you seem out of them. Something will pop up sooner or later and you’ll finally enter the zone. You can even put up a placard declaring, ‘In The Zone. DND.’ for others’ convenience and yours.
- Exercise your vocal cords
Vent out your frustration by singing or talking to someone else. When your constant blabbering annoys someone else and they tell you to shut up and do your own work, you just might be able to focus and finish the task at hand.
- Change your surroundings
Blame it on your room or the table, pen or the chair. Blame it on the ‘negative’ vibes that seem to emanate from your surroundings. Either way, escape from your uninspiring surroundings to someplace that makes you feel happy and refreshed, preferably someplace outdoors and away from the monotony of your routine.
For James Ellroy, it is the necessity of earning a living that cured his writing hangovers. For me, it’s the necessity of escaping my superiors’ wrath regarding late submissions. Or marks. Think of the consequences of your actions and try to concentrate.
A writer’s block is frustrating especially when you have a deadline to catch (like me) but it happens to everyone at some point in time. The trick is to cajole, not force, and there you have it, the secret to being productive.