Poessay: On Writer's Block

September 17, 2008

Is there an affliction known as writer's block? Or is it an overblown condition to camouflage fear, lethargy or lack of discipline? Why does it affect some writers and not others? Why does it affect good writers and not not-so-good ones?

"One of the most difficult things is the first paragraph. I have spent many months on a first paragraph, and once I get it, the rest just comes out very easily." (Gabriel Garcia Marquez)

The key to come out is in preparation: Getting Started.

Sit down. Roll out a fresh sheet or turn on a fresh page on the laptop. Look around. Start writing. Don't stare.

You have seen so many things, have smelled the dew and the tea leaves, have experienced joy and sadness, cherished memories, weathered loss. Recall one and express your thoughts as they come.

You have tried it and it does not work for you? You are still staring at the blank page/screen?

OK, do not wait for the deluge of thoughts to flow.  If they do not descend on their own, and if your efforts to persuade them to come out have borne no result you will get stuck and dig yourself deeper into this self afflicted despair.

Try harder. You can coax them, it is simple. Just write down a thought - the first thought you have and out it on the page. Slowly, more words will follow and the haze would lift. From that page you will be able to pick up something that would start the flow.

You do not believe me?

You are not convinced? OK, let' see...you  are sitting at a desk...twirling a pen gazing at that paper...looking around...self, some books, a painting or a print, color on the wall, paint fresh or faded, phone perhaps, or a cell phone, that cuppa, some old mail, maybe bills, a window, curtains or blinds!

I don't know what you write...what genre you favour...for me poetry at times is easier than smiling...life!...khair...as you stare at the wall...the wall?


the wall

silent, fortuitous, obtrusive
a witness to lost laughter

sighs, sobs and smiles
emotions overt, suppressed

            the wall
never subpoenaed

has seen many
pacing the room
- expectant fathers

lost in thoughts
elusive dreams

the wall
keeper of sighs
and silent shouts

it supports
but does not offer
comfort            stands
immovable,  unmoved

yes the walls can be tough
like my friend

the tongueless wall
knows so much
why can't it be my friend?


I would look this over tomorrow. Would bounce it off some trusted folks, sit on it, chisel and polish, save, look it up another time in a few months time and work on it again...a poem is never finished really.

So friend, despair not...look around and write that first word. Good luck!

love people who are in awe of words. words are the sole arbiter and the final survivor. desicritic editor, slave and slave-driver.
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Deepti Lamba
September 17, 2008
07:33 AM

Carrying a notebook works for me nowadays. I pen down whatever comes to mind.

September 17, 2008
04:18 PM


yes that is certainly recommended

bw where are adi and jay?

and ams and desi and suj?

Deepti Lamba
September 17, 2008
09:38 PM

DG- had a baby
Jawahara- busy writing her book
Suj- being a mommy in US
Adi- her work
Amrita, Jay and Seema are all missing in action
Kishore- mailed us two days back and said he is gonna be around soon.
Few more I have yet to badger.. I mean - mail

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