Today, I woke up feeling like a warrior. As if I could and should slay everything that holds me back from writing – my moods, lethargy, boredom, and my worst enemy – procrastination. If I gave the impression that I was going to indulge in violence, let me assure you that I’m a peace-loving creature, but when it comes to facing the blank screen, and getting myself to write, I wage a daily battle. Most days, I allow one or the other of my enemies to prevail over my better sense, but today is different. I’m actually posting, after having silenced the voices in my head that were saying, ‘Oh, but nothing special has happened today,’ OR ‘Why post something inane?’ (which would have stopped my overworked index finger, the solitary typist of my right hand, in its tracks),’ OR ‘I have nothing to say’ (well, that’s not quite the truth, it’s just the killjoy in me that rears its head every time I begin to write).
I started by making a new list. Lists shake me out of my listlessness, and putting down everything in black and white, with some doodles enhancing the page, and pinning it on my bulletin board, reminds me that it’s going to be a fulfilling day. I discovered recently that bulletin boards can be popped up creatively, like the several I saw on Pinterest. (I love owls)
My bulletin board will have the beginnings of a story, writers’ quotes, index cards filled with references and research, colourful post-its with names of characters from my next book (the first is still waiting in the wings, rather impatiently, to find a home), a collage of my writerly life. The thought itself is invigorating. Well, the best of writers have fought their way out of inertia to put words on paper. I’m a fledgling aspirant, trying to enlarge and romanticise my daily struggle. And, to borrow J K Rowling’s words, I’m a muggle. In a writer’s world, Muggles are creatures who need a large mug of coffee (in my case, ginger tea) to create magic on paper.
I have that longing too. Obviously, Knausgard is on top of my to-read list. (Well, er… I think he looks great too.) So are Elena Ferrante, and a host of classics.
Note to myself: Plan reading. (I get overwhelmed by the pile of books by my bedside, and every time someone mentions a good book, I want to grab it instantly. So I remember my friend, Arundhathi Subramaniam’s sage advice: ‘Read at will.’
Time to scan the bookshelves. To make the choice. To immerse myself in the world of fiction. To read. To write. To battle. It’s going to be an eventful day…