It is often said that nothing scares a writer more than the evil blinking cursor - yes, the very same one that taunts you and sometimes even laughs at your wordless-ness (in the surround sound “super-villain” voice, no less). And if we’re being honest, we’ve all been there, experience that, and got the hypothetical “Writer’s Block” accessories. But as any one who writes will tell you, it is always a phase. For, the ideas and inspiration to write exists all around you. It exists in that lone, yellowish - orange leaf that you watched lazily drift down from the branches of the great oak tree and on to the once-green grass. In that group of rowdy and almost hooligan-like, yet oddly cute set of school kids returning from school. In that bowl of Chocolate Pops that slowly drown in that stream of cold milk. In that mischievous eyes of your adorable child, who is plotting his next adventure. The list is pretty endless.
Writer’s block is not a lack of ideas. If anything, it is often the lack of a conducive environment to think and write. A couple of days ago, as I was scouring the internet for something different to right about, I came across a rather satirical and funny article on the Huffington Post. It was about a blog site called, “Shit Rough Drafts”. Paul Laudiero, a New York, writer and comedian, decided to take Hemingway’s famous quote , “The first draft of everything is shit.” and imagine how the first drafts of many best-selling books and classics could have been. And some of them are quite funny.
These two for example :
Anyway, that got me thinking. As some of you may know (yes, I’ve made plenty of hue and cry about it) I won a small prize in the Indireads Short Story 2 Competition, a few months ago. This has resulted in them offering me a ‘tentative’ contract for a novel. I said tentative because the details are still in the pipeline and of course it depends on me writing a not-so-shite book. Of course, since this would be my first attempt at a full-fledged novel, I’ve been literally having the runs since I knew that I had won.
See, here is the thing. I’m not one of those people who “writes, because they would die otherwise” or “writes, because they have stories bursting to come out of them”. No offence to any of those types, but I just am not that. I’m not even sure why I got into writing, in the first place. I used to both read and write as a child. And then here I am, circa 2013 - a relocation to India, sabbatical from the corporate world, blogging - about my toddler son, about life’s funny little lessons and occasional short stories. And before I knew it, I had dived head-first into this world of writing stories - sometimes emotional, sometimes funny and often in between.
And then I started to dream the dream that almost every writer has these days. That I had it in me to write something which is slightly more than mediocre and better than trash. And then came this opportunity. In a market where writers struggle to find publishers - print and electronic - I had a publisher offer me a contract. And I’d be silly to turn that away. But there was a problem - I had plenty of short story ideas, but none for a novel.
Necessity is the mother of invention, they say. So I did what any writer would do - Like a goose flying blind through a blizzard, I followed the skein in flight and signed up for the one thing that November has become famous for - no, not MOvember, for I am a little follically challenged in the facial department at times. I signed up for NaNoWriMo. For the non-writers, that is the National Novel Writing Month, where the tag line goes - The World wants your novel. Gulp!.
And if we go by Hemingway’s quote, the first draft of even this NaNoWriMo novel is bound to incomplete because it needs to be edited, proof read, re-written and a lot of meat added and fat trimmed, to use the food analogy. As per the famous NaNoWriMo calendar, at the end of the day today, I should have completed a minimum of 13,333 words. Which means, I’m about 13,323 words short. And out of those 10 words that I’ve written, five form the working title and the remaining five boldly state : “I must start writing today”.
So there we are, eight days in and my first draft is officially doomed. Or not. For, I have never been one to follow a writing time-table. So here’s to me hoping that as shite as my first draft may be, I will deliver a novel that I am proud of. And that readers will not have “readers block” after the first few pages. So as the famous BuzzLightyear from Toy story would say, if he was a writer - To writing and beyond….
[This post is written for the Project 365 program at We Post Daily aimed at posting at least once a day, based on the prompts provided. Todays prompt was : Scour the news for an entirely uninteresting story. Consider how it connects to your life. Write about that.]Image Credits : shitroughdrafts.com and Pinterest.com