On My Own

You close the door, sit in a chair and open your laptop.

There is silence in the room, or maybe there is background music – a tune that you routinely listen to.

You procrastinate. Scrolling through Facebook, reading the news, watching YouTube videos.

Then you get to work. Your document page comes up and the cursor begins to blink. You stare at the screen. You blink once for every three times the cursor does. Silence fills the room, or background music does.

You look around your room. At the mess your bed is in from the moment you woke up… seven hours ago. At the pile of books you should probably either return or start reading. At the papers that clutter the rest of your table. The post-its with illegible notes.

You are alone.

Even your muse is not in today.

If your background music is on, it has probably ended so you change the soundtrack.

Then you go back to staring at the cursor.

There’s dirt between the keys on your laptop, so you clean it out. You probably should use a cloth. And there are chores to do as well. You need to sleep soon. There is school or work tomorrow. Homework maybe. But you want to write this story.

You lean on one elbow.

You go lie down on the bed.

You fold your blanket.

You take a teddy bear and prop it up next to your laptop. You tell it to speak. It stares black plastic eyes back at you, almost taunting. It says, “You can’t do this.”

You sigh.

Then you close your eyes and place your hands on the keyboard.

You get a notification on Whatsapp. It’s from your friend. You lean back in your chair and start typing a message to him or her. He or she replies. So you have a conversation with them for a while.

Maybe you’ll get inspiration.

You don’t. The two of you have a good talk. Then he or she has to go and do their business. You tell them you are writing your story so they leave you alone. You close Whatsapp and tell yourself to get to work.

The silence becomes too loud. If you had music on, it probably stopped.

You’re on your own.

With a sigh, you type the first word that comes to your mind.

Then the words flow. Sometimes, they stop. You repeat the process. Standing up, walking around the room. Flipping open a book. Read a piece of paper that has been on your desk for five years. You look out the window at the dark sky.

You get back to writing.

Until you start yawning.

Your character starts looking fuzzy in your head. You cannot imagine him anymore. So you save the document. Then you watch another random YouTube video. Reply a few more Whatsapp messages.

Total writing time: 30 minutes.

You decide to watch a movie.

You close the document. And decide that you have done enough writing for one day. Or maybe the whole week.

It’s okay, you say, since it is just a story you are writing for yourself.

 

 

When One Draft Ends…

 

Today is the last day of NaNoWriMo and the last day of November. It is over. At last. And I don’t miss my story. Her story.

November ended on a good note. Nothing feels better than having finished telling a difficult story.

I have other projects piling up on my desk, demanding my immediate attention but I sit back and tell myself that there’s nothing more to do.

Nothing feels worse than not knowing what to do with yourself now.

Previously, I have the habit of not finishing one story before I move on to the next one and it never bothered me to stop and appreciate my work because there was nothing substantial to appreciate.

Do I have the right now, to stop and congratulate myself?

But I’m running on instead.

When one draft ends, you start another. You can’t stop. Because that draft that you finished was horrible, wasn’t it?

Good job to everyone who finished NaNoWriMo.

 

The Madness

In a world that disappears under your feet, an unpredictable world, a world where you can never find peace, that is the world which will prove whether or not you have what it takes to live.

‘Encyclopedia of Emotions’

~

I have one more day before it begins. This formidable undertaking. As if in preparation for the amount of writing I have to do, my mind is dry now, the tide has receded and I do not know how to put into words this numbing apprehension that I have tried to pretend doesn’t exist.

It does.

And it is creeping through my mind.

There is also the worry that I cannot keep up. School projects. WWBI. Bible studies. Church. Friends. Devotions. Homework. Karate. And now, this.

But I can’t give up before I start. Now that my character is a real person, now that she is pressuring me to tell her story, she is emerging from the folds of my imagination into reality, I cannot suppress her. Every writer knows this feeling. The urge to tell a story. Even when life is passing by like a non-stop train.

The NaNoWriMo Game

To clarify, NaNoWriMo is a month whereby writers across the world agree to stop procrastinating on that one story they wish with all their soul to write. Writers pledge to overcome themselves, their fears, their worries, their perfectionist tendencies and defeat the empty page. For thirty days, they will sit down and write.

They will produce 50,000 words.

I have arrogantly called it a game because that is the only way I can challenge my own fear of being inadequate. After all, playing a game does not require you to be outstanding in ability the same way work does. Playing this game, my goal is to win. To produce those 50,000 words.

To finally overcome writer’s block.

This is where I have to apologise to my followers for so haphazardly abandoning my blog until now. I’m sorry for writing one post that in retrospect appears to be hypocritical because I then vanished from my blog.

It was a hiatus of sorts – in which I spent figuring out things which were important to me.

I’m still not sure.

Writing used to be a portal into another world and I could cross over easily. Now, it’s like I lost the key to enter this portal. Or as if the portal ceased to exist.

And I am trapped here in reality, utterly exhausted from trying to open a door that is, in fact, a wall.

But I do not want to give up. Not on writing, which is my entire world. Without writing, I will go mad – I think I have started to go mad since last year when I fell into the pit of writer’s block. Writing is the door to my soul. The only way I can figure out who I am and accept that truth.

That is why I will play this game.

And maybe through it, I will figure out the definition of the emptiness inside me.

I have never done NaNoWriMo before – I always had an excuse to avoid it – so it is a little nerve-wrecking to be writing 50k words consecutively for thirty days. But I found a very interesting book that I am using to help me through my story’s preparation.

Write Your Novel In A Month – how to complete a first draft in 30 days and what to do next

~Jeff Gerke

15894354

He writes with a warm voice and a semi-formal tone that engages me from the beginning of the introduction. So if you are at a loss as to how you should start preparing for NaNoWriMo (or even any other book project), I recommend this book. With simple explanations, he pokes your brains to do the thinking and encourage you to DO rather than simply reading.

I want to say as well that it is true. Write. Smash the wall. Then after that, you can create your own door. I’ve got my battering ram ready, do you have yours?

All the best to those participating in NaNoWriMo.

Being A Writer

I am a writer. I tell everyone that. As a reader of my blog, it is also important for you to know. I am a writer. The kind of writer who watches music videos, broods about life and procrastinates on actual writing.

But lately, I have been seeing a quote everywhere and it provoked my thoughts.

“If you wish to be a writer, write.” By Epictetus.

It forced me to reflect on my status as a writer. On whether I want to be one. On what I should do to be one. On what kind of writer I want to be.

In school, a teacher asked if we had something we were all extremely good at or know a lot about. It was in that moment of silence that I realised I did not have something like that. I was not passionate about anything in particular except maybe the Bible. I was not curious enough to research on topics that interested me. I just took in facts like one looks at scenery from a train. Fleeting. Just enough to know, not enough to understand.

It was a pity.

Just the other day, I was sharing my plans to write a detective short story as a school assignment and suddenly everyone had high expectations of my writing. But a cold fear gripped me. I could not write that well, because I had not been writing consistently. I told myself I would get around to writing the story and it would be alright.

With my laptop on to Microsoft Word, I placed my hands on the keyboard and realised I forgot my voice. How should I write this story? I could not remember, because I have not been writing. Not enough practice.

So now I need to catch up with the hours of writing I should have done in the past but never did. I do want to meet the expectations of my friends and deliver a spectacular detective story. I do not want to do a bad job and write a better story ‘next time’. I will regret it. I know I will. So I am going to write for hours now like I should have done before.

A writer writes. There is a reason why. Never tell a slipshod story, even if you have been procrastinating for days. Even if you have writer’s block. Excuses are for excusers. Writers, let’s stick to writing. Write through everything so that you can tell a good story. Don’t shortchange your readers because of a mistake you made. It is not their fault for expecting a good story. It is my fault for not being serious about it.

So this blog is going to be about my journey through this business of writing. The appeal of procrastination, the blood, sweat and tears of writing and the different worlds that come out because of it. A writer writes. This is what my blog is all about.