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On the dilemma of writing

Writing is just putting thoughts into words. Shouldn't be this daunting, should it?

On the dilemma of writing

It used to come easily to me. Fairly easily. All I had to do was to place one word after another, carefully, and it would magically turn into a sentence. Some of those sentences made sense too. At least, to me. The voice behind those words was often confident — perhaps, one of those things youth generously bestows upon a person. However, that apparent clarity of thought has now been replaced with crippling self-doubt and disbelief. Or maybe it had always been there. Maybe, I was not as conscious of its presence then, as I am now.

Writing has become more like a battle now, with a considerable amount of anxiety preceding any such activity. I often wonder how difficult it must be for someone who writes professionally to face this cycle of disbelief on a recurring basis. Wouldn’t it be enough to drive them crazy? I also wonder what it is, that is this daunting about the process of creating sentences. It’s just putting thoughts into words. Shouldn’t be this difficult, should it? Perhaps this is what scares writers so much. To give your thoughts a physical form; to give birth to them. In some cases, it is the realisation that maybe your idea was not as significant as you thought it was. What if you just lack the ability to use language appropriately in order to create meaningful sentences? That thought itself could be enough to unnerve some.

At times this fear of writing manifests itself into predicaments such as procrastination and writer’s block. It is a love-hate relationship of sorts where I’d know it’s all I’ve ever wanted to do in life, but I’d still avoid it like the plague. Perhaps, that is what Douglas Adams meant when he said he loved the whooshing noise deadlines make as they go by. I feel it is physically impossible for me to act on a deadline before it actually comes (aggressively) knocking on my door. Hence I put it off as much as I can. I procrastinate. I also berate myself later. “If only I had one more day to write this,” is the one sentence I often hear myself utter. It’s a never-ending dance of anxiety and disappointment.

It is said that writer’s block is the creation of those who are unable to discipline themselves into writing regularly. They blame it on laziness, lack of time, responsibilities or life. They play the blame game, and they do it well enough to trick their own minds into believing it. They keep putting the writing off for that perfect moment in time when everything will fall into place. But that time is just a figment of their imagination that may or may never see the light of the day.

I wonder whether I’ll ever be able to write as frequently as I’d like to at some point in time. With ease, confidence, and not a shred of self-doubt crossing my mind. To have something like that would be nice. To take it as a responsibility rather than just some random creative pursuit. To make time for it, instead of just waiting for the muse to show up.

In all probability, however, I will just complete this piece and then carefully refrain from reminding myself of the existence of my word processor until the next deadline. The weekend beckons. Maybe, I’ll just call it a day for now and think about it next week — or not.

 

Wajiha Hyder

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The writer is a member of staff. She can be reached at [email protected] and tweets @wajihahyder

2 comments

  • Wajiha Haider has surprised me with this piece. Each and every word and feeling is true to what I feel. It is such a frustrating feeling, the gradual slowing down of the pen (rather, the keyboard), the doubts after I have written and sent in something new! Maybe, giving your heart and soul to your writings eventually starts taking its toll.

    • Thank you! I’m so glad it resonated with you!

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