'Writer’s Block’ is the most dreaded disease for us writers. Be it a bestselling author of inspirational literature or someone selling cheap pulp fiction for a quick buck or even someone thinking himself to be a writer while his words have never seen a different set of eyes. We all fear it like a chronic disease and yet sadly all of us have to suffer from it one time or the other during our life time. Some recover from it rather quickly while some unfortunate ones suffer long and hard without a panacea in sight.
By now maybe you have understood that I am also a writer suffering from the same disease. So without going into either self-praise or self-loathing mode, let me introduce myself to you. Let’s just say I have been able to live by a decent life so far with the help of my pen (or laptop as it is the case). Along with the moolah I have also received a fair share of good words from the critics.
But as I said, big or small many of my community members past, present or most likely future too I was also not immune to the ill-fated disease. It’s been a rather irksome phase that has gone longer than I hoped for. My publisher too has raised a few alarms that I need to rectify my rather long absence from the bookshelves in the market. Even some of those not so favourable critics out there wonder when they will get the next opportunity to postmortem my next ‘literary work’ and write its obituary with much profound literary skill than the author himself.
Interestingly atleast in the initial phase my girlfriend has been the happiest or maybe only happy person for my condition. As per her own admission, it has been long since I paid her this much attention or spend more time with her than my laptop since our initial wooing and courtship period. Infact seeing her happy for a while even I started enjoying the free time and our rejuvenated romance. I even forgot my dreaded illness and perhaps thought she can again be my muse and our togetherness will ignite some creativity in me.
But like any phase in life, this short and sweet time too passed on. I withdrew to a place of solitude find the writer lost within me. But even some quality time with myself didn’t really change things much. A few more drafts in my tab or on my laptop; a few more revisits to my previous half-baked, unfinished drafts that at the time might have seemed to have potential to be literary masterpiece or chart smashing bestseller but now seemed aimless, directionless just as I myself felt now.
During this struggle to find some inspiration, spark or seed for breaking the block, I heard from somewhere about this writer living nearby. Now, don’t ask me from where or whom I heard about him as the details are rather fuzzy to me like many things these days. But this writer too seems to be suffering the same like me. I got to know that he was a really good writer, quite a few bestsellers to his name, many awards in both popular and critics’ choice categories for one so young they said. Yet now he has become a tragic hero like the protagonists in most of his works... eople whispered that he was out of his wits.
So here I am sitting before him in his study in search of my next story. No not through any plagiarism, but perhaps some inspirational spark. The seed of the idea germinated in me since I heard about him and the kinship I felt with him for he was suffering such devastating repercussions of the same disease I was suffering from, at present. He seemed to be one of those who have lost everything to it, from his flair for writing to his livelihood to his friends and dear ones. I had decided that my next story would be about the disease itself and destruction it causes through our shared experiences. I thought perhaps this interaction between us will spark something within both of us and get us both out of this mess.
Ok, before I again start rambling about this disease that has become my fulltime obsession these days let me tell you my observation about my new acquaintance before me. He was of same height and built as me but from his face he looked much older to me though I knew he was same age as myself. His eyes, the dark circle below them and his forlorn expression seem to suggest a man much more battle-scarred than me. Funnily at that time I remembered this lady critic had suggested, once, that half of my loyal readership is due to my boy next door charms.
Anyway, this guy sitting in his chair before me, in between us on his table was his laptop that he idly touched on the keyboard or mouse-pad between taking drags from his cigarette (the same brand as mine). Perhaps these were common habits most of us modern writers I thought. These little activities were infact the only proof that he was at all awake or present here before me. Then suddenly out of the blue he starts speaking, words just keep pouring out of his heart through his mouth. As our discussions progress I discover we share more common thought processes and life experiences apart from the physical appearance and age. We both seem to share the same masked self-pride and insecurities and yes, same fear and loathing towards the ‘writer’s block’. As we grow familiar with each other we both seem to find a new lease of creative life. A new shine in his eyes suggested he too was finally getting some new inspiration to share with his readers just as my story idea started taking a form in my mind. I was also growing impatient for putting these ideas into words. This newfound excitement we both seem to have got both of us in an overdrive. The experiences we shared have been so fruitful that words, characters and situations kept swirling in my head so much that I only became aware of my surroundings once I was in my own study sitting before my own laptop. Amazing how when you are so pre-occupied in the world inside your mind that the real world outside lose its existence.
Now I must set to work; switch on my laptop and start writing again before the damn disease again rears its ugly head. But alas! My laptop refuses to boot up, no flicker of light on its screen or even those little LEDs that indicate a laptop coming to life. I check the power, cord and everything all seem to be in place. Damn modern technology, it always deserts you when you need them the most. As all my efforts seem to go in vain I grow more frustrated. A sense of dread starts creeping up my spine. I can’t really describe what it is but am highly suspicious that it’s that rascal ‘writer’s block’ that has something to do with it. In my frustration I push my laptop, which falls on the floor from the force of my push. I fear perhaps something broke in it but outwardly it looked fine and I am running out of patience to check on it. I try to find something else. A pen and paper perhaps, going the good old traditional way. Later it can be typed out on the laptop once I get someone to repair it. But damn my luck today, I seem to have no spare paper. All pads, diaries and notebooks are either completely devoid of any paper or full of pages with gibberish written in handwriting I fail to read. I look around my printer, near that is the paper shredder and I see so many pages either torn or shredded and thrown in the dustbin below and around it.
The feeling of panic in my spine seem to have reached my head by now and grown into a full fledged migraine attack by now. Fear and dread has gripped me like a terribly high fever from which I am shivering by now. I need to call someone to help me with something to write on immediately. Wasn't my girlfriend here just yesterday, or was it last week or last month? Where is my trusted helper who has been with me since childhood? I try to get out of my study to find them or someone or anyone outside! But outside is from where the door seems to be locked. I keep banging it but no one answers or comes to open it. I wonder who could've closed it from outside and why? I just came in from finishing my meeting with my new fellow writer friend. I don't seem to remember closing it from the inside, let alone seeing or hearing someone closing behind me.
Damn it! That feeling of dread and extreme panic is upon me. I feel am losing grip on the ideas and words that were just a while back fully occupied my mind. I realise that the disease is back, the writer's block is upon me once again like an endless dark tunnel. I fall down on the sofa before my desk exhausted from battling this fear. The sofa is just like the one I was sitting on my new friend's study not so long ago.