5 Ways to Take the Lid Off the Writer’s Block

When the words don’t come to you, here are 5 ways you can at least try and seduce them.

  1. Eraserhead or Unparrotting – Bruce Lee once quipped that a cup is useful only when it’s empty. The only thing standing between you and your material is every damn thing that you’ve read by other people. Funnily, they are also the ones that inspired you to write in the first place. However, it is also true that Gulzar didn’t become a writer by scribbling “I want to become Mirza Ghalib” a thousand times on the blackboard. Begin rebooting – “I am the monarch of all I surv…” Delete, Delete, Delete. “Call me Ishmael…” Delete, Delete, Delete! “Hit me Baby one more time…” Ctrl Alt Del, End Task!
  2. The Hurt Locker – There is a chest inside your chest where you pile pain away. Unlock it. Nothing spurs art like pain. Ask Vincent Van Gogh. Or Kahlil Gibran. Or Taylor Swift. Choose from a vast array of methods – “No One Understands Me” to “My Last Heart break”. For the quickest results, hit the streets, walk up to people at random and ask them any of the following questions; “Why are we here?”, “Can I please sing you Kolaveri Di?” or “Is Santa Claus real?”. Grit your teeth and hear out all the expletives they hurl at you. Next, instead of eating a 1 kg tub of your favourite ice cream, run home and pour it all out on a piece of paper. Your battered ego, I mean. A trampled ego = Fantastic art.
  3. Dumb and Dumber –Everyone who thought Russia could be invaded successfully in the winter, failed – from Napoleon to Hitler. Lesson 3 – Stop trying to sound like the most intelligent being on the planet, otherwise anything you write will appear like last night’s drivel after 5 whiskey shots. Even though it is probably gold. Treat each word like your baby. It’s coming through you. Praise it and not yourself, when it learns how to talk. And when it has a runny nose, wipe it up. Clean up after it. You are playing daddy. You fail when you say – “Who’s your Daddy?”
  4. Lend no one your ears – Stop listening to people. They have no idea what you’re going through – especially unpublished nobodys trying to round up a couple of people on the internet by, what can be described best as, standing on a virtual chair dishing out opinions. You are your best teacher and student. Everytime you break the ice between you and the writer inside you, write about how it happened.
  5. Turn up – Turn up at the page. Even if you left it blank the last time, turn up. Even if the “Y” in “Once Upon ay Time in Mumbaai” awakens prehistoric “Hulk! Smash!” urges, turn up. Even on days when “Turn up” may sound like “turnip” (a vegetable you hate), turn up. Don’t turn to TV, turn up. If this is what you love doing, you will be there like a legend. If your muse is appeased only through an offering of words, you will turn up at the page.

There is no easy way to unblock the writer’s block. Here is a sixth. It is only a part of the fifth way but needed a paragraph to itself – it is that special! The noted playwright Samuel Beckett wrote in his last work (“Worstward Ho!”) the following line of pure gold – “Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.”

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