Blocking the Block

A critic had once said that writers worked in a harlotry medium. Writers faced double discontent – there were either too many words or none at all. When this deepens, writers complaint of the writer’s block. Shernaz takes a hard look at the ‘block’. Here’s her narrative how real is this writer’s block, a Different Truths exclusive.

The heat this summer has been a lot in the news and for wrong reasons. It is being whined about, reviled; it is detrimental but unflinching. Cracked sere soil, dry riverbeds, drained wells… all are manifest in my mind. My muse is like truant rain and the wellspring of inspiration is chokingly arid. I have made promises to write, mercifully with no deadlines.

Ideas sizzle out, stories end before they begin and poems sound like words wrenched out of a phlegmatic, hoarse throat. I find myself wrestling with a blank screen praying it will not come out the victor.

Sure, all face what is conveniently called writer’s block. Conveniently, because there are those who swear that it is a pseudonym for indolence. In Meagan Spooner’s words, “Writer’s block” is just a fancy way of saying “I don’t feel like doing any work today.” All we need is to glue our backside to a chair and start working, say others who know. And ‘bah’ to inspiration! It is application, an undying desire to write that counts. Once you are serious about it the words will pour forth, ideas will brim and voila! You will be a writer again.


“Don’t waste time waiting for inspiration. Begin, and inspiration will find you,” said H. Jackson Brown Jr. So I have begun with a silent bow to H. Jackson Brown Jr. Believing Charles Bukowski, “Writing about a writer’s block is better than not writing at all” – here I go; no questions asked, none answered.

It has been truly and wisely said that most of us unwittingly create a writer’s block because we are afraid. We are sometimes scared of the truth of our own minds. It is so terrifying when we face it that we dare not put it out in the public space to be judged. Often our need to seek validation from outside, from others, stymies the flow of words. When fear becomes a threatening foe rather than the indicator of challenge that it is, our writing is crippled. Right now I am focused on the process of writing rather than on the brickbats this piece may receive, so words seem to write themselves out. My awareness of my fear is not permitting it to take charge. So far, so good.

One thing that surprises many is that I don’t participate in writing or poetry competitions. I did once or twice and then realised that competitions motivate differently. There is pressure to succeed, to accomplish, to win, and to perform. There is anxiety. It dawned on me that I had to keep writing for the sake of writing, because something just wanted to get written. And all those ‘somethings’ gradually put me on a path of self-discovery. My words brought out the bright and dark side of me, of my innermost being. Yes, there is a dark side to each of us and it can be disconcerting when you suddenly come across it leering at you. Someone wanted me to write a sinister story that could be turned into an episode for a documentary to bring out the evils of society. I began and the first part turned out extremely well. Then I started visualising the second and concluding part of the story and the ‘good’ old me was knocked down cold with shock. The evil thoughts that began to well up from my subconscious petrified me; I felt repulsed by myself and I gave up writing that story right there. I had to honour my commitment, so eventually I completed it but with a very positive, uplifting end. Then I braced myself to take on those evil ideas, delve deep into their origin and focus the light of love and awareness to reach all ominous, unsettling corners and eliminate the darkness.

That is what writing is all about in the final run; it forces you to come to a profound understanding of self and, thereby, of others; to be compassionate, honest, fearless, accepting of your failures and shortcomings and above all, humble; to become a better human being and brighten the little corner we inhabit of this stupendous, incredibly fantastic, Divine Universe.

Thank you Charles Bukowski! And all those who show up writer’s block for the dumb excuse it is, are correct!

©Shernaz Wadia

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Shernaz Wadia

Shernaz Wadia

To Shernaz Wadia, reading and writing poems has been one of the means to embark on an inward journey. She hopes her words will bring peace, hope and light into dark corners. Her poems have been published in many e-journals and anthologies. She has published her own book of poems "Whispers of the Soul" and another titled "Tapestry Poetry - A Fusion of Two Minds" with her poetry partner Avril Meallem.
Shernaz Wadia

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