Opening Up

It has been thirty whole days since I paid a visit to my blog’s New Post Editor and graced it with words of my own. I wish it could’ve happened sooner. But some things just cannot be rushed; some things need not be rushed.
Then why am I here today? Because it felt unfair not publishing an original post on the blog before I published November’s Quick Quote. Quick Quotes are great but that’s not why I started this blog. I just couldn’t abandon the original purpose of starting it, no matter how daunting the task appeared to be.

Needless to say, I take Fiction O’Clock and my writing very seriously (more seriously than Pictures From Her Window). That is actually one of the reasons why I haven’t posted for so long. This, dear readers, is neither an apology, nor an explanation. Just me opening up about it, reminding myself.

This past one month, I have been too busy to sit down for a few hours and dedicate that time to blogs, yours and mine. Too busy to sit but not to think. The thought of publishing a post for you to read never left my mind. However, the more I thought about it, the more it scared me. I used to think about what I can write – something that is interesting, and offers a fresh perspective. Something that is true to the blog. But what?

The festival of Diwali passed, that was a topic to write about, in fact there was/is an issue I had in mind to write about. But it didn’t happen. I still have the introductory lines of that post saved in my drafts and I fully intend to present it to you. But it feels like now is not the time for that to happen. I’m too scared for it to happen right now.

Why scared? Scared of not meeting with expectations – yours and mine. Expectations to publish a good post. A good post? This blog will be completing four years in the last week of November this year. Four long years! And when you have been writing for that long, surprising yourself with things your head can do for you, your expectations increase. When I published my first post on this blog on November 28, 2010, my hands were trembling as I saw the post open to public reading. How did that happen? I have a story to tell? A story that people might be interested in? When did I manage that?

Like most of the new blogs, the start was slow. But I never consciously published for the readers I might attract. It was always for myself, for my blog. I never imagined people would read what I write, that you would read what I write and appreciate it so much, telling me that you look forward to my posts. What better compliment could I expect?

I never consciously sat down and pondered over what I should write. A majority of the posts on this blog were impulsive – a thought nagging me when I was supposed to be sleeping, an alluring line that flashed in front of my eyes out of nowhere, compelling me to see if I can write a post around it. Some posts are just what I wrote on a stray sheet of paper when my head overflowed with muddled thoughts and needed clearing, and some posts were me typing impulsively in my post editor knowing that I have to write. Most of the short stories that you have loved have been the result of an opening line that just hit me when I wasn’t looking. My very first story, the story on the basis of which my sister suggested that I start a blog, The Lull Before The Storm, was a result of a random line which my brain thought of when I was taking a shower. I still remember rushing out of the bathroom, asking my sister and father who were using the computer to clear the way, running Microsoft Word and writing a 1004 words long story in one go. At the end, I went, “Now what?” And a blog, initially called The White Marigold, now Fiction O’Clock, happened.

What I’m trying to say is that I have rarely thought out my posts word by word since I started writing. But this past one month, I have been badgering myself to come up with a “good post”. A post that might help my readers forget the vanishing act I pulled for a month. But my brain always returned empty-handed. In summation, the realization that I have to post, the imagined compulsion of making the post “good”, me telling myself that I was just waiting for inspiration to strike (which I think was just an excuse for procrastination so I don’t feel too bad about it), and knowing that this is wrong, ended up being the dark monster on my back. These thoughts sapped my courage to face a blank screen, suppressed whatever creative juices could flow and made me succumb to a certain degree of paranoia.

But I am not looking for acceptance! I am just writing. For myself. And consequently, for you.

Is this how writer’s block is? But I’m not going to hide in the shadows of a term that is quite freely thrown around now. This may be writer’s block in reality, but it is not for me. I cannot let myself think like that. That will be giving an excuse. Because writer’s block is a legitimate excuse, is it not? That is not to say that all those who say they are having a writer’s block are lying, no. Just that, I don’t believe in it.

In this month, that is soon going to end, I have learned that one can do anything one sets their mind to – writing included. You don’t have to wait for any inspiration, you don’t have to find a stimulus that propels you and makes you write. The human brain is capable of thinking about so many things! That should be enough. All we need to remember, all I need to remember, is that you, dear reader read my blog because you relate to my voice, not because I’m trying to mould myself into writing in a voice that (I think) you’d like to hear. I had been pushing myself too hard, was making it look like a duty, when writing had always been an enjoyment, a welcome distraction. And I want to let it be just that – a thing to look forward to, for the both of us.

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Author’s Note:
The Quick Quote for November will be not be posted on the 1st. I will be posting it a few days after.
Thank you for bearing with me.

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