What do you write about when you are not able to think?
I suffered from this nothinkingness in the entire January of 2014. Now, when I am able to think about it, I realize that Januarys have always been hard on me in some way or the other. Last year too, January sucked big time for me. This time around, it didn’t suck as bad as last year, but it still made mess of my already messed up mind.
Nothinkingness hit me right on the first day of the month. I came back to Delhi after a long unproductive tour of South India. It irritates me big time when I end up wasting my time because of things that are not important to me at all. It’s not that two weeks I spent in South India were total waste of time. I traveled 760 kilometers, to and fro, to watch ‘The Hobbit – Desolation of Smaug’ on the IMAX screen just to continue the tradition from watching the ‘The Hobbit – An Unexpected Journey’ in the same theatre exactly a year ago. What a lovely coincidence it was and what a lovely day to remember as well.
I got into a fight with a passenger while traveling; the picture of the incident, which I shared on Facebook, got distributed in big numbers. People love to gossip, and it takes guts to give them something to gossip about.
Let me come back to nothinkingness. I reached Delhi on 1st January. This bloody city is so polluted that I got sick on the very first day of my return. Cold, cough and fever became my companions for the otherwise lonesome nights. I tried working on the pending stories and the book as well, but all that came was mucus from my nose, no thoughts at all. None. Null. Zero.
It took me three days to realize that I had hit what is known around the world as ‘the writer’s block’. I don’t believe in it. I differentiate, between people who write, in two classes.
In class one, there are people who call themselves ‘authors’. They follow a regular schedule and meet deadlines after deadlines to please their publishers and the readers. They are the people who post regular updates about their work on their social networks and keep the people interested. They tag people, unnecessarily, in all the cover design photos of their next book. And, just before the launch, they create Facebook events to invite everyone in their friendlist to the launch of yet another book. They don’t care if anyone can actually make it for the launch or not, but they make sure they don’t miss inviting anyone from their friendlist. Few go a step further; they add ‘Author’ as their first name and feel proud in being known as a published author. I am not saying it is bad to be proud of your hard work but one should be open to handle criticism.
I want to share an incident at this point. Two years ago, I came across a female ‘author’ who was very proud of her work. Confidence oozed out of her when she spoke. No doubt she had had a good education. She had recently penned down a book containing short stories related to women. I met her at an event which was not about promoting her writing, but as it goes with ‘authors’, they don’t leave any chance to promote their work. At that time, I was new to all this. I searched her book online and ordered it. I read the first story, it was amazingly written. When I read the other stories, I realized she had used the same narrative style in her other stories as well. It killed the essence of the first story. I don’t know whether she did it on purpose or not, but all her stories seemed like one story told over and over again with differently named characters. I hated the book. She was in my Facebook friendlist, so I thought of giving her a feedback about her book. I gave her my honest feedback. She asked for my reason of not liking the book. I honestly told her the reasons and shared with her my point of views. First of all, she stopped responding to me at that very moment, and after few days, she blocked me! This is the problem with ‘authors’, they tend to take things pretty seriously.
Now, there is a second class of people who write. They are known as ‘writers’. They do not give damn about the schedules or the deadlines, they do not care about the publishers, they are not afraid of leaving a book in the middle and starting to work on a better project. They shuffle their thoughts at will and they don’t even try to remember what they thought. They let their ideas float in thin air. They are of the opinion that if an idea stays in their mind for long enough, it needs to be penned down and further explored. Yes, the class of ‘writers’ is that of explorers, travelers, observers and thinkers.
Nothinkingness can happen with ‘writers’ and ‘writers’ only, because they do not force themselves to think when nothinkingness hits them. ‘Authors’ force themselves to think through nothinkingness and come out with some or the other twist in the story to make it go along further. ‘Writers’, however, already know the story, they just need to express in the perfect way, in the perfect words and when the words stop pouring out of them, they stop, they do not force themselves to write, they have many other things to do. Words will definitely come someday again because as much as ‘writers’ love the words, the words love the ‘writers’ too. An author can never use the word ‘nothinkingness’ in his work, it is the mind of a useless and aimless ‘writer’ that can come up with some useless word and write an entire article on it to only prove that there is no such concept called ‘writer’s block’.
Yes, there could be a concept called ‘Author’s block’ but I cannot write anything about it. I am not an author yet and I hope I never become one.