Guilt of the unfinished story
Every morning I get up, from some nook in my mind the thought pops up like a reminder — the book is lying unfinished. It is not some book on my bed-side or the table. This is a book I am writing for the past two years that is lying unfinished in the drive of my computer. In the last six months I have visited it sporadically, typed a few lines, and then abandoned it.
‘Writers Block’ — type these words in Google and so much advice gets thrown up that it boggles the mind. It even has a Wikipedia page where among other descriptions it is also explained as ‘creative slowdown’. Apparently the condition is documented historically as a common affliction amongst authors! Causes and treatments are both described for those struggling with the problem.
Other articles on the net list out steps to overcome this creative slowdown. Lists are a favorite form of writing on the internet. From how to make money, become beautiful, improve your relationship, be successful at work or overcome writer’s block — there are lists that will help you overcome. The to-do list is now a self help tool on the internet.
Go for a walk, write something else, build a routine for writing, write badly for a while, enter the story from the middle or other angle… the lists are endless. If one delves deeper they are actually common sense approaches to any problem that one faces in life. So in that sense, maybe following them would be of some help.
But why am I writing all this? Because to be honest I have tried some of the suggestions that I have read. And have still not managed to get back to my story in earnest. It is not that I have lost the thread of the story, or lost interest in the characters that animate it. As any author I am sure will agree, while writing fiction the characters that one is building up lurk somewhere in the subconscious till their story is complete.
An unfinished story is like an incomplete dialogue that plays out in one’s head all the time. It is a self inflicted burden that only the writer can remove. I am not even a full time writer. Writing fills the spaces that present themselves after the demands of a full time job, home, and other obligations are met. Though I have confessed and accepted for myself that it is what gives me happiness and is my complete stress buster.
There are moments when I see something and think ‘this will fit in well in the book’. For example, today I was walking in a corridor of a different office which is a heritage building, and observed its arched roof lined with red bricks. That would fit in beautifully in a description for the story! And in that moment, the story kind of creeps into my consciousness, reminding me of my neglect!
I know I have to get down to writing it soon. And as some wise one on the net put it plainly — the simplest way to overcome the block is by writing. Common sense — that like most common sense is so difficult to implement!
This blog is my way of dealing with the guilt of my unfinished story and incomplete characters that are awaiting my return. I see the icon of the latest chapter each time I approach the computer, and believe me I feel like a cheating spouse when I open another file.
So today I have taken a print out of the chapter, read it and jotted down by hand the way it is going to go forward. Resolving that I will finish the story, step by step, word by word.
Originally published at http://themindprism.com on December 3, 2021.