Inside a Writer’s Messy Mind…
Updated: Jun 18, 2018
Sometimes, I like to think I’m creative. However, the fact is that I only see very minute glimpses of that creativity. The result is that I’m perpetually restless. Now you’re probably wondering about how these occasional bouts of creativity can create perpetual restlessness. Well, for all those flickers of creativity that I witness within me; I also have numerous writers’ blocks, phases of depression, days of feeling unproductive. I feel like I am at a standstill, everything I write seems to be something that’s already been written.
There seems to be no originality, despite many others telling me how brilliant the writing is, or how original my treatment of the subject is, or sometimes, just the simplicity of language which justifies the complexity of the subject.
Result? There's again this constant conflict with myself. Others appreciate something I've written, when I'm myself so not happy with it. Everything that I have been trained to do, to research, to write, to market, to sell, seems to scream to me how it doesn’t seem to be aligned in some way with my inner self. My inner self seems to be constantly hungry to write something that hasn’t been written about before. However, I’ve been taught that there are only 9 rasas, 7 types of stories, X types of characters and Y types of writing.
The academic in me, nods. The creative person in me? She cringes and suffers. I know many others who suffer like I do. I know some of you are nodding to yourself while you read this.
We, the painters, the writers, the musicians, the artists, we often wonder if we ever create anything new. We often suffer from what’s called as the malady of the artist. Surely, we must tell new stories, we must write new songs, our characters, our settings, our lyrics must be different. Yes, we do. Do we? Really?
Do we not tell the same stories of greed, hatred, revenge, struggle and pain, over and over again? Our characters may be modern now and may wear Armani suits, but they love, lust, desire and feel heartbroken the same way. Our settings may be urban, but the cut – throat competition has the same animal instinct as did the hunter-gatherers of the ancient past.
Then what has changed? Are we really creating anything new in that case?
Are we discovering how a dog feels, or an ant, or a tree, or the earth or cosmos for that matter? Do we have the ability to identify a new emotion? Or is it just new colors and more words? And if that’s the case, what is it that I call the glimpse of creativity? That for which I’m restless and I see flickers of? I worry, I don't fully know.
Eventually, I’m tired. I feel burnt out. I feel drained. That is when I let go. I let go; of all my knowledge, of all my past learning, of everything I’ve read, been taught and am supposed to consciously think of. Those are the moments of binge watching series after series on Netflix. Those are the moments of reading Japanese Manga. Those are the moments of discovering about the mysterious ‘Voynich Manuscript’ and feeling awed by the amazing work it might contain.
And THAT,is when inspiration suddenly strikes. That’s where interesting analogies come to me. That’s when I can see similarities between the royalty and the common man. That’s when it’s easy to see a mother and a daughter, or a father and a son as they are and as they are not; in their roles, their roles reversed, their conflicts, their resolutions start becoming clear.
In those moments of letting go, there’s that flicker of creativity, of saying something differently. That’s when the muse comes and her dance unfolds. That’s when my senses and alertness is the most heightened to watch that dance. For, what is sumo, but a dance between giants. What is business, but a dance between companies. I'd like to know about every kind of dance. (Memoirs of The Geisha). Specially, the dance of a muse.
In those moments I realize that good writing is nothing but the dance of words on the tip of the pen as it engages with the paper. THAT is when I can write something new, something even slightly different. Not yet fully creative, but not entirely restless anymore. Only for it to grip me again.