Saturday, October 10, 2009

Sometimes, you just need to kill your darlings

I have been going through a severe writer's block for a while. Lack of focus compounded the issue as a few issues were weighing down my mind. My emotional highs and lows added to the entire problem as I am trying to grapple with an incident that happened more than ten days ago. Nevertheless, as I moved on listening to the head rather than the heart, the mind refused to stay focussed.

So I was struggling the entire day having written just one sentence of a 2000 word piece. I almost gave up when Arun, a blogger and friend asked me if I had managed to write the second line. I laughed and sent him the line I had written , telling him to continue from there. He read the line and in his own pragmatic way told me that it is not his kind of line. I replied indifferently that thats the only line I have for now, for words found expression in that single sentence . I shut the system and meditated for a while and then went on a walk.

As I played Arun's reply in my mind, I wondered if the problem was really the writer's block or my own inadequacies or the issues that refused to go away from my mind. Suddenly it struck me that the problem was so in my face and the solution was extremely simple. It was exactly what Arun said. The problem was the opening line. It wasnt a bad sentence , but it wasnt the right line for this particular travelogue that I was writing and hence I could not really continue. It was a deadlock and there was nothing more to say . In other words, I had to change the approach and the thought process.

I returned to my desk and changed the first line and sat down to write my story .My first cut of 1800 words poured out in less than three hours. I did struggle and several parts still need to be rewritten, but I had crossed the initial hurdle. After 12 hours of holding on to a single sentence, I deleted it and wrote 1800 words in less than 3 hours.Sometimes I realized you need to stop clinging and just need to kill your darlings cos they dont really work out.

I paused for a moment after writing like a demon possessed and wondered why I did not apply this logic to the other issues weighing on my mind. Probably, if I had the right approach, the incident would not have happenned at all to begin with , but whats done cant be undone. Nevertheless, I realized that I could still use the thought to get over it. After all, its just about changing the line, the thought, the approach and your own point of view, wrt people or issues. Its about realizing that whether its people or thoughts, you need to stop clinging on to them and kill your own darlings, cos they may not be the right ones for you.I just did .

6 comments:

Aaarti said...

Atta girl... :)

Anjuli said...

kill your darlings, don't u think its too harsh a phrase!

but yes u need to get over things and move on in life...

vishesh said...

Its always the first line :)

Lakshmi said...

Aarti - :)

Anjuli -Its just a phrase, but yes, what you are saying means the same..sometimes you need to let go in the true sense of the word, even you like somethg or somebody

Vishesh - I agree

~vagabond~ said...

The best piece of advice I've heard in a while. :)

lookingwithin said...

Very true...