Hanging by a Thread

Slumping into writer’s block. Nothing is quite like it. You wake up in the morning and mess with your hair. You slide into your seat and pull it toward the table. You open the laptop and a long empty page sits in front of you. Were A4 papers always this long? It’s a Great White Wall. You write a few words and then you are pressing the backspace key again. After 30 minutes, it’s still blank because you are pressing the backspace key, again, and probably after an hour, it will still be blank because of that backspace key.

Writers can slump into a block for more than one reason. It could be due to the weather, believe me it could. It could also be due to a quarrel with your spouse. It could be because you are too happy or too sad. It could be due to no reason at all. But, really, it probably has something to do with being REJECTED. That word hits hard, even if written in the softest of tones and mildest of forms. Being rejected is being rejected by any other name. Most writers take it personally. They feel being rejected means their writing sucks. And though you will be assured, more than once, that that is not the case, why in the world should you believe it? After all, you HAVE been REJECTED. And it’s probably not the first time!

Yet being rejected is not the problem. It’s the inactivity that follows. Even though you are a born genius who is out to change the world. But, still, why doesn’t anything come out? What can you do?

In a situation like this, they tell you to brain storm. And isn’t the storm in your brain quite enough? I am no good; I can never be a writer; I wrote a joke instead of an article; it’s not a career for me; everyone in the world hates me; why did I even bother sending it; can’t I just blow that editor to bits.

And while you find yourself strangling that body-less editor’s neck in your mind, the page in front of you sits blank. Is it possible to sleep it out? How many trips did you make to the bed and back? And why can’t you write anything? Seriously? Even with all the ideas in your notepad and all the content filling  your head and your laptop, your page sits blank, starring into you. Someone was boasting to me that if they are not writing, they just edit. But what do you do when you can’t switch between editing and writing? There’s nothing to edit on a blank page!

They also tell you to cry your heart out. Can anyone please bring the tears? What do you do if you can’t cry? Anyone? Read stories? Watch movies? Doesn’t doing that make you even more frustrated? After all, that one guy’s script got accepted and yours was rejected! He succeeded and you failed! He is there and you are, sadly, still here. As thoughts rush and desperateness prevails, you find yourself hanging by a thread. You can only be thankful that what you are hanging by is your hand and not your throat. That thread is the fact that you will write again. Even if you are rejected a 1000 times, literally, and even if you slump, you can still write again. Thankfully. 

And then, that’s what being a writer is all about, anyway.

Azra Sardar Ahmad
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