on writing

*1.50 pm* Squeezing in some time while having lunch at my desk to write this one.

Yesterday, I read an extremely insightful blog by Laura Barakeris on Brevity about writing and solitude. I realized how I always complain about not getting enough time to write given my busy schedule but, to quote Laura “if I look closely, I do have time, but I hesitate, and then weeks go by and I haven’t written.” Exactly my situation these days.

Like most professionals, my days are all about replying to emails, communicating, coordinating, meetings or checking my to-do list. In the free time I have, I am (quite obviously) mindlessly scrolling on social media or watching a new web series. So, it IS hard to find a spot of solitude, turn inwards and write down my thoughts. It requires discipline. A film writer I recently met told me how the real struggle is to get the story-lines from here (pointing at his head) to here (pointing at the paper in his hand). It is true!

“Solitude for the writer is hard and glorious and essential. It’s like a good marriage: The more you commit to it, never giving up no matter how difficult things get, the more grace and mystery is revealed to you,” said Ann Tashi Slater, in her HuffPost article, “Writing and Solitude.”

Like Laura says, this “grace & mystery” is about having a space to think, a stillness and quiet where nothing is fighting for your attention. Neither the notifications buzzing on your mobile nor the background noise of the TV. “It is the ability to hear the stories in your mind and to listen to what your imagination is telling you. A break from the chaos.”

I have often found my breaks of solitude at night, when the world around me falls asleep. It has inspired many stories out of me. But lately, I haven’t been able to discipline my mind and body to make that time and find inner solitude. I haven’t been able to write solutions to all the incomplete story-lines that keep running through my mind. There’s a lot of pressure with respect to work, living alone, managing groceries, bills and what not.

However, Joe Fassler in “What Great Artists Need: Solitude,” published in The Atlantic attacks this exact problem. He says, “Artistic solitude is a decision to turn and face these feelings, to sit with them for long periods of time.”

So I’ve decided to make time. When I think about it, I do have empty Sundays twice a month where I can make time to write for a few hours or even a couple of hours before going to bed every day.

I need to cultivate the discipline.

Or maybe, just like Laura, I need a 24-hour solo trip in the woods.


image credits: Dasha Pears on Pinterest

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