Inspiration

Hear me out, a writer I am
with clues none whatsoever
in an investigation of tales
for when inspiration strikes
it strikes hard as a storm
hurling thoughts all amok
swirling in my own mind
scenarios for a scenic event
of monologues and dialogues
and a criminal plot twist
so moving the loveable crime
with a perfect metaphor
some puns and clever idioms
never one to miss a rhetoric
a character arc so gullible
worthy of a Clooney cameo
whirling on as a tornado
a tale possessing my being
from start to almost the end
a narrative spread as jam
and so smiling I ink my pen
ambitious to impact the world
to tell a story to the masses
of the man who beats them all
letting the first drop drip
I watch mute, feeling destitute
sensing the tornado move
from the edge to the eye
oh, what sudden change
a severe calm in my mind
the once-swirling thoughts
once wailing, now silenced
as the second drop drips
I wait in patience still
alas, the mind’s wiped off
thoughts gone with the wind
blown away just as it’d come
in a flurry—inspiration tornado

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Morning, sunshine

I awake to the sound of my favourite music—to the rising tunes of a strumming guitar. I snooze. It’s ok, I tell myself, for I’d worked late the previous night. I deserve more sleep. Before I know it, the alarm goes off again, this time more annoying than soothing. Sighing, I get up only to lean on the wall, palms resting on my chin. It doesn’t seem like a good morning.

As I force myself to brush my teeth and crack my knuckles, I feel a little more awake than before. Clinging on to that feeling, I begin my workout routine and feel better with each stretch. Now it’s starting to seem like a better morning. There’s still a long way to go, though.

Finishing my routine, I make a pot of coffee and slump into the chair—it’s browsing time. I scroll, without a second thought, through feeds and stories, watching but not caring about the lives of my connections and friends. It’s just a way to pass time while drinking coffee—nothing more, nothing less. Drowning the last of my coffee, I head for a shower. I let the cold water wash over me, feeling the heat evaporating as steam over hot cocoa. Soon, I’m ready for work. I plug in random trance music, as I leave, to help cope with the terrible walk to work.

With the slight buzz in my head, I reach office in a piece. I’m ready, sleep-deprived but not yet drooping, to face the day. Perhaps it is a good morning, I tell myself. I wave to my friend at the security desk, take the stairs two at a time, and arrive at my desk with work in mind. I prop up my laptop and open up the word editor—to write today’s blog.

Blank.

A morning. Blocked.

The writing prompt

’Twas a bleak evening. Unwarranted rains lashed against the window while Narnia deleted the clump of text on her screen—her feeble efforts at writing an article.

It’d been a while since she’d strung one sentence to another, in perfect coherence, forging each paragraph as worthy as the next one. All established writers face this, she assured herself. Except that her first publication was still due.

As she crumped the metaphorical piece of paper that held her desperate story, she stumbled upon something rather uncanny.

In retrospect, that was her impetus to publish her first novel, and many subsequent ones.


A tribute to The Daily Post. It meant a lot to me.

Evolution of a copywriter

All the world’s a stage
And all the men and women corporate players
They have their exits and their entrances
And one copywriter in their time plays many parts,
Their acts being many stages. At first, landing page writer,
Whining and sucking up to search engine’s demands.
Then the musing copywriter, with a wonder
And unsure morning face, creeping like snail
battling the block. And then the reviewer,
Sighing like furnace, with a woeful look
of enduring unendearing copy. Then a soldier,
The editor—full of strange rules, wired like a DJ,
Unperturbed, irritable, excited all in quick succession,
Seeking the bubble reputation
Even in the manager’s good books. And then a senior,
In fair round belly with experience underneath,
With eyes bloodshot trying shoes of formal cut,
Full of wise wit and modern puns;
And so they play their part. The sixth age shifts
Into the lean and pushback chair,
With spectacles on nose and munchies on side;
The youthful curiosity well satisfied, in a world growing
bigger than ad copy, evolving into testing,
Turning toward marketing, managing social
media and listening. Last scene of all,
That topples this strange eventful history,
Is second copywriting and mere simplicity,
Sans typos, sans click-baits, sans vanity metrics—well, almost.


It’s been almost five years since I started working as a copywriter. And during that period, I’ve had to play many different roles within my team. I was wondering how a copywriter is also a content marketer, a social media manager, advertising writer, script writer, technical writer, creative writer, and so much more, when I remembered one of my all-time favourite poems. The connection seemed only too obvious.

Unblock

The muse stops.

The screen freezes.

The block appears. And you’re stuck.

It’s so common nowadays to claim a writer’s block. Professionals do it all the time. Even amateurs often find it hard to go further than the first few scrawny lines they managed on their big novel.

I’ve felt the same so many times. However, I don’t think it’s valid to name it writer’s block. No one’s blocked in the literal sense. Writing is a habit. It’s practice.

Even art isn’t art without practice.

The problem is, we often define writing as a creative job. People stereotype writers as wearing big round glasses, as sleep-deprived, coffee-fueled, alcohol addicts. I don’t think so. Sure, we’ve seen a lot of great writers who match the description as much as twins look alike. Nevertheless, writers are different with varied perspectives and tastes. Not every writer writes only when they’ve gulped a pot of coffee. Not every writer needs alcohol to keep them typing.

Some writers just sit at the computer and write.

The reason is that they approach writing as a part of their life. It’s not an impulsive muse that needs to hit them at the right time at the right spot. It’s, instead, a ritual they go through because they choose to commit to it.

Writing in its pure sense is communication between the writer and the reader. It should be simple and straightforward if the reader is to glean anything at all. There’s no place for showing off there. Sure, poetry and fiction need a creative streak. And, yes, readers often enjoy an occasional wordplay or the clever turn of phrase. But all that comes from editing, and not the writing itself. For the first draft of anything is often us telling the story to ourselves.

When we approach our everyday writing like it’s verbal diarrhoea—or logorrhoea, in technical terms—there’s no way we’d get blocked. Whether we’re a professional non-fiction writer, an amateur, or a novel novelist, at the end of the day, we’re just a writer. It’s our job.

And when we have a job to do, we can’t afford to slack. No other job gets the block. 

Hospitality is a huge industry. Thousands of staff work day in and out throughout the calendar to ensure the rest of us are comfortable. I’ve never seen housekeeping personnel claiming they’re blocked. They get tired and even bored at their job. But that doesn’t mean they can’t, and don’t, finish their work.

Writers get tired, too. It isn’t easy to put words to thoughts on a daily basis and do it well, too. But that doesn’t mean we can’t do it. It only means that we’re too bored or lazy to keep going. We just need to take a break and carry on. 

Calling it writer’s block is just a lame excuse for not sucking it up.