Writing a blog...

By Deepak Nagpal | Last Updated: Sunday, July 12, 2009 - 17:42
Deepak Nagpal
The Wanderer

Writing a blog... Well, everybody is writing something these days – blogs, articles etc. So, I thought why can’t I pen down something on my week day off. Armed with my sleek laptop and a broadband Internet connection, I got down to business.

I was an inspired man… Mark Twain had this to say for people like me: "The secret of getting ahead is getting started. The secret of getting started is breaking your complex overwhelming tasks into small manageable tasks, and then starting on the first one."

So, as I saved the MS Word file titled ‘blog’, I got down to the first task… I needed a topic to write. Well, a topic for someone like me who knows only little about everything (not even jack of all trades, forget about being a master of one!) can be as varied as a hot summer day to sex.

Since it’s too ‘hot’ and the monsoon continues to evade Delhi (where I live), I thought of writing on summer. Yeah, I got the topic I was looking for! Sitting in my drawing room underneath the good old ceiling fan, with water cooler running in the adjacent room and me dripping in sweat, I began to write: Summer is here again, and the monsoon is missing again.... ah! Is this the way to start? What’s new in the opening lines? With sweat drops continuing to trail down my body and my concentration focussed on making sure the drops do not fall on the laptop, I decided to write on something ‘cool’... yeah, that’s a good word to mouth in the scorching heat.

So, to begin with I went to my Antarctic zone (the fridge), took out a bottle of chilled water, gulped down almost a litre of blood....oh! sorry, water (it happens when one is reaching boiling point). Feeling refreshed, I got back to my comp(uter), erased the ‘summer line’ that I had written, and made a fresh beginning: A bottle of bear (errrr... beer), with lots of ice, going down the throat like a river of.... hmmmm.... slice (did I say mango slice?)...

What’s this stuff that I am trying to put down? I am a correspondent with a leading news website, but why can’t I write a decent starting line for my blog? No, I think I can... let’s try again! I decided, let’s leave the seasons and focus on something real! Yes, girls!!! All the guys (straight) on this earth love the opposite sex (well, I hope the female counterparts too)... who doesn’t want to have a sexy, cute-looking girl alongside him?.... Someone whom he can call ‘my gal’ in front of a bunch of her admirers.... yeah, coming back to the topic, I thought let’s write something on the fairer sex... wow! was the word in my mind as I started:

Girls are amazing, they are beautiful, they make you go mad, especially when you are in college... those romantic bus journeys on the back seats of the DTC buses, those evenings in a cinema hall after bunking classes, those coffee encounters in Baristas and places like that.... as I was gaining flow, something struck me hard... and tears fell from my eyes.... how can I write such romantic stuff... because I have never experienced any such ‘lovely’ thing first hand... how can a guy like me write on girls when he has never had a girlfriend? I got emotional and closed the Word file, almost deciding to shut my computer down and take a nap to overcome this trauma of not having a girlfriend ever in my life and then constantly reminding myself of such a ‘pathetic’ situation while trying to... of all the things on this earth... write a blog!!! Too much pain for nothing, right?

But, it’s not just me who has been finding it difficult to write. Many writers, including several greats, have at some point or the other found it difficult to write – something which is known as “writer’s block”. Some found it difficult to complete what they had started writing, some got stuck up in the middle, some could not proceed further than the first paragraph, and some – like me – just ended up at the topic.

While some never revealed in public the difficulties they faced while writing, others have been quite open about the same. For example, William Goldman once said: "The easiest thing to do on earth is not write." Paul Rudnick, meanwhile, had this to say: "Writing is 90 percent procrastination: reading magazines, eating cereal out of the box, watching infomercials. It's a matter of doing everything you can to avoid writing, until it is about four in the morning and you reach the point where you have to write."

And then I too remembered that I had not written anything this month... that reflected badly on me as somebody whose job is to write! So, I again opened the blog file, erased the stuff I had written and started thinking of writing on something on which I thought I could write. Eureka! Sex is my saviour for this month. Nobody on this earth needs to experience sex to write on it, I told myself, in times like these when you see almost everybody around you indulging in it.

You don’t have to go to people asking them about their experiences; they (of course, your friends, not your company chairman!) would automatically come to you, narrating their encounter with that awesomely beautiful girl who was the chand sitara of every guy’s eyes in the town. Brave they are when revealing the dark secrets of their lives, forgetting someone could even be thinking of making him and the girl ‘the subject’ of his next blog, to be published on a website which has readers numbering in millions daily!!!

That sounded very interesting... with names changed, I thought I could write some erotic stuff... but as I began to ‘pen down’ the encounters of the people who had ever revealed their secrets to me, thinking I was the most trustworthy person on earth, something again struck my mind... this time not another topic, but the fear – what if those guys become angry and decide to vent their anger in full public view, that too ‘physically’... sorry, I can’t take that much risk... because all of them are nearly double than me in size... so getting admitted in a hospital was not worth the reward for writing an ‘official’ blog...

Others in the world too, while deliberating on something serious to write, have ended up actually being funny (like me) about their quandary of lack of ideas.

"The art of writing is the art of applying the seat of the pants to the seat of the chair," said Mary Heaton Vorse. Others have even advised about how to overcome the ‘writer’s block’. Suggests Gabriel Garcia Marquez: "One of the most difficult things is the first paragraph. I have spent many months on a first paragraph, and once I get it, the rest just comes out very easily."

But the point with me was that the first paragraph was just not coming. Finally, I decided to give up... with a smile... and the smile spread like a butter on a hot bread slice when something again struck my mind – I had forgotten to renew my ‘medi-claim’ policy. So, any punch on my face for revealing the juicy secrets of others would have cost me dearly... at the end of the day, that’s not a fair reward for fulfilling my commitment of writing at least one blog every month... so, I gave up... sorry boss... next month please…

First Published: Sunday, July 12, 2009 - 17:42

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