Looking Back, and Forward

Two years ago, I started this blog. I can’t really believe two years have passed. So much has happened that it simultaneously feels like a very short time, and a very long time since. Of course, the reasons are vastly different.

I thought I would write a mini post, looking at the reasons that made me start this blog in the first place. Primarily it was because my writing habit had broken. Shattered. I had lost all confidence in the ability to pen my thoughts to paper, and see the words come to life.

Rightly or wrongly, I believed I had a gift to write. I rarely go back and change my blog posts, because I quite liked the stream of consciousness ease which they exuded, and the light vein of humour than ran at its core. When I joined my first job in Mumbai, I slowly lost that ability, and everything I wrote felt and sounded wrong and contrived. Therefore this blog was meant to be a form of therapy for that broken skill.

Today, that goal has changed. I have regained the ability to write effortlessly, as stress and pressure, and the constant derision in my workplace have all gone. I may not write well by anyone else’s standards, but at least the words feel like myself again. So what now?

Now the blog is mental therapy. I write to empty my mind of some thoughts, and as I heal on the different fronts, the posts are slowly changing to reflect memories. I encapsulate kernels of joy, sorrow, humour, anger, and so much more on these pages, for me to look back at later and marvel.

I hope I am able to sustain this flow, because I know it has done me a world of good.

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Off One Hook, Onto Another

So, I met my target of blogging daily for the month of September. In fact, I got so into it, there were days I had so much to say, I wrote several posts all at once. I did schedule the posts, so that my feed wouldn’t be inundated though.

Then October dawns, and I needed a break. So I took one. I was rather pleased with the success of one resolution, and I was hot on the heels of another: weight loss.

Now, I have a tendency to get derailed if I encounter a setback. And I did encounter a setback. I went for the first session with my trainer, and promptly pulled a muscle in my back. While this was a real setback, there is another one that exists purely in my mind: I weighed myself. The number on the scale shocked me into acute humiliation, even though I was the only one there.

I briefly contemplated putting it out here, so it would goad me into sticking to the plan. But I couldn’t. And the tug of war between embarrassment and the guilt of feeling the embarrassment [my mind is such a mess!] rendered me incapable of doing anything.

Today has dawned differently though, and I have been tackling projects all over the place. I have an ongoing tussle with procrastination, and I need to kick it more firmly in the butt.

Obscurity and Safety

I’ve been wrestling with the problem of my identity on this blog. I am a professional writer, and a blog is a great way to showcase writing. However, my worry is less for potential clients, and more for my family and friends.

Most importantly, I cannot let my family read these thoughts. Whenever I have a disagreement with one of them, I tend to write my thoughts here. When my relationship broke down, I was having huge arguments at home, and I felt misunderstood and unable to put my point across adequately. Then, I don’t always agree with my relatives, but I am loth to hurt their sentiments. Ok, that was inaccurate: I detest most of my relatives and I rather they know nothing of my life at all.

Secondly, my industry necessarily collides with the IT industry, and a lot of my ex-colleagues and now friends are developers. They already found my defunct blog, even after I had taken it down! I am terrified they will find this one.

Finally, I have posted about my feelings about incidents with my friends. And those friendships have taken unexpected detours into a dumpster from the road leading from my blog.

So, I am making it deliberately difficult to find this blog using my name, but I will try and post my other work here. The chances of someone who knows me stumbling onto this blog are slim that way.

Just Bloggy Things

Some time last month, I suddenly decided I needed my blog outlet again. I have been suffering from severe writer’s block for years now, and I started this blog last September to counteract that. Of course, that was the intention but it never panned into actual fact.

There was a certain ease and flow in my words and writing before. When I re-read previous posts, I smiled because I found that the words evoked images for me, and while I certainly don’t presume it has that effect on everyone, I considered that writing personally timeless. When I started writing again last year, sentences came out in stilted spurts like a coughing engine. I have lost count of the number of posts I wrote and deleted straight after.

I always knew that it was important to finish and not seek perfection each time, but putting that into practice was difficult, as my mind has always been my worst critic.

However, after over a week of almost continuous blogging, I see my ease of old coming back. It is like playing an instrument long abandoned, and hearing the notes ring clearer and clearer each time. I fumble a little less, and set forth on each verbal journey with a little more alacrity.

I hope to complete one month of daily blogging to cement this into a habit. I’ve already reached 50 posts, and here’s hoping I hit 80 by October.

Thanks for listening.

A Hiatus and a Return

As always, I am berating myself for not making the effort to update my blog regularly. Never mind that I don’t actually have readers; the idea of this blog was to kickstart my dormant writing habit, and perhaps bring the flow back.

Funnily enough though, ever since I started freelancing again, the words do flow with considerable ease. I put it down to the necessity of communicating ideas and concepts, project proposals, and much more to clients and collaborators. The other day I was forced to draft a difficult email, where a client had changed their mind about an illustrator I had hired. She had only presented exceptional work, but they felt that her contributions did not justify hiring her. She was in the process of reworking their existing illustrations, and they felt that going back to the original illustrator made more sense. I differed considerably, because the existing work was appalling and shoddy.

The difficult email wasn’t to the illustrator, but to the client. I had to reiterate that the rework was in our original discussion, and, because I am paranoid about situations like this, in our email correspondence and the contract. I exhorted in the nicest possible terms that getting rid of her services, while entirely their call, was a huge mistake. I was also firm that it would be wasted money for them, as they would have to pay her regardless of whether they used her work.

During this entire episode, the illustrator was blissfully unaware of the battle I was waging on her behalf. And so it should be. Advocacy works best when it isn’t direct.

Writing copious emails has awakened the writing fervour, so writer’s block isn’t my excuse this time. It was the lack of energy and time. Getting back into freelancing seemed attractive, just after I left my job, but I had conveniently forgotten the gargantuan administration that accompanies successful and profitable enterprise. I have been on the phone with lawyers, accountants, designers, developers, clients, telecommunications people, and many more as a result. Add to that, my presence at home enables my mother to get her work done as well, and my cup runneth over.

It has taken me over a month to implement a system where I don’t go completely insane with the myriad things I am supposed to do. Maintaining a blog in the midst of all that seemed a ludicrous fantasy at best, and the ravings of a lunatic.

However, to-do lists have saved my bacon, and here I am again. Hopefully to stay this time.

Writer’s Block

I have been convinced for over a year, closer to two actually, that I suffer from acute writer’s block. There are many reasons for this:

Firstly, I got a job. The biggest creativity-killer in the world is a job that you don’t really feel passionate about. The work is all right, the compensation is good, and it addresses my immediate needs very well. But it sucks up so much of my day, I don’t have time to write.

Secondly, the little time I do have is spent in being ferociously tired. I am flagging and always on the verge of falling asleep because I haven’t had enough hours before to rest. Then, I just want to do something passively entertaining, like reading or watching TV, rather than engage my depleted energy resources in something worthwhile.

As a corollary to the second point, I have massive lists of content I want to consume. It drives me crazy to see the podcasts, RSS feeds, Facebook saved links, and watch/read lists overflow with unread markers. Without exaggeration, I think that the cumulative time of all those things far outstrips a reasonable life expectancy. I think the Internet has a term for this: FOMO or fear of missing out.

Finally, I feel like the spark is lost. I was typing up hilarious posts on Facebook, dreaming up the occasional zinger on Twitter, before I thought about restarting blogging. I was desperate to retain that lightness of word and sparkle of narrative that comes naturally to me when I am happy. But that’s the trouble: I haven’t been happy. There is a lot weighing me down, and one of those things is my unfulfilled expectations of myself.

I haven’t blogged in a while, because I can’t see the sparkle in my writing any more. But to regain it, I need to stop feeling trapped by those confines, and just write. So, this blog is changing direction a little bit. It is now a practice space for a newly resurrected love, and all the attention I need to lavish on it.