By Zia Ahmad
Writer’s block is fiction, doesn’t happen, an excuse for pure dumb laziness and a supremely narcissistic and vain labored way to remind oneself of his/her pretentious talented bearings. Just as anyone can sing, cook and laugh, writing is a vocation any one can take up. Nothing to it, easiest thing in the world. Think about it. Out of all the creative forms, it’s writing that asks for the most meager of capital investments: a pen and a piece of paper and if you are anything like me who has a hideous handwriting and finds pushing pencils down on paper woefully tedious, you can always type. No running away from writing.
Of course, being literate helps and so does a vocabulary but one does not has to worry about that for a thesaurus is never too far away. If soppy dumb housewives wheedle out God awful romance novels and cook books why can’t anyone else.
There is an unbound wealth of topics, things, situations, stuff to write about. And don’t let anyone tell you to do cumbersome Herculean tasks like doing research or be more than aptly knowledgeable about whatever you intend to write on. Just choose something to write about and go do it, hammer it down, and scribble it mercilessly. Take cue from the leaders of your country or where ever you work and don’t think, proceed heedlessly. Write write till your fingers get crooked or your fingertips loose their sense of touch, smell and taste.
When I say to write without thinking, it doesn’t necessarily mean to carve out plain dumb gibberish in the fabric of that most fine, pure and virgin stretch of white. “In the mind of rodents you can be a sad low timer in the elbowing woods.” Hmm I wanted to demonstrate a point here but I guess I am talented and am utterly unable to write anything which is senseless. So that helps to be a good writer, talent. Schools teach you how to hone this talent and as you grow up you discover there are fancy schools which can help you with your talent through extorting astronomical amount of hard cash in fee, subjugating you to the whim and eventual degradation by your teachers in front of your peers and utter disrespect of people who are weary of the written word (they may number in millions), at the end of which, if nothing else, you will be well trained in the art of filling out birthday cards.
To write stories and scripts and other sundry variations of fiction, I find honesty and truth only to be an anchor to keep the whole firmament (feel free to use words in your writing you don’t even know the meaning to, it impresses stupid people) down to our very own flesh and bone world. Honesty and truth helps us relate to a story but you just have to use it enough for the sake of relevance. Don’t over do it. It just has to form the background and the rest is up to the fruitful whimsies of your mind. Quoting a character from Star Trek (one of the various spinoffs), “truth is the lack of imagination”. So in order to be a good storyteller, it is essential that you are a good and confident liar.
On the flip side, writing up factual stuff or non fiction as some stuck up librarians would correct you, is a piece of cake. You don’t have to invent any spaceship or imaginary betrayals; you are just expected to give an account of whatever. It’s really simple, just think about writing an essay on a trip to the zoo.