Blocked Writer

It all started with my slipper……and then there was my dad, my dog, my mom, my daughter even a favourite uncle…..and any day now, it could be my brother and my son.

These are some of the things I have written about which have been picked up by various newspapers in the past six months. Ten middles and a 2000 word OPED is a fairly good yield for a temperamental writer like me who will writeimage what she wants, when she wants. And I have not counted the five accepted articles awaiting publication, one in a magazine! It gets even better, currently I am working on a possible weekly column for the Tribune.

All this should make me very happy you would think but strangely it doesn’t. After the novelty wore off it started bothering me that none of my ‘serious’ stuff got accepted. It was like they were interested in what I felt but not in what I thought. They were willing to hear me only when I had nothing to say. Fortunately my children had gifted me this blog for my birthday and it couldn’t have been better timed. So all the rejects ended here along with my casual musings ( like this one) and of course the coveted published pieces.

Till nine months ago I had felt that I excelled at one liners. Witty, sarcastic and obliquely insinuating remarks seemed to be my forte. So much so that my entire body of work consisted of nasty comments on Facebook. Then one day I thought of changing this and decided to write a full length article. And so ‘My Cinderella story’ was born which I wrote over a month in fits and starts. The idea of writing paragraph after paragraph was daunting. It seemed too laborious to recount the whole incident, describe every sundry detail and I nearly gave up. But after completing it when I put it on Facebook and got an encouraging response it felt good. Then came the suggestion to try to get it published as a middle. And along with it, a friend’s offer to walk me through the convoluted paths of the print world. He helped me compose the forwarding letter and submit it to Tribune assuring me that I would hear from them within a week.

I was so certain of a rejection that I kept checking my mail box for the editor’s ‘regret’ letter and missed the grand event of seeing my first article in the morning paper. I got to know about it four days later when someone congratulated me! I was just so sure that editors would not care to carry what I had to offer. But as I was to slowly discover, they were interested and I even managed to get my ‘mush’ in the prestigious Hindu and the somewhat snooty Hindustan Times.

I have become more voluble over time and words flow easily. In fact I generally exceed the word limit and have to trim my article later. Much has changed and yet a lot stays the same. The friend continues to help me in sorting my thoughts and getting a perspective on the topic. He continues to read multiple drafts of my disjointed ideas with the same thoroughness and dedication. And though my confidence in churning out corny middles has grown, the quest to move to the more emphatic off-centre columns still eludes me.

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6 thoughts on “Blocked Writer

  1. Neera says:

    definitely not a writers block!…yet…

    1. Manju Gupta says:

      No not a writers block….just a blocked writer….although I shouldn’t be saying this. The OPED in the Tribune is mine today …..and its not mush!!

  2. Sunita singh says:

    Your one liners were always good who knows better tkan your college friends. But your thoughts on paper are equally captivating. Keep it up.

    1. Manju Gupta says:

      Yes Sunita , who would know my one liners better…….got us in a lot of trouble!!

  3. rohini says:

    The story of your growth as a writer is equally interesting as your write ups. And Sunita is right .No body but we, your friends knew that you were different and meant to do something different.And we were right. Doctors generally not good with words.but as I say you are different.Keep it up!

    1. Manju Gupta says:

      Thanks Rainy for the kind words. Humbled!!

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