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Solitary Confinement

They say solitude is a writer’s best friend. This morning, I am inclined to agree.

Today, I’ve broken my month-or-so-old writer’s block with a three hour writing spree. Mr R is in London all day today at a rehearsal for an upcoming concert. I have nine hours to myself. With an hour devoted to Sunday Mass, I had the whole day looming ahead in its sunny glory. What a perfect day to awaken the Muse!

From eleven to two, I have written in a frenzy. Completed and emailed a submission to a magazine. Completed a first draft of another article. Emailed the editor of another to check about a previous submission. Nothing may ever come of this morning’s work, but atleast it’s better than finding a hundred reasons not to write.

Writer’s block happens. Sometimes, it is because there’s too much going on in your Life and you’d rather not focus on your writing. Other times, it’s sheer laziness. Typing out your thoughts in a structured format does not sound very appealing when you can allow yourself to be distracted by other things. Blogging is fine, so is writing in your diary. Article submissions can wait for spring.

Looks like that wait is over. Today the sun is shining brightly and spirits are soaring. The house is in a mess because I was determined to start writing and worry about tidying up later. As you’ll agree, once we get distracted, that’s the end of it. It’s only a short walk from picking up clothes to turning the TV on.

I have found that I write best in silence, without any distractions. Except for my thoughts ticking away, there is not a sound in the house or outside. Double glazing helps.

Some people can write anywhere. They don’t need a space of their own. There are writers who dish out their daily dose in cafe’s, libraries, at the dining table with kids running around. I have been indulged that way – my best writing has always been at a place I have created as my own. Our bedroom in Chembur that I shared with my sister had a little nook that I wrote at- nothing special : just some old cushions & a little table with my favorite objects and pictures. That, however, was where I have done some of my best writing ever.

It’s over a year since we have moved into this house, yet I still can’t find the right place to write. I have moved furniture around umpteen times, yet it comes back to the same place. Reclining in bed is a favorite spot – we have a gorgeous view outside though, which easily distracts. I get caught up with watching squirrels and birds hopping around. Focussed writing with the telly on is not easy – I have not mastered that art yet.

I enjoy writing long hand, but writing directly onto the computer gives the work a sense of urgency and it’s easy to edit and reframe your sentences as you come up with them. Unplugging the internet cable helps in keeping one focussed.

Not all of us are lucky to have ‘a room of one’s own’ to write. Not having the ‘ideal’ writing space should never be an excuse not to write. That’s what I keep telling myself when my lazy self comes up with excuses to procrastinate. The trick is to be prepared when the muse arrives. You don’t want to fumble looking for paper when you can see the corner of a verse drifting off your brain. I keep paper and pen easily accesible in every corner of the house – even the loo – you never know when inspiration strikes.

This morning’s exercise has awakened some sleeping cells and hopefully the train of thought will stay on track and not get derailed. It’s three hours since I’ve been writing. Time for a break. Maybe I will tidy up after all.

From 365 ways to change the world : 19 March

The internet creates all sorts of opportunities for connecting people. Some intriguing projects have been developed to do this.

The 1000 Journals Project consists of 1000 journals which travel around the world. Read more about it at www.1000journals.com

The Degree Confluence Project’s aim is to visit each point on the surface of the earth where a degree of latitude and longitude interset, and for the person visiting each location to take a photo. So far, over 3400 points have been photographed in 155 countries. Read about it at www.confluence.org

Also, see www.phototag.org releasing cameras into the wild


  • Visit these websites and find out as much as you can about the projects
  • Let this be a spur to your imagination. Think up a project that will connect people in your community or across the world.
  • Take the first crucial step in developing your idea.
  • Keep going until your projet is out there.

One comment on “Solitary Confinement

  1. Glad you’ve beat the block! I shook myself out of laziness yesterday and started a mini project too (after making lots of excuses about not having THE place to write). here’s to more writing!

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