There you are, tossing and turning in the bed after a bad dream, and then a brilliant idea seeps into your mind, an excellent plot for a short story. It is like locating a star on the ceiling, you are sleepy, yet the brilliant star has ignited your imagination. Deciding that you can write on it in the morning seems to be the sensible idea, and you back to sleep.
Hint: If possible, have a voice recorder nearby and record your ideas, providing your sleeping partner is not disturbed. Or keep a notebook and pen near the bed so you can grab them and note down at least a few words of the idea that floated into your sleep-heavy self.
What is the best time to write? There is no perfect time for the muse to appear in general; people discover their moments to open their creative doors—the experts on the words craft advice on rising early and starting with a fresh mind. The early mornings are quiet, and the solitude is beneficial to creative work. Writing in the late hours of the night is the writer's way for many, for when the world sleeps, the quietness aids the thinking mind. A noted journalist I came across took notebooks and a pen to the bathroom and wrote some of the best pieces while answering the call of nature. In the world of gadgets, it's possible to write when one is journeying. In the morning bus or the train, fellow commuters may be busy meeting their deadlines on tablets or laptops on the way to work. The muse changes its form and location with the changing lifestyles of humans.
When a writer's thoughts and hands stop coordinating, the invisible wall seems impenetrable. The mind goes flipping shore to shore without settling to write a few words or more. The temporary inability makes the writer restless, feeling like diving into the brain and fixing the block. Perhaps life at that point is loaded with stress, or the body is not feeling that great, and they together are not streaming into the ocean of creative genius. It's tough to pinpoint the reasons behind writer's block and much easier to say, "Oh, it's a writer's block," and let go. Please wait for the muse to come back to its nest.
For a freelance writer, the writing world is characterized by acceptance or rejection of the articles sent for publication. A similar scenario goes for writing contests. Hundreds of poetry, fiction, non-fiction, and other writing contests call for submissions: some call for free proposals, and others have reading fees. The best pieces we write are sent to these contests and wait with crossed fingers. On the other end of the line, there are significant volumes of submissions for the competitions, and not everyone can make it. The rejection emails are sent, not only to you but to other participants too. Accepting the winner's happy news, but it is wiser to be ready to receive rejections. And may stumble on the path of writing but picking up to move on to another chapter, we need to keep writing.
Our reading habit enriches the mind of the writer and helps produce the craft. My late maternal uncle Waheedul Huq, the noted musician and a man of great wisdom, told me, "You have to read to write well; it is like filling your writer self with food to make it work the best way." He also mentioned that having books around us is a way to get children to read; at one time or the other, the little ones pick up and start reading.
Reading is a pleasure that one picks up in various ways; some like to read magazines and fiction, while others stick to prose. Like food that we don't want to eat unless it suits the taste buds, reading does not absorb our minds unless we like it. For children, it's a matter of trials that they need to find their taste. It is unrealistic to think that they will pick up great classics on their first step; they may start on comics or children's magazines, audio books and gradually find their way to enlightening reads. As adults, we can guide them and help them to the resources. After all, we are continuously finding new ways to our reading habits, on paperbacks or the screen.
Like most arts and creative endeavours, writing needs steadiness to be developed for the satisfaction of the writer. If one is lucky to sit on the deck regularly to write, it is like getting away to a peaceful world of self-realization. In the world of word craft, you are on your own, and it is a good feeling. However, to know the paths well, we need to write regularly, either morning or night; we need to nurture the writer's soul. It is like allowing a plant to grow with sunlight, air, and water. Writing is a craft that comes from love, and love needs care and respect to grow. There may not be a full hour to dedicate to your writing in the hectic modern lifestyle, but even fifteen minutes is worth it. There is magic in finding the lesser time spent growing and the beloved craft taking you on the majestic flight of fantasy and discoveries. Indeed, where there is a will, there is a way.
Tulip Chowdhury writes
from Massachusetts, USA.