Writing is a lot like bleeding on an empty page

‘Sometimes I don’t know why I say why I want to be a novelist, when the mere act of writing makes me want to bash my head against the table over and over again.’

I wrote that on Twitter (and FB) a few days ago, and it still stands true. I love to imagine myself as a writer and I think, if you ask me if I could imagine a dream existence for me, that, ahem, being a bestselling writer is still there, somewhere deep inside my soul (yes, to the extent it is inside my soul – yes, soul, I dream deep, not just big), never forgotten.

The thing is, the first part to actually being a writer, is to actually write the damn thing. And then get it published.

As always, as with everything in life – it’s always easier said than done. Every day, I put some time aside to write and every day, the damn document window is open with those little words Chapter 7 written on top.

On my Twitter window, I have a little feed from a writing aide that keeps giving you (sometimes) inane advice – like have some time for reading! Have some time for writing! Make it like a professional job!

I have music on, I can’t write in silence, I’ve tried and I’ve fallen asleep more often than not for my own liking. So instead, I play songs on repeat. A few weeks back, it was Simon and Garfunkel. Now it’s a selection of Hindi songs and Kate Bush’s Running Up That Hill. Over and over again. For 8 hours.

It would be close to impossible sitting next to me unless you have the ability to listen to a song over and over again. I have. My record was Psapp’s Cosy in the Rocket. 8 hours straight on repeat. For three days.

And yet, the screen in front of me remains blank.

It drives me utterly crazy. My imagination is rife. It really is. Eizwan asks me where I come up with my stories. I reckon I tune into the crazy. God only knows the number of mad people I meet in my life. No, like seriously. I meet a lot of mad people, some of them I really reckon deserved to be locked up. One of them eventually did get locked up, my grandmother’s schizophrenic maid who ended up attacking the police.

It’s impossible not to want to write stories when you’re so close to madness.

I get into the zone as well, I craft the story in my imagination. I have my plot book beside me, a ridiculously over the top notebook, a Miquelrius, always a Miquelrius because I love the feel of the paper since 2002, and I draw out my plot. I used to have a plot wall but I know the plot so well now, almost at the back of my hand that it doesn’t need to haunt me on my wall. Heck, I even dream about it. At the risk of sounding over the top (well, of course it would be, I am a very OTT sort of person), I live and breathe my characters.

So sometimes, if I’m a twat, chalk it up to the fact I’m living my character, who can be twat. Except if I don’t like you, then I’ll always be a twat to you.

Again that bloody page is still empty. It’s more than 30 mins since the page is open. I give myself a feeble excuse to write a blog entry – since it’s technically writing, right? No, it’s not and I feel inexorably guilty as I blog along.

40 mins in, and finally I find the guts to write. A few lines in that turns into a paragraph. I write a dialogue. And then I make the mistake of rereading what I’ve written.

I’m tempted to delete everything, because everything, just about everything I’ve written sounds so trite. It does not sound mature enough – why can’t I get that damned vision in my head down to paper. Why is the dialogue stilted? Heck, why does it sound like an American teen from the OC (and don’t tell me I talk like I’m from the OC. Or how unhip I am for referencing a TV show, from 2004. That’s like so 2005).

And then the self-loathing begins. The why can’t I do this right? Perhaps I’m not as good as I thought, and that perhaps I am wasting my life, dedicating so much time (well, more time procrastinating) to writing when I could do something else. After all, Warwick emailed me asking if I’d like to continue my life path there by doing an MBA. And they are throwing a scholarship in to boot.

It’s tempting.

I shut down the bloody Mac and decide, I’ll write again tomorrow. When the mood is better. When inspiration comes. And then I sit in front of the boob tube, and the imagination runs wild and I start craving the feel of keyboard under my fingers, the tappity-tappity sound and the story forming. When I talk to people, I’m thinking of my story. When I eat lunch, I think of my story. My husband is telling me about his day, and all I could think about is my story.

And then process repeats again. Damn right I’m a masochist.


2 comments on “Writing is a lot like bleeding on an empty page

  1. Jessica says:

    Hey Adlina, it’s been ages. Just want to you to know that I never regret dropping by your blog (rare as it is). It’s always proved to be funny and interesting. You definitely have a flair for drama. =P

    If you never finish the novel, I reckon you could just compile your blog into a book and sell it instead. =)

    • Adlina says:

      Awww. Thank you Jessica. I was just thinking of you recently, was driving by the Bukit Jalil Highway from Mines resort, and thought of the time I dropped you b ack home.

      Flair for drama? Nevaaaah! Well, I hope that I will get the damned novel done, if not people are going to find out how OTT I really am 😛

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