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Writer's Block


Sometimes writer’s block is like a broken tap: no words flow out, despite every possible method. In other scenarios, words abound, yet they’re just all wrong. No abundance of adjectives can solve the lack of a compelling idea. And no compelling idea can be found when you start to shoot down every idea, since none of it seems interesting. And so here we are today. I don’t have a compelling idea, but I refuse to admit defeat and skip a letter. So let's talk about how I write.

I usually write my newsletters the night before I send them out, around 9 PM Eastern. After finishing my work for the day, eating dinner, walking a bit, and watching some TV with my parents, I prepare to write. I love to write, but the act of writing is deeply frustrating. On the best days, the Muses possess me, weaving wonderful verbiage with ease, bypassing my brain and shaping my heart into words. One could call it inspiration, but that undersells the pleasure of losing myself to the act. On most days, I’m hunched over my laptop with a posture that frighten Quasimodo and a glare that rivals Medusa and try on different ideas until I find something that sticks. With these newsletters and most things I write, I don’t know where I’m going— I generally start with an idea or an experience and explore from there. So, I spend most of my time going down multiple paths, writing several sentences before abandoning them entirely, or starting new paths to explore to see if I could tie them back to the original path. With such an open-ended approach, I never know how long it will take, and sometimes I never find a way to link the different paths together and end up abandoning it all and starting over. 

I’ve been working on my first submission to a lit mag this month, which is due this weekend. It’s unlike anything else I’ve written before, which means that I’ve spent more than a single day on it. Each day I look at it, I began to dig new paths that I could explore, without getting any closer to a compelling idea to tie it all together. I’m terrified at the prospect that it won’t come together, but I find solace in my ability to get things done at the last minute, as a lifelong procrastinator. Or maybe I'm finding the limits to my current writing process.

I usually write my newsletters the night before I send them out, around 9 PM Eastern, but it’s 1:49 AM and I haven’t been able to find the right paths to tie together. So let’s call this an inside look into my writing process. With more time and energy, I could massage these paragraphs into something more cohesive, weaving my different points together into a neat letter. Instead, you’re now one step closer to stealing my secret formula and making your own version of Splash. Send me a link if you do.
The fight against systemic racism continues. With each day, we move closer to a more equitable world. Reminders:
 

Ways you can help

Find your Local SURJ Chapter

 

Anti-racism resources

Thanks so much for reading! If you're not already subscribed, I'd love for you to subscribe here. You can also check out my older newsletters here.

Also, I'd love to hear your thoughts— you can reply to this email if you loved or hated the letter, or you want to tell me about how your day has been. I'm all ears.

Softly,
Nikhil
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Nikhil · 325327 Georgia Tech Station · Atlanta, GA 30332 · USA

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