Archive for the ‘writing’ Category

writer’s block, too much stress or excuses?

July 20, 2015

It has been a crazy year for me to put it mildly. I will focus on the physical madness of moving. Two years back, my husband wrote a soulful email ( and I am supposed to be the writer in this house!) urging me to forget living in Illinois and move to Florida. I was in sunny India then and he was struggling with the brutal winter in Northern Illinois, getting to work and back each day.

I had been fighting against leaving this state. I had wonderful friends, loved the diversity, the beauty and the character of Chicago. How could I leave? And then we had this amazing garden for which I planned in early February, buying seeds and starting them under grow lights. I had my younger son , daughter-in-law and his two adorable children. Leave all this? But the pleading, persuasive tone won me over. ( He was always good at it.) I said yes, but was skeptical.  He took me to Tampa and I loved the downtown area. Having lived in the suburbs of Illinois, I was determined not to do that again and said I would move, provided we lived very close to the city of Tampa.  We found a place and bought it right next to the bay last year.

Then the downsizing, throwing out, cleaning the suburban house in Illinois started. I was eager not to give everything to Goodwill, but called different organizations to see who would take my books, my ethnic clothes , my long playing records etc. From October of last year till April of this year, we worked like crazy getting rid of/ packing/ arranging thirty-five years of memories in a house.

All this led to stress, arguing, long hours and I did not touch my writing. I had already been feeling low since I had been advised to re-write parts of my novel. I read voraciously, going to the library between bouts of cleaning. But I could not write too much. I did spend a few days here and there reworking my novel. But I needed to work on it every single day and I was avoiding that, saying to myself, ” I am stressed, I need a calm environment to focus on my writing”. Yeah, sure, when the waves stopped beating and the world stopped spinning I would be still waiting for an excuse to get back to it.

We have put our house on the market and moving back and forth from Tampa to Chicago. There are still a few items that need to be taken and some to be thrown/ given away. Now I feel I am ready to start working on my writing on a regular basis because we just have to wait for the house to be sold.

As a writer, I have always found that I just need a little time to focus everyday. But even to do that, I look for excuses not to do it! Yes, this has been a difficult year and precisely for that reason, I need to spend a little time with my writing. It breaks the monotony of cleaning, organizing and also makes me feel less guilty. This is a no-brainer. So get to it girl!

Right now, I am telling myself to just do it;no more procrastination.

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Summer is crazy!!

July 6, 2014

People always say that summer is a fun time. I am ambivalent about the advantages of summer. On the one hand I find I have time to read outside, do a lot of gardening but I also get bogged down with family and visitors. The grandchildren are visiting now from Europe and I enjoy their company. But it also means that I have less time to dream and write. 

Women as a rule are dragged into things they may not want to do and I have found that I have to  deliberately lay down some time for myself without sounding too selfish. Stop right there woman! “Selfish?” Why do I use that adjective to describe any time that I want to spend for myself? Is it because my community, my history, my culture tells me that I should be always ready to give, give , give? And the moment I say, ” Sorry I cannot babysit this weekend, since I have something else going on.” why do I feel a twinge of guilt ?

Over the years, it has been easier and easier to be assertive about my needs and not feel bad about it. My children are getting more sensitive about my space and my time and always ask me if I am free to take care of their children, run any errands for them. Even my husband is getting to see the light and does not invite friends without checking with me or saying,” We can take them out, you don’t have to cook this time.” 

It did not come overnight, but I had to state what I wanted. And in summer especially, when everyone is outside and the city is crowded with outside visitors I am trying not to grit my teeth and wait for the cooler months and quiet time. I am trying to pace myself and enjoy all the extra running around. I am thinking of taking the grandchildren to the zoo, museum, spend time teaching them math, English and geography and have fun doing all this. 

I also have to be honest about my writing. Even if I am alone and have all the time in the world, I find excuses not to write! I would rather curl up with a book than sit down and do the hard work of finishing half- written novels and short stories. So meanwhile, let me relax and do other activities and still discipline myself to write a little and not blame summer for my inertia.