Thursday, 17 January 2013

Writing can be a challenge…or not!

You know, it's hard work to write a book. I can't tell you how many times I really get going on an idea, then my quill breaks. Or I spill ink all over my writing tunic.”
--Ellen DeGeneres
I have been writing for a long time. After all, my one-time day job was that of a journalist. And yet the thought of writing a book filled me with dread. 
Don’t get me wrong, I desperately wanted to write a book. But the very thought of it was, to say the least, daunting! Even though I had a rocking premise. All these wonderful characters (well, at least to me they seemed irresistible!).  And a bunch of ‘terrific’ scenes that were just waiting to tumble out of my head and on to the computer screen. 
Of course, I wouldn’t admit to myself that I was plain scared to sit myself down and start thumping away at the keyboard. So, I came up with a million excuses for not doing it. Trust me, I can be very creative when it comes to cooking up excuses. These are just a sampling: 
  • My heroine is a landscape designer. I don’t know the first thing about it. I have to do a ton of research or else the character will not be authentic!
  • I need to give my dog a bath. I’m going to start tomorrow. Positively.
  • Today? No way! I’ve got to finish my assignment and then there are guests coming over for dinner.  
  • Oh no, I’ve to pay the neighbour a visit. Poor thing has been down with viral.
  • If only I didn’t have to cook dinner. Sigh.  
And so on…Sound familiar? I’m sure it does. And then there are those moments when just as you are about to start writing, you have this compelling urge to check your email, update your Facebook status and/or do a gazillion other stuff that have suddenly acquired earth-shattering, must-do-now urgency. One thing is for sure, if I spent less time making excuses, I’d definitely have been an author (and not just an aspiring one at that!) by now. Or not! 
So when Passions III was announced, I knew I just had to do it. Yet, it was a prospect that I did not relish. For, I not only had to cope with my procrastinating self but also with my fears that I’d be writing crap that had only one place for it – the trash can! 
But as Nora Roberts has so famously said, “You can fix anything but a blank page.” 
If there’s one thing that my years in journalism have trained me for, it’s the ability to meet deadlines. So approaching it like a “deadline-oriented” assignment, I got down to the business of working out the characters, the storyline, and voila, had a 2000-word story ready in less than a week. 
In hindsight, it all seems so simple, right? And believe me, it doesn’t have to be the struggle that we all make it out to be. As I began to write the novel, I worked out a few tips n’ tricks to cheat my procrastinating self. 
  • Writing to a schedule:  Writing a certain number of words every day, five days a week. A mere 100 words per day in the first couple of weeks – and sticking to it, come rain or shine. Bumping it up to 500 words the next and to 1000, a couple of weeks later. In a month’s time, I found that I looked forward to writing every day of the week.
  • Rewarding myself: Every time I met a target – two pages done, a chapter completed – I would reward myself with something that I’d denied myself, maybe that chocolate bar or watch my favourite SRK movie on DVD, or… you get the idea! 
  • Appointing a friend as a Chief Whipcracker: This is for those desperate times when you have to get a whole chunk of chapters ready for the editor and need someone to give you a big nudge and tell you, “c’mon now, you can do it!” And believe me, your friend is bound to take his/her job very seriously! ;) 
I hope you will find some of these tips useful. Or, maybe they’ll inspire you to create your own Cheat Sheet to keep the Procrastinator in you at bay. 
Happy Writing! 
Adite Banerjie


  1. Great post Adite..I could connect with each and every word...Thanks for the tips...I am surely gonna try them!

    1. Glad you found them useful! Keep writing! :)

  2. Your excuses made me laugh, Adite, absolutely resonate with me! And so right with keeping a schedule and someone to whip-crack nothing better than accountability, right?:)

  3. Absolutely, Ruchita! Whip-cracking works! ;)

  4. Very true, procrastination is usually the writers destination. Good tips.