Advice To Young Writers

In & Out



                   I think I have a disease. I am not supposed to be writing this. In fact, I was not supposed to have done a lot of things, in a lot of different years leading up to this. But what the hell, who’s to stop an artist. I’ve a boss screaming orders at me. I know he means business. He’s on a tall world order: he means a lot of good things, and I believe in him. There are a lot of things that I believe in. A thousand principles, a thousand ideas, a thousand books, a thousand movies, a thousand ‘thousand’ things. Things that matter, things that do not, things that might. I am not a sucker for choosing things, I just go on to do anything that hits my mind. One fine day, I wake up and I want to become a standup comedian. I go around the neighbourhood trying to make people laugh. They do. At me. I go back to sleep, wake up and want to become a scientist. A mad one. One who’d probably invent an Ant-man suit and be rich like a Stark- not a Winterfell one though-those bastards can barely keep their heads, let alone money. I realise it’s too hard and I come back and I go to sleep again. I am hit by bouts of extreme productivity where I do a lot of things very neatly and perfectly, and then I give up on it all together, and go lie down on the couch. And just lie there for years. I think and I think and I think. There have been a hundred different instances when this has happened to me. When I try to re-invent the whole wheel, but then come back to what I’d initially planned. I hit upon different formulae at different parts of my life, depending largely on what I have been reading at that instant. Every time, I give up after a while. This is coming out to be a really depressing confession. I was supposed to work on something different, but then the procrastination monkey inside my head (you still haven’t read Tim Urban. Wait but why haven’t you?) chose to show me the easiest thing to do, and rant on the thoughts that are just bouncing off my brain walls. When I began it was hard, then it became a bit harder, and then when I thought it couldn’t become any harder- someone knocked me up and asked me if I wanted to miss the birthday bash of a close friend, of a nice friend, of a girl on whom I had a crush last week- or last month; I don’t think that’s relevant- it might if I am bound to marry her, but not otherwise. So I jumped at the opportunity to do the less imminent job at hand, and I bounce off.




Before I turn off my laptop, I take a sweet quiet moment to remember Robert Benchley, who said/typed/wrote/shouted out loud – “Anyone can do any amount of work, provided it isn’t the work he is supposed to be doing at that moment”. I am back. I am still looking at the blank screen. Not entirely blank. There is a sticky note which has the location of all my to-do list .txt files. If only I could self-deceive myself and find a way to complete all the things that I’m destined to procrastinate anyway. The worst part of all this is that, I can’t remember what I was supposed to be writing about. I am worse than a writer with no ideas. Heck, I’m worse than a writer with a writer’s block. I am a writer who can’t remember what he was supposed to be writing on.

Tring tring, Tring tring.

“HAVE YOU FINISHED THAT COLUMN ON ‘Advice to Young Writers’?” 

“Eh… I think I just did. But...”


“It’s … It’s got a, hmm… satirical angle to it”

“GREAT. FINALLY. Send it in.”


Win Win.

So are you listening closely? 

Sketch By: Anshul Dora