“Writing is easy: All you do is sit staring at a blank sheet of paper until drops of blood form on your forehead.” – Gene Fowler

THERE must have been a time in every writer’s life when he gets stricken by that malady called the writer’s block. But though many claim to have experienced its lingering symptoms, its existence is still debatable, for most of the time it is confused with another writing illness, which, if left untreated, may lead to dehydration and the drying up of creative juices. I would like to call it the slacker’s block.

While the writer’s block is defined in Wikipedia as “a phenomenon involving temporary loss of ability to begin or continue writing, usually due to lack of inspiration or creativity,” slacker’s block is simply an offshoot of procrastination. Instead of sitting down and making a conscious effort to write, a slacker puts off writing again and again until that spark of inspiration simply decides to fly away. Thus, that overly familiar blank page with a blinking cursor stays as blank as before.

And then deadline comes. The certified slacker runs to the nearest computer and types away, finishing a five-page article in three hours straight. He submits it to his editor, only to retrieve it in a bloodied state, with nothing so much as a “Good!” hastily scribbled on top of the page.

I think that this scenario is more common than just simply staring at the paper without anything to write. How many of us, myself included, write a day before, or even on the very day of the deadline? Based on experience, I know that it does not bring out the best in me.

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The stories that I write just for the sake of beating the deadline end up half-baked and mediocre, in contrast to the ones that I have carefully written (and rewritten) for weeks on end. And it shows, through the comments I receive from readers and critics alike.

Most of the time, writing is just a matter of discipline. Whenever I ask “writing tips” from professional writers, they always advise two things: read and write. Make it a habit to write at least a page a day, just to get the creative juices flowing. Read so that you know how to do it. Then, balance the two.

The best writers take time to write, for writing is not an easy task that can be accomplished in one go. Critically acclaimed prose and poetry take months, sometimes even years, to write. Writing is hard work. As I have heard many a writer say, every one can write, but not all can write well.

So find time to sit down, and write.

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