The Block

The hardest part about a writing challenge is not finding time to write but instead figuring out what to write next. An article I read in Medium divided the writing process into 3 parts:

  1. Ideation
  2. Writing
  3. Editing

Regular readers will be aware that I often tend to dispense with the 3rd entirely trusting instead in their generosity of spirit. I have however found no way to deal with the first.

There are several ideas I would like to write about, the yet deciphered Indus Valley script, the origins of Indian history, mathematical modelling of society, quantum entanglement and so on. But all of these require intensive study to write intelligibly about and unfortunately I am unable to find the time for a full research.

One other possibility is to write on an ongoing basis. Take up a subject of study and just write whatever comes I have learnt every day. I tried this for a bit, the problem was that unless you are learning from a text book, understanding comes in a non-linear manner. You try to find out about one thing. But to understand that, you have to read something else and so on. So it could be a week before you understood the first thing.

Even with a textbook, I don’t want to write about something unless I have satisfied at least some of the questions that occurred to me when I was reading myself.

Some people can write about their own life. At school, with the encouragement of successive teachers, I tried to keep a diary. I was hopeless at it. I hesitated in putting down things that were too personal and for most days, life just seemed too dull to capture.

So I have written this because I couldn’t think of anything else worth writing. I had started to write something else, about how Indians have come to see our own history due to and in reaction against western interpretations. But three quarters of the way through, I exclaimed to myself “what utter twaddle are you writing man”.

Another old schoolboy motto I had, “if you have nothing to say, its better not to say anything”. So that’s it for now.


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