The Writer's Inertia

This article speaks of the initial resistance in the mind of a potential writer, to write. It also tells of the need for patience and consistency in the build-up to being a great writer.

A long time ago, I developed a liking for anyone who could write, anyone who was called an author. So I decided to be one - I decided to write. I started to write, but the words failed me, trailing off my mind like a long, tarred road mile ahead under the sun. The proper words seemed not to come forth, and I could find no constructive sentence with a writer's blend. I held my pen in despair, the flair of a writer lacking in me, the creative and imaginative mind I had not. So I sat and thought, pondered, and wondered; nothing came to mind, and every idea was blurry. Like a vacuum of space, my mind was blank.

I thought of many writers, both great and small: Shakespeare in his dreamland of literary collections, Lewis the intellectual giant, Tolkien and his masterpiece of art, Achebe, the African Hercules of literature, and many others too numerous to mention. I read of great minds like Plato and Socrates, Hippocrates and Galen, Chesterton and Muggeridge, and others who wrote, spoke, and quoted with much ease and flair, holding many spellbound by their writings and many speeches. Drenched in showers of fantasy, I found myself sitting in their brains, flowing in oceans and depths of knowledge too vast to exhaust and minefields of collections too numerous to search out, and marveled at the reality that these were all mortals, just as I am. In despair, I gave up hopes of writing, for to be a writer was a dream too tall, an aspiration too ambitious, a reality so unreal, a possibility so rare, and a quest in futility. I had to think of other alternatives to being a reckoned personality in the arts.

So I tried speaking - to myself in my private chambers, friends, and family, small and a few large congregations. In this, I failed, for the art of speaking was doomed from the start. Uncoordinated tenses, unappealing appearances, and unloving receptions were my constant companions, and the voice of an oracle, or rather an orator, was far from my reach. 

I decided to be determined, to push ahead, to make a mark. I must get onto the stage, I thought to myself; I must be a literary genius; I must stamp my name in the annals of world literature. Literary masterpieces and collections must be incomplete if devoid of my works; I must fade into history, entering many museums and halls of fame. I must belong to the league of legends and be part of the history of modern civilization, of revolutions being championed, and of ideas, the world must hearken unto. I must carve my niche in the higher echelons of the famous writers- poets, authors, whoever they are. This I must do if that be my meaning and purpose.

So I made up my mind to read and got myself every book I could get, which touched on the art of writing. I read and read, driving myself into the world of the arts and humanities. At first, a dead-end I found - nothing exciting, nothing interesting. So dull were my findings, with plenty of horrid moments spent alone in the study. Never relenting, I continued my quest for knowledge first and every other thing that would follow after. And thus, in reading, my mind wandered into worlds afar, to generations from time immemorial to things so unreal yet intriguing, to realities far from being possible. I read through the ancient times, through the succeeding ages of civilization. I read about the rise and fall of great men and women, the rise and fall of empires, nations, and kingdoms. I read of notable discoveries and inventions, of revolutions and wars fought, of peoples and cultures across various climes and times. I read about deserts and forests, rivers, mountains, and valleys. I studied science and commerce and forged my way through to discoveries and interests in politics, agriculture, and law. I went and consolidated my faith in God and my role on earth into philosophy and religion.

I soon saw that hours became days, which passed into months and years. Soon, all drudgery turned into a passion. The same pages which seemed dull and bleak became so interestingly sweet. My mind had developed over the years, and my avidity for books, knowledge, and the appropriate company was so much etched in me that day after day, night after night, my passion for reading took new dimensions, and my desire for writing reached its peak. So day by day, with a pen between my fingers and a book on my lap, I took down notes -tons and tons of them. Soon I had books full of new words, phrases, and idioms of every kind. I had notes on Latin, Greek, and Hebrew, even ancient Egyptian Hieroglyphics. I had myself become a collection of sorts. So queer was I and different from all those around me. I knew I was finally getting to my destination - the promised land of writing.

I finally sat down to begin my writing career. I had amassed the wealth of knowledge needed in order to be a great writer. I had the feeling I could now hit the world with great literary collections and endless works of art day by day. I found it strange; however, that though ideas flooded my mind, they were largely not my own. They were but words of writers echoing in my mind and ideas borrowed through time and space that I had come to own as mine. For how else could I have found ideas of my own creation, of my imagination, springing solely from my mind and not those of others built into me over the years. I was a little disappointed, yet unrelenting, for the task of writing was at hand and I, a soon-to-be writer, was about to emerge.

So I began to write, and oh, the flow of the words! I wrote with such ease and passion and with much joy and satisfaction. Then reality dawned on me, and I found a silent truth. To be a writer is the masterwork of patience and hard work, and where these are combined with a natural gift and the mind of a genius, a great writer is in the offing. As little drops of water make an ocean, so it is that little effort put in overtime yields great and marvelous works I see and admire, and the ideas which so blossom in light and make headlines were but piece meals of ideas put in little by little until something tangible sprang forth and beautiful works were heralded. To be a writer is a beautiful thing; to be a great one is the function of time and patience. To be a writer is to have the willpower to overcome the initial inertia to write. That I have overcome, for writing must be my lot until time and history are filled with pages and volumes of mine.

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