Writing is like a silent courtship with a sleeping white dragon. It starts with a long, lingering gaze. Stare too long — and you might get sucked into a sea of blank space. You need to look away, lift your finger, and hit the keyboard — hoping that contact will break the spell. And with each successive blow, you’d bring down the white dragon in front of you.
Stay steady. Stay strong. Stay calm.
Don’t forget to breathe.
No, don’t dream. Stop and you might cower in fear. Don’t let those fingers falter — let them tap away. There, now that you’ve slain the white monster before you, you can take a small victory dance. You might think you have a masterpiece in front of you. Careful. Don’t get ahead of yourself. Still waters run deep.
You need to browse through the carnage of the battle fought. Read your draft. Sounds good? Read it again. A third time won’t hurt. Wait for OCD to kick in. Okay! A fourth time it is. Have you counted all those carefully placed commas and reluctantly made the em dash your best friend? Looks like you’re good to go. Not ready? Give it a fifth glance.
How does it look?
Something like this?
asahagdhgfef, hsdhsdhsjdhsjd – ggg xdsdsdsd ssdsdsdsds dsdsjadhahdsudhsd. jsdahsdjshdsdjj. hasdjsdsjdsubLKAskaadjsd.jsdjshdjsjdjs. hasgdsgadusdhsudhsud- akjsaskjasks;ashakskjaskas.
Time to hit publish then! Take a deep breath. It’s going to be fine.
Now’s the time to do something else. Try that 3D puzzle you bought as a souvenir. After you’ve mustered some courage, go back. Okay. You can check your mail. And there you see it. Hubby’s the first to respond.
He says: “Did you mean Heal or Heel?”
Seriously! You missed a typo in the headline? You console yourself, silently weeping, and blaming your sleep deprived mind. It happens. He can’t help himself. He’s always been critical of your work — spotting the errors more than reading the content. You make a mental note of changing the menu for dinner that night.
You don’t give up hope. Instead, you turn for some comfort from your sibling. You forget she doubled as a medical editor and that she’s always been the first to spot your flaws. That slips your ‘praise’ thirsty mind. You muster some courage.
You: “What do you think?”
Sis: “Loved it! I can’t wait for the kids to grow up and pack them off. Then, I’m going to join you on your trips around the globe.”
You: “Really? You liked it?”
You can’t stop the sniffle. You want to pinch yourself. Just before you do, you decide to read further.
Sis: “Yes! I mean it. I felt as if I was walking down the streets of Paris. Well, there is the issue of typos. But, it’s Okay. I guess.”
She couldn’t have said that. You dismiss her comment for sibling rivalry. It’s nature’s way of ensuring the stronger sibling survives. Siblings cannot have feelings that aren’t tainted by the stains of jealousy. You couldn’t care less.
How about your friend? The one who said he’ll read your blog, if it’s on travel and not some random rant. It’s time to summon him. He’s got a new job as a language editor. You’re hesitant. But what the hell! You are desperate.
You: “Umm…Have you looked at my blog?”
You: “And… What do you think?”
He: “It’s very cool.”
You: “Really? You mean it?”
He: “Yes. But, you should check your facts. You got the name of the train to Delhi wrong. If I were a discerning traveler, I wouldn’t trust your opinion.”
You: “It’s an honest mistake. I had to research a lot and…”
He: “Never mind. At least, you don’t have to worry about the content being original. People won’t doubt it’s authenticity with the typos.”
You’re in denial now. You’re pacing back and forth in the room. You try to search for answers. You were never formally trained to write. Ad school doesn’t count. You want to play the English-is-not-my-native-language card. And then, you imagine your high school English teacher shifting uneasily in her chair. So, you blame colloquialism. It doesn’t even make sense. By now you’re running out of excuses.
You try to maintain a brave face. The reader! Surely, your reader would be more forgiving. Encouraging perhaps? He/she is your true target audience. You nervously check your comments whilst biting your nails. There it is. Sitting pretty in your list of comments waiting to be approved. Mysterious J has been kind enough to give you a lesson in geography.
He/She says: “Bangkok is not a country. Thailand is!”
Maybe, you might want to take up photography instead.