A topic of my own choosing

As part of the editorial team of a literary society in a college, it is nothing out of the ordinary to write articles on a regular basis. At DJLit, this practice is a norm too. We need to write an article on a weekly basis- fiction, non-fiction, poetry, absolutely anything goes. We do get certain weeks off too, owing to college exams, or perhaps some other event of more priority.

This week (well, technically, I’m writing this a couple hours before the deadline), when we were given topics, the part of the WhatsApp message focusing on me read:

“Parth: a topic of your own choosing (minimum 750 words).”

Yay, exclaimed a delighted me. I’m usually happy when I get a topic of my own choosing. I think my editorial head knows this. It’s one of those unsaid things both parties involved know.

A topic of my own choosing meant I could dwell into my preferred genre of writing: op-ed. I have an opinion on anything and everything. Oh, but don’t categorize me with those opinionated people who wouldn’t even care or bother to hear the other side of the spectrum. An opinion isn’t a fact, and if someone has an opinion on something, I’d like to hear them out. Perhaps even change my opinion on said thing.

Well, but this time, I didn’t want to write an op-ed article. I had an idea to write a sci-fi story (maybe you’ll read this sci-fi story sometime in the future? Maybe. No promises.). This idea had been in my mind since a better part of a month, but I never got around to write it. “A topic of your own choosing” was a perfect opportunity to stop procrastinating, write? (I spelled it this way because ‘right’ and ‘write’ are homonyms and it sounded like a good pun in my head. Maybe it wasn’t. Bear with me. Thank you.)

And so I began writing this sci-fi story. I think it had a stellar start. Y’all would be intrigued (if I ever actually write it in the future). But then, 250ish words in, I couldn’t write anymore. Couldn’t think of a particular way to write my thoughts of how I wanted the story. Also, I was invaded by different aspects I could consider in the story. Aarrrghhhh! F**k it. I’ll write it later. I have a whole week to write the article.

Now, even though we practically don’t have much to do in this lockdown, I absolutely forgot about this. Somewhere between the late night PUBG sessions and daily Instagram browsing (my activity has hit the highest recorded peaks, not proud. Not proud.), I forgot. Until, one whole week later, I felt like writing the sci-fi story again. And then I realized, damn, I had to write an article.

I sat down, yet again, to continue my story. Read the stuff I had already written, and was again in this situation of not knowing what to write. A writer’s block, they call it. I decided not to write the sci-fi story, and stick to op-ed for the week, which I think I’m fairly decent at.

Well, in times like these, op-ed topics could be something to do with the coronavirus, or maybe the racism issue. But just Google coronavirus or George Floyd, and you’ll find a bunch of articles by much more talented and well-articulated writers than me. And then I had the so-called writer’s block in deciding a topic.

My first course of action was to do something any person born in the boon of the internet era would do: “Good topics for an essay”. A good Google search query right? I thought so too. But browsing through the internet resulted in me having another writer’s block. Every topic I could find was barely “decent effort” even for school.

Next course of action was asking friends. Their suggestions made my eyes roll.

I considered asking my editorial head. But it was T minus 2 hours and I didn’t want any judgement. My head is a great guy, understanding too. But, my anxiety-driven self felt I shouldn’t.

By this point, I had lost all my motivation, but then, I had this idea to write about this. This whole thing you just read. And this is the 750th ‘word’.

Well, with a few more words I’d say, I would be conducting sessions on: The art of extending lengths of written work. Course modules cover intriguing topics such as procastination (if you’re not already an expert, especially in this internet era, that too in a lockdown).

P.S.: Maybe I will write that sci-fi story.

P.P.S.: Let’s see what topic I get next week. The sci-fi story could wait.