Blank Canvas


I drive along mostly empty roads, the music pumping in the car. I am strangely quiet, reflective even. I halt at the light, turn at the right places and find myself home without being aware of it. I feed Laddu, put her down for a nap and lie beside her. I put the phone away choosing instead to pay heed to the thoughts that circle my brain. The morning was interesting. I showed up a few minutes early for a tete-a-tete with an acquaintance. The book store we had picked to meet at was warm and welcoming. I lingered near the shelves by the door, inching my way to the section on women’s fiction. I reverently touched each book, picking the ones that called out to me. I caressed each book along its spine, lingering on the words on the dust jacket. For just one brief moment, I permitted myself to imagine my book there, enveloped by new book smells and waiting to be discovered. I dismissed the thought before it could crystallize and become tangible. I stopped at the counter to chit chat and eyed new bookmarks before my friend showed up.

We picked a cozy spot at the back of the store, the sunlight warming the deeply hued sofa cushions. We talked at length about our past, about our present, about dreams. The hour was up before I knew it and she left before I did.

All day long, I kept going back to one part of our conversation. “I crave uncertainty,” she said as we spoke of entrepreneurship and it resonated with me. I listened fascinated as she talked about mining data for trends and writing reports that translated data into actionable feedback. It made me take a stock of my career, rather the lack of one. I realize what I have in front of me is a blank canvas full of promise. I have ideas. I have grand visions. I also have the fear that the canvas will stay blank or worse be nothing but splotches of paint amounting to nothing.

I have a year I tell myself. I remember the manuscript waiting for me. I remember the idealism that gripped me when I first got the story down in words. Somewhere between November and April, I seem to have lost that mojo. I pull up a blank document each day wanting to start afresh. I write, I backspace. I delete each draft. The story seems to have stalled in my head. If only I can picture the whole story arc in my head, I can write it down I tell myself.

“It is quite possible, next April will roll around and you will be right where you are,” whispers another voice. This one sounds rational, cold and clear. I am tempted to jump out of bed and get down to the study and start working. Laddu sighs in her sleep. I turn over and listen to her breathe instead.

One month I tell myself at night as I sign up for CampNaNo. I will give it one more month. One month of dedicated writing, revising and editing. Will that spark I am waiting for ignite inside of me? Will I finish telling the story I have been playing with? I don’t know, but I sure hope so.

Send me good vibes and positive juju people!


  1. Laksh, I am not a writer, so you must know better than I do, but why does it have to be a dogged pursuit? Why can’t it be in spurts as and when you feel the flow of words that need to be penned?

  2. Be with it, what if it is not on paper, come next April. The journey is worth more, far and away from a wasted year. Oh, but, it will be on paper; very few make you wonder whether something was written as it was happening pausing time to parse the external and the internal and write (or feel) in words.

  3. You can totally do it! I’m trying this month, as well, but my Camp NaNo is finishing the edit of the book I wrote at NaNo. lol I need to change 50% of it completely, so it’s almost like a fresh write. Just know you have lots of people cheering you on. 😉 Good luck!

    • Pretty much the same here. I am rewriting the novel I wrote in November. It had more changes than was worth modifying the existing manuscript. So starting all over again. I will try and salvage portions of it. Good luck to you too!

  4. Good vibes headed your way. I liked this peek inside your mind and your reflections about your friend’s job. My one practical thought I had was to not delete those drafts! Even if you stuck them in a folder somewhere and barely ever looked at them again, there might be kernels that you could use or that could inspire you. Maybe that’s just me, though. I tend to save way too many things. 🙂

    • Thank you Marcy! I will try and keep that in mind. What I have noticed is that I tend to delete because keeping drafts stifles the way I think. If I delete, it feels like I have to reset what I am thinking about expressing and I do not have to be constrained by fixing what is broke.

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