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Hoping by the river

A River in Flood

I wake up in the morning and the day lies stretched ahead of me like a gorgeous creature, waiting to be seduced. I forget the dreams of the night and indulge in those of the day, promise myself that today I would finish this project or that, I would write a notebook-ful of words.

I’m not sure what happens between the promise of morning and the utter despair that hits before I head towards the bed: no matter how much I try, I reach the end of the day empty-handed, or almost.

A small writer’s life is like a river, it brings a series of droughts and floods.

I’m waiting to become a Ganges or Yang-Tse or Misssisipi one day, so I can flood when necessary, but never dry up in drought.

For the moment, however, I could do with another flood.


Damyanti Biswas

Damyanti Biswas is the author of You Beneath Your Skin and numerous short stories that have been published in magazines and anthologies in the US, the UK, and Asia. She has been shortlisted for Best Small Fictions and Bath Novel Awards and is co-editor of the Forge Literary Magazine. Her literary crime thriller series, the Blue Mumbai, is represented by Lucienne Diver from The Knight Agency. Both The Blue Bar and The Blue Monsoon were published in 2023.

I appreciate comments, and I always visit back. If you're having trouble commenting, let me know via the contact form, or tweet me up @damyantig !

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  • Arlee Bird says:

    My river’s been high but mostly diverted down a wrong channel.

    Tossing It Out

  • My computer DESKTOP is littered with little puddles of ‘story starts’ drying up for lack of rain. Some of the puddles could stream into a novel with a little ‘digging away’ effort . But why bother? I am constantly at this computer doing this and that, sometimes for friends. sometimes to get my present work know, and presently working on a series of poems for a competition which I know I will come bottom of the list โ€” I am not a poet but it is a challenge to my imagination.
    There is only one thing that would inspire me to complete another novel โ€” knowledge that it would be accepted by a ‘known publisher’, at least in principle, for publication. I have five novels, as well as other works, all with good reviews but lacking that certain something that top publishers look for: mass appeal.

    I like how you have carried forward the metaphor of the river :). Why not just do the digging anyway, and create a stream and a river, irrespective of whether it would find a lake or sea? Rivers have a way of finding their own way into the world you know.

  • Damyanti says:

    I do try to write as consistently as I can, given that each of us has to do a whole load of non-writerly stuff in our lives.

    I hang in through these periods of drought (or should I say doubt), writing as best as I can. I squeezed out a short story yesterday, and am re-writing a story today. It is just that it is not coming as easy as it sometimes does.

    Yes, I do have general goals—I plan to write novels, yes, some day, but am nowhere close to it. Hopefully one day I’ll look back and see the ‘flood of work’ ๐Ÿ™‚

    Thanks for your comment and advice.

  • John Ling says:

    A small writerโ€™s life is like a river, it brings a series of droughts and floods.

    So very true. =)

  • bronxboy55 says:

    I have these same struggles, waiting for the flood, so I’m not speaking directly from experience. But I think the trick is to write consistently, no matter what. The flood of work then becomes evident, not while you’re doing it, but after you’ve been doing it long enough to look back. (I’m not saying this very clearly, but maybe you’ll understand what I’m trying to say anyway.) (I hope.)

    Do you have some kind of general goal for writing fiction? Are you planning to write novels?

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