I love writing, except when I don’t.

 

9491261Writers write, always. Write, never stop. The key to writing is to write and write some more. A good writer reads and writes every day…

Okay, enough already! I can’t freaking do it like that. I work full time, and have a ton of things going on, but I don’t know if my life is particularly more stressful than anyone else’s. I’ll assume it’s not, not by that much anyway. So this isn’t about making excuses. I just can’t create in the same way, day in, day out. I can’t sit at the computer every night and make things work. I write because it’s what I love. But these people tell me I have to push and push in order to “do it right.”

The thing is, when I’m ready to write, the words flow fast and free, and it’s easy, and it works. When I force it, it’s because I don’t feel like I have the right to call myself a writer unless I’m doing it every day, like all the experts say. And when I force it, it sounds forced. We think, here in America, in 2013, that productivity means “stuff I got done.” We measure ourselves according to quotas and scales, and when we find ourselves lacking, we push harder. Or we give up and take Xanax.

In the rest of my life, I’m learning how to listen to myself, my moods, my needs, and go with the moment. I want to live as authentically as possible here in the crazy frontier. My life is a flurry of adjustments between needs for technology and open spaces. And my writing brain is like that too. I think everyone’s is. The “best companies to work for” all seem to understand that their employees need downtime, respect, nice environments, movement, beauty. When they have these things, they work harder and produce more and better widgets.

And so it is for me. I love writing, except when I don’t. And when I don’t, it’s because my brain needs downtime, respect, etc. It’s because if I don’t spend some time watching my dog playing outside, or relaxing with friends, or staring at a blank wall, or just appreciating the taste of a damn fine beer, I will be useless to myself and everyone else. My job is not to push myself into writing crappy words every day just to say I did it. My job is to listen to my own needs, provide for myself lovingly, and above all, to trust that I will be back at writing when I’m ready, and it will be good. Those moments I spend just breathing and feeling what it is to be a messed up human in this world are incredibly productive, and without them, there won’t be any words at all.


5 Comments

  1. Jennings

    I literally just sent my latest book off to production today at noon and I AM DONE. Not forever, but for awhile. This book was overdue, because I was burned out. It’s book 2 in a trilogy, and I’m pushing book 3 back a few months. I need to CHILL. In the worst way. Great post!

    Reply
    1. it's nothing, really

      Thank you, and I hope you get some rest! Actually, one of your books is at the top of my “to read” list, but no pressure… ;)

      Reply
  2. Jack Ori

    Great post! I don’t think there are any hard and fast rules about how often you have to write. I write my nonfiction stuff every day because that’s my job, but sometimes I get burned out on it and end up taking way more time off than I planned to recover. I’ve learned to balance my schedule a bit better too.

    Reply
    1. it's nothing, really

      Good point, Jack! I write for work as well, and sometimes I just don’t want to look at more words for awhile, which feels like a simply traitorous thing to admit. But life is more than words, and balance is a daily practice.

      Reply
  3. Robyn

    I really want a t-shirt with that motto: I love writing except when I don’t.
    I think the hardest part for me to understand about myself as a writer is how much brainstorming/thinking time I need before I write something. If I jump straight to writing, it sounds forced. If I brainstorm and then let those ideas noodle around in my head for a day or two . . . it just works better.

    Reply

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