Writing About Not Writing

It’s very annoying, but I’m finding it hard to hit my writing groove again after the holidays. At first I was all like ‘Why the heck can’t I get back into it?’ and mentally beating myself up. After a think about it, I’ve decided to stop that. Why? well mainly, because my writing is supposed to be FUN. I’ll explain.

One thing I have been writing is my diary. Until my Creative Writing course last year, I’d never kept one, and I’m a bit sporadic about it. But since I’ve been struggling to write fiction and blog posts, it’s been a great way to ensure I write something. It’s been helpful in pinpointing what the problems are:

1) I’m getting busier with the day job. This is intentional. I’ve neglected it over the last 2 years with my dad dying and my mum being unwell, and I really want to give it the attention and hours it deserves. But more day job inevitably means less writing time.

2) Hubby changed jobs, so he’s in and out at different times, and we’re still adapting our routines to suit that.

3) I was starting to put pressure on myself to write, or more accurately, to write specific things, which was self-defeating. Suddenly, it wasn’t FUN anymore, and so I’ve been finding excuses not to do it.

So: I’m taking a little step back. I know deadlines are sometimes necessary, but all they’re doing at the moment is stressing me out. I feel like I’m in danger of falling out of love with writing – and I don’t want that to happen!

I’ll continue to write in my diary, and hopefully still blog regularly, if not weekly, until I get back on track. I’ve also been doing more planning for future stories, and working on characters’ backgrounds. I’m not going to pressure myself to submit to magazines and anthologies, or to work on my novel. I’m going to spend some time writing as the mood takes me, which was how it all started in the first place. πŸ™‚

Fellow writers – have you ever felt like this? Did you find ways to get over it?

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26 thoughts on “Writing About Not Writing

  1. Great honest blog post. I hope you find your mojo again soon. Something will come along when you least expect it and trigger your inspiration. In the mean time enjoy some quiet time….or i can send you some reading material πŸ˜‰πŸ’–

  2. Same for me really. Time for writing depends on work, OU modules and family life. Doing A215 was fab and I do try and writ regularly but some times weeks go by without any sort of creative writing. October saw about two blog posts when I’d been doing three a week before that.

    So don’t sweat it. Have fun, work hard and come back when you have space and time to do it. Writing will never really go away.

  3. Happens to me all the time. I find if it take a break I quickly get to a point where I’m so bursting with inspiration I don’t know where to start! Take a break, have a breather and I hope you rediscover the joy soon πŸ™‚

  4. My first knitting project was a button down cardigan with knitted in pockets to be given as a birthday gift – and I started it WAY too late. I finished it in 2 weeks. That was 35 years ago and I haven’t picked up the needles since. I understand burnout born of deadlines so pace yourself. Write for love instead of deadlines and your work will be better as a result of your continuing passion.

  5. Hi Karen, I think a problem that a lot of us have as writers is that we have so many plans for our writing but so little time to fulfil them. It sounds as though you have a lot of things you want to do – maintaining your blog, writing more stories, submitting to magazines and anthologies, and writing your novel. So when you do get a bit of time you probably feel overwhelmed and don’t know where to start.
    I hope you don’t mind if I make a suggestion. Decide what you want to concentrate on first because it sounds as though you don’t have time to work on the novel and the short stories at the same time. Perhaps make up a list in order of priority. I find that I can sometimes go weeks before I get back to my fiction depending on my client workload. Obviously that halts the continuity and I get very frustrated in the meantime but I keep detailed lists of where I am up to so that I can pick it up again. Having said that, I do need some time to recap before I can get back ‘in the zone’. I have a detailed outline of my WIP (novel), which not only helps me to recap on the plot but it also helps me to get back into my fiction frame of mind. By the time I have read through it the ideas are starting to flow again and I’m ready to go. I hope that helps. πŸ™‚

  6. I do know what you mean – having enjoyed a dedicated holiday from writing and a reading binge in December, I intended to get straight back into writing come January. Didn’t happen, though; I kept reading, and just writing blog posts. I got as far as planning out my new novella and writing the first draft of chapter one, though it was like wading through treacle. Then I realised why: I’d made a mistake, I didn’t really feel like writing this particular story and making it my next published work. So I decided to pack it in and go on to the next to-be-written on my list. I didn’t fancy that, either, though – but then an idea came to me, a whole different angle from which to approach the whole story, and now I’m all fired up again! I am back to how I was with the last one – I can’t wait to get the notes and research all done so I can put fingers to keys and get started.

    Summing up – if you’re having to force yourself, maybe you don’t want to do it that much. When you get the idea that you’re DYING to write, you’ll do it, and you’ll find ways to work it into your busy life because you’ll WANT to so much!!!

  7. I’ve definitely felt like this before!

    Since you’re journaling, try writing free flow…um not sure what it’s actually called, but the idea is you sit down with your journal and write whatever comes to mind. Doesn’t matter if you’re writing what you’re going to cook for dinner or starting a short story that just pops into your head or writing about your headache because you didn’t sleep well. Doesn’t matter what it is, just write what hits your mind and don’t stop for a set period of time. Five minutes, ten minutes. I don’t usually go over fifteen because I start staring into space but it gets the fingers moving and you might be surprised what comes out. I usually am.

    And keep in mind, writing is hard but if you’re putting something to paper, you’re still honing your skills. And you are skilled. I love reading your writing!

    • Thanks for your kind words, Jennifer. I know the thing you’re talking about: freewriting! We did it a lot on my Creative Writing course. It is good for getting the creative juices flowing, and I still do it sometimes. 😊

  8. Hey my beloved rock chick! I went through that slump for a period after last year’s NaNo. I’ve taken a bit of a break from writing anything new. I’ve been reading a lot of books lately, and reviewing some of them as well. It still keeps me writing and gives me something to post about on my blog. I love helping other writers promote their work, even though I’m nowhere near ready with any of mine.

    I’m also taking time to edit and revise work that I’ve already completed, trying to make them the best they can be. I still jot down notes and ideas whenever they come to me. Your talent is remarkable. IMO, the stress of everything going on in your life and the deadlines you were trying to meet has taken a bit of a toll on your muse. The love is still there; I know it. πŸ™‚

    Perhaps a little rest is in order. Continuing to write in your journal is a HUGE positive. As for blogging, if you need to take time off, we’ll all be here — or you can publish an occasional post promoting fellow writers and authors you admire. Whatever decisions you make, know that I stand 100% behind you and this lady over here loves you like all outside!! πŸ˜€ And Sophie misses her Frodo (rolling my eyes). Hugs to you, and please email me at some point; let me know how everything is going otherwise. I do worry sometimes. Eva

    • Thanks for your lovely words of encouragement, Eva. A bit of a break is what’s required, I think. I’m taking away the deadlines and pressure, and just writing what I feel and when I feel like it. I do still have a few family issues, but I’m basically okay! And I have lovely friends off and online to support me! 😘😘😘
      Frodo sends his love to Sophie. He has been with us a year now, and has become a very characterful part of the family! 🐱❀️🐢

  9. Very honest post. I took part in NaBloPoMo last year where I posted a blog entry every day for the whole of November and by the end, the obligation was becoming…not fun. I would find excuses to not post a proper post or really have to force myself and it was making me stressed and a little unhappy. Afterwards I was happy I completed the challenge but I completely agree with your observation that enjoying your writing is the most important part. Really good advice πŸ™‚

    • Thanks for commenting, Haylee. It sounds like you know exactly how I feel! Glad to know it’s not just me. I’m hoping the fun comes back soon – I’m taking it easy, playing with short pieces, and trying hard not to pressure myself. 😊

  10. The best way I’ve found to return is to make the return so easy, I can’t help but do it. Set the bar so low you can’t help but walk over it. Commit to show up for 5 minutes in your journal. If 5 minutes feels daunting, make it 3 minutes or even 1 minute. You’re on target with the idea of letting your writing be fun again.

    • Thanks for the great suggestions. I’m keeping up my journal, even if it’s just a page entry, and easing myself back with flash fiction – so not too high a word count to be daunting! 😊

  11. I lose steam when I lose direction, when I’m unsure of my story or myself. If I make myself write then, the writing’s flat–worthless. Sometimes, it means I’m going to have a “growth” spurt–when my writing’s changing for the better (I hope). Or when I’m changing styles or genres. But it pays to listen to myself then. Trust in yourself, and good luck.

  12. The urge to write, she comes, she goes, and when she comes, we write. Certainly making it a habit helps. And then there are the times when writing is urgent, and maybe that has something to do with our own issues (who knows), but whatever phase you are in, it’s great that you’ve so honestly shared it, to get some feedback and support from the rest of us who’ve been in the same place.

  13. I thnk sometimes we’re just overwhelmed. Life itself and the work aspect of writing.
    I wrote 52,000+ words for Nano and loved the whole process. Signed up for the Jan/Feb promise to edit and can’t get my head into it. The thought of the work involved in editing rather than creating is offputting. But, I feel guilty. All that work (and fun) to write the book and then to leave it unfinished is doing my head in!
    I revisited the Nano site and there were a few worthwhile articles on how to approach the edit -ways I hadn’t considered. So, I’m figuring a combination of methods to tackle the giant.
    Maybe a different approach is all we need to keep on with the work aspect of writing. The fun side takes care of itself. πŸ™‚

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