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Posted by on Feb 11, 2015 in The Writing Life | 26 comments

Why I’m Writing Today (Even Though I Don’t Want To)

Why I’m Writing Today (Even Though I Don’t Want To)

 

I didn’t want to write this blog post.

I didn’t want to write anything today. I haven’t wanted to write anything for the last few weeks.

I have a Scrivener project minimized in my taskbar, a half-written novella whining for some TLC. I know exactly what’s going to happen in the next scene, right down to dialogue and action beats. So I’m not ignoring it because of “writer’s block”, or some other traditional and proper writerly excuse. 

I just plain don’t feel like putting my fingers on the keyboard and pulling words out of my brain. It’s easier to click minimize, roll a Spotify playlist, and open Tetris. At my command, multicolored bricks eliminate rows of other multicolored bricks with a satisfying clacking sound, and my brain goes comfortably numb to the sound of Roo Panes or Andy Gullahorn.

In this square box on my screen, nothing is expected of me other than to rotate L-shaped bricks and make things fit. Pure geometry. Order. Click clack.

At least, that would be the easy thing. And I admit, I’ve succumbed more than once. But not every time. In fact, quite recently I’ve done more writing than I have in a long while.

Have I enjoyed myself? About as much as I would enjoy performing an amputation on my own pinkie toe with a spoon. And then smearing out a story with the resulting blood. The process isn’t fun, and doesn’t even look that pretty when I step back to look at it. I grit my teeth and go back to work with the spoon regardless.

Questions that have passed through my head recently: What’s wrong with me? Aren’t I supposed to be a Writer? Aren’t I supposed to be enjoying this? Am I broken or something?

I feel guilty for not having fun with this. For not finding joy in these words like I usually do. And then I wonder if I’ve been fooling myself this whole time, if this writing-stories thing was a whim or temporary distraction, not a lifelong passion. And if so, what do I do with my life? Where do I go? If I end up on the streets, broke and homeless, will I be able to grow an adequate beard in the absence of shaving cream and razors?

Existential crisis. More Tetris. I weigh out coffee beans, bolster my psyche with ultra-strength french press, and lead a half-hearted charge back into my novella.

Five hundred more words. I hate everything. I thought coffee was my friend, I thought it understood me, but it has abandoned me, retreating to a pathetic pale brown ring around the bottom of my mug and taking the taste buds at the end of my tongue with it. I check the mug at intervals to see if it has magically replenished.

I have written two thousand words, and decide that torture can be over for tonight, at least. Laptop goes on the floor, I go in bed. I pull the covers over my head and see descending Tetris blocks on the inside of my eyelids.

On day like this, when I would rather do almost anything than write, maybe it’s more important than ever that I get behind my keyboard. If I lose this battle, it’ll be easier to lose it tomorrow. And then the next time, maybe I won’t even bother fighting.

I’m a writer. It’s not just a primal urge or a gift I was born with, it’s a decision.

Like love, or life. There will be days I don’t want to love the person I’m married to. There will be days I don’t want to get out of bed and face what life has coming for me. On those days, I hope that I try to love harder than I did the day before. I hope that I jump out of bed with iron determination to meet life past the halfway mark.

I hope that before too long, I’ll be having fun with my writing again. Until then, I’m going to stick to my guns and keep making these words happen.

 

photo credit: frustration-1081 via photopin (license)

26 Comments

  1. I can relate to this so much right now. Hang in there friend!

    • Thanks, Jordyn! 🙂

  2. Good for you. For not wanting to write, this was a darn good post. It gave me a lot to think about. I’ve been in a lull too, but now I’m going to get back to writing on a schedule. Thanks for writing!

    • Glad to hear it! Schedules are good. 😉

  3. I’ve been fighting through a “I don’t want to write” slump right now as well … though I’ve been using editing, book releasing, and my computer’s keyboard going crazy as my excuse.

    Right now, I need to go answer a few last questions on two interviews, write up five guest posts, and not to mention the official stuff that will go on my own blog next week … I need to go get back to work …

    • I’ve had keyboard trouble before! No fun.
      And whoa, sounds like you have your plate full. Good luck with that!

  4. This is the battle I’m fighting right now. Thanks for this.

    • You’re welcome! It’s a battle a lot of us fight over and over, I think. Onward to victory and all that. 😉

  5. Thank you /so/ much for this post. I have been struggling with this for the past three months. Now I understand why I can’t write anymore. It’s because I gave up once and after that it became easier and easier to just let go . . .

    But now that I know someone else, someone more experienced than I, is struggling with this, I feel better.
    Thanks again.
    *goes to write* XD

    • Ah, that letting go. Never a good idea. Glad to hear it made a difference!

  6. I’ve felt this. It sounds like you’re doing better than I did. Hang in there.

    Something that also helped me was just reading for pleasure again. I was surprised to find how much my attention span had shortened and how hard it was to concentrate on books for lengthy periods of time. But it was also surprising how I regained the concentration and attention span when I kept at it. I don’t know if lack of book-reading is a problem for you, but I thought I’d mention it. 🙂

    • Now that I think of it, I haven’t been doing that much pleasure reading, or any reading at all really. Good point!

  7. This is how I feel every day of my life
    So true.

    • That’s no good, man! Hope you pull out of that slump, soon!

  8. That was really awesome! I hope it will inspire me for years to come . . .
    Did I ever mention that I love your blog?!

    • Thanks! I appreciate it. 🙂

  9. I know what you’re feeling, and going through. Been in and out of that ghetto over the past few years (more “in” than i’d like to admit to). Like you said, on those days it’s even more important to get behind the keyboard. Don’t give up, and trust God completely. You WILL get through this.

    “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” ~ Jeremiah 29:11

  10. I’ve just started writing Chapter 1 in OYAN. I was so excited to finally finish the workbook, and move on to writing! I’ve had so many ideas bottled up in my head, now I can finally scribble and type them out. Except my mind goes completely blank when I try to write the opening scenes.

    So thank you for writing this post. This is exactly what I needed to hear right now. It’s nice to know you’re not the only one. 🙂

  11. I like to write poetry when I’m too frustrated with prose, or I’ll put the cause of my frustrations on the back burner to simmer for a while, while I work on a different writing project. Sometimes all a story needs is a little experience, with time to gather some ideas and grow more mature in my mind.

    If the first two courses fail, I try looking for inspiration from scripture, reading a novel, (preferably something new and refreshing) writing a description of my breakfast, or an article/rant about how I have writer’s block;) Another thing I do is keep a journal of randomness and write the first thing that comes into my head in it. I came up with an idea for a novel that way once.

    One time I simply switched from doing the majority of my writing on the computer, to using a yellow legal pad for scribbling ideas or drafting. BEST IDEA EVER! (Love the the yellow legal pad. It’s better visually than a notebook, and clipboards are great too:)

  12. I’ve felt like this A LOT with my current WIP. I’ve finished all first drafts, so it’s a little better now, but I’m now trudging through rewriting a difficult section. I’m glad to know I’m not the only writer who sometimes hates writing. I’ve had fun with random unfinished (mostly plotless) side projects along the way, though.

  13. Those are some powerful words. And applicable to so many aspects of life. I couldn’t help but apply it to my hobbies and studies. It reassures me to see that someone else sometimes hates what they love, so to speak. Also wanted to say I’ve really enjoyed all your work from the videos to the two short stories you’ve posted.

    • Thanks so much! Always good to hear other people can relate. 😉

  14. Ooh, I know what that’s like. Sorry to hear you’re having a tough time! I hope it passes soon. I’ve been there myself, and it made me feel so useless. What was the point if I’d lost my passion for writing?

    Fortunately, I found out that it wasn’t so much that I’d lost my passion, I’d just lost my energy. Too much Netflix and Youtube had left me blank and brainless. After a good fast from computer all together, I found my inspiration returning stronger than ever. 🙂 I figure if God wants me to write, He’ll provide me with the inspiration I need- all I have to do is be diligent about plunking those words onto the page.

    • Netflix and YouTube are surefire muse killers! Sometimes a break from technology is what you need… I’ve done that before, and it’s worked wonders.

  15. I found your blog through a Katie Weiland tweet. I’m so glad you feel like this (well, not really, but you know what I mean.) I haven’t touched my WIP since 8th March and when I looked at it today, I found glaring errors in it. Maybe not feeling like writing can be a good thing sometimes if it lets you see your current piece with new eyes. Think I’ll hang around your blog – never know what I might learn 😉

    • Heheh, I know what you mean! I was at a concert last night where the fantastic guitarist John Doyle made a very obvious mistake in one song… and it made me feel sort of wonderful.
      New eyes are always good. And thanks for sticking around! Guess this means I’ll have to put out more posts… 😉

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