On NOT Writing

Writers write.

That's what they say. It's the first thing they think about when they wake up and the last thing on their minds when they put their head to the pillow. When they're not physically in the act of writing they're thinking through plot points, blocking scenes, inventing new ways to show character, and so on and so forth. And that is exactly what I've been doing for a while now. I haven't waited for the time to write I've made the time and that's worked pretty well so far.

But the past six months have been a kicker. For the first time in a long time there have been entire weeks when I haven't been able to write and I just wanted to talk about the effect that has on the mind and soul. When I say "haven't been able to write" I'm not referring to the great spectre known as writer's block. I'm talking about a situation when life - that is, the day-to-day demands of work and family and everything inbetween - when all that obviously important stuff becomes so all-consuming that you don't have the time or energy to apply oneself to writing, at least writing anything of consequence anyway. I know I become incredibly frustrated when this goes on for any length of time, because the thing is . . . I'm still thinking. Half of a writing is thinking - thinking about story and character and a million other things, especially when working on a novel - the other half is the physical act of putting all that thinky-stuff down on paper. When all you're actually doing, when all you have time for, is thinking, that becomes incredibly frustrating. That's like a Formula One driver using only simulators for months on end without ever parking his butt in a car. Or an actor who is stuck in an endless cycle of rehearsals without ever setting foot on stage.

Having said all that, I'm not overly worried. I've learned, or at least I'm beginning to learn, that 'down-time' is actually a good thing. I think last year, in particular, I reached a kind of 'burn out'. Sometimes it's good for anyone with a passionate past-time to take a step back once in a while, take a breath and look around. Recharge the Duracells. Even if it's an enforced break, try and turn it into a positive. In about two months' time I finish my Lit degree and I feel really positive about getting back at the writing.

How about you?


Greg Schwartz said…
hey Lee --

congrats on the degree! i know what you mean about getting frustrated... if i think about an idea or something and i can't write it down right away, i'm afraid i'll lose it.

Popular posts from this blog

Music for Writing


"Hope is found": Star Wars Episode VII The Force Awakens