For many, writing is a privilege. A luxury. Not necessarily something you have to do, just that thing you desperately “want to” want to do about one hundred percent of the time.
For most, writing is a love that seems to stick around even in those moments you really wish it wouldn’t.
So what do you do when you know you love to write, know it’s this thing you’re meant to do and deep down want to do … but just can’t seem to gather the energy or motivation — or set aside the time — to actually do it?
Why is the thing you love so much so difficult to regularly put into practice?
I haven’t been writing much lately. Journal entries, sure. Messages to friends, absolutely. Blog posts, obviously. Everything that I’ve needed to write in the past month or so, I’ve written it.
But what about the things I haven’t needed to write? The non-essential projects and ideas that have been on the front of my mind, but haven’t progressed further than that?
I’ve just left them there.
I’ve reread a few unfinished drafts, but haven’t actually made any progress with them. I’ve started several projects but haven’t maintained any sort of schedule or routine as if I at any point plan on finishing them. And I love writing these posts, don’t get me wrong. But they’ve been such a struggle to write for so many days in a row.
This isn’t the time to push ourselves to the absolute limit, I don’t just preach that, I practice it. It’s very discouraging, though, to look at your list of things you want to write at some point and realize you have zero desire to actually work on any of those things at all.
It’s essential to remember, for the record, that just because you’re having a hard time putting your butt in a chair and making words with your hands doesn’t mean you don’t care about writing, or that you aren’t meant to be a writer. It doesn’t mean you’re lazy or stupid or that what you have to say doesn’t matter.
It doesn’t mean you’re broken or that you will never write again.
All it means is that you’re low on creativee energy. And in all honesty, that’s most likely because the energy you might normally dedicate to writing is being used for a more essential purpose somewhere else.
For me right now, for example, almost all the energy I’m accustomed to using for writing outside of work is going straight into the work I’m doing for my day job. It’s simply become more difficult to get that work done, for reasons, and it requires more of my limited supply of mental and emotional energy to complete my daily tasks.
So I don’t always get as much writing done outside of work as I’d like to, as I normally would.
That’s OK. We can’t forget that it’s OK not to write every day. It’s OK not to want to write all the time. Writing takes work, it takes time and effort and it uses up valuable energy. And when we don’t have time or energy or effort to spare, chances are, writing just isn’t going to happen that day. Maybe not as much as we planned. Maybe not at all.
Succeeding as a creative human requires constant monitoring and adjustment. You constantly have to check in with yourself and honestly evaluate how your systems are running. Are you OK? Can you handle writing today? If the answer is no, then the answer is no, and you have to accept that as fact and proceed accordingly.
Some days, writing just isn’t going to happen.
That doesn’t mean it won’t happen tomorrow, or the next day, or the next.
Be patient with yourself. Be gentle. Be kind.
And remember: You love writing. When all your other reasons for writing seem to disappear, that one will always remain. And it will keep you moving forward even on your darkest days.
Keep wanting it. And keep trying. Trying is enough. You can, at the very least, try.
Meg is the creator of Novelty Revisions, dedicated to helping writers put their ideas into words. She is an editor and writer, and a 12-time NaNoWriMo winner. Follow Meg on Twitter for tweets about writing, food, and Star Wars.