It can feel extremely discouraging when you aren’t writing as much as you want to be. You might be in a pretty dark place, wondering if writing is even the thing you’re supposed to be doing. If you’re even good at it, or if you ever will be. Having stopped, you might seriously consider never going back. Would it really be the end of the world if you chose a different path?
A creatively inclined human being faces many challenges throughout their life. Not writing when you wish you wanted to want to write is one of many of those. But it’s a tough one. Believe it or not, you’re not always in control of it. Sometimes there are factors standing in your way that you can do little to nothing about, and the result is that you want to write. But you aren’t. You … can’t.
Does this mean you’re a failure? A disappointment? A lost cause?
No. It simply means you are not writing right now. And this may be frustrating. But it’s hardly a reason for giving up.
For even when we are not writing, we are all creating.
We can’t help it. It’s simply not something we can ever live without.
There’s this widespread misconception among writers that if you are not currently writing, there is something going wrong. Sometimes this is the case — we don’t usually write when we’re physically ill or mentally unwell. But many times when we stop writing, it’s simply because our brains are asking us to exercise our creativity in a different way.
Think about it. You write and you write and you write. You don’t typically get bored of it — at least, that’s not what it seems like. But then you decide to take a day off. And how do you spend a sizable portion of that day off? Doing a random sketch, or cooking something without a recipe, or dancing around in your garage while you clean. Those are still forms of creative expression. You’re just not sitting at your desk staring at a screen
And guess what? Your brain is still satisfied. You might still think about writing. But you’re not quite so uptight about having skipped it.
We were not born to sit still, neither in body nor in mind. We can’t look at a problem without itching to uncover a solution. We can’t stand a mystery unsolved. In every sight, there is wonder. In every action, there’s always the same thought: But what if …?
And that is how it begins, a story. With a question, with a possibility, with the curiosity that exists alongside realizing every decision we make will lead to a different outcome. And every alternative outcome could become a story all on its own.
Even when you aren’t writing, the hope is always that you’re absorbing. Listening. Wondering. Opening yourself up to your thoughts, your worries, your fears. Making beauty out of messes such as yourself. You don’t have to be good at a hobby to enjoy it. You don’t have to be good at something to feel creatively satisfied while doing it. You just have to have the courage to do things terribly and not stress about doing them perfectly.
We are all making things that make us feel whole. Sometimes with words. But not always.
And that’s a good thing, in th eend.
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.