How to Keep Your Writing from Eating Itself

Well, I’m back.

If you are any sort of follower at all to this blog, even if I only show up in your peripheral vision from time to time, you may have noticed that I haven’t been around lately.

As in lately, I mean for a long, long time; at least by internet standards.

And now, like a Facebook request from a forgotten friend, I’m back again.

Where have I been you ask?

I’ve been around.

Life has happened, honey.

The short and boring answer is that I’ve been too busy to write.

Things have been going on with my friends. Things have been going on with my family. Things have been going on with me.

And I got a haircut.

Very busy.

Still, I feel that there’s a lesson to be learned from my absence.

While I was busy, I felt bad for not writing, although I was doing things that were important.

The more I did, the less I wrote. And the less I wrote, the worse I felt.

Somewhere out there, people have said that to be a writer, one must spend all one’s time writing. This simply is not true.

It can be hard to forgive yourself for not writing.

As writers, we obviously want to write. We’re happiest when writing. It feeds our soul, giving us the time and space to see things clearly, perhaps for the first time.

There is no substitute for writing. I wish I could spend all day tapping at my keyboard. Although that’s a glorious pipe dream, it may not be the best thing.

Some teachers say that procrastinating writers are worthless writers, because stories hold the greatest power if they are written in the moment.

While this is true, it requires that a writer spends all his waking hours with his fingers clenched around his nubby pencil.

Won’t this reduce our writing to mere milktoast?

Look at it this way:

Our writing is a product of our daily lives, and not the other way around.

If our lives are filled with nothing but writing, then our art suffers a sad case of cannibalism. Your writing needs to be fed events and thoughts emerging organically from your life. If your writing has nothing to feed upon but your own writing, then it is inbred and has turned back upon itself.

Are you too busy to write? Don’t feel bad. This is a good thing! When you come back to your writing table, you will be filled with new experiences that will bring life and vitality to your writing.

The old saying is that no man is an island. Well, no writer is either.

Because I wasn’t able to write for a long time, I can bring my experiences to my writing and enrich it with all that I have heard, tasted, and seen.

My time will never be wasted if I know how to use it wisely when I return.

Even if I’m not writing. -BW

3 thoughts on “How to Keep Your Writing from Eating Itself

  1. Welcome back. 🙂

    I have been seeing a lot of introspective posts lately from writers who are all questioning why they write and if they should continue writing. I expect each writer must determine that for themselves, but you definitely bring up a good point, which is that we should stop beating ourselves up for taking breaks from writing. After all, we need to stop writing so that we can go out and get new material.

    So, thanks for making this great point! Maybe it will convince a few writers to not give up writing.

    Like

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