I Haven’t Been Writing

I haven’t been writing recently. Wow, it feels good to say that. It’s a fact, though.

I have stories in my head, and they’re swirling around, and begging to be written down, but I just can’t seem to find the right words. Blog posts, too, although the feeling’s not exactly the same. You don’t know this, but I do, and it’s kind of been eating away at me: the last three posts I published were written somewhere in April or May. It’s very far from May, now.

It isn’t like I’ve been bored at all; I’ve had things to do during the summer and books to read and White Collar to binge-watch… but it’s a different feeling than writing. Books and TV shows, I see them the same way (except TV shows may burn your eyes out and books… also might, but you have to read more of them for that to happen): they’re both instant gratification. With writing, you really have to work towards it.

And maybe that’s why I haven’t been able to write. I haven’t had to work towards it. I haven’t had to work too hard towards anything since the school year ended on June 5th, and now maybe I have homework, but I have three months to do it and it involves growing plants, which isn’t much work anyways, and besides, my brain tells me, if you need to memorize stuff for tests it’s best to wait until mid-July, so you can remember it better.

I miss the stress. I miss the tests. I miss the anxiety. Maybe I didn’t enjoy that little tug in my chest of
didifaildidifaildidifailihopeididntfailpleasedontletmefailgoodiprobablydidntfailbutwhatifidid. But it’s an odd part of me that I can never seem to shake.

I tried to force some stories out, but they just seemed to stew, and every time I look back over what I’ve written, I’m not proud of it, like the words are perfect in my head but I just can’t bear to see them any other way on paper. The words disappear before I can ever write them down. And part of me is okay with that, with me waiting and hibernating until the stories are ready to be let out.

But there is still a burning desire to write, something that makes me twinge shamefully when I think of the words or the people behind them. People who sometimes seem so real it’s odd thinking the rest of the world will think they came from my head. (They didn’t, DUH. They’re actually aliens on another planet who have made their way into my head in their ethereal form and are begging me to write their stories.)

I want to write. No, that is wrong.

need to write. That sounds better. I need to write.

SO MUCH TO WRITE. Inexplicable, crazy, barely-staying-sane need to write.

I need to write. (That is what it feels like in my head.)

Or I may go crazy with all these stories in my head. But how to get them out?
(And all this word-ing, it has me thinking:
Maybe writing is what keeps me sane.)

A question sometimes drives me hazy: am I or the others crazy?

— Albert Einstein (and apparently now me when I think of writing)

11 responses to “I Haven’t Been Writing

  1. This is so me right now. I haven’t written in two months and I’m starting to just want to write until I’ve finally finished my book.

    • I know exactly what you mean! I kept putting off writing because of school/finals/etc. (which is by ALL means a good thing!), and now I just can’t seem to do it anymore. Usually I find my eloquence in words when I write: when I talk it’s just jibberjabber. I want so so so so so so so so SO badly to just write but it’s so hard to! Which is very very odd because I’m so used to having no problems at all finding the right words. (… until I revise, that is. When I revise, everything goes down the drain.)

  2. I go through phases where I don’t write, too. Mine tend to be because I have put other obligations (like work) ahead of writing. Getting back I to writing after long dry spells is a heck of a challenge. I just force myself to power through with the idea I’ll fix whatever doesn’t work later on when I revise.

    • Yes! I think that’s exactly where my problem stems from, because I stop writing almost completely during the school year (save November and April) and stop absolutely completely at least two weeks to a month before finals/AP testing. I think the problem I have–especially with certain ideas–is that I NEED TO GET IT RIGHT, because my characters truly do deserve that so very very much, and I just can’t bear the thought of having to revise a horrible novel. 😦 Sometimes, though, I think that that’s the only real way to get back to doing what I love, and if it is… so be it.

  3. I’ve been through this before. I WANT/NEED to write — and I just can’t. Sometimes, I ignore my laptop and read books and watch TV until the need builds up and I push everything away and grab the keyboard. Sometimes, I have to draw visual diagrams of ideas on paper until the idea is strong enough for words. At one point, it helped to have a designated Time To Write – which is when I started hosting a designated writing time on Monday nights, 7:30-9:00pm, followed by an online chat at 9pm where all participants had to share what they accomplished.

    Most recently, I’ve stopped trying to write at times of the day when I know I’m least productive. That is to say, anytime prior to 9pm. 🙂 I am a late night writer, and I have learned to accept that. I let myself blow off during the day (or, ideally, exercise, clean the house, buy the groceries), but come 9pm, it is serious writing time.

    Maybe you need to find your ideal time of day?

    • I like that idea, but my problem is other obligations, since I go to school and everything else that comes with being a student. I think I may also be a night writer (again, I’m not really sure because I’ve never really given it a shot), but the problem is I NEED TO SLEEP, and currently White Collar has been taking up all of my nightly free time, since my family harbors a deep dislike of TV-watching in the daytime (aka before 8pm). I think my problem is closer to the writer’s block variety: where I need to write and I have things to write but they just seem to come out all wrong on paper. And this time maybe I’m trying to get it perfect, or at least more right than the last.

      • Ah, there’s the problem then. You want to get it perfect. You have to go ahead and let it stink. 🙂 After you have something written, you can work on making it stink less. I know my current WIP is really awful, but I also had fun with some twists and turns I didn’t expect to happen. I will work on making it better in revisions. I don’t know if it will ever be perfect. Every time I open one of my published books and look at any page, I see something I wish I could change.

        Try singing “Let It Stink” to the tune of “Let it Go” before your next writing session! You can fix the wrong words. You can’t fix a blank page.

        Now, off to follow my own advice …

        • Thank you. I actually think this really helped me get some of my mental block unstuck. I can write now, I think, but it won’t be perfect. Although I haven’t written since I read this advice, I think I could if I wanted to. (And in a way I did! I wrote a blog post, and it wasn’t perfect but I’m still pretty proud of getting over that.) I think, right now, I just need to think a little bit. And figure out what to write. 🙂

  4. As much as I love to write, I’ve had several writing hiatuses. For me, writing is such an emotional thing that if I’m doing badly I can’t write. I may want to write, but I just can’t do it. I’ve had two writing hiatuses that lasted about a year, and I’ve only been writing fiction for the past six years so that’s like 1/3 of my time is tied up with NOT writing XD I mean, you are still so young. It’s okay if you aren’t writing right now. When I first started writing I brought along paper and worked on it during every spare moment that I had. I don’t do that anymore, but I’m beginning to get back into it. If I have a long car ride I will think about fixing certain lines, and other stuff like that because it’s hard to find a chunk of time to just write because I have so many other obligations. To be honest, I’ve never felt guilty about not writing. I feel kind of embarrassed or ashamed at how little I have written, but I don’t feel guilty. Weird XD Just live your life and you’ll write again. Maybe a week for now or a few months from now. It’s okay 🙂

    • I’m not the type to bring along paper and scribble down notes, but I get what you’re saying. I’m competitive, though. I want to BE the best. And honestly for me it’s hard when I’m not. But I think that’s sometimes what’s lovely about writing: there’s no right or wrong answer and I’ll certainly always displease someone with my stuff. The thing is, I WANT to write. Sometimes I have these odds and ends in my head that just need to come out, and when they won’t, they’re stuck there, and it’s very frustrating for me. Especially when they keep poking in at odd times. I get what you’re saying. But I guess what prompted me to go *slightly* crazy and write this post was the fact that it’s summer. I have homework, but it’s not urgent. And while I’m doing other things and I AM incredibly busy, it’s still summer. It’s a vacation, and if I need to, I can find time to write. Right now, I’m keeping a lot of things in my head because I can’t find the right words and that sort of hurts a lot, if you know what I’m saying. And I know I need to write NOW, because during the school year it’s crazy and I just feel so guilty when I write. I love writing, and I hopefully always will, but it needs to come second to school, and I guess that’s somewhat the root of my problem: a week from now I’m going to be busy and a month from now my French exchange student will be here and two months from now I’ll be taking tests left, right, and center. So that’s what writing is for me. Wow, okay, sorry. I wrote like an entire other post in response. But I think this did really help me get at the root of my problem, which is always helpful.
      Anyways, GREAT to see you back! I’ve been awful at commenting/writing posts/everything in the universe, but it’s nice to exchange a (rather long) comment or two with you! 😀

      • It’s good to hear from you too 😀 Oh no worries. I wasn’t commenting on your blog so you would return the favor XD I enjoy chatting with you about writing, that’s all ^^

        Ah okay, I think I get what you are saying now, maybe XD You want to write, and you have the time, but your desire to be perfect is holding you back because you know you can’t write the way you want to?

        I know for me, as I improved as a writer it became significantly more difficult to write. When I first started I sucked, and I had no expectations of myself. I thought I was great, so writing was easy XD I used to write several thousand words a day. Now 300 words is a struggle. To get the phrasing to sound a certain way it takes a lot of work. The better I get the harder it becomes. I’m hoping eventually I become good enough that the writing becomes easier, but it just gets harder >_>

        Recently I had to write a crash scene in my short story and one of the characters dies. This was my inspiration: https://www.fanfiction.net/s/6320346/1/exegesis Needless to say, mine is not as epic XD I wanted it to sound like that and it doesn’t, and because of that it was very difficult and painstaking to write. But it is what it is. I just had to grit my teeth and push through it. It’s improving through revisions, but it might be years before I can write it up to my current expectations.

        I’m hoping that I will eventually reach a point where my ability and expectations match on some level, but maybe they never will XD I’m also fairly competitive, but I think some of that has faded over time. I was the valedictorian of my high school, graduated from UC Berkeley as a chem major, and went on to get a 4.0 at one of the best pharmacy schools in the country. My sister is getting her PhD from Harvard in theoretical physics, so I guess you could say we come from a smart family, lol.

        When I was younger it was about proving something to the world, but I don’t care as much as an adult because I learned the only one I had to prove something to was myself. When you are younger there is definitely a lot of pressure from various sources to be the best. I was always my own worst critic though. I don’t think my parents really had to push me at all because I was so driven. With writing the whole “being the best” mentality was more of an abstract concept. There’s always someone better so it kind of takes the pressure off.

        Different things work for some people. I’ve been so self-critical my whole life that I learned giving myself a break has been helpful. Listening to music helps inspire me to write. I love AMVs from my old fandom. This is one of my favorite: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AXw5hlJQbWA Maybe it won’t do much for you though because you have no idea who the characters are XD But the song is good just by itself. Reading other stories on Critique Circle helps motivate me. If I haven’t written in a while those first few words are difficult, but it gets easier again.

        Hope you are able to write again soon 🙂

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