Monday, March 28, 2016

A Life Without Writing

If I stopped writing...

1. I'd be much more likely to say what I really think of people to their faces, rather than just write it down, which means I'd probably get head-butted a lot more often.

2. I'd start posting pictures of my lunch or my outfits on Instagram, because everyone knows that those pictures are so fascinating (it's like, can we have MORE selfies, please?).

3. The fictional characters I already created would probably haunt my dreams and say stuff like, "You owe us endings to our stories. If you don't write one for us, we will give you nightmares filled with the things that freak you out the most, including clowns, knives, and one of the Kardashians as President (in that case, posting selfies would become mandatory, and anyone who broke that law would have to buy and read all 448 pages of Kim Kardashian's book of selfies)."

4. I'd stop going to book signings, because I'd feel jealous of the writers who never stopped pursuing their dreams like I did.

5. I'd read less, which would mean I'd have more time to "like" Instagram posts by reality show celebrities and read articles about their Twitter feuds, which would cause my brain cells to die, one by one.

6. I'd look at my journal longingly, similar to the way I look at cupcakes in a bakery or the muscular gay men dancing on floats in Chicago's Pride Parade.

7. I'd always feel like something was missing from my life.

8. I wouldn't communicate with all of you nice people in the blogosphere, who have been very kind and supportive to me through the years.

9. I wouldn't feel that same sense of pleasure I feel when I sit down to write, or when the story heads in a different direction that I wasn't expecting.

For a while now I've actually contemplated giving up writing. This past year has been really busy, what with my full-time job and my part-time job, which is why I haven't blogged as much in the past several months. To be honest, other than journal entries, blog posts, and Tweets, I haven't written anything (other than stuff for work) in months. It made me wonder if maybe I'd lost my writer's "mojo," and it also made me doubt that I had it at all.

I even thought about giving up my blog and my Twitter page. Some people get fifty responses (or hundreds) on their blog posts, whereas I'm lucky if a more than a few dozen actually read my blog posts one at a time, even though I've been blogging for six years now. I have more Twitter followers than blog followers, but more often than not, the people who follow my blog immediately send me DMs asking me to check out or promote their album/book/film/GoFundMe page, which tells me why they're really following me (I never respond to their DMs, nor do I do what they ask).

But if I gave up writing, then I truly would be a workaholic, one hundred percent. I've finally realized that there has to be more to life than work, and writing fiction and creative nonfiction is the one thing that doesn't feel like work to me. Even when it does, it's still something that I want to do, not something that I have to do to pay the bills.

So for now, I'm not giving up writing, though I do have to accept that I may have to wait until summer to spend more time on it. I gave up or lost almost everything else that mattered because of my work. I'm not willing to let my work destroy the one thing I have left.

What about you? Have you ever felt tempted to give up writing?


  1. I actually gave it up for 4 years, when I was at college. I wanted to be a serious person back then. I still regret it to this day. I was a mess back then and so unhappy. I don't blame you for never getting to write what you want. You have so much going on. But don't feel bad. Even if you write just one word a day, you are still writing.

    1. Hi Murees,
      I think it was Meg Cabot who said that if people write one page a day for one year, they'd have a novel's worth of pages at the end of that year. So you're right that even just writing a little bit each day can help.
      I just wish I could write more often, or even just write, period. But more often than not, I'm too tired and burned out to write fiction or nonfiction after spending all day teaching and grading papers, in addition to doing work for my website job.

  2. I've given up creative writing many times in the past when other things took precedence, but I always write in my journal no matter what. Twitter I'm getting bored with, blogging is still fun for me though. I think it's impossible for a born writer to actually stop, kind of like those people who have to talk or die can't really stop doing their favorite form of expression.

    1. Hi Karen,
      Twitter can be annoying sometimes, especially when some people's Twitter pages look more like commercials or self-congratulatory pages than anything else (celebrities especially do that). But I like it because it's easier to come up with a few Tweets every week than an entire blog post. But I think I'd miss blogging if I gave it up, because I really do like maintaining that connection with everyone.

  3. #7 resonates with me. If I gave up, you'd probably find me curled up in a corner unable to function.

    As for blogging, I think it's the quality of people you reach rather than quantity. You always get long and thoughtful responses to your posts, and - quite frankly - we're delightful ;-) I'm grateful I don't have 50 people commenting, because that's a lot of time to spend returning the visits!

    1. Hi Annalisa,
      That's true! I really look forward to reading those responses; it always makes me smile when another person leaves a nice comment on one of my blog posts. And I suppose it would be tougher to come up with responses to everyone if a lot of people were commenting.

  4. I figured it'd be best just to consider my blog writing practice, and not worry about followers. And it's a good way to purge those negative feelings, definitely!

    1. Hi Charly,
      I think that writing about those negative feelings helps me deal with them; otherwise, I'd keep it all bottled up and then end up losing my temper at inopportune moments.

  5. 7. I'd always feel like something was missing from my life. - I had to stop writing for six months due to tendonitis and this is what I felt most. I wasn't depressed, but I was definitely less than I should have been.

    1. Hi Libby,
      I can live without things like television or ice cream (although I admit that I would miss both), but I don't know if I could live without writing permanently. It's been hard enough to live without it these past several months. I understand what you mean about feeling "less than"; writing makes me feel whole.