#WW Writers Who Don’t Write

18 Nov

Recently, I came across an encouraging article by J.H. Moncrieff. And here you are: Writers, we need to stop saying this. To sum it up, Moncrieff speaks out against the phrase “Writers write” and encourages everyone to be more realistic. “Writers write whenever they can.” Way to go, Moncrieff!

I love that she posted this, and I love that she posted this during NaNoWriMo. Don’t get me wrong. I think NaNoWriMo is great—an exciting adventure for many—and it’s an opportunity to connect with others. I’ve never done it myself, mainly because I know in my gut that it isn’t right for me due to my own methods of writing. But I’ve seen a lot of writers have a lovely time. That being said, I’ve also seen a lot of pressure around joining it…and due to that pressure, I see a lot of writers feeling like they’re “less” of a writer for not joining NaNoWriMo or keeping up on their word count or attending other writing-related activities, like traveling to writing events or not writing in a certain genre or not posting on social media regularly or blah, blah, blah.

There is so much pressure out there to always be doing something and not enough acknowledgement in the writing community that writers are human too. We take days off. Some take years off. Hundreds deal with writer’s block, and everyone has personal issues that will disrupt them at some point in time.

Personally, I step away from my writing all the time, so I thought I’d share some of my times when I don’t write. It’s not that I’m giving up. It’s that I need to go sit outside and drink some coffee and listen to the wind for a while. (You know, Pocahontas style.) Maybe when I get inside, I need to cuddle with one of my three cats. (Or maybe one of my cats needs to cuddle with me.) Maybe I had a long day at work and I just want to roll around on my couch until I fall asleep. After all, I don’t write full time. I edit full time. And being on the computer all day sometimes makes it really difficult to get back on the laptop to write. Since I work the night shift now, I’ve recently felt guilty for missing the first half of #1lineWed every Wednesday. They start on Twitter as early as 7 a.m., and since I don’t go to bed until 4 a.m., I often don’t wake up until 1 p.m. So, even though it’s not a “necessity,” it’s something I enjoy, and my work schedule doesn’t correlate with it…but I still try.

Recent non-writing moments: Reading with my cat, baking, traveling, and crossword puzzles.

Recent non-writing moments: Reading with my cat, baking, traveling, and crossword puzzles.

Mainly, I know I always worry about the ever-present question lingering around this career I love so much. “When’s the next book coming out?”

Personally, I take this question as a compliment. Readers are excited for my next release? Yay! But I definitely don’t want to disappoint them. So, I sometimes lose it and turn into a red-eyed zombie at my laptop, trying to meet deadlines that aren’t even there. When this happens, I’m not even productive. I end up having to delete thousands of words because I was forcing rather than focusing, pushing keys rather than writing, and it’s difficult to know the difference some days.

Sometimes not writing is the best thing a writer can do. Sometimes writing is.

It’s all about knowing what is right for you.


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17 Responses to “#WW Writers Who Don’t Write”

  1. Charles Yallowitz November 18, 2015 at 5:44 am #

    I didn’t run into ‘writers write’ until I started blogging, but I like how you point out that writers are human too. People seem to forget this all the time. We have lives that involve friends and family. Even just the daily stuff of sleeping, eating, and taking a shower seem to be ignored at times. This goes double when you have a loved one who you take care of like a child or elderly relative. Some days they need you more than the books. It does baffle me how people don’t realize this about writers.

    • Shannon A Thompson November 18, 2015 at 4:45 pm #

      Oh, yes! I didn’t come across it either until I started this blog. There were quite a few new “rules” I found. I think what you said is perfect, and it’s almost like you can’t do daily life things if writing could be done instead. Example: That popular Facebook post that says “You shouldn’t be on Facebook; you should be writing.” UGHHHH. I work on Facebook, so maybe it’s different for me, but I find that post really aggravating, since it’s assuming whatever you’re doing on there isn’t worth the time you could be using to do writing. What if I’m talking to my readers? What if I’m talking to my aunt in another state? What if I’m working at my job? There’s a lot of guilt tripping out there.

      • Charles Yallowitz November 18, 2015 at 4:53 pm #

        I see those ‘you should be writing’ memes all the time. Usually by people that I then see online doing other things, so I wonder if they’re telling me to get to work or talking to themselves. Great points on what if a person is on FB doing something job or family related. This is why I ignore those things. Especially when I’ve been writing all morning, take a break to eat, and then see that at the top of my feed. You don’t get a good reaction when you comment that you were writing while the person was posting that meme.

  2. aetherhouse November 18, 2015 at 7:33 am #

    Being a healthy, well-rounded person is just as important as putting ink on a page. Getting outside the house (or staying in and doing something else) is what gives us inspiration for our stories. Even watching movies or TV on Netflix teaches us about story. Sure, it’s great if you write every day, but it isn’t a necessity. We have to feed the muse too!

    • Shannon A Thompson November 18, 2015 at 4:46 pm #

      Agreed! You have to interact with the world to write about it, even an imaginary one. 🙂

  3. the modest verge book blog November 18, 2015 at 9:47 am #

    Fantastic post! Every artist needs time to breathe.

  4. Giovannoni Claudine November 18, 2015 at 2:35 pm #

    🙂 agree!!!

  5. amandadawnclothier November 19, 2015 at 5:33 am #

    Reblogged this on cookingupabook.com and commented:
    Perhaps I can forgive myself for the writing procrastination…Shannon A Thompson on having time off

  6. W E Patterson November 20, 2015 at 10:12 am #

    I enjoyed this piece very much. As a technical writer, I spend up to 12 hours per day in front of my computer, so often my personal projects suffer in lieu of a paycheck. In any case, although I have been tempted to give NaNoWriMo a shot, I don’t think I could complete anything worthwhile in that amount of time. Also, November always seems to be my busiest month of the year (work-wise), as I always have tons of end of year projects to complete. I probably would be tempted to give it a try if they rolled out JaNoWriMo for those of us who have time to kill in January.

  7. W E Patterson November 20, 2015 at 10:15 am #

    …and I totally botched NaNoWriMo in my previous post. If it were held in January it would be NaJaWriMo…since you are an editor I felt compelled to fix this.

    • M.A. November 21, 2015 at 9:12 am #

      Lol…Since the No in NaNoWriMo is for “novel,” not “November,” the month in which it takes place wouldn’t have any effect on the name. But I admire your commitment to detail. :~)

  8. D K Powell November 24, 2015 at 12:17 pm #

    A lot of food for thought here. Personally I’d love to be able to ‘step away’ from my writing for a while but maybe it’s just my biological clock ticking that drives me on? Every day it’s the same thought – ‘I didn’t get enough written today’…

    • Shannon A Thompson November 24, 2015 at 8:05 pm #

      That is something we have in common! Even when I step away, I’m constantly thinking about writing, what to write, what I didn’t write, if what I wrote was good enough, etc. It’s tough to completely stop thinking about it, but I try to step away when I know I should, to sleep at least. lol

  9. Nida S. February 4, 2016 at 11:48 am #

    Wow this post does wonders for my wounded ‘writer’s ego’ of late. I’ve had to step away for a much longer time than I expected, but then I needed the breather. No point forcing out anything when your mind’s too caught up. But now my words are calling me. It’s about time:).


  1. November Ketchup | Shannon A Thompson - November 30, 2015

    […] 3. Writers Who Don’t Write: Sometimes writers need a break too. This is a short article about why and what I do during my breaks, and also why we need to stop saying “writers write.” […]

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