September 08, 2009

Am I A Real Writer?

I'm nervous today. Not sure why exactly, but part of the anxiety is my lack of desire to write lately. I keep trying to tell myself that I am just detoxing from my many hours of overtime in August. I'm recouping from all that hard labor and lack of sleep. Right?

I can go with that, but deep down I wonder if maybe there is more to it. I am a gal who is a creative type. I love to try new endeavors that allow my creativity to soar. The thing is, I never stick with anything.

I've tried many things over the years: crossstitch (more of an 80's thing), calligraphy, calligraphy art, scrapbooking, making cards (an outlet of scrapbooking), knitting (didn't last long at all) decorating photo albums, tiling clay pots, beading everything, jewelry making (more of the beading thing) and now....writing.

Writing is by far the hardest thing I've ever done. So deep down I wonder if it will be too hard to stick with. Is this just another outlet? Is this just another side trip for my creative self? Do I really have what it takes?

The only thing different about writing from my other endeavors is that I have dreamed of writing since I was a teen. I haven't dreamed about anything else. Just writing. So maybe there is hope that this little vacation from writing really is just that. A time to recoup. A time to rest.

But if I really was a writer wouldn't I WANT to write all the time? Wouldn't I have that desire deep within to put words to paper? All the time? Every day?

Does anyone out there ever feel like me? Are there any real writers out there who just don't want to write sometimes?

Forgive my rant. I just wanted to spew forth my fears today.


34 comments:

  1. Well I don't know if I count as a 'real writer', but there were whole moths when I didn't write. Sometimes things within me need time to settle, rest and brew before I am ready to write again. Maybe I shouldn't just write when I feel like it, but I do. I mostly feel like it everyday. But there have been times when my soul has needed to crawl away from baring all in words and just look after itself. But that's me...

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  2. I don't think there is a right or wrong way to go about our writing. We all lead busy lives, and breaks are sometimes needed. It doesn't mean you love your craft any less.

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  3. LOL, no I don't think a writer wants to write all the time. Or at least the same thing. Mabye you've lost the spark for fiction at the moment, but you're still writing on your blog. :-)
    This happens to me a lot. That's when writing becomes more than a hobby. That's when it becomes work, a career. When it's tough but you do it anyway.
    But breaks are good too. I take them whenever I feel like it. LOL Maybe let your manuscript rest for a month and you relax with some books. Then you can come back to it refreshed and with an objective vision. :-)
    Don't feel bad. I'm pretty sure this is really common. :-)

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  4. Wow, I can completely relate! I love to have creative outlets, but have also taken up many different hobbies and activities (like cake decorating).
    The biggest difference so far is that I don't get bored with writing. Frustrated, angry, happy, tired... all those yes, but not bored. With other activities I feel like I hit a wall where I learned what I could and then was done. Like I conquered that skill, now it's time to move on. With writing there are so many new things to learn and your writing will always be evolving.

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  5. I think it's perfectly normal for you to feel that way considering how much time you invested in it last month. However, you can't give in to that feeling. What if you were published and on a deadline to complete your next book while editing your last one? I don't think you'd have the luxury of not writing. I've heard of authors forcing themselves to write if only to get the words down and heavily edit later.

    Writing's in your blood. You can do this. You just have to believe in yourself.

    Lynnette Labelle
    http://lynnettelabelle.blogspot.com

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  6. Hi, Sherrinda!

    You are definitely a real writer! I am a lot like you... my writing goes in cycles. I'll get a book out and edit it within a couple of months, and then will have to wait a while for my next story or whatever. During that time, I'm wracked with guilt and questions over if I'm an imposter and if I'll ever make it. But that's just how it goes. And right now I have the gift of time, meaning that I have no publisher's deadline to meet. Hopefully that will change, but for right now, I'm enjoying the fact that I can go outside and enjoy the day--and not write--without guilt or a feeling of impending doom. :0)

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  7. Does a doctor always want to do doctorly things? Does a teacher long for summer to end? Does a police officer want his shift to never end?

    Ever heard any career person complain about their job, their career, Sherrinda?

    I think it's natural to have down times and as a writer, they're often the times we get our next ideas that pump us back up and get us raring to write again. There is a season for everything, maybe right now is yours to rest and rejuvenate after your busy August, maybe it's a time to study the craft and live to get the next idea.

    Or maybe God is heading you in a new direction. I'll pray for you to feel His guidance and to accept His answer. But, just know that you're not alone. If writing is for you, the desire will come back, don't stew over though, or it may take longer! Hope that helps.

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  8. I totally understand you here. Somedays I wonder if I will wake up and a new "thing" will spark my interest. Maybe I will get one rejection too many and decide it is all worthless.

    I was chatting with a friend I hadn't seen in years. When she asked me what I was up to, I said I was writing. Her response, "Thats so great Katie, You've been talking about writing forever."

    It's true, I have always had the bug, but how long will I have te drive.

    *hugs*

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  9. Of course we are real writers. Step into your 'author-hood', keep writing, discipline is key.

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  10. I don't think not wanting to write makes you less than "real". I think with any dream, there are days where you don't feel like doing something. It's natural. I also feel like there are periods of your writing journey where you'll grow as a writer simply from not writing. By living, by thinking, by resting your brain :)

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  11. I've been feeling the EXACT same way lately. It's like I have to force myself to write. I don't think it's so much a lack of motivation though, I think it is more a lack of confidence.

    I feel ya. But we ARE writers...I'm convinced if we've come this far, we'll pick it back up again when we are ready. Some people take YEARS to write on book let alone get it published, and the ARE writers...so ... so are we :D

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  12. Sherrinda-
    Did you crawl into my head this morning? I am pretty sure you did and in the future, keep doing it!
    I feel the exact same way.
    Did you see the movie Julie and Julia? Julie I swear, was speaking for me. I'm not a real writer until someone pays me for my work...I'm not a real writer until I have an agent..blah, blah, blah.
    My husband, whom I affectionately refer to as The Bird on my blog, tells me, "Steph, you are a writer because you write. And by the way, people have told you they love you."
    Now, if I could only live inside his head!
    Thank you for sharing your vulnerably side. It helped me today to see it.
    xo

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  13. To use a worn-out metaphor, the creative brain tends to be like a rubber band. I know from my own experience that it can get stretched to a sad state of limpness, due to a lot of factors. Working overtime for a long period would probably do it!

    I treat my writing like a job. I show up at the computer every day at 4 o'clock, whether I feel like it or not (and the days when I feel like it and the days when I don't usually seem to even out). But when I'm burnt out, I've learned that there's no pushing through it. I just flat out have to take a break and let my brain regain some of its stretchy bounce. So maybe that's what you're experiencing?

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  14. from what i understand, writers who actually get paid to write and stuff don't want to write every day. it's such a discipline to make yourself do it. and fyi - nothing wrong with taking a break. you just finished your novel not too long ago...let the creative juices build back up. :)

    jeannieWhere Romance Meets Therapy

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  15. Hugs, Sherrinda. I've been where you are. I experienced a year of drought and doubt a little over two years into my writing journey. During that year I worked on a contemporary. Those 50K words didn't come easily, and they were lousy, but I learned a lot through the process. For one, I realized my Voice doesn't lend itself to contemporary. Once I embraced that truth and returned to my first love, historicals, the joy returned.

    You've been through a great deal lately. Completing that first book after so many years of dreaming about it is quite a feat. Then you had the intense month of soul-sapping overtime. I trust that when you've had time to rest and recharge, you'll feel re-energized and ready to return to your writing.

    You might try setting small goals to jump start your creativity. Tell yourself you'll write one page. That's not as daunting as a whole chapter or an entire book. One page is do-able, right?

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  16. I think there are different levels of writing. Remember that post I did about atheletes? Some run just for the excercise, others are in it for the 5K, and still others for the Olympics. Maybe you're trying to figure out how much energy and time you want to devote to writing? You have to determine what level you want to reach and then expend the energy accordingly. If you want to keep writing more of a hobby and fun activity that you do when you have free time, then you won't need to pursue it with as much diligence as you would if you're trying to get published.

    If you want to get published some day, then you have to establish a training plan/writing routine that will get you there, but obviously one that works for your schedule.

    Only you can decide what you really want! But from the little that I had the opportunity to read of what you wrote, I think you have a very creative mind and story-telling ability. With time, honing the craft, and continued practice, I think you have a lot of potential!!

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  17. Absolutely ... I've felt that way. And, you are still a REAL writer!!!!!

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  18. If you write you are a writer. It's that simple. You need not write everyday... or every week. There are times when my mind is just not on it.

    On the other hand, if thinking about writing makes you feel uncomfortable, like a chore waiting for you, maybe it's not what you thought it would be. Even when my wheels aren't cooperating, I still WANT to write.

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  19. I'm going to go with Eileen, only add a little more.

    Here's my take:
    I'm a teacher. A real-live, get-paid teacher. Do I want to deal with kids all the time? Ummm...no.

    I'm a wife. A real-live, ring-on-my-finger wife. Do I feel like loving my husband all the time? Ummmm...no.

    I'm a mother. A real-live, baby-on-the-hip mother. Do I feel like caring for Brogan all the time? Ummm...no.

    I'm a writer. A real-live, written-three-books-and-have-more-on-the-horizon (unpublished) writer. Do I feel like writing all the time. Ummm...no.

    So, Sherrinda, my friend. What you are feeling/experiencing is completely normal. 100% normal. Any writer who claims to want to write all day every day is lying (or on something). Just sayin'.

    How do "real" writers stand apart from "hobby" writers?

    Even when I don't feel like teaching, I still show up for work and I commit to being the best teacher I can be for my students.

    Even when I don't feel like loving my husband, I choose to stay committed to our marriage.

    Even when I don't feel like caring for Brogan, I get up in the middle of the night to change his diaper.

    Even when I don't feel like writing, I do it anyway.

    Now, here's where the BIG caveat comes in - the one that I HOPE brightens your day and lessens your anxiety....are you ready for it?

    Do I take personal days from teaching? You betcha. I'm still a real teacher though.

    Do I have my moments when I just need space from my husband and my son? You betcha. I'm still a real mother and wife though.

    Do I have days (weeks even) where writing gets shoved to the side? You betcha. I'm still a real writer though.

    The simple truth: sometimes we just need a break. Sometimes we just deserve one.

    Since this comment is already a novel in and of itself, let me say one last thing...

    There was this quote by this guy (how's that for specific) that went something like, "I only write when I'm inspired. And I make sure I'm inspired at 9:00 every morning."

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  20. Okay - one more thing (and WOW was my last comment long!!)

    Real-life (whether it's marriage, or motherhood, or writing) is so much LESS romantic than what we sometimes envision in our heads, isn't it?

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  21. Been where you are several times.

    From sometime in April to September of this year, I've wanted to write with daily fervor, but it didn't happen. Sure there were excuses, some legitimate, others not.

    But now I'm back writing every day and thrilled to be doing it!

    I think all of us continue to have the desire to write, but also need time off to rest, recuperate, regroup.

    During the time I was away, I read lots of books, made journal notes, reread stories I'd written and just observed life knowing that all of this was feeding my muse for future writings.

    Enjoy the respite and soon you'll be back and writing like you never wrote before!

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  22. Hi Sherrinda -

    Are you kidding me? I commented on another blog that I have a hard time sitting down and writing. Once I get started, I'm fine.

    There are days when writing is the last thing I want to do. With the job search, house, business, church, etc., vegging in front of the computer or TV is very tempting.

    Mom and I took a couple of days off and skipped town. Since I got back, I edited 4 1/2 chapters. That may not seem like much, but it's more than I'd done before going away.

    Cheer up. You'll get past this bump in the road.

    Blessings,
    Susan :)

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  23. Wow, you guys are so awesome with your comments. I read on the Seekers blog today about the mistakes writers make and guess what number 1 was? Yep, not writing. There was a quote that said, "Writers write. Everyone else just makes excuses." Ouch. :0
    I like what many of you said about needing the time to freshen your muse. That makes me feel ever so much better.

    Tabitha, I love what you said about your soul needing to crawl away from baring all in words! I do think our souls need refreshing!

    Heather, I keep telling myself everyone is different...all journeys are not the same, and yet, I keep comparing myself to others who say they HAVE to write everyday. It makes me feel like there is something wrong with me!

    Jessica, I hope it is common!!! I think the pressure of all the writers blogs about getting published has overwhelmed me. I'm so not there yet on my writing journey. I have lots to learn!

    MeganRebekah, I'm so glad you can relate to me!! I've never really thought about all my creative endeavors losing their spark because I had mastered them. But that makes perfect sense. I don't know that I will ever "master" writing, so maybe the draw will remain!

    Lynnette, I think that's part of the problem. I don't know that I really believe in myself. How do you really know you have what it takes? But you are right, I need to discipline myself and keep at it, learning and growing in my writing!

    Kristen, an imposter!!! Yes, that is what I think of myself sometimes! How funny! But I must say I'm glad you have gone through cycles in your writing and that I am not abnormal. :)

    Eileen, I love your words of wisdom. In all this, I have not really sought the Lord like I should. I've been caught up in a new church, trying to sell our house, etc, and not really seeking Him in my writing...or lack thereof. Thank you for those words.

    Quixotic!!! Yes! I have those feelings of "what if this is just another outlet I will give up later when the spark fizzles?" I don't want it to, but I have such a track record of that! Maybe that is why I am spilling it out here in the blog...to hold me accountable in some way. lol

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  24. T.Anne, ahhhh, "step into your author-hood". I love that! What a beautiful phrase.

    Cindy, I think I've heard that somewhere before. That you need to live and experience life if you are really going to write. It makes sense.

    MaryBeth, awwww., I'm not alone! I hope you are right in that we will pick it back up in time. We push through to victory!!!!

    Stephanie, I struggled with whether to publish this post or not. I felt TOO vulnerable. Almost whiny...and I hate to whine...even though I seem to do it alot lately! But, I figure that is what this blog is for, to share my victories and my defeats. And my spirit seems a bit defeated lately. I'm really glad you can relate, though I am so glad you have a supportive husband (like myself!) who can encourage you like that!
    BTW...I did see Julie & Julia and loved it! My favorite part was saying that she found herself while writing her blog. :)

    KM, I think I've definitely experienced that stretched our rubber band!!! I have to wonder though...do you get up at 4am to write, or come to the computer at 4pm? Just curious....

    Jeannie, how do you do it? Working and writing and raising a little one???? I wish I could be a fly on the wall of you writers out there who work full time jobs.

    Keli, I love your hugs! You are always so very encouraging. I don't know how you find the time to do all that you do! I like your idea of the one page at a time. Starting small is a great idea and may jumpstart me!

    Jody, I remember that post you did! I feel like I am really not ready for publication. I know I have a lot to learn, so I know I am not even near publication. Sometimes I feel overwhelmed by all the blogging and presence required, when in reality, I am not even close to needing any of that. I hate to step back though, because I love the encouragement from all my online friends and all the things I've learned. There will come a day when I am ready to buckle down and seek publication. Thanks for the encouragement. That gives me hope, because if I can spin a good story, then I can learn the craft and make the story better.

    Kelly, okay, okay, I'm a writer! :) I think I am...I think I am. lol

    Lily, lol...I love the way you put it! "if you write, you are are a writer". :)

    Katie!!!! Oh.My.Goodness.Girl!!! I wanted to print out your comment and frame it. lol Seriously though, your words meant alot to me. I've had such insecurities lately and your commmmmmeennnntt really spoke to my heart. It made sense and hit home. And why is it that it has to be less romantic than we think it is going to be? I want to wear those rose colored glasses so everything looks perfect. :) Thanks, my friend.

    Donna, feeding the muse is a lovely way to look at this little slump I'm in! I think you are right and I will pull out a writing book or two that I bought over the summer and see what can inspire me. :)

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  25. Susan, thanks friend! Being new to this writing journey, I don't really know what is normal and what is not. It has been so refreshing to read all the comments and know that this road has been traveled before and others have been where I am. Thanks for the encouragement! BTW...4-1/2 chapters sounds like a great deal of work! That is awesome!

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  26. I'm glad everyone's comments helped you feel better. It's true that writers write, but I thank God for so many different things to write. Just today I opted not to write an article and instead worked on my blog. I'll write the article tomorrow, but it would have taken me twice as long to do it today, because I couldn't focus. So let your creative battery recharge, and then jump back in feet first.

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  27. Tara, thanks for the encouragement! I love to hear how others "do it" in their writing journey. I don't feel so along that way. :)

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  28. I wouldn't worry about it. If you enjoy it, you'll do it...if it fades, you won't. No worries either way.

    But if you're worried about taking time off--don't be. We all need a little extra oomph to get back into the writing mode after heavy work.

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  29. Hi, just wanted to leave you a note because I really enjoyed this post, and to say - hello !. You have a great site here - really interesting. Thankyou for sharing it and best wishes... lovely to meet you, as it were....

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  30. What a beautiful question :) I have a couple of quick ones for you.

    -How did you feel when you gave up your other endeavors?
    -Did they help define you?
    -Did you always dream about doing them?
    And here's another one: do you always feel like being a wife?

    I always dreamed of being married...and now I love to have my hubby away for a few nights every now and then. It doesn't make me any less of a wife...it just proves that I need a break every now and then :)

    I don't think not wanting to write for a season makes you any less of a writer. If anything it proves that you REALLY care about this creative outlet because you're worried about your life without it!

    Hang in there (and don't be afraid to hang up the pen for a little while). You might need a short (or long) sabbatical, but I wouldn't worry about it. If writing has been your dream, then it's in your heart. That's what makes you a writer.

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  31. Beth, oh yes, I need me some oomph! What a great way to put it!!!

    Elise, thanks for stopping by! Your site is beautiful and what a unique premise...ballet!!!

    Karin, you asked some thought provoking questions and they were helpful in refining my thoughts! Thanks, girl! :)

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  32. Yes, yes and yes. Sometimes I go weeks (heck, months) without writing anything and I wonder if something's wrong with me... but then my husband reminds me that I'm still writing, just doing other kinds of writing. "But I can never accomplish anything" I whine, wondering if I've chosen the wrong career path. If this is what I'm supposed to do after all, since I don't always feel that obsession to put words to paper like it seems everyone else does, all the time. Which, of course, isn't true... but it's often hard to see past our own flaws. Writing is hard work... sometimes we just need to breathe and let it simmer. Hopefully, in time, we can come back to it fully refreshed.

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  34. Yes, I have questioned if this is the purpose that God really has for me. I don't write everyday. I have been doing it since I was 7 and I know that it is what I am meant to do. I think it all comes down to that for me. Still, I have my dry spells where I cannot really get the thoughts out like I would like and I get lazy or depressed. What I have learned is that if it keeps coming back to you then... it's for you! We all have a gift so you just gotta know that it writing is yours and God has shown you that, then believe in yourself and do it! I started a novel in 2006 - it is 2009 and I am still writing it. I worry about having what it takes too... trust me, but you know what... when I feel like giving up, God always sends someone to say something to me to inspire me to keep going. So, I just encourage you not to give up on your dreams and fear not, whatever is meant for you will happen - just never give up... no matter what! :o) Hope that helps!

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