mvelasco's picture
mvelasco from Canada is reading Mother Night October 2, 2016 - 7:33pm

I am a writer, I am a writer, I am writer...

After three forlorn jobs and failed attempts at balancing my work-writing life together. I decided it was time to give writing a break. I left my notebooks and beat-up laptop aside, at least, until I felt the urge of taking writing again. Unfortunately the urge, hasnt come back, the idea of writing has. Perhaps I fell in love with the idea of being a writer, who knows. Now I feel the only hope I have is to listen to motivational videos on youtube on how is not to late to start a new career.  Share your thoughts about a time when you thought about quiting writing or how to stay motivated (and what advice do you have).


Anchoret's picture
Anchoret October 3, 2016 - 2:35pm

The sole justification for creative work is obsession, so if you can not do it, don't and you'll save yourself a lot of grief and be way ahead.

What's put me off is an encounter with the new Zhdanovism that absolutely pervades the "small and literary" market.  It's always been bad since Orwell complained about it in numerous essays, but at least it paid better then.

How much degrading pandering to Correct Thought can one justify for $4 and two copies of some rag?

Thuggish's picture
Thuggish from Vegas is reading Day of the Jackal October 3, 2016 - 4:25pm

This sounds kind of like a "let it go, if it doesn't come back to you it was never meant to be yours" kind of situation


bethwenn's picture
bethwenn from Milwaukee is reading The Magic Mountain by Thomas Mann October 4, 2016 - 8:08am

I always feel like quitting being a writer on and off, even though supposedly I'm good at it. It's amost impossible for me to actually quit. I write compulsively, and I think about my characters and story compulsively.

There's no reason why some of us have to be sectioned off, doomed to a life of the left brain, ignoring and never engaging with our creative instincts. The idea of, let your right brain go, you were probably just never meant to use it, is ridiculous. I think the actual problem is that nearly every aspect of modern life prevents, constricts, discourages, and looks down on creativity. The right brain gets neglected and weak and rusty. Writing and creativity are valuable in and of themselves, not just as a means to "becoming a writer" (you are a writer when you write). You don't need a reason or a great, mystical calling (that doesn't actually exist) to be a writer. Baloney! Baloney and malarky.

My advice: freewriting. The only way to get back into it is to let yourself start writing again without any judgment or pressure that it has to be good. The only way to get good is by practice, and the only way to practice is to start doing it again. The thing that stops us at every turn is the left brain chiming in and saying, this is stupid, you're not doing it right, you have to do it this other way or not do it at all. I highly recommend the book Writing Down the Bones. You can get it used for around $3. This really helped me learn how to let go and just write. The freewriting exercises in it are all worth doing and a great way to just get back into writing.

I will take a picture of a couple with my phone and post them later today. If I forget, PM me and remind me. :D

smithreynolds's picture
smithreynolds from Spokane, WA USA is reading The writing on the wall. October 4, 2016 - 8:55am

I loved "Writing Down the Bones". Haven't looked at it in years.

I'm getting old so I have lived through all the stages of writing and not writing and giving a shit and not giving a shit, and thinking I could make some money, and not caring if I did, and finally I just write because it makes me feel like I have had a meal or taken a walk or spent time with someone I love or cleaned my toilet bowl, or lit a candle for dinner. It makes me feel alive. I am grateful for the engagement and now, for the understanding that there is a community that I can be a part of, that I never knew about. I can be a part of something bigger than myself, that  enjoys looking at life through a microscope and doing nothing about it but writing.

Stephen King's "On Writing" is a book on writing that speaks to me now, or it did six months ago and seven years ago.

I have written all my life, and in times of great loneliness that small inner spark has touched my pain and piqued my impulse to put it on paper. It has been my forever friend, and my bully brother and I am grateful for the company.

It is the process, not the result that is the most important. You could write with no paper in the typewriter and it would serve you very well, if you let go of the result. Okay that's all I got. I speak from the luxury of retirement. I don't lift that barge and tote that bale any more. Something to look forward to, youngsters. Keep Writing wherever you are. Steal a moment.   Toys for the Soul.  gsr



Thuggish's picture
Thuggish from Vegas is reading Day of the Jackal October 4, 2016 - 9:18am

My point in the letting it go... come back to you... thing... is that if you're trying to force it just to "be a writer," well, that's not a good motivation. If you stopped trying to write and were happier for it, then it was never meant to "be yours."

Contrarily, if you put the manuscript down and it knaws at your brain because it's something you just have to do, you have to create this thing, it needs to get out and down on paper and exist outside of your brain... That's all you need.

smithreynolds's picture
smithreynolds from Spokane, WA USA is reading The writing on the wall. October 4, 2016 - 9:54am

@Thuggish. You bring an interesting thought to the table here. I used to worry about losing the need, the desire, the wanting of doing the work. It was my greatest fear that I wouldn't want to do the work any more. Then what would I be, if I didn't want to write any more, or act, as was also the case. Fear is not a creative juice. It just makes me run, further and further until I drop in my tracks. Waste of time, unless you are actually being chased. My sister told me "Running is for emergencies."  My favorite quote, to date.

mvelasco's picture
mvelasco from Canada is reading Mother Night October 4, 2016 - 10:46am

Thanks ALL of you for the advice. I can honestly say, I will keep trying. I will keep writing, freely or as free as writing will allow me and as thoroughly as anybody of you is willing to be my editing buddy? I am glad I joined this community. Cheers. Oh and before I forget, thanks @bethwenn for the book suggestion.

D.W. Behrend's picture
D.W. Behrend from New Jersey is reading Gates of Fire by Steven Pressfield October 5, 2016 - 7:57am

If limited time is an issue (I note the three jobs you mention), I have found that the following habit keeps me writing on a daily basis - just write for 15 minutes. If you can, make it around the same time every day. I do this early in the morning, before the parental and job duties start to get in the way. I just write for 15 minutes with a timer. I have been averaging about 400 words during the 15 minute period as I work on the first draft of a novel. 

Note this doesn't preclude doing more writing at other times of day. What it does do in spades is reinforce every day that I am a writer, and that I am writing. I have found it very effective. 

Thuggish's picture
Thuggish from Vegas is reading Day of the Jackal October 5, 2016 - 8:48am


Don't forget about daydreaming. Seriously. You drive, you eat, you take a dump, you shower... Lot of opportunity for ideas.

helpfulsnowman's picture
Community Manager
helpfulsnowman from Colorado is reading But What If We're Wrong? by Chuck Klosterman October 6, 2016 - 12:30pm

I've been a runner for a long time, so I equate a lot of things to running.

With running, there's definitely the issue of time, and the issue of taking time off resulting in the return becoming this monumental, difficult thing. And I think running and writing are similar (for me, at least) in that I enjoy them, but I wouldn't say I'm having a screaming great time most of the time. 

But, overall, I enjoy both. I think both help me level out. 

What I've done when I took a break from running is to come back, but to set the bar very, very low. For the first week back, I don't have to run a single step, but I DO have to put my sweats on and walk to the end of the block. That's it. That's the low bar I set for myself. If I get to the end of the block and say "Screw it" and turn around, so be it. That's not a loss, and I've achieved the goal.

I've found that most times, the hardest part is taking the first steps. Not turning on the TV, not checking Facebook real quick, but coming home, putting on my sweats and going outside. And once I get to that point, it's a lot easier to go ahead and just do the damn run.

I'd suggest you might try something similar with writing. Get your writing stuff, go to your spot, and get to the point where you're poised to write. If you don't write at that point, then whatever. But it's likely you will.

As an added thing, if there's a coffee shop or library or somewhere you like to write that's 10 minutes away, by foot or by car, I encourage you to go there. If you've walked 10 minutes, it's harder to turn straight around without doing anything.