Welcome back to Alchemy for Authors!
In this episode I share my personal experience of what happens when writer’s go too long without writing, why it is important for us to write, and what we can do when we find ourselves in a writing slump. If you’re passionate about writing and feel called to write but are struggling to get to the page, or you’re resisting the invitation to become a writer, then this episode is for you!
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Find the full transcript of this episode below.
Episode 49: When Writer’s Don’t Write
Jo: Hello, my lovelies. Welcome back to another episode of Alchemy for Authors. So how has your writing week been? Honestly, I have been struggling not just to get words on paper, but actually even finding time during this week to work on any book related things. Hence the theme of this episode. So what happens when writers don’t write?
Now, you have probably experienced this yourself before for any number of reasons. Maybe you’ve had things happen in your life that’s left you time poor or mentally or emotionally fatigued. Maybe you’ve finished a project and are in that pit of wondering what comes next. Or it might just be that your creative juices are running drastically low, or you’re suffering burnout or other health issues. There are so many reasons we might find ourselves at one time or another, not doing that thing that we love. Not doing the one thing that would probably help us find equilibrium again, and just feel a little bit more joy in our lives.
So just to give you a little bit of a backstory, for myself, I went earlier in the year from having four weeks or so, pretty much living the full-time author life where I was working on my novels and probably overdoing it. I was doing it like 24/7, but really, really loving it and really enjoying having all this time to spend on my writing. And then of course I had to go back to my full-time day job, and I have been struggling ever since.
So you might have heard me in other episodes, mention that outside of writing I teach, that’s my day job. And anyone that’s ever been in education or knows anybody that’s been in education will understand that, like many other jobs out there, it is the type of job that can easily take over your weekends, your evenings, your holidays. Um, it even infiltrates your dreams when you sleep. It is, it is a full, full-time job for sure, and it’s a really hard profession to shut off from. And because of that, it can be really, really exhausting. And it doesn’t matter how much you enjoy it. I do really enjoy a lot of aspects of my day job, but it is full on. There’s no other words for it. And so over the last month or so, I’ve really struggled to find the time, the energy, the mental space, to put into my writing and anything book related, anything to do with my writing career. And that can create a whole lot of resentment, sometimes some embarrassment as I feel like I’m dropping the balls with my readers and things like that. And yeah, it’s really, really tough.
And so on a side note for anybody who’s interested, um, just like in many other countries, us teachers across sectors here in New Zealand are actually looking at striking for a day next week simply to try and get some movement on reducing our workload, on more resourcing in our classes to help our students, and upping our salaries and all that good stuff that would really help make teaching a much more viable long-term career. So I’m sure you’ve probably experienced that wherever you’re listening to this as well.
But what it has meant for me is, like I said, I have really been struggling to find time and mental space to be able to put into my writing, with the exception of writing my newsletters, and social media posts and things like that. My books are not coming along at all how I had hoped they would be. And that in itself has had an impact on all other areas of my life. And I’ve been here before and you’ve probably heard me talk about it. I’ve been in this situation of going for lengths of time without writing, and sometimes it’s been because of dramas happening in my personal life or, um, burnout, or sickness, or there can just be a whole lot of different things.
But what I have learned is that, there comes a time where I’ve gone too long away from writing, and that is when I am no longer my best version of myself. Let’s just say that. So maybe you can relate. So what I wanna talk about today is what happens when writers don’t write and why it’s important that we get back into our writing if we’ve let it go too long. So now’s the time for you to grab a drink, find a comfy chair and we’ll dive into the show.
All right, so let’s start off with what happens when we as authors or writers or people who are just really passionate about creating, using our words and that, what happens when we go for a lengthy period without doing this thing that we love.
Now, for me, what got me started thinking about this was I was having a moan to a friend about what is going on with me right now? Like I am just, I’m struggling to get outta bed in the mornings, and I’m just not excited for the day ahead or the week ahead, and I’m just feeling kind of angsty and resentful and just not the best version of myself at all. And so I’m like, you know, I, I just don’t know, like, is it depression? Am I just burned out? Is it just my ADHD? Is it all of those things or is it made worse, maybe, or primarily because I’m not writing and I have not been writing for a while.
And then it just happens as we sometimes say these things out loud, that people come into our sphere, into our circle who start mirroring back to us these things that we’re beginning to wonder about. And so I started hearing from other authors about how angsty or agitated they became when they stepped away from writing for too long. Because of course there are always times where sometimes we need to take a break from our art, from our creative pursuits. Sometimes we need that just for our wellbeing and to refill our creative well and that. But I think everybody can relate to when we kind of cross that line of just taking a break, which is good for us, to going too long not doing that thing that we love. And it can really affect our mood and it can affect the way that we perceive the world around us and how we interact with the people around us as well.
And so I was starting to see that mirrored back to me through the voices of other authors and people out there, saying, that yeah, when they weren’t writing, they just weren’t the nicest people to be around. And of course, a light bulb went on for me and it was like, yeah, I think that’s my problem right there. I’m not doing enough of the stuff that really lights me up, that makes me really happy, which is writing and editing and creating new worlds and doing all that cool, wonderful, authorly stuff.
So I think one of the ways that we notice that we’ve maybe been away too long from doing those things that really fill our soul, and if you’re listening to this podcast, I’m going to bet it’s probably got something to do with writing in whatever form, that’s what really lights you up, hence you’re listening to this, but I know there’s also listeners out there who are artists or creative entrepreneurs in some other ways, and so this really relates to anybody who steps aside from doing that thing that really kinda fills their soul, or that they feel is their passion or purpose for being.
The wonderful Cathy Heller who has this fantastic podcast called what used to be called Don’t Keep Your Day Job, and is now called The Cathy Heller Podcast, she says regularly that the opposite of depression is not happiness. The opposite of depression is purpose. And whether you believe that or not, I think there is some element of truth to the fact that it is hard to be depressed when you feel a sense of purpose, a sense of reason for being, and a sense of meaning as to why you get yourself outta bed in the morning. And for many of you listening to this podcast, you might find that your purpose is tied into your writing and tied into what you create and you share with the world. And this goes back to something that I’ve talked about in many, many episodes and have an entire episode on, in fact, one of my first episodes of Alchemy for Authors, which is getting really, really clear on your why. Why you are a writer, why you’re an author, why you even put energy into this. And although there can be material reasons like, um, the extra money or to have your words read by other people, there’s usually deeper reasons too. Just that inner feeling that somehow by writing and putting your stories or your words out there in the world, you are doing what you were put here on earth to do. You are fulfilling your purpose. You are contributing to the world around you in some way. And so if we take that away or we are not doing that thing that gives us that sense of purpose, then I think it’s easy to fall into that spiral of not being happy, I guess, and being depressed as well.
Now there are lots of reasons people are depressed, mental health illnesses and a whole range of things. I’m not saying that people only get depressed because they’re not living their purpose. I don’t believe that at all. There’s lots and lots of reasons for depression, but I think, um, for some of us who maybe don’t have those mental illnesses, um, and find that depression’s actually an unusual thing for us to go through, it might be that somehow we have found ourselves out of alignment or lacking that sense of purpose or reason for being. We have disconnected somehow from our why. And so that might be something that we need to look into more, which I’ll talk about a little bit later.
And so writers who are not creating, who are not writing in some way, when we’ve been away from it too long, it can look like a lot of things. It can look like depression. It can look like burnout. It can look like just a really grumpy person to be around. And that tends to be how I think I show it a lot as I get really tired easily, it feels very much like burnout. And it’s simply because my creative well is not being filled and it’s not being expressed in the way that I would like it to be. And it can look like being grumpier, I get more emotional and more agitated easily and everything just feels like it’s in the too hard basket. So there’s a lot of overwhelm and things like that too, which coincidentally look a lot like, burnout and ADHD and depression as well.
We also, when we’re in that kind of spiral of being away from our writing, it’s easy to continue to self-sabotage our opportunities to write, to do that thing that would pull us out of our funk. And so we might do that by taking on extra responsibilities, which increases our overwhelm and lessens the time that we have to put into our creative pursuits. We might find that our physical health begins to suffer as well, that we get maybe a little bit more anxious, or digestive upsets, or it might lead us to eating unhealthy foods or binge eating or not eating enough. So it can affect our diet in a lot of ways too. It also tends to lower our immune system. And it can also affect our lives in other ways too. So not only can all these things put a strain on our relationships, make us a little more negative and less tolerant to maybe be around. But, because we’re in that funk, we might find that we are looking for those short-term dopamine hits that will fill the gap that our writing would normally do. So it might be that we make impulse purchases, uh, without consideration of finances, or we do things that are a little bit out of character, and they don’t have to be big things, but it’s just our coping mechanisms to fill that space that we’ve neglected by not doing that one thing, which is writing.
Now, from my experience of when I go too long without writing, I really feel this deep sense of it just gnawing at me. I get resentful and I come up with lots of excuses why I can’t be doing that thing, which makes me even more resentful, and the dissatisfaction really does seep into all areas of my life, areas that aren’t even related directly to my writing. So it can poison our relationships. It can poison our day jobs. It can poison our diets, and our health, and our finances, and everything. It is quite frankly, dangerous, really to disconnect from that core aspect of who we are and what we thrive on. When we allow ourselves to drift too far away from doing those things that light us up, that gives us passion and purpose in our lives, then I think it’s fair to say we are not living as the best versions of ourselves at all. And this is from my experience and from talking to other authors and writers as well. And that’s really not fair on us, and it’s really not fair on the people around us either.
So there is a huge amount of importance put on the fact that we need to be aware of when we find ourselves in this situation because it can creep up so easily. We take a little bit of a break from our writing because we need it, and there’s nothing wrong with breaks, and we should be able to take breaks. But when we cross that line of going too long, it might take us a little bit to notice. And that’s what I was finding. I thought I was fine, taking a break, fine taking a break, fine, fine, fine, and then all of a sudden, not fine. Not good at all.
Now there is a quote here, and I might be pronouncing the name wrong, so do excuse me for that, by Shakti Gawain, and it says that every time you don’t follow your inner guidance, you feel a loss of energy, a loss of power, a sense of spiritual deadness. And I think that’s true when we are drawn to the writing life and it is a real core passion for us and feels like our purpose, when we deny ourselves that, then that is exactly what we create. We lose our energy, we lose our passion for life. We just feel quite removed from who we are at our center.
I have also noticed for myself, there’s a sense of shame that goes along with it too. Like, I’m embarrassed when I’m not writing because people ask me, how’s your book coming along? Or I’m writing my newsletter for the week and I don’t have anything new to update my readers with as far as the books. Or I’ve got to let them know that I’ve missed a deadline or something like that. There’s a sense of shame or that I’m letting people down, and that I’m letting myself down by not doing these things as well. So it can be a real heavy load to actually carry with us.
In Frankl Viktor’s bestselling book, Man’s Search For Meaning, he talks about how if you kind of lose that sense of purpose or that thing that you’re, that sense of hope, that thing that you are looking forward to for your future, then you die in the present. And I think that resonates strongly with that kind of feeling we can embody when we do remove ourselves from doing that, which we love.
And there are other bestselling authors too that mention that they struggle with this. Elizabeth Gilbert, author of the amazing book, Big Magic, says that “If I’m not actively creating something, then I’m probably actively destroying something.” And I think that’s true too because it does leak out. Our creativity is an energy. And if we’re not using it for the good, if we’re not putting it to good use, then it tends to find ways to come out in other ways. So it might come out as sabotaging relationships or our careers, or it might come out as addictions, impulsive acts, impulsive spending. It might come out as health issues or increased anxiety and depression. It’s like if you imagine creativity as being an energy that gets stored up inside us and it needs to find a way out in one way or another. And so when it builds and it builds and it’s not being put to creative use through our writing, it has to still come out and it’s gotta find other ways to do that. It’s a little bit, I guess like, um, electricity, how we choose to use our creativity. So there’s always gonna be an outlet, but with electricity we can use it for the good of lighting a city or we could use it to electrocute a person, you know? So there’s that real contrast as to how we let our creativity be in the world. And if we try and hold it back, that’s not gonna work, it’s just gonna find other ways. For some people, it’s creating drama or in their lives through arguments or disagreements with people. But it always finds a way to come out in some way. So we really need to be cautious that we are using our creativity, that we are using our gifts in positive, productive ways.
When we stifle our creativity or don’t allow it space to be put to positive use, then it will find ways to leak out into our lives in less than positive ways. Brene Brown says that, “Unused creativity is not benign. It metastasizes. It turns into grief, rage, judgment, sorrow, and shame.” And you might even notice that too, that we hurt when we are not writing, when we’re not using our creative juices. It is painful in physical and emotional and mental ways. It really does eat at us and gnaw at us.
Another way sometimes, that this holding back on allowing ourselves to write or to do the creative things that we love, we instead indulge in things called shadow careers. And I think I’ve talked about this before. But when we feel that it is not appropriate for some reason or that society will look down at us for pursuing our creative goals, then that creativity, which still needs an outlet, will lead us to take on things like shadow careers, which are those jobs that are somewhat aligned with what we want to be doing, but are maybe in our eyes more acceptable to our families or society. They’re just close enough to feel like we are scratching that itch, without actually doing that thing that our soul is really, really yearning for. And maybe if you’ve come to the writing life later in your life, like I have, you might find that you have found yourselves in shadow careers before without actually realizing that you were in them. So for myself, that looked like working in bookstores and libraries. So I was close enough to authors and their books, in the book world, being in that writerly world without actually having to write. I also had a few different jobs in interior design and home furnishings, which kind of scratched that itch for that creativity, but wasn’t writing. And so there was always these careers and that were always lacking something. They weren’t fully fulfilling in every aspect. And I even find that to some degree in teaching as well. Like, I’m fortunate enough that through my teaching and my day job, I do get to teach writing, which is wonderful and really fills me up. That’s really positive. And I get to help other teachers with their literacy programs in their classroom. I get to indulge in lots of professional development with literacy within education, and I have enough professional development really that I could fill pages of my Curriculum Vitae. But although it’s closer than any of my other professions, scratches that itch, it’s still not the physical writing that I really, really enjoy and really love. I get to indulge myself with sharing wisdom about writing and the writing process and how-tos with my students. I get to read and share amazing stories and novels and poems in my classroom. But there’s still that sense that I’m missing something. When that is all there is that I am doing in the realm of writing, it still feels like I’m missing something unless I’m actually sitting down to write my own stories.
And because of that, whenever you find yourself in one of these shadow careers, you’ll still feel that sense of dissatisfaction, that can start off really weak in the background sometimes, but it does grow, and it does tend to gnaw at us while we continue to push aside our souls calling to do what we think is right, what is sensible, what will pay the bills, what society will accept. But what we’re ultimately doing is, in pushing aside what our soul is really, really craving for, we are telling ourselves, we are telling our dreams and our passions, that we are not worthy of them. That somehow they are not enough. That our dreams, our passions are not enough, and therefore we are not enough.
We might find that we have a sense of missed purpose or unfulfilled promise. We might find that instead of maybe shadow careers or jobs, we spend our time indulging in other creative pursuits, or create addictions to these fantasy worlds, and we find our time spent instead on social media, or Netflix, or dreaming what could have been, would’ve been, should have been, instead of actually doing the thing, writing, creating our worlds, creating our stories.
Now, Gabriela Pereira, and I hope I’ve said that right, from DIYMFA, she alludes to writers not writing as going through something very, very akin to the five stages of grief. She states very clearly that writers hurt when they can’t write. Whatever the reason you say that you can’t write, whether it’s time, or health issues, or family things going on, whatever it is, we hurt when we don’t allow ourselves to indulge in the thing that saw was union for. And she says that the stages of grief for writers, when we don’t write, can look a little bit like stage one, that denial. That we are not depriving ourselves of writing, we’re just really busy at the moment. And that’s what I said about that, um, Sneaking up on us. We can be in denial for like, oh no, I’m writing. I’m writing. Yeah, I haven’t touched my book for a couple of weeks, but I’m gonna get there. It’s just that it’s been really busy at the moment. We’ve got excuses, so we’re showing that sense of denial.
Stage two is when we start to feel that bubbling of anger or resentment underneath, and more excuses start to come out as to why we’re not writing, and we can be a little bit angrier about them, or we can be resentful towards the world around us for being the reason that we see that we’re not writing, being the reason that we accuse for not writing. Now, quite often I find myself in that where I’m blaming the busyness of the day job or the busyness of other stuff, or drama going on, for the reason why I can’t sit down and actually get some words on paper. Now I am calling in an excuse because I do believe ultimately is it is an excuse. There are always ways to move through and get some writing done, and I’ll talk about that later on here.
Stage three is that bargaining stage of grief where we rationalize why we’re not writing. So it continues with those excuses, but we’re saying, well tomorrow I will, I’m just too tired today, but tomorrow I’ll do some writing.
Stage four, if we leave it for too long and we’re still not writing, that’s when that depression kicks in. That’s when we lose momentum on whatever we were working on. We end up blocking our own creativity. It feels like we’re starting from scratch, and so it’s almost too hard to even get back into our writing. That imposter syndrome ends up screaming in our heads that we can’t do this. It’s been too long, it’s too hard. It’s whatever reasons it’s giving.
Stage five, is that acceptance. It’s that point where we get to where the light bulb goes off and we realize we are our own worst enemy. We are the one stopping ourselves from doing the thing that lights us up, and things need to change because we are not contributing in a positive way to our environment, and to our relationships around us, and being fair to ourselves by denying ourselves that which we need in our life, which is to write. As authors and writers, it is to write.
A good question to ask at this point is why? Why are we denying ourselves our right to write? Usually it comes down to our own sense of not feeling worthy or not wanting to be accountable, or fearful of moving forward in some way with our writing. Resistance in most forms is usually a good sign of fear. It means we’re scared of something.
Now, on the other hand, what happens when we do write, when we are writing? I know, speaking from my own experience, and yours might be quite different, but I feel like a different person. I have so much more energy, I’m lit up. I feel like I’ve got a sense of purpose, and in turn my relationships thrive, my day job is easier, I enjoy it a lot more. Um, I, yeah, I just feel inspired, and I feel on purpose, and my resilience is higher as well. I can deal with day-to-day ups and downs in a much more positive, constructive way. When I’m writing more often in my life too, I actually tend to feel less overwhelmed, more relaxed. It’s almost like a meditation for me in a sense, or relaxation practice, I feel more fulfilled. I feel like I’m adding value to the world in some way, or contributing or doing something that is worthwhile. And again, I’ll say there’s a sense of having purpose, having a reason. My why is clearer. I have excitement to get outta bed in the morning and to start my day, and I look forward to it.
I truly believe that whatever your own beliefs are, we are all here for a reason. We all do have a purpose. We are important. We do have something to offer this world. And I think a lot of us, or most of us, or maybe all of us, have felt at some stage in their life that that yearning to, that yearning for more, that yearning that we should be doing something different with our life or we’re not quite on our path. And I know I did for a very long time. I’ve talked in other episodes that I have always loved writing. I from really early age, like six years and younger even, I wanted to be a writer. And I felt that yearning for something greater as I played in all these shadow careers and everything. And I dabbled in writing on and off for most of my life. And it wasn’t until 2018 that my not writing but dreaming of writing, grew too painful to ignore. It was just gnawing at me from the inside and it was starting to stress me out. And so it still took another two years. It took until 2020 for me to really take the plunge and write more consistently and take my writing career more seriously.
But from there, my life has completely changed, completely altered. I’m generally a much happier person and more confident, and I feel more energized. I’m excited to be alive, to be doing the things that I’m doing. I’m more social and I find that when I am writing, I don’t need those external dopamine hits. I don’t need to just spend money on random things or eat all the junk food in the house. So I tend to be healthier, I guess, and I’ve got more confidence, and I’m also willing to take more creative risks, and that in itself can breed success. Like more opportunities tend to open up before me when I’m in that good space of writing. And so that’s what I felt for those four weeks or so where I was pretty much writing full-time. There were moments of stress where I was trying to hit a deadline and I was probably not taking, no, I was definitely not taking enough breaks as I probably should, but I was also feeling so fulfilled and so lit up and doors were just opening all around me.
Whereas over the last month or so where I’ve not been writing so consistently and I’m finding it more of a struggle, I don’t have that same sense of expansiveness. The world doesn’t seem quite so full of opportunity. Doors are not opening as magically as they were before, or I’m not noticing them anyway. It’s easy to get stuck in a bit of a negative space when you move yourself out of that feeling of doing that thing and basking in your creativity. And I think it’s made it even more noticeable to me simply because I had all that time where I was feeling on such a high from all this creative energy flowing through me and books getting written and that, to having the opposite. That contrast has made me really, really aware of how important it is for me to make space in my life for my writing, for my creativity.
And I think the most important part of this episode, if you have resonated with anything I’ve felt, if you have resonated with anything that I’ve said or are maybe feeling it right now, that you’ve been away from your writing, away from your craft, for a little bit too long, then we’re up to that really important part, which is what can we do?
And it’s simple, it’s common knowledge, and you’re probably gonna get annoyed because it’s stuff that you already know. But sometimes we need to hear from other people those things that we already know in ourselves. We need that encouragement to actually take action, and that’s what it’s about. So if you have been finding yourself in this funk of not writing for a while and feeling that shame about it, or that embarrassment, or a bit depressed, or a bit depleted, or a bit lethargic because of it, then here are some of my tips for you. And I completely get it because I’m sharing this because this is what I’m going through and this is what I’m trying to put in place for myself as well. I get it. And if you’re not going through that right now, just store these away in the back of your mind, because I suspect, and I hate to say this, but I suspect at some point you will. At some point something will happen that will put distance between you and your craft. And like I said, that feeling of being away for too long can really sneak up and it can be really hard to get back into your writing again, because you’ve lost that momentum, and those doubts have started to rise up again. And so you’re fighting a little bit of that imposter syndrome and those things as well, which can make it a little bit trickier.
But the first thing is really, we need to give ourselves grace. We need to be kind to ourselves to recognize that this is normal and it happens to all of us, and this is purely a moment in time. Just because we’ve been away from our writing for a while doesn’t mean we can’t get back into it. No matter how bleak our circumstances around us might seem at this point where it seems near impossible, this is just a moment in time and these things do pass. It will get easier. It doesn’t mean it’s gonna be easy right away. But you owe it to yourself, you owe it to others around you as well, to put that effort in and to get back onto your path. Because if you were drawn with a passion towards writing, there is a reason for that. Your words have power and you owe it to yourself. You owe it to the world to share those words with others. It doesn’t matter if you’re a bestselling author or only sell a couple of books to a couple of friends, I think all of us have or will experience that moment where our words somehow resonate with somebody. And we won’t always know to the extent that they resonated, but they do touch people. People find comfort and solace in knowing that other people, fictional or not fictional, have experienced the things that they might be going through themselves.
So first off, you need to be kind to yourself. You need to forgive yourself for taking a bit of detour on your route, and you need to get back on track again. And start small, start little, do a little bit of writing just here and there, even if it’s just a couple of lines.
Julia Cameron, whom I’m a huge fan of, who wrote The Artist’s Way, amongst other amazing books, she talks about morning pages, and many of you might be familiar with that, which is writing three pages first thing in the morning. Just pretty much a brain dump of whatever’s going through your head every day, just to get all that garbage out, really, to unblock your creativity, to get you back into that routine of putting your thoughts and feelings and words down on paper. And that can be a really good exercise, if you’re not yet ready to jump into a bigger project, like a novel or a story or poetry collection or anything like that, try just get writing by doing things like morning pages every morning and trying to get into that routine. And you can start small. You don’t necessarily need to start with three pages. You could start with five lines. It really doesn’t matter. It’s just to get yourself back into that comfort zone of getting your words out there in the world again.
Find ways to fill that creative well too. Because I find sometimes when we’ve been away from our craft for too long, one of the reasons might be, or one of the consequences might be, that our wells, our creative wells, are a little bit dry. And so we need to fill them up. We need to do those things that light us up inside, whether it’s watching a really good movie or reading a really good book, or going to a museum, or going for a walk in the park, like whatever it is that refuels you and refills you, that’s what you need to build into your day or into your week.
I think it’s really important too, that if you find that you’ve not been writing because you’ve found it hard to have that space, that time in your day, or that week. If you’re feeling the overwhelm, a sense of overwhelm or a busyness, then it’s time to start saying no more often. And, I mean, obviously from how I started this episode, this is where I’m at right now. So it’s fighting for, fighting for our passions through saying no, through letting things go. It’s not dropping the ball. We can’t do everything. We’re not expected to be super people and do it all. Or we sometimes put those lofty ambitions on ourselves, but it’s just not realistic. It’s really not. So finding things that we can say no to, finding things that we can delegate, squeezing out little amounts of time, like I said, to get into the practice of writing, you don’t need necessarily big chunks of time. I often lie to myself and say that I do, and to be honest, I do tend to work better with big chunks of time, but there is nothing stopping me from taking a 15 minute slice of time at some, it’s not ideal and I’d love to be doing more, but something is better than nothing.
I also think it’s really, really key to go back and remember our why. Why is this important? And think about how you want to live your life, because how you spend your days is how you spend your life. And if we’re consistently doing things that don’t light us up, that don’t fill our soul, when we get to our deathbeds or the end of our life and we reflect on everything that’s been, we are going to be carrying with us a lot of regret and probably a lot of guilt. And I’ve heard somebody say something along the lines, which really stuck with me, it’s pretty heavy, that it’s something along the lines of graveyards and cemeteries are where dreams go to die. And like I said, that’s really heavy, but that’s it. If you’ve ever walked through a cemetery and wondered how many people there, buried or cremated, did not get to do those things that their souls yearned for, and whether you are willing to be one of them, I’m hoping the answer comes to you that you need to fight for your passions, your goals, your ambitions, the things that light you up. We have more to contribute to this world, we have more to give to our loved ones, when we are coming from a place of joy and fullness and expansiveness. And I don’t know about you, but I know for myself that when I’m being true to my calling of writing, then I feel that way. I feel more expansive. I feel more fulfilled. I have more to give. I’m more generous. I’m more kind. I’m more tolerant. I’m just a much nicer person to be around, for sure.
I’ve shared quite a few quotes in this episode, but that’s because there are so many good ones by so many amazing authors out there that have been through this. And so I really wanna share another one with you, and this is from bestselling author and Ted Talk speaker Daniel Pink. He says that, “If you have something that you think benefits the world, I think you have a moral obligation to try to bring it to people. If you have something extraordinary, whether it’s a piece of software or a design that’s going to make a material difference in people’s lives, then I’m sorry, but you don’t have the luxury of sitting around waiting for people to come and knock on your door. You’ve got to go out and tell people about it. Not only for your own economic solvency, but I actually think you have a moral obligation to the planet to tell us about it, if it is that great.”
Now, that’s probably a great quote that would relate to the importance of marketing your work as well. But something that I take away from that too is that if you’ve been given a passion and a talent and skill that you really love, then it is your moral obligation to to do that, to share it with the world, or to share it with your loved ones or whoever you feel that would benefit. But you do have that moral obligation to do it. If it is something that lights you up, that brings you joy, then by doing that thing, you are spreading more joy. You will find that you are able to give more. We can give more when we are full. And if you find yourself in this kind of not writing slump, then nothing is going to heal faster or get you out of that more than just by taking action then by finding a way to bring that thing, to bring writing back into your everyday sphere.
The creative process, of course, you know it needs space, it needs breaks sometimes. It needs us to slow down at times so we can fill out creative wells and all of that. But we just need to be aware of when that crosses over to avoidance, to resistance. And then we need to ask ourselves, what are we avoiding? What are we resisting? What are we scared of? Because often it is that we resist what we most need.
Okay. And so I’m gonna end with a final quote here. I know it’s heavy on quotes, I apologize. But this is from Julia Cameron, author of The Artist’s Way and a million other amazing books. In fact, this quote comes from her book, the Right to Write: An Invitation And Initiation Into The Writing Life. This was one of my favorites back in my twenties. And she writes that, “Our writing life, our life as a writer, cannot be separated from our life as a whole. We should write because writing brings clarity and passion to the act of living. Writing is sensual, experiential, grounding. We should write because writing is good for the soul. We should write because writing yields us a body of work, a felt path through the world we live in.”
I think really if you are a writer, if you feel that in your soul, if you feel that in your bones and your blood, then you just need to write.
So I hope at the minimum this episode has given you comfort that if you are struggling to write for whatever reason, or finding yourself getting a bit angsty or resentful, because other demands are cutting into your writing time, that you understand and you realize and you’re comforted by the fact that you are not alone. We all go through this. Everyone who is passionate about writing, or any creative person, has experienced this at one time or another. So I hope you’ve also been reminded in listening to this, about how important your passion is. Your contribution to the world through your writing shows up more than just the books that you write, the poems you write, the articles you write. It also shows up in how you present yourself to the world. It shows up in the fullness of your being, your energy, and your passion, and the light that comes from you doing what your soul really yearns for. And your words. They have power. You were drawn to the writing life for some reason, and part of that reason is gonna be because words have power. Your words have power. You have something to share and contribute to this world. You owe it to the world, you owe it to yourself, to share that.
Now, if you enjoyed this episode, please consider leaving a review, or following me on socials. I would love to hear your experiences of not writing, and whether you are like me and you end up being a not so nice person when you’ve been away from writing too much, and what you’ve done to break that drought.
So I am going to leave off, my friends, with wishing you a wonderful week. Whether you are writing, or not, please be kind to yourself and I will chat again in a couple of week’s time. Bye.