Reasons Not to Write

There are a thousand reasons not to write.

You’re tired. After all, you’re working full-time, or juggling two jobs, or going to school full-time, or working and going to school. You’ve got kids, or you don’t but hell, even just taking care of yourself can be exhausting.

It’s Tuesday night, and the dryer’s acting up again, and you forgot to buy pasta sauce on the way home so now you have to figure out something else for dinner.

It’s Wednesday morning, and it feels like you’re catching that cold that’s going around. You want nothing more than to curl up in bed with some tissues, and cough syrup, and catch up on the DVR.

It’s Friday afternoon, and your friend just texted, and you were supposed to write for an hour when you get home, but she wants to hit up happy hour, and you two never go out anymore, and what does it hurt anyway, you can always write tomorrow.

It’s Sunday afternoon. You finally get to sleep in a little, which you never do, and then you make breakfast, and you start to clean the kitchen because, let’s face it, you’ve been busy lately and it desperately needs it. Then you notice how dusty the shelves are, and the floor needs to be vacuumed, and oh yeah, you need to run to the store for damn pasta sauce, and before you know it, it’s dark outside and Downton Abbey is coming on, and you’re in your pajamas and can barely keep your eyes open.

I get it.

I’ve been there.

Hell, I’m still there.

Writing is exhausting. It takes time, yes, and dedication, of course, and the actual physical process of writing or typing a story. But it takes so much more than that. It takes the brainpower to imagine a world and breathe life into characters. It takes energy to lead those characters through plot points and life events and challenges and then sit back, ready to transcribe what happens next. You have to see them. You have to hear them. And the fact that this is all happening in your own head is a drain on your resources.

It’s all well and good for writing experts to tell you to set aside an hour or two every day for writing. ‘Must be nice,’ you think. ‘Must be nice to have so much free time.’

But there’s a reason it’s a common piece of advice.. You have to carve out the time to write. You really do.

Sometimes the ideas will be there, and the time will fly. You might miss the bus, or be late for a conference call, or forget to eat dinner. Those are the good times.

But they’re not all good times.

Sometimes, there’s nothing more loathsome than writing.

It’s a chore.

And a burden.

And yet another item on a crowded to-do list.

The blinking cursor mocks you. Your exhausted brain is empty. The blank page is a testament to how much of a failure you are. You’re out of ideas. You can’t think of a single sentence to write. How do people do this?!

Well, those are the bad times. You’ll get through them, just like you got through the good ones.

You see, much like brushing your teeth or washing the dishes, writing is something you should do every day. But we’re human, and sometimes we let it slide.

Just make sure not to let it go too long. Give yourself a break, or two, but not three. Never three.

If you don’t brush, you get plaque and cavities and gingivitis. If you don’t wash the dishes, you run out of bowls and forks and glasses (plus, that oatmeal has fused with the pot and they are one now). If you don’t write, you haven’t written. It’s that simple. If you don’t write, you’re not a writer.

So if writing calls to you, if you can feel it in your bones, if it stirs your very soul, then you must be a writer.

There are a thousand reasons not to write, but you’re a writer so you don’t need any of them.

  • Amber
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