Are you a writer who is not writing?

I’ve always been a writer.  For as long as I can remember, I have “written” constantly in my head, on paper, and on keyboards.  Yet, lately I feel like a writer who is not writing.  I’ve realised there are five reasons why.

1. I’m now a mum

I love my two precious young daughters and willingly give them so much of my time and energy.  However before, I thought nothing of curling up with a pen and paper and scribbling uninterrupted for an hour or more.  Now any mum will tell you though that finding time to write really is a limited luxury.  Yet my girls have also given me so much writing inspiration  since they  became part of my world.  Most of that is currently still just floating around in my head but as they become older and more independent, I’m sure I’ll find more time to capture that in writing.  Meanwhile those writing thoughts are probably maturing like fine wine!

2.  My schedule has changed

I used to write best at night, usually around 10pm or later.  Though with so many early starts with energetic children, combined with a part time job and a business, when that traditional “writing time” comes about these days, my brain is already half asleep.  Sometimes I force myself to write through it but often just give up and go to bed.  There are nights – like tonight – where I do find myself awake and inspired (it’s currently 11pm) but those days are few and far between lately.

3.  The ways to share writing have changed

Writing 10 years ago used to mean me, my pen and my private diary.  To this day (as far as I know!), no one has read those but me.  Though I often considered – and still do – that one day someone may read what I wrote (and often censored it accordingly!) the focus of my writing was simply on capturing my thoughts for me.  Now, we live in a world of blogging and instant sharing.  Though on one hand this excites and inspires me, it has also stifled my writing style.  Having an audience – albeit a faceless one – brings so much mental censoring before anything is ever written.

4.  I’m a perfectionist

When I do something, I want to do it well – and especially considering the public forum blogging offers, this is a hurdle for my type of personality!   Though I heard a wonderful maxim a few years ago though that I try to live by – “progress not perfection”.  So as I know in my heart I’m a writer, and need to write, I just have to overcome this one.  Even after I hit “publish” I still want to go back and make changes.  I remember more than a year ago asking wonderful bloggers I admire such as @squigglemum and @beafunmum about how many times they edit a blog post before posting online.  I found their posts so inspiring I thought they must work on them for weeks!  Though I don’t remember their specific answers, the lesson I took away was along the lines of “just do it!” and that you become a much better writer that way instead of working so hard on each individual piece.

5.  I am writing – just not “real” writing

When I say I feel like I’m not writing, ironically I write every single day.  When these are work emails, Facebook status updates, shopping lists and to do notes, there is not that same level of satisfaction as a diary entry or blog post.  So I think simply recognising which types of writing do bring me that joy and consciously pursuing those – with some level of discipline – will make me feel much more like a “real writer.  Recently my mum sent me a handwritten letter.  It was lovely and so long since I’ve done the same for someone.  Are long, handwritten letters becoming a lost art?

So there – after a month since my last blog post, I’m writing again.  It feels good.  Do you know that feeling?





6 thoughts on “Are you a writer who is not writing?

  1. I hear you! It’s challenging juggling everything. Sometimes writing feels like another full-time job (the others being parenting and homeschooling…does keeping house even qualify if my house is always cluttered? LOL).

    Setting a routine and sticking with it has definitely helped. I worked my way up to getting up at 6am (which is usually an hour or two before the children wake up). If I can get in at least an hour of uniterrupted writing, it sets a good tone for my day. Then, I can try to get in 2-3 more sessions throughout the day.

    And confidence is something that just has to be built. It’s terrifying to put yourself out there. Will people laugh? Will they turn away? Or (sometimes equally as scary) will they like it…and expect more? Gaaaaahhhhh! We just keep working, working, working and we gain both skills and confidence.

    I tend to be obsessive about editing too. I always worry that a typo is going to slip beneath my radar and embarass me. Now, I wouldn’t want to be casual about it, but I can’t let it stop me from posting or writing either. I think the trick to to write whatever you can as fast as you can (so as to outrun the inner critic’s voice), give it a short rest period, then come back with the editing glasses on. Spell and grammar checkers have become my best friends…if only they’d stop harassing me for using the “passive voice” and “hidden verbs” and “complex expressions.” I like those, okay. Phlbbbbb! 😀

    It seems to me that, the more we write, the better we get (I hope) and the more we want to write. Write on!

    1. Thanks so much for the lovely comment. Some great advice there thank you, and made me smile about the “will they like it”!

      Have gone over to take a look at your blog and it’s wonderful, so have subscribed…looking forward to getting to know you better 🙂

  2. Love the points you raise here. I experience the same thing. For me, writing the bones of my posts when I’m fresh mid morning) has been a key in writing sustainably. I then edit later at night.

    I long for the day I can just write — ALL DAY! Until then, I’m enjoying the kids and writing around them as much as I can.

    1. Thanks so much Kelly, thats’ a great tip. I’ve started throwing together some thoughts for posts on paper or on my iphone (wordpress app) then editing when I get around to it. But then I end up having a few posts ready at once then have to learn how to space them out (but that’s not a bad thing right!?) Looking forward to catching up at the lunch!

  3. Hi Renee

    So lovely to discover your blog. I had my son (first child) 6 weeks ago, and I’ve never been more inspired to write. I now write letters to him online, which I intend to publish in a book to give to him (and any siblings) one day.

    I’m learning and growing so much, every single day, as a new mum. I love that I can record it all in writing, share my love and discover even more about myself.

    Great to meet another Mum Blogger. Keep it up, Renee.


    1. Thanks Lina, a huge congratulations on becoming a mum! Great idea for your son – I actually set up blogs and email accounts for both my girls, though have to say I was often way too tired (especially after my 2nd child) to keep it up as regularly as I would like. However I realised that I only had to write every now and then to still build up some lovely memories for them, and they are growing so fast (nearly-2 and nearly-4). that I love to go back and read. REally appreciate you sharing a comment, and will go and check out your blog too!

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