You have to write to be a writer. Practice the craft. Put words to the page, even if they aren’t good words.
These are the mantras of the writing world.
And I understand them. I agree with them, even. If you want to get better at something—anything—you have to practice. That’s just a given.
But this writer, who loves the process and is dedicated to growing in the craft and writes stories in my brain all. the. time, is a writer who isn’t writing.
And that’s okay.
It’s okay because I find myself in a season of life that requires that my priorities shift away from finding daily time to hone my writing skills. And I know that there is a time for everything under the sun.
There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens… Ecclesiastes 3:1
Perhaps you find yourself in a similar place.
You know, when the characters in your head are so vivid that you start to worry that if you don’t get them onto the page they’ll take over and you’ll be committed and medicated.
Perhaps you should be committed for even enjoying the conversations you have with imaginary people. We can share a padded cell.
Whatever. All that aside, writing is a gift. It’s a talent. And if you want to be published, it’s a full-time job.
And I’m a writer who isn’t writing.
Shouldn’t I feel guilty?
Shouldn’t I worry that I’ll lose my “place” in the writing world if I’m not publishing at least three to five blog posts a week and adding 10 scenes a day to the 5 manuscripts I’ve got open on my desktop? Shouldn’t I feel bad that I’m not willing to give up my time with God, my husband, or my children in order to squeak in a few hours a day to write? Should I give up the precious little sleep I get? Shouldn’t I be laying aside everything else in my life to focus on this career because a) I believe it’s something God has called me to and b) because I love it and want to get my stories into the hands of readers all over the world?
No. No, I shouldn’t be laying aside everything else. It isn’t possible right now.
I’m a wife. I’m a mom. And those things cannot be set aside.
I’m also a sister, a daughter, a volunteer, a singer, a friend. I’m a chauffeur, teacher and researcher, a crafter and an organizer. I’m a cleaner, chef, and “life coach”. I’m a full-calendar-looking-for-time-to-breathe-most-days kind of person.
And it’s all this living that I’m doing that’s got me looking for writing time, wishing for it, and warring with myself over the feelings that come when I don’t get it.
Life is getting in the way of writing.
But it’s the living that I want to write about.
Everyday living supplies the fuel for the fires of creativity.
Daily living is the thread that weaves together the soul of the writer with the heart of the reader.
Day-to-day tasks are what make us all human and create characters that touch lives and identify universally.
So you’ll please excuse me if I’m not writing full-time and not beating myself up about it.
A day will come when my children are grown and need me less, when my calendar clears and I find that my time isn’t already committed to the requirements of daily living. In that time I’ll be able to sit and give time and energy to my writing—the way I truly wish to.
And I’ll have so much life to write about.
Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. 1 Peter 5:6
If you find yourself stuck between your passion and daily living, enjoy the moments of life that present the nuggets of genius that fuel your passion. Look for them. Seek them out in the day-to-day, identifying God’s touches everywhere.
Your ability to recognize those glistening moments from God’s fingertips is proof that you’re called to use them to His glory. He will lift you up, but enjoy the “due time.”
Share with me: What’s the one thing that takes up most of your waking hours? Job? Family? Volunteer work?
3 responses to “Why It’s Okay to Be A Writer Who Isn’t Writing”
This post is exactly where I’m at right now, Jenny. I’m not writing. For a number of reasons, but several are listed above, though like you, I’m not chasing three little boys. 😉 But this post is so encouraging and so good. Thank you for sharing and opening your heart!
It’s comforting to me to know I’m not alone! Glad my words could be of some encouragement. God’s timing is so perfect and every season has it’s blessings. Taking the time to dwell in each season is so important! We’ll be back to the writing-grind soon enough, won’t we? 🙂
Thank you for this post, Jennifer. I think your ideas, and the permission you’ve allowed yourself to be what you are, where you are, is the right decision and there are so many wonderful writers out there who lived life first. I’ve been in your position, and Lord knows, still am, but, unlike you, I’m beginning questioning my own ability to manage time well and suspicious that I’m lazy and/or afraid of sticking my creative neck out there. Yes, I have five children under the age of 17. Yes, my husband works out of town during the week. Yes, we have other worries and concerns that require my daily attention, but, I’m almost 50 and now have six hours of “free time” five days per week when the kids are in school -and this is the first year I’ve had that- so, shouldn’t I be able to find some time to put my bottom in a chair and work on my (neglected) blog or the two novels and one creative-non-fiction memoir/devotional that have been sitting on my computer -and in my brain- for YEARS? I think I might need a gigantic kick in the mid-life backside…