Reading · Writing

A Writer Who Doesn’t Write.

Of all the things I’ve been neglecting lately and pushing back to the deepest, darkest corner of my mind, I think my writing has collected the most dust. I’m not just referring to blogging – though that has started to  gather some cobwebs – but rather, to what allows me to call myself a writer.


When I first published Puppet Parade in 2012, I was determined to release at least one book a year. More than two years have passed since then and I have yet to make a dent in that resolution. It’s not that I don’t have ideas or works-in-progress, as it happens I have one completed first draft and two novels in the making… and about a dozen ideas for future novels. The problem is that I lack time.

A writer who doesn’t write could be one of three things – a celebrity who hired a ghost writer to write their book for them; a writer stuck in a rut or a constant state of Writer’s Block; a one-hit wonder; or a workaholic. Now, I assure you I’m not the first. I used to be the second but I got past that. I was never even a wonder in the first place. That means I’m unfortunately the last one… and I’m not happy about it.

I don’t know when is it that I started allowing my work to take over my life, though I do partially understand why – financial security. As a kid money was always tight, I was always self-conscious when hanging out with “rich” friends, I was always looking for cheap alternatives… heck, I only got books as gifts or special treats, or if I’d been saving really long for them. Now that I earn enough money and never worry about making ends meet, I can’t go back to the life I had before. I’m determined not to. But at the same time I realise that I’ve had to make sacrifices in my obsessiveness over security.

Previously I always had time to read, I had time to watch my favourite shows, I was able to go out without pulling an all-nighter the previous day just to make sure all my work was done and I can afford to spend a few hours outside my house guilt-free, I had time for people… and I had time to write. There was a point in time when I could write 50 thousand words a month no problem, and I look back wistfully upon such a time.

Every time I reach out a tentative hand to brush the dust off my writing, I’m pulled back by a new client or a new project. Seeing people talk about their new writing projects or their editing ventures or their upcoming releases occasionally fills me with envy, because I know of the euphoria and excitement associated with these things, but they’re so far away now that I can barely remember what they feel like. I miss my plot bunnies, I miss my characters, and I miss feeling that twinge of pride when I write something that sounds really, really good. I also miss the anticipation of reviews, good or bad, and I miss the feeling of holding my own book between my hands.

And I do want to do something about it. In 2014 (or what remains of it), I hope to edit and publish one novel, and finish writing another. It may not seem like much, but right now that sounds extremely difficult and out of reach. Nevertheless, it’s time to roll up those sleeves and tackle this problem with a feather-duster (or a pen).

Do you allow your work to get in the way of your writing? What was the longest time you’ve spent away from your books? Can any of my readers identify with my situation? 

Photo Credit.

30 thoughts on “A Writer Who Doesn’t Write.

  1. When we’ve got time, there’s no money. When we’ve got not money, there’s time. I still haven’t figured out a way around that. If you do, please share!

    1. The way I see it, one would have to stumble across some fortune or win the lottery to have time. Else inherit a large sum of money!

      In all seriousness though, the most ideal solution for a writer would be to get a book deal. Then you get paid to write, and everybody wins.

  2. Zen! Where have you been young lady? Having to put aside your writing endeavors for work can be frustrating, I agree. At the moment I am in much the same position, however it is less about work and more about education. In the past my university course has never prevented me from writing, but with a thesis looming overhead, I have been forced to re-prioritize my life…grrrr!
    I sometimes find myself with a spare hour or two and think about taking out the creative files once more, but then I think of the lackluster amount of time I will have, and again decide to postpone.
    It seems that no matter how much we love writing, it is always inevitably going to be sacrificed, because regardless of how great a story we have gestating in our minds, there is never any guarantee that it will provide to us an allotment of cash.
    Take care Zen!

    1. Hi, Derek! My time has been fully booked, I’m afraid; when I’m not working, I’m catching up on reading. Currently I’m preoccupied with the World Cup, and recently I got sucked into Steam so I’ve been playing games any chance I get. >.< A thesis sounds so much more time-consuming though! What is it about, if I may ask?

      And you're right. Unless we somehow someway end up with a book deal, writing will only be rewarding on a personal level. Not that that isn't good, but… with what little time we have, time seems to be better spent on things that are instantly gratifying. =/

      1. I agree with you Zen! Unfortunately it seems, writing that is unable to provide economic compensation loses out to richer opportunities.
        In answer to your question, my thesis is on free verse poetry; I’m critiquing the modernist poetry of William Carlos Williams with the contemporary poetry of two Australian writers in order to analyze the changes that have occurred to the free verse poetry arena.
        Take care Zen!

  3. I agree wholeheartedly. I don’t know where my priorities have gone, but they’re not anywhere near writing anymore. It’s not that I don’t want to write – because I do – but because I put other things first. Work is definitely one of those things. Family is the other. I guess that’s how it goes, and I think there’s a time for everything, so hopefully, one day, my priorities will swing back to include writing just as much as in the past.

    1. Yeah, I hear you. It’s unfortunate that when we have choose something to put on the back burner, it’s always writing. 😦 I too hope that I will be able to include writing in my everyday schedule once more. Good luck!

  4. It sounds like a lot to accomplish and I wish you luck Zen. I can relate to having put writing aside. My goal is to make the month of August a writing month. We have to restart somewhere. ~Gail

    1. I remember when you had to take a break from your writing. I’m glad to see that you’re back to it though; it gives me hope! Thank you, Gail! 🙂

  5. I’ve had to put aside everything for my current job, which is why I made the heartbreaking decision to quit, even though this was supposed to be my “dream job.” I haven’t written in months, not even journal entries, and I miss it. I’ve been reading back over old manuscripts, and I know I need to get back to it.

    It helps that I sold a copy of my book this last week, too. 😉

    I hope you are able to find a good balance between work and life. I understand those financial security worries because that’s a huge part of the reason I work so much, too. *hugs*

    1. Oh no. You’re quitting your job? D: I had no idea. I still remember how happy you were when you got it. I’m really sorry to hear it. =[ Are you planning to take a temporary break or… ?
      Congrats on selling a copy of your book! That’s always exciting. =D
      And I hope so too. Salaries in Lebanon are crappy so I keep having to find freelance work to make ends meet. =/ I just need a single well-paying job and I should be fine, but that’s too much to hope for here.

      1. Yeah…the company turned out to be more than a little unstable, and the responsibilities were worth WAY more than I was getting paid. So I’m taking a 5-week break and going back to work at my old cafe. 🙂

        Sorry to hear you’re having a rough time finding a well-paying job. That seems to be a huge problem for people our age. I’ll keep my fingers crossed that something comes through for you.

        1. Aww… well, a 5-week break sounds awesome though. Definitely what you need to recharge those batteries. 😀

          I am job hunting everyday for positions outside my country. If it can be managed, I want to go back to UAE. I haven’t stopped missing that place since I came to Lebanon. =/ And the pay’s much better there at the very least.

  6. I understand this frustration so much it kind of hurts. I’m working a lot but I’m also doing a writing and editing internship for a nonprofit, which at least lets me write something, but it’s not my own. If anything I’ve spent the last year or so taking on other people’s projects but none of my own. I love my job, my internship, and even the small editing jobs I’ve taken on, but blogging and writing my own stuff has gotten pushed to the side. So I can definitely relate, but this post reminded me how much I really need to find time to write, so thanks! Good luck with your goal, I’m sure you’ll find a way to do it 🙂

    1. Oh, I’ve spent my last job writing and editing something that does not belong to me, and while I did love it, I understand the frustration of it coming in place of the personal things… not to mention the fact that it seemed to suck away all my creative juices.

      You’re welcome, of course, and good luck to you too! 🙂

  7. It’s true, work and life do seem to get in the way of our passions sometimes. I always find it harder to work on my creative endeavors in the summer as well for some reason. As you just started a new job, I’m sure it’s been even harder than usual for you to put time aside for your writing. Over time, perhaps it will be easier (or perhaps, like me, when the weather changes).

    1. You know what? It’s true – I am usually not in the mood for writing during summer. I think the heat makes me too crabby to write, haha.

      Oh, Letizia, I hope you’re right. I feel like I’m losing touch with my writer side!

  8. Best of luck to you, honey! Believe me…I get it. Security is a necessary evil. We all have bills to pay and life costs quite a bit of money these days.

    I have squeezed writing into every nook and cranny of my free time and have lost out on other life experiences over the past few years—like relaxing, reading more, or spending quality time with loved ones. It’s all about the balance. For me that means taking some time after this book release to NOT write any novels. It’s tough, but I have been feeling the need to refocus on my non-fictitious reality for a bit to become more balanced. It sounds like the call for creativity is needed right now for you.

    1. Unfortunately it does. Especially when you’ve got a bit of an expensive hobby in the form of collecting books!

      I keep thinking I should do that, but then I feel guilty for not doing my work instead, especially when it never seems to end. I can finish all my projects for all of two hours before someone sends me something new. =/

  9. “In 2014 (or what remains of it), I hope to edit and publish one novel, and finish writing another. It may not seem like much,…” – errrrrrrrrrrrrrrr in WHOSE world, exactly, does that ‘not seem like much’???? 🙂
    I totally get where you’re coming from, happens to me all the time. I’ve just put aside my only free weekend in 3 months as a purely writing weekend: I plan to hibernate in my flat for the entire 48 hours and bash out as much of my novel as I can. Scary, but necessary.

    You are not alone! Writing is a giant pain in the ass!!

    1. Haha, well… I know some people who manage to write and publish several books during a single year, so obviously it’s possible!

      I wish I could dedicate a weekend to writing. But when I’m not actually working weekends, I’m usually too burned out to actually look at my computer and type any more. Being a translator, it’s all I already do in the first place. 😦

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