In case you haven’t noticed, I haven’t written any posts here in a long time. Nor have I been working on my books consistently.
Well, it’s a combination of a few of things. I felt burnt out, I’d been suffering from a terrible comparison phase, and have been stressed due to pressure from those around me. Not bad pressure, mind you. Genuine people wanting to read more of . . . well, anything I can write.
I didn’t want to let anyone down.
But because of that, I’ve let myself down.
I spent so much time writing for others
that I forgot to write for myself.
In not wanting to fail,
I’ve inevitably been living in failure.
In comparing myself to others, however, I’ve found my truth.
And that took a couple years, sadly. Mentally, stepping away has been great for my clarity. Not great for my creativity or for productivity, but I now know why I write.
After noticing what other authors do, talking to them, and researching . . . I found peace in accepting I don’t write as fast or as consistently as others. According to many (not all), “they” publish three to six books a year because to them this is a business. Don’t get me wrong, I agree that it is. But that aspect isn’t as important to me as it is for them. They do it for money. I do it for the love of storytelling—not that you can’t love both. And I’m not judging, this is straight-up confession through chats between me and a few different authors.
They don’t concern themselves with word count, grammar, feedback, or reviews. They follow a formula that sells and go for it. And honestly? I envy them. I wish I could let go of the need for perfectionism.
But pride is important to me. My 6th-grade teacher told us something that has always stuck with me. She said to make sure we are always proud of anything and everything we put our names on.
Personally, I think that’s great advice. But I also know I have to accept that sometimes good enough is good enough.
Sometimes it’s just fear whispering lies in my head
. . . and it whispers them loud.
We don’t all have the same responsibilities, the same goals, or the same standards, but we’re all absolutely RIGHT. We’re right because only we know our lives, and it’s okay if I’m too much of a control freak to prefer that a book with my name on it had been written and rewritten a hundred times. Just like it’s okay for others to know right away when their books are finished and to support themselves financially that way.
This may all seem obvious, and on some level of course I’ve always known it. The difficult part is accepting it.
And that’s where I *think* I am. How? From taking a break from all the writing and through introspection. Here’s hoping I can put it all to good use and get my work out there this year.
Yes, writing every day is great advice.
So is taking a break.
7 thoughts on “Why I Stopped Writing”
Good for you! I agree absolutely with your teacher- this isn’t a race. I hope that your break has been just what you needed, and your next projects bring joy instead of stress.
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Thank so much, Anne Clare! Here’s hoping all of us creatives remember once in a while that the success or process of our peers never means we’re failing. ❤
Ah, wit with wisdom. Every job is a self-portrait of the person who did it, and you make me wonder whether these formulaic writers who crank out these cookie cutter stories with only the names and settings changed ever get a repeat customer, or are they constantly dependent on new readers who haven’t caught onto what they’re doing yet? Like you, I’ve found that a long hiatus has helped me to both refocus and broaden my horizons. Fortunately, as hobbyists concerned more with quality than sales, we have that luxury.
I don’t know what all this rambling’s about. Probably just communing with a kindred spirit. It’s good to see you’re sorting things out, and I take perverse sort of pleasure in noting that you do it in much the same way I do. Okay, break time’s over; go get ’em, girl!
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Hey Jack! Sorry for the delayed reply and thanks for your multiple comments! Our wordpress account got drunk on Friday and we lost an entire year of content. That was fun getting it fixed . . . mainly because I complained to Raymond and he dealt with it lol
On those formulaic writers, I think they count on the fact that many readers (think Nora Roberts fan base) are just really happy knowing the kind of easy entertaining “feel good” story they’ll get from them. I guess if it’s what they want and they’re all happy, why not?
I’m glad to read a long hiatus has also been beneficial for you. It means you’re just as sane as I am. 😉
I think it’s because we’re not drinking as much lol. It’s funny that having the same issue, my conclusion was to worry less about perfection and just go on a creative binge – my version of “Cry havoc and release the dogs of war.” But I do agree that the seat of creativity is so easily disturbed by the responsibilities of life.
I think after the break “crying havoc and releasing the dogs of war” is exactly what we both need . . . along with an extra shot of fireball thrown in. Just in case.
I’m just glad you’re still sane . . . somehow. As much as I’m dying to see what comes from your typing hands next, I would never want you to rush the quality. And I would cry if you became the cookie-cutter type. Cookies, yes. But book-ies, no.