When a Writer Can't Write

What happens when a writer has a traumatic experience, has an emotional ordeal, or just has a season when they are not in the mood to write? What most people assume about writers is that they can write all the time and are “wasting their gift” if they don’t. But what people don’t realize is just how much a writer puts into his or her writing; how much it can drain a person. On the other hand, from what I have heard and read about people who write, it can also be very therapeutic. Some writers best work comes from writing during times of turmoil. All of us who like to write know that there are times that we are in “writing mode” and can write pages, stories, and/or novels in one setting. Most of the time, this is associated with happy times or times that we are feeling relatively good. Just like the rest of the world, when we are in a funk we don’t want to do anything, and whether you know it or not this applies to writers.

Sometimes it is easier to write about something than to talk about it. It can also be important to get your feelings onto paper, despite what everyone thinks that is why diaries (or the less sissy sounding “journals”). It is also why people write speeches out, even when they don’t always stick to it word to word. Oftentimes, writing about our hard times in our work, whether it be fiction or biographical, can help a person (whether they are a “writer” or not) to move on. However, it is not always something that can happen right away, or at all. In the moment, it depends on the person and how they handle and work through the different obstacles and “dark times” of life. For some they write about it as soon as it happens. Others never write about these experiences, emotions or time. And still others, go back and write after time has passed. Whether it be a few days, weeks, months or years.

Sometimes there are truly times that a writer cannot write. Not just a won’t, but the words simply won’t come, and it is too much, and sometimes you just cannot bring yourself to do it. However, life is not fair, the times that hit us the hardest don’t come at a convenient time. Sometimes as writers, we don’t have a choice to write or not to write. Sometimes we just have to push through the numbness of our minds, force the words to come and write, whether it be for some blue-collar job, or for a homework assignment.

This doesn’t mean that it will be the same quality as what you normally write, or that we didn’t write the same thing that we were going to, or we write as much as we thought. But still, there are times that we must write even when we can’t write like we normally do. Not to say that it isn’t still good writing, it just may not be what we thought it would be or how we normally write, and that is okay too. When a writer can’t write it doesn’t just mean that they won’t or never will again, sometimes it simply means that we need to take a break before we can produce some of our greatest work, or before we are ready to spill our emotions onto the page. Sometimes it simply means that we must work through our emotions before we can share them with the world. When I started writing this blog, I had a different topic in mind, however in the time between then and now, my grandmother passed away. So I kept putting this off, not knowing what to write, until the Sunday after the funeral when I realized that what I could write about was the fact that I didn’t feel like I could write. While I may not be ready to write about what happened yet, I know that someday I will.

Photo credit: Choose Happy Thoughts

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