January 31, 2023

It's Okay Not To Write


Sometimes, we have too much going on and we’re stressed from life. During those times, it’s absolutely okay to not write.

I’ll say it again. Slower.

It. Is. Okay. Not. To. Write.

If you’re stressed beyond belief.

If what’s happening in the world is sucking you dry.

If struggles cropped up in your life out of the blue and have left you shaken or exhausted or beaten.

It. Is. Okay. Not. To. Write.

Remember that. We can’t write every single day, even if writers may say that they do or advise other writers to do that. Occasionally, we will live through periods where writing isn’t possible because there’s just too much going on. In our heads. In our lives. In the world.

Sometimes, other things are more important than writing, like health, safety, equality, and justice. 

If there’s too much going on…it’s okay not to write.

We go through seasons.

Seasons when we’re bursting with creativity.

Seasons when we evolve and grow.

Seasons when we learn.

Seasons when we have to rest.

When COVID-19 first took over the world in 2020, creatives everywhere struggled to create and keep up because of the things they were feeling and the heaviness of the events taking place. But, here’s the thing, you don’t always have to keep up. You don’t always have to post. You don’t always have to write. You don’t always have to do what’s expected.

If you have to stop writing, stop.

If you must write slowly, write as slow as you need to.

Take the break you need.

Do what’s necessary for your soul.

QUESTION: What season are you in as a creative person...as a human being?

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  1. There are very few days that I don't write. I've journaled since I graduated from college, so its not always writing an article or book, but sometimes just to catch a sense of something that may inform other writings. That said, I do think it is okay not to write, especially for publication. We all need to live through cycles. The Sabbath (which in ancient Israel, was not only weekly, but the land given a rest every 7 years and a jubilee every 50), reminds us of cycles, as does the seasons. I have been spending a lot of time recently pondering what's next as I'm 3-4. years away from retirement.

  2. I think that's good advice, Chrys. If people force themselves to write when they aren't up to it, they might lose their creativity and the joy that comes from the written word.


  3. I haven't written in so long... I kind of gave myself permission to stop for a while. I may get back to it eventually.

  4. There have been many times in life when I was juggling working full-time, taking care of my sick husband, and being a parent to my daughter, where I didn't have time to write. You're right that it's okay to not write when too much else is going on in our lives.

  5. Well said! I'm currently in a big art creative phase. I'm drawing and painting up a storm.

  6. I think I'm in some kind of fallow season that's gone on waaaaaaay too long for my liking. It is most definitely okay not to write. I just suck at accepting that personally. :)

  7. I recall one of my critique group members saying "write every day" and I was pretty much pfft! I'm a cyclical person. Maybe I'm obsessed with writing. Maybe it's art. Or some sort of craft like resin or wire working or sewing or 3D modeling. If I do put off writing, I know myself well enough to know I'll come back around to writing when I'm ready for it.

  8. Stress is rarely why I stop writing. For me, it's something's wrong with the story and until I figure it out what it is, I need to stop. I'll think of a new angle. Lots of times just talking it out with someone that gives me the twist I need. Critter groups are great for this. :-)

    Anna from elements of emaginette

    1. You’re fortunate that you haven’t had the kind of stress (or depression or burnout) that puts a brake on writing.

      Critique groups/partners are great with helping us out of tricky story problems.

  9. Thanks for this Chrys. I've never believed you have to write so many words a day. Life's not like that and few of us can drop everything to write. ATM I'm helping my husband through some health issues, so that saps me dry. I need to be happy and carefree to write!
    Hope you're doing well!

  10. This is a great reminder.

    I'm in a shuffling-round-in-the-dark season - a little bit of this, a little bit of that... (and now I'm singing, so I've got completely off-track... what was I saying?)

  11. Hi Chrys - very late ... I'm coming out of the dark world - there's no point in worrying too much - it won't help - we just need to let things ease up - til the rod lets us out! Cheers and with thoughts over to you - Hilary


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