Why Not Writing is the Best Way to Ultimately Write
December 8, 2022
Sometimes taking a break from writing is the only way to actually end up writing.
We all have those moments — seconds, minutes, hours, days, or weeks that slip by without a single word coming to mind. I’ve had stretches of time where writing is the last possible thing I want to do, and I like to call myself a writer. It’s easy to get into a headspace where writing feels like a chore, but then I feel bad for not writing, so I wallow in my lack of writing instead of actually writing until I’ve made writing seem like the least exciting thing in the world I could be doing. It’s a vicious cycle, but something I am coming to learn is that it’s okay to feel this way from time to time.
Dear writer, it’s okay not to write.
Sometimes we all need to take a break from the thing we love in order to come back stronger. In order for a flower to grow, the seed first needs to be buried deep down in the earth and hibernate, slowly pushing its way above ground until it finally blossoms. Compare yourself to that seed. Sometimes you’ll grow — writing will flow from your fingertips and you’ll push your way above ground and blossom, feeling creativity pulse through your veins. But sure enough, even after a time of blooming winter will come, and your writing might go dormant again. That’s okay — we can’t all bloom all the time, it’s simply not how anything in nature is designed.
It’s okay to hibernate
Sometimes it takes a period of hibernation to come back with your best writing. I know for me personally that I often come back stronger than ever after taking a break. That’s the point of a break, after all — to give yourself time to rest and recalibrate before jumping back into the swing of things. If you’re lacking inspiration, or if writing feels like a chore, it’s okay to go into hibernation mode. Avoid writing like the plague for a little while and fuel your creativity elsewhere. Take up a new hobby. Relax in nature. Take in the amazing writing and creative endeavors of others until you’re ready to try creating your own content again. Humans aren’t meant to be working nonstop, especially when it comes to creative work. One brain can only create so much before it crashes, so take some time to hibernate before your brain forces you to.
Don’t compare your writing process to that of other writers
Sometimes this is a hard pill to swallow, but it’s so important to remember that you are your own unique writer. It’s okay not to write while others are writing the magnum opus of their career. You’ll be okay taking a step back to support other writers rather than create your own best work. Your time will come.
I was on TikTok recently (I honestly get some of my best inspiration from that little app) and saw an inspirational message flicker across my for you page. It was a writer, struggling to create just like I was at the time (and still am, to be honest) giving herself, and all of us writers, a message: don’t get down on yourself when others get to where you want to go faster. In other words — don’t compare your chapter three to someone else’s chapter five. For every twenty-five-year-old New York Times best-selling author out there, there are hundreds who didn’t get their first book published until later in life. And I would bet my bottom dollar that most of them would say that they wouldn’t trade the times of feeling uninspired or not writing for anything because that’s ultimately what got them on that best-selling list anyway. Even if they took a more roundabout route.
Remember that taking a break doesn’t mean you’re giving up
Sometimes the idea of hibernating or taking a break from writing can make you feel like a failure. The idea of stopping the writing train you’re on can feel like something that will halt your writing momentum forever. Don’t let those thoughts stop you from refilling your writing tank. Taking a break doesn’t mean you’re giving up or that you’ll never write again. On the contrary, it means that you’re making the best choice for yourself so that you truly can write your best work in the future.
Don’t let the myth that a writing pause will ruin your writing career keep you from recharging. Sometimes a break is exactly what you need. Will a break change the course of your career? Maybe, but what if it’s for the better? Will it make you never want to write again? Most definitely not. If writing is your calling and purpose in life, a month without it won’t take that compulsion to write away. In fact, it might just make your desire to keep spouting words onto a screen even greater, and change the future of your stories in the best way possible.