Monday, September 8, 2014

When You Just Don't Care

Dude, okay, I have a confession to make. I've been writing for about 7 years. I've had a few periods of writer's block, or times when I've been so busy I don't have time to write. I've given myself permission to take a break and not work on anything writing-related.

But I've never felt this complete apathy I feel now. I don't have writer's block. I'm not too busy to write--the dozens of TV shows, movies, and sports I watch can testify to that. (And the zillions of games of Scramble with Friends and Memory...) I don't feel burned out, so I don't feel like I need a break.

I just don't care to write right now. I have things to work on--several in fact, and my writing partners probably hate me for not sending my chapters back to them. I feel bad about that, but not bad enough to get some words on the page instead of watching Project Runway.

So yeah.

I've wondered why I feel like this, and some people have given some suggestions. Maybe the projects I have aren't the right ones. Maybe I am burnt out. Maybe I could do some research and get inspired. Maybe I just need to force myself to write. Maybe this. Maybe that. Some encourage me to enjoy the break--and I am!

But maybe, just maybe, it's okay not to care right now. I can still be a real writer. I can still be considered an author. I don't have to write every day to be legit.

Have you ever felt like this? Did you embrace it or freak out?

18 comments:

DRC said...

I'm right there with you. We had a real bad few months two years ago. I was made redundant and my husdand had not one, but TWO accidents that needed medical attention. My writing went straight out the window. And then when the time arrived that I could actually start again I had lost all motivation. It was hard going. I was determined to finish my piece and it was a struggle but I got there by forcing myself to sit and write. And do you know, I still go through phases now where I simply 'can't be bothered'. I've never felt like that before and I've been writing since I was 10...so you're not alone.

Candyland said...

I've been living this life for awhile now and I'm not sorry!

SA Larsenッ said...

Your complete and utter gentle frankness is one of the many reasons I like you, Elana. You don't fear the truth. No, really. You don't. And trust me when I say that it helps those of us who have a harder time seeing the truth for what it is, being cool with it, and letting it be. You're a wonderful person, writer, and blogging friend. I admire how far you've come over the few years I've known you. So you know what? Take this time that's allotted you and do with it as you will. Whose right is it to say how you should get on with getting on other than yourself?

Angela Brown said...

Not caring to write in te moment is an understandable thing. Like those encouraging you to enjoy the break, I'd like to second and third that. Here's a truth that can't be taken away: You ARE a writer. You ARE an author. Stepping back to enjoy Project Runway for while won't change that.

Dianne K. Salerni said...

I mentioned this on your Facebook thread. I went through this all summer -- right after resigning from teaching, so it was a terrible time to feel so apathetic! I was also horribly DE-motivated by keeping track of word count and giving myself stickers for every 1000 words. SO MANY writers claim that motivates them. It just made me feel more like a failure.

In my case, a change of venue rejuvenated me. I followed my husband on a business trip to Florida. While he did his job, I hung out on the veranda of the resort, watching the ocean, sitting by the pool, taking walks, drinking wine starting at -- oh, 1 pm -- and reading books on my Kindle. For 3 days, I felt happy and relaxed with no pressure to write or do anything.

When I came home, I started writing again. :)

Clearly, your husband has to take you someplace tropical to fix this. Better inform him asap.

E. Arroyo said...

Do what makes you happy. =) Being content is a good thing.

Natalie Aguirre said...

I'm feeling this too. I feel a bit jaded about the whole writing/publishing thing after watching you and Beth Revis struggle so much to sell your next books.

There are so many other good things to do with our precious free time, like help those less fortunate in our communities. I'm wondering how much time I want to spend on something that may not result in an agent or publishing contract and has so many "no's" along the path. Thanks for being honest.

Stephsco said...

Me personally, not yet, but I've lived with musician for the past 10 years and I see his creativeness ebb and flow. I think a dip in motivation comes with the artistic territory.

Sheena-kay Graham said...

You are singing my song Elana. Earlier this year I felt exactly the same way earlier this year and just took a break. Whatever happens remember that there are other things in your life besides writing. Like you said, you don't have to write everyday to be legit.

Shallee said...

Been there, done that. And it's 100% okay. Sometimes you just need that time to focus on other things that you love. Enjoy the time, and wait for the writing love to come back!

Jodi said...

I attended a fascinating seminar about the cyclical nature of creativity. In a nut shell, at the top we are fueled and bursting news ideas and creative energy and there's nothing that we'd rather do, then we are happy to continue on current projects, later we start tiring of what we are working on but still plod on, and then finally we reach a point when we would rather not be writing for a while. This time should be embraced as a natural time to rejuvenate and work on non writing things that you've been wanting to do.

Cassie Cruise said...

Elana, I don't know you personally, but I can say with confidence Yes, you are a writer. Yes, you are an author. You have no reason to worry about those titles. I'm sure you have many other aspects to what makes you, you. This may be the time to enjoy those parts of you.

Anna Buttimore said...

Often. Right now, in fact. I get disillusioned when I put all my efforts and time into writing a book which I love, only to see it fail to sell. But ultimately I come back to it because it's what I'm hard-wired for. I love writing. I love creating. I don't feel complete if I'm not working on something. And it doesn't really matter whether anyone else loves it or even reads it: I've expressed myself and created something I am proud of.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I went through that.
And then darn it if the urge didn't come back. One day I'll quit...

Catherine Stine said...

It's a brave thing to say, and even think when you've devoted yourself to writing for so long. I was a painter for years before I turned to novel writing. The hardest thing ever was putting down my paintbrush and putting all of my heart into novel-craft. I have not regretted it.

Liza said...

Take the break. The words will come back all by themselves...when you are ready for them.

JeffO said...

It may very well be your mind's way of shutting things down for a while to recharge.

Cathrina Constantine said...

I believe all writer's go through that.

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