Realizations of a Writer

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Not too long ago, I came out as a writer. That is I declared myself a writer based on the facts that I write and I like to write. I let go of the belief that one need be published to hold the title of ‘writer’. Weeks later, I find myself questioning my desire to call myself a writer.

As days pass and life fills my time with things that do not include writing, I feel less like a writer. Instead, the respect I have for those devoted to writing and sharing grows.

As I work at my desk, pulling up my blog during a lull in the workload, I lack motivation. Instead, the respect I have for those motivated to write on a daily basis grows.

How does one keep up the pace?

November is big within the aspiring writers’ community because of National Novel Writing Month, when one is encourage to write a novel in thirty days by committing to write a total of 50,000 words (over 1,500 words a day) in November.

I am unable to write every day, so the thought of having to write over 1,500 words a day is frightening. Though I suppose, if I sat down and wrote a conversation with myself, the challenge would be more about stopping at 1,500 words.

Without fail, the advice I receive from writers includes (but is not limited to): write every day, keep a pen and notebook next to your bed, and start a journal.

I have heard the advice, and I continue to hear the advice. Still, I do not write every day, there is no notebook next to my bed, and – though I start journals, I inadvertently put the journal down somewhere that gets covered up with bills, permission slips, junk mail, etc.

This self-given title of ‘writer’ is hard to manage.

Monday through Friday, my alarm goes off and I get out of bed. I get the kids ready for school, feed the dogs and get myself ready for work. The day moves along, and I move along with the day, while doing chores, my paid job, carpooling and sundry other things.

The day to day tasks are accomplished in such an auto-pilot kind of way, that I feel I could do it all blindfolded. Yet writing …  To me, writing is like exercising. Writing takes work. Writing takes commitment. Writing takes discipline. In fact, like exercise, writing takes inspiration and motivation.

Perhaps there is not a notebook and pen next to my bed, because no one sees my journal. Those thoughts captured on paper tend to stay bound by a spiral wire. What is the point, if no one sees what I write? If I write to be read, where is the motivation? However, thoughts captured on my computer screen are easily sent to infinity and beyond by way of the blogosphere. Once in the blogosphere, clicks take place, readers appear and stats increase. Houston, we have motivation!

Houston, fear not! For we have inspiration, too. Every day I am inspired by the world around me. I am inspired by the news, the weather, the writings of others and the life of my family. (And, let’s not forget the inspiration of the voices in my head!) The stories exist. The tales are growing. Yet, the posts are fewer and farther between.

The sun sets on another day within the work week. The boys are tucked in bed, and the house is still. Now time exists for me. Time seems to pass slowly and quietly, allowing me the opportunity to gather my thoughts for writing. As the thoughts are gathered, I feel the motivation slipping away in the darkness. Perhaps I will write tomorrow night, I think to myself. I’m tired.

Funny thing about being a writer, you have to write. I need to work on that part.

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52 thoughts on “Realizations of a Writer

  1. I get it. I want to be a writer. I want to go back to school – back that up – I want to have the time and the money to go back to school and get an English degree and write a column. I want to be blog famous. I want to be controversial. I just keep puttering on!

    • Oh, I love the idea of writing a column. Kim, you would be an excellent column writer. Truly. That has you all over it! Let me know the newspapers that carry your column, because I’ll be a loyal reader!

  2. You sure look like a writer to me! But, I think you’re also a teacher. You have this amazing way of reaching out to people and making them know you through your words! That’s writing bad ass. So what if it’s not always fiction. Oh that, do that too. But no worries, the story will be there when you are ready. I promise.

  3. I started out blogging every day; looking back, I can tell the difference between the posts I was passionate about and those that were .. eh .. kinda going through the motions.

    You ARE a writer, whether you write every day or every other Tuesday. I like what you say and how you say it and THAT is what brings me back, time and again 🙂

    hugs!
    MJ

    • Sometimes it does feel like going through the motions, MJ. That’s it exactly!
      Thank you for considering me a writer, and thank you (very much) for returning to read what I write – whenever I get around to writing it. (smile)
      I accept and appreciate hugs, MJ. Thank you! 🙂

  4. You rock Lenore. I hope you, you did not write this keeping me in mind. You are a brilliant writer, so that last line does not really suit you. But it suits me for sure.And yes, “Funny thing about being a writer is you have to write.” but until you have people to read them. And if someone does not get a few number of those people, then he somehow loose that interest, that confidence to write. Somehow I am dealing with this process everyday. So I realized that, someone can’t be a writer by just writing, for me a writer is a person who has enough people to read those pieces of writing.

    And one more thing, forget about that notebook next to my bed, till now i never had a note book with me. I just write in my laptop, when i am tired of my work & just want- to spend some time with my self, to do something which gives me happiness & to try bring those thoughts out.
    So i can’t also give that writer tag to myself.

    • You are a writer, too, Arindam. Don’t question that fact. You’ve just started your blog, and the readers will increase, I promise you. The only people I had visiting my blog when I started were family members. It took me 6 months at least, before I got into double digits for views. I found the more I branched out and read other posts – the more others came and read mine. We are all in this to write – and we all want reassurance from our fellow writers. Keep writing.
      And thank you for coming by, reading and commenting. I appreciate your visits!

  5. This afternoon, I was thinking of how I hadn’t posted anything in a week. I’ve sat down to finish a piece or start a new post, and there was just….nothing there. I thought, “This can’t be it! I’m not done writing or blogging yet! But where did all the ideas go?” I decided to focus on the word “inspiration” and “motivation” and emailed myself some ideas and links. As I went through the rest of my day, I got more excited about my idea. I came home and found this post of yours and it’s like the universe is telling me that I’m not alone.

    We all have slumps, but this fact is not enough to take our titles of Writer away! 🙂

    • Your story gave me chills, Leonore; thank you for sharing that with me. I look forward to reading your next post… whenever you are ready to post it. And you are correct – slumps do not rob us of our writer titles. Thank you for the reminder!

  6. If you weren’t a writer, why would you start a blog in the first place? You ask how one keeps up the pace–you just have to sit down and write, even if it is only one sentence. Somewhere in your day is an AHA! moment, or the kids said something worth remembering, you heard something that made you feel_____; please make a note of it. 😉 It’s a habit worth developing. I enjoy reading your posts, you are a writer!

    • Thank you, Patti. I have post-it notes all over my desk at home. Little bits of inspiration that come to me quickly, with a promise to myself that I’ll make the time to complete the thought. I am grateful for the positive feedback and words of encouragement you and other writers are sharing with me. I’ve surrounded myself with a wonderful support group. Thank you for being part of the circle.

  7. After I self published a book I was encouraged to put ‘author’ on my card. I felt reluctance but then did so. People ask me what I have published and now accept that I am a writer. Well I write and you write so we are writers.
    And those other things that get in the way – yes, during the busy years I did little or no writing so I do understand your frustration. But please do as Patti says above please make a note. It will come in useful one day even if it is only to embarrass your kids on their 21st. 🙂

    • I’m making notes, Judith. It may label me as a ‘bad mom’, but I like the idea of creating something embarrassing for my sons’ 21st birthday. Is that wrong? 🙂
      Thank you for your support. I appreciate every word.

  8. I relate to this, I have a full time job and long commute so it’s a nightmare finding time to sit down and write but it happens when I’m motivated and inspired, you can’t force it, some days you will find the time, others you won’t. That’s why I avoided Nano because I knew I’d fail, but I don’t think there’s a “right! way to be a writer so we shouldn’t be to hard on ourselves!

  9. I can totally relate, Lenore. It’s hard to carve out time in a busy day. I think you hit the nail on the head by saying that writing is like exercise. Writing is like a muscle. If you use it often the words will flow and you will get in “shape.” That’s why NaNoWriMo works for a lot of people, I think. That’s why Julia Cameron’s Morning Pages works. The opposite is also true – if you don’t use the writing muscle it is difficult to get motivated because you’re out of practice.
    For me, even if my schedule is hectic, I try to sit down at the computer for at just 10 minutes. It doesn’t have to be brilliant, or even a lot. Maybe it will just amount to 100 or 200 words, but it’s often enough to keep the muscles limber. 🙂

    • Julia Cameron’s Morning Pages. Noted. As I search Barnes and Noble, I see she has written several books pertaining to writing.
      I can always count on you for excellent referrals when it comes to books and authors. I never tire of your suggestions – in fact, if you suggest it, I know it is worth the read. I love it!
      I suppose I should consider the drafts I write though never publish an investment in keeping the muscles limber. That thought helps me feel better. I shouldn’t look at the creations as unpublished; instead, I should look at the unpublished drafts as a morning or evening workout. Yep, I like that perspective. Thank you, Jacquelin.

  10. Let me just say as I scrolled through the comments above, I formulated what I wanted to say. Then I read Jackie’s comment. I couldn’t believe it…I too, thought of Julie Cameron and how my encounter with her books kept the “candle burning.” So I’ll just ditto that her books, especially “The Right to Write” got me rolling. First, I bought into the idea of morning papers…it was logically a good time for me…I’m a morning person…after I produced several morning papers and I was inspired to wish my aunt in the biggest way I could think of…publish my wishes for a happy birthday and put in words all she gave me.. So, .I started to blog. It was 9 mos. before I met you…er, you met me and I must say your comments are “writing” and always are right on. You have the heart, insight and yes, talent. You have the ability to read your readers and what they put out there to read. Rob is very right, “you’re different” and I must say a wife, mother, aunt of substance. I admire that you have undertaken this as a young mother…I must confess…I didn’t have the energy back in the day…but then, there wasn’t blogging. Perhaps, if there had been, I would have “started” earlier. No pressure…when you put it out there, I will read and hope to comment as you do with heart and insight.

    • You are so good with words, Georgette! Those you teach are fortunate to have you. I am honored you take the time to respond and share your wisdom with me – honest. Thank you. As I told Jacquelin, I am going to explore Julia Cameron. I consider myself more of a morning person than an evening person, unless it comes to exercise – then I’ll easily talk myself into sleeping longer. (smile) However, the idea of getting out of bed – enjoying a quiet house first thing in the morning is appealing, plus it will put less pressure on my to stay awake and write at night (when I really want to read a book in bed). Yep, time to change up the routine. Thank you!

  11. I love Oma’s comment above. You know I can relate to this feeling, Lenore. I want to write, but just can’t seem to find the necessary time or energy. I told myself to just wait until pure inspiration hits, then just let the words flow freely. Hopefully these golden moments will happen again for me…but lately it’s too few and far between! This is a main reason why I’m giving myself a long break from posting on my blog. To let that pressure off. I will allow myself to write if the desire strikes, but I am just going to write in my private journal, to let off steam.

    With the kids, the baby, the upcoming holidays (and I’m applying to go back to college this January, yikes!) I just don’t have the time. I envy those that can write a novel this month. I would have to hole myself up in a cave to do that. Hmm…not a bad idea actually…wonder if my husband would let me?

    In any case, I hope you continue to keep on keepin’ on, because I love to read what you write. I look forward to your posts! (no pressure though, really) 😀

    • I love all this feedback, Darla. I hope you are receiving the comments, too. We are surrounded by some good folks, don’t you think?
      I would love to go away for a month to do nothing but write. That sounds heavenly. I may look to make it happen when the kids get older.
      In the meantime, I’ll cut myself some slack, while jotting down the ideas as they come to me. When the voices begin to scream – I’ll put it out there for others to enjoy.

      Going back to school?! Good for you!

      Thank you for the added pressure – er, I mean – support!! 🙂

  12. Ah, yes… Nanowrimo!
    Annabelle has participated many times.
    I, on the other hand, struggle to pen a single coherent thought.
    Cheese and crackers!
    (See what I mean?!)
    I can definitely relate on other… ‘creative’ fronts, though.
    🙂

    • Your comment reminds me of a song my cousin and I used for a skit one summer:

      Does Annabelle have a blog? I’d love to read it, if she does. And please, continue being creative. I enjoy your ‘shots’.

  13. Lenore, sweet Lenore. You are a writer whether you write 10 words today and 1000 tomorrow or none at all. I honestly don’t know how the Mommy bloggers of the world manage – when I was a young working Mom I could barely find time to write out a check or scribble my name on a permission slip.

    I am so tired after working and commuting that I do not find evenings to be a good time to write. Read blogs and make comments, yes. I do get up early and try to get something written. The house is peaceful, the coffee hot, and sometimes it all works out.

    • Thank you, K8. You are swell! I suppose if I am able to equate being a writer to signing checks and permission slips, then I am golden! (smile)
      I am going to try to milk the quiet time in the morning. I love the quiet time at night, but my energy level drops with the setting sun. Here’s to the inspiration of mornings and coffee. Must have the coffee!

  14. Lenore, we are so fortunate to be in the age of blogs. When we really have that burning desire to write, we have an outlet. Otherwise, we can be busy living our lives. Seems to me that the whole concept of what a writer is has been transformed thanks to blogs. That’s a good thing…for many reasons. Look how blogs give a connection to moms that never used to exist.

    All writers go through seasons. Observe and nurture yours. Love the flow when you have it and have fun with whatever you are doing when the flow is not there.

    You make up the rules for you.

    • We are fortunate to be in the age of blogs, Soul Dipper. I agree with you wholeheartedly. This outlet has helped me so many times, I’ve lost count. The blogosphere has enabled so many ‘writers’ to come out and tap into their own version of creativity.

      Thank you for the reminder of the importance to nurture my own seasons and rules. I do love the flow, when it exists. I also enjoy being present in life, vs trying to put what I am experiencing into words. I equate it to a tourist sight-seeing through a camera lens, never looking at the scenery without the camera. I need to make sure I am enjoying what is in front of me vs. trying to put it in to words for a future post.

      Thank you, thank you.

  15. It is so hard finding the time and squeezing the words out of a dry brain-sponge. I’ve given myself permission to not post as often on my blog so I can concentrate on writing my *cough*novel*cough*. I schedule time to write and often when that scheduled time comes, I just don’t “feel it” but I sit down and write something anyway. I give myself permission to suck, just so I can get some words down. Eventually, after I’ve gotten all the sucky words out of the way really good words come out. It’s amazing how that works sometimes!
    You just have to find a habit/pattern/schedule that works for you and once you do, stick with it!

    • Dry brain-sponge. I like it.

      Some of my best received posts started out horrible. I was definitely giving myself permission to suck. But, as you said, I continued to work with it, and I ended up with something pretty good. Sometimes the thought is a great one, though the words take more time to come together. I need to milk the great though, and allow myself to fumble through it until it becomes something good.

      Here’s to me finding the pattern that works (the formula includes caffeine for certain)! Thanks for visiting, Amy.

  16. Great post! I think for me the hardest thing is not lacking the motivation or running out of ideas of what to write about, but the fact that just like you said you must carve time out of your schedule to write and that’s hard to do, especially when there’s no deadline to meet. The worst thing for me is the timing of when my “great blog posts” ideas come. They come late at night right before I go to sleep or when I’m driving for a long time. Can’t exactly grab my laptop at the moment and write it all down. And then many times… the excitement for what you want to write slowly fades and you’re back to step one. Joy of writing. 🙂 Thanks for sharing this! It’s great not to feel alone in this blogging world of ours. 😉

    • I’ve run into the same thing, Anna. I find I am particularly excited about an idea I want to write, yet when I sit to write out the thought … it comes out a whimper. Too funny. Good to know I’m not alone, either. Thank you for visiting and taking the time to comment. Now … back to writing. 🙂

      • I agree with both of you – I actually have a whole page of blog post ideas that I started to note down since around May. I’d get excited over an idea and then not have enough time to write about it. Or when I do have time, I don’t feel like writing about any of the things I noted down earlier!

    • I won’t stop, PW – if you don’t. I laugh in the face of crashed hard-drives!! Okay, I don’t really. I hope your hard-drive feels better soon, and I thank you for taking the time to encourage me. Honest.

  17. I started blogging about 8 weeks ago – and never really thought much about it.. but now – its similar to, as you say, exercise. Think of new topics – write them – is it interesting enough – phew! That’s work!

    No wonder the self driven title of a writer is hard to manage…Good post!

  18. When I decided to go into a writing related job last year, I was proud to call myself a writer. Now, I prefer to say that ‘I write’. Simply because I would feel embarassed to proclaim myself as a writer to someone like Pushkin or Chekhov, or any other of my favourite writers! I started keeping a journal at the age of 12 and until my early twenties all that I wrote remained for my eyes only. I wrote for the catharsis of writing, for the pleasure of creation and the relief of getting out my worries onto paper. Even now, most of my written material is unpublished and private. If I have not given ‘real’ writing (novel, poetry, short story, theatre) a go, I cannot give myself the title of writer, just as a law-school graduate who works as a waiter cannot call himself a lawyer.

    • LoL, you make an excellent point. I’m not sure I’d consider a med-student a doctor, unless s/he was associated with some sort of practice. Can’t say as I find inspiration with your opinion, (smile) but your point is valid and well made. I write. I’m OK with that.
      Thank you for visiting. It is nice to see you in the neighborhood.

  19. Hi LD,

    I’m new here (your blog).

    Like you, I currently have a job that pays my bills (and luckily, it’s one that I enjoy) and writing takes the back-burner. But then the writing never ceases (my books have notes along the pages and I’ve got all these little words popping out of nowhere in the middle of a thought); it helps to just put them down to have some semblance to coherence. I hope you find the motivation you seek as I am looking forward to reading more of your work.

    Cheers,
    Nel

    • Welcome to the neighborhood, Nel. I appreciate you stopping by for a visit. Welcome to the blogosphere, too! I will certainly pay a visit to your blog.
      I suppose I could carry a pack of Post-it notes with me vs. a notebook. Thanks for the idea! ~ Lenore

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