When Writers Don’t Write

I miss writing. It’s funny, because I write all the time, every day nearly, for work. Yet I miss writing.

I miss that feeling of a spark to a fire, the combustion of creativity. If you’ve never had it, well, you probably miss it too. If you’ve had it and it’s been a while, you can’t help but miss it. One never feels as alive, as a creator, as when they create often and well.

The trouble with working for a living is, well, it’s work. People will say, “if you love what you do, it ain’t work.” Sure, I love writing as a job. Beats the shit out of ringing things in on a cash register, playing receptionist on a phone, banging out deadlines for captioned television, and all the other things I’ve ever done.

But I’m not writing for me.

Photo by Drew Coffmann

Today I aborted work long enough to write for myself when I was inspired, and in a rare show of devotion, I stuck with it long enough to actually post it on my blog. If you saw how many articles I have squirrelled away under a saved title of “IN PROGRESS: ____________” then you’d be impressed I followed through and posted it too.

There once was a time on this blog that I banged out a post daily. It was, without a doubt, the best period of writing in my life. Not just in the act of it, but I think in the quality and diversity of writing too. I long for that kind of steadfast inspiration, daily do-or-die mentality about being creative and getting things done.

I’m 12-13 years older than I was then. And much more employed. Back in those halcyon creative days of yore, I was out of work, getting laid, and percolating with what would become a blow-out with my mental state in the coming months.

Whatever was wrong with me or my life, I had the good sense to write daily.

When I’m not writing like that – which is to say the last decade-plus of my life – there’s really something off with me. I feel it to my core. I don’t complete my thoughts, don’t feel like I’m in the moment, or celebrate the details that make life so meaningful.

Writing is all about taking a magnifying glass to moments, the world, yourself. It’s about peeling back layers until the truth comes out.

And if you’re a writer and you’re not writing, not for yourself and the truth and the mysteries of life around you, then it’s like being a scuba diver without turning the oxygen tank on full. If so, look out. You may not be long for this world.

When I look at my life – as “amazing” as it is to others – and I look at what’s wrong in it, then it’s all about truths and being honest with myself. It’s about failing to live completely in the moment in a way that really peels it all back.

Writing copiously could change that. But writing more would mean piling on top of everything else I do in my life and further reducing my downtime. That’s a hard commitment to make, especially when in the midst of travelling the world for five years.

But maybe I’m on the verge of an era when I can better manage my time. Maybe the idea of taking my trusty laptop onto the rooftop terrace of my Sicilian apartment (where I head to this week) and writing long into the night will feel like anything but work. Maybe there I’ll come into who I really am and what I should really be, not just as a traveller but as a writer in my new, older, wiser self.

Because when I remember what it was like to write every day and the feeling of being on top of it all and dialled into the world, man, it’s like nothing else.

People like Stephen King will tell you writing’s just a muscle and you’ve got to flex it to be using it, and if you ain’t flexing, then you get what you get.

When I think about that crisp, sharp, aware feeling of writing constantly, I can’t help but to think there’s no place in the world that might be better for rediscovering that feeling than when travelling in Italy.

I leave for Bari on Tuesday and then Sicily on Friday. I’m on the cusp of something I’ve dreamt of for 25 years. Italy. The writer, food lover, photographer – She’s going to Italy. For 11 weeks.

What a thing.

Yeah. I guess it might be okay to press pause a bit more there. Who says I need to write an opus daily, huh? Just a snippet. All those snippets of moments and feelings in a storybook place like Italy and Sicilia. Now that’s an idea.

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http://cuntinglinguist.com/2018/11/when-writers-dont-write.html