Gosh, here I am writing again. After a full year of not writing whatsoever, I’m back at it, typing away on the keyboard of my swanky new Microsoft Surface Pro (you know, that weird piece of tech that’s kinda tablet, kinda laptop). And this time, as decreed by New Year’s Resolution #1, I will stick with it and make writing a daily habit. The result will be a plethora of fictional short stories that I’ll make sure you can find on the Interwebz (TBD where exactly), or blog posts like these.
As a first blog post, I wanted to explore why I stopped writing for a whole year, reasoning that it will be easier to keep on writing if I understand what made me stop. Although these reasons are personal, there’s probably a good number of writers who feel the same way I do. So here goes, the four reasons why I quit writing:
- Writing isn’t inherently fun
That’s right, writing isn’t fun. You’re not playing a video game, but you’re doing something that’s really difficult. You sit down in your chair, and you have to think and type. Depending on the kind of writer you are, that typing can go two ways: You can either drag sentences through the putrid mud of your thoughts and throw them out as soon as you can think of them. The result is usually something that will make you question your existence on this planet. Or you can sit in your chair until cobwebs start to appear and your mom calls the police, in an attempt to mine your thoughts for that elusive diamond of a sentence. That was me, and I ended up writing very little, which, considering the time you spend sitting down thinking about writing, is demotivating. The key, of course, is finding a balance between both ways of working.
- Writing makes you vulnerable
Although it doesn’t seem like it, because you’re not scoring a goal or winning a medal sprinting, and are just sitting quietly in a chair, you still need to have some big cojones to put your writing out to the world. Because what you write about is to a certain degree who you are, or at least what you’ve been thinking about. As it happens, I’m writing a short story where one of the characters is an escort. Because I wanted to have at least have a notion of what this character does day in and out, I’ve had to do some research on escorts. I’ve refrained from field research so far, but you’d probably raise your eyebrows at my Google Search history. Honestly, I’m not joking, I’ve saved articles about escorts in my Evernote (see here for one such example, quite interesting). Sharing your writing with the outside world can sometimes feel like you’re exposing the Ring to the eye of Sauron. Last year I was a Frodo. This year, I’ll be more of a Sam.
- Writing provides little monetary incentive
Unless writing is already your day job, there’s zero money in it for you in the short or even medium term. Writing is an unequal profession. There’s millions of writers who are very capable, but who earn scrap all. Most of writing money is earned by a handful of authors who’ve written (fantastic) series and who are now household names. Although I like the thought of becoming one of those authors (and one day will 😠), you’re better keeping your day job and thinking of a better reason why you want to write.
- Writing is a dying medium
Ahhh, this is a tough one for me. I like to write sci-fi, and all the future paths humanity could take seem to point towards an ever shorter attention span and more instant gratification. This translates into more and more video and voice, and fewer words. Shouldn’t you start a Youtube channel instead? is a thought I’ve had running through my head too often (although I know I totally missed the boat on that trend already, by years). Thinking pragmatically, what’s the point in doing something that’s decreasing in value to a society? This was probably the main reason why I got demotivated.
These were the four main reasons why I quit writing last year. Now, before you come out with your flammenwerfer, ready to incinerate everything I just said, please allow me to say that you’re reading this post. Which I’ve written. I’m writing. So I’ve found a way to overcome all these points, and even found reasons why I think writing is incredibly valuable. Why I love writing.
But that’s a topic for another blog post.