#IWSG: No, Writing Cannot Wait, Actually

Hello, friends, and welcome to September’s meeting of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group.  If you’re a writer and if you’re feeling insecure about your writing life, then this is the support group for you!  Click here to learn more!

I keep track of how many words I write each week.  I’ve been doing this for years.  And so I can say, definitively, that in 2021 my writing productivity has been cut in half.

I know, I know.  Word counts are not the only things that matter.  But still, it’s distressing to see those numbers drop.  And I know exactly why it happened: I’ve been too distracted.  I’ve had a tough time staying focused on my creative work.  Certain real life problems keep popping up and demanding my attention.  Can I actually do anything about these problems?  No.  But they keep demanding my attention anyway.

It doesn’t help that certain people keep telling me how important these real life problems are.  It doesn’t help that people keep saying I should make decisions about this or that I should prioritize that.  Sure, my writing is important, these people keep saying, but they also keep saying that my writing can wait.  It doesn’t help that this “writing can wait” logic makes a certain kind of sense, even to me.

But this “writing can wait” mentality is leading me astray.  As I already said, I can’t actually do anything about the problems I currently have.  And even if that weren’t the case, even if I could do something, putting my writing on hold until all the problems in my life are solved will mean that I’ll never get any writing done again.

So my challenge now is to stop stressing over things that are beyond my control and to start listening to my muse again rather than those other people in my life.

25 thoughts on “#IWSG: No, Writing Cannot Wait, Actually

  1. You are doing your writing and your life the best way you can, and I hope that continues for you. Don’t best yourself up about missed words – it happens to us all – but I’m glad that you’ve found a way to focus on what’s important to you. I love the cartoon you drew – if you could gender-neutral it, I’m sure many other writers would use it! 😀
    Also love the new blog layout and the background… so pretty. Happy IWSG Day!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks! I’m usually not too hard on myself about my word counts. After keeping track of them for so long, I know productivity ebbs and flows. But seeing the numbers drop so low for such a long period of time tells me something’s wrong, and something in my life needs to change.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I think you should take some comfort in the knowledge that if you’re getting words on the page, you’re ahead of the game.

    But it does seem like writing, particularly for someone with a day job, requires at times appearing unreasonable to our friends and family. It’s not obvious to them that if we don’t make it a priority, it won’t happen. If you were taking night courses for a degree or studying for a certification exam, they’d see it as productive. But succeeding at writing seems to take a similar commitment.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. That’s a good analogy. Most of my friends and family seem to understand what I’m doing and why it’s important, but a few people don’t. This year, those few people who don’t get it have caused me a lot of grief.

      But you’re right, even if my writing slowed down, it didn’t stop. That is an important thing for me to keep in mind.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Figuring out how to manage life issues is huge. Lord knows my 2020 went all to hell. But the key was not assuming that’s just my new normal. Maybe. I mean, the real life changes are my new normal, but I can still push back about writing.

    Good luck with getting your muse to drown out the other calls on your attention–especially the ones you can’t do anything about!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks! Yeah, with some things, I think we have to accept that there’s a new normal. But that’s not the case with everything. With writing, the old normal is still possible, and I’m determined to get back to it.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I’m glad you do have people in your life who understand how the importance of your writing, but recognise how tough it is when you have people around you who don’t, especially when they indulgence themselves by becoming vocal on the subject – for let’s be clear, it is an indulgence on their part to force their view upon you. But in a world where it’s too hard (or you don’t want) to cut those people out of our lives, is it any wonder so many writers are reclusive?

    Might you be able to defend your writing by letting people know it’s an important part of managing your mental health?

    PS: nice new theme 🙂 I’m still not happy with my new one and will be having more of a tinker in the search for one that works on a number of levels.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Picking a WordPress theme is tough. I kind of lucked out with Penscratch 2. It’s not perfect, but it’s pretty close to what I wanted.

      As for these very vocal people in my life, let’s just say I don’t think they take mental health seriously.

      You’re right, it’s not always easy to cut people out of your life entirely. But it is possible to set stricter boundaries. This year has proven to me that I need to do that, and so that’s what I’m now trying to do.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Sadly James, I expected they might not (take mental health seriously) and how right you are that boundaries are the only way forward. I commend you for seeing what you need to do and for putting it into action. All the best with it and for staying strong should you experience negative push back.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. I’ve gone through so many ups and downs with my writing, I’ve just come to accept it. Sometimes I’ll get a lot of writing done and I’ll be really pleased with myself, and then I’ll hit a dead zone and my writing pretty much stops. It may because of life events whose effects linger for months, or because my muse isn’t around, or because I hit a tough scene to write and I just avoid it by staying away from the computer.

    So you’re not alone. You just have to find that happy medium where everything balances out.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, friend. There are definitely ups and downs with writing. I’ve been stuck in a prolonged down period, due in part to things that are beyond my control. I think that’s turning around for me now, though. Fingers crossed and we’ll see what happens.


  6. Thank you JS Pailly for voicing …and drawing what we all feel like. I think writing every day , no matter the word count or if they add up to anything showable or printable is a corner stone. Keeps you grounded like a ritual of well-being, never to be foregone. So set a time and place for some ‘den’ time with you and your fairy muse. Best of luck for your autumn creativity.

    Liked by 1 person

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