If you’re a writer but you’re not writing now (or updating your writing blog, for that matter) are you still a writer?
I’m pretty sure that the answer is yes.
I’m no longer as fatalistic about this break as I was a few weeks ago. I’m definitely still a writer. Even though I’m not writing fiction or updating my writing blog, I’m still reading and journaling and updating my queer blog. And I haven’t given up writing for good.
I’m just recharging the battery, renewing the well, whatever the proper term is for recovering from rejection fatigue. I still love writing and creating stories.
But if I do it, I’m going to have to market it, because that’s just how I am. And I really don’t care for more rejection right now. So here I am: a writer who isn’t writing, just waiting for the energy to come back. It will be back, sooner or later. It always comes back.
I’ve recently posted about writing with depression. It’s no secret that I struggle with depression. That’s deliberate: the openness of some of my favorite authors about their own struggles is something that inspired me to get help when it was increasingly clear to me that I needed it.
The conventional wisdom seems to be that creativity and depression feed on each other. I’ve heard a variety of people, even my doctor, say that sometimes artists want the lows because it gives them something to draw on. I mean, look at all of these famous writers, musicians, and creative sorts who struggle with depression and other issues!
I think that’s bunkum. I write despite struggling with a mental illness, and it’s certainly not helpful to me.
The conventional wisdom is also that writers write every day. But is this true or another piece of bunkum? I’ve often questioned this idea, like I’m sure my dentist questions people who say they floss every day. Must someone write literally every day to be a writer? Or do writers, at least some of them, take occasional breaks to relax, recharge, and prepare for the next project?
I know I do.
This past week, I’ve been recharging. NaNoWriMo is right around the corner. I fully intend to hit the ground running and write if not a full novel, at least 50,000 words. The goal is a full novel; 50,000 words is the minimum. I want to go into October (also known as NaNoWriMo prep season) recharged and ready to kick some ass.
So right now, I’m letting ideas percolate. I’m giving myself leeway to slack off a little. Because this writing career is a marathon, not a sprint, and my brain works best with the occasional break. And I’m trying not to beat myself up too thoroughly for “not writing.”