Are you still a writer if you’re not writing?

I was going to write a post about not writing, and not really having written any thing much this year when I discovered this post from August 2010:

‘In July I spent two weeks in the Algarve. Wonderful! Blue, blue sky, hot sunshine day after day (bliss after the dismal summer here), lounging by the pool, jumping the Atlantic breakers, walking on long, golden beaches, lazy lunches, sunset dinners … Yes, I loved it!

So, did I come back refreshed, renewed, re-energised, ready to tackle existing commitments and take on new challenges? NO! I returned demotivated, lacking in focus and completely unable to commit to anything apart from hanging about. Having had a break from technology for two weeks, I particularly couldn’t face emails, facebook, my blog, and worst of all writing.

Over and over again I told myself

but it didn’t work.

It didn’t help that my inertia coincided with the Olympics. I seemed able to commit to hours of watching others working at their mental and physical peak. Athletes who were only there competing because of years of determination, hard work, persistence, focus – all the attributes I couldn’t muster.

I kept sitting down at the computer, hoping that by some magic, the old habits would return.

and gradually – very gradually and painfully – I think it’s working!

I’ve written the first draft of the commissioned story that I wrote about in my last post (weeks ago), I’ve answered emails – even sent a few – ventured onto FB and went to a writing workshop at the Barber Institute. Oh, and I’ve broken the blog drought. So, I hope I’m getting things back. But it’s scary – like walking into a dark room and not being able to find the light switch.

Do any of you have times when you can’t tackle things – even things you usually feel passionate about? What are your techniques for getting over it? I’d love to know.’

Blimey! Four years ago and the similarities are scary. However there are some significant differences:

  • My ‘dry’ spell back then seems to be relatively short-lived
  • Sadly, I haven’t just come back from a lovely holiday in the Algarve
  • This time there are significant issues affecting my time/ability to write/motivation. Does it make it any better if you can justify it, I wonder?

At the moment, writing is off the agenda. I hope I will be able to start again before the end of the year, but I just wanted to explain the absence of blogs for those of you who enjoy reading them. In the meantime, I’d appreciate a recommendation of any of my books to friends or family you think might enjoy them. Sales of them seem to be also suffering from August lethargy!


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  1. Polly says:

    You’ll be writing again when the muse takes you, Lindsay, treat this as a blip…

  2. Rebecca GEthin says:

    The well needs time to fill with water …. Leave it to fill and don’t fret at how long it may take. To write a novel tKes a lot of fire in the belly and if you haven’t got it, you can never force it. So of course you are still a writer when not writing. Look at what you have already achieved.

  3. Jane says:

    A dictaphone to note all your thoughts and musings(is that even a word?) Then you will be able to reflect on them later when you get back to it. xxx

  4. Henry Hyde says:

    Yes, you are still a writer even if you aren’t pounding the keyboard or scribbling on a page.

    I’m a designer too, and I sometimes go long periods without designing anything new – but nobody ever questions the fact that I can design. Composers may take months, even years, between creating a work, but they are still composers. Usain Bolt is still a sprinter even when he’s sitting on a chair.

    On the other hand, I know people who claim to be writers and they bang out hundreds or even thousands of words a day, but might as well have asked a chimp to do it. Think of all the people who do business reports every day, or type loads of emails: are they writers? I think not (which is not to say that there might not be writers hidden amongst them).

    We mustn’t confuse the activity with the ability. Writing is a skill. Once one has acquired it, one is a writer.

  5. Lindsay says:

    Thanks for the encouragement, Rebecca. Think the well miht be a long time filling!

  6. Lindsay says:

    That might be an idea, Jane – thanks for commenting. At the moment, the musings are keeping fairly quiet!

  7. Lindsay says:

    Thanks, Henry. I appreciate your comment, and I know you’re right. The trouble is I miss writing.

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