“For those of us who have suffered, who have hauled ourselves into the sun, anything exhausted beside us is family.”
When I first came in to the blogging scene, I remember reading many bloggers who would look down on so-called “writers who don’t write.” These bloggers were quick to demean these writers and scoffed at the idea that they would even call themselves “writers.” For those narrow-minded bloggers, a writer was someone who was paid to write, or who was published, or who had gained some notoriety in “certain circles” which then anointed them as “writers.” Most importantly, for those narrow-minded bloggers, writers were supposed to write and if you couldn’t write, even though you wanted to, they thought that something must be wrong with your biological make-up.
It never occurred to them that writing took a lot more than skill–it took courage.
I never returned to those blogs, mostly because for a long time I was the writer they were talking about–I was the writer who did not write. It wasn’t because I didn’t want to write, or because I couldn’t write, I think it was because the community that surrounded me was not very encouraging of someone like me.
I was writing my first novel, I wasn’t published, and there was a long time, maybe 3 years, where I didn’t write a single word. According to those narrow-minded bloggers, I was not a writer. I was just some silly kid with a dream.
Then, a year ago, without the help of those narrow-minded bloggers, I finally became a writer who DID write. Since then, I’ve made my peace with the writing process.
But even though I’ve become a writer who writes, I still hold a soft spot for all those writers out there who don’t write.
Many of these writers seem to have washed upon the shore of this very blog, as if they were castaways of some sunken ship.
I suspect that some of my readers came to me because they were dead-tired of other bloggers telling them that they couldn’t write because something was intrinsically wrong with them. My readers were made to feel guilty because it was commonly asserted that writing was as easy as opening your laptop and just typing away–when the truth is, for most of us, it is NOT that easy.
The truth is, when you start to write, life has this tendency of getting in the way. Most people ignore this simple fact, and I think that’s why many of my readers were moved by my blog. They found that here, on this blog, I didn’t pretend as if my relationships, or my physical health, or my career, for example, had nothing to do with my writing. I am one of the few who will admit, time and time and again, that, yes, life has A LOT to do with the writing process. In fact, I would argue that life has more to do with the writing process than anything else.
For those who would disagree with me, I dare you take a closer look, and maybe you’ll see what I see.
Because what I see is people like my writer friend Stephen, who for all intents and purposes WANTS to write but just can’t. Life has gotten in his way. Then there’s my writer friend Katie, who is incredibly talented and obviously committed to her dream of becoming a writer, but who has found that, even though she WANTS to write, she just can’t. Life has gotten in her way.
You see, for many writers, life doesn’t unfold magically and perfectly as they would wish. No, for many of us, life tends to do the EXACT opposite of what we want it to do. In fact, it seems that life will do it’s best to GET IN THE WAY of your successful writing career.
What is there to do then? How do we solve this problem?
I think one way to solve the problem is by changing the way our little writing community treats these so-called “writers who don’t write.” Instead of treating them with scorn, I pledge that we treat these writers with respect, compassion and understanding.
So, let me be the first in our little writing community to say it differently:
If deep down inside you know you are a writer, then you are a writer. Even if you can’t write today, you are still a writer. Even if you CAN write today and you don’t, you are a still writer. Even if you are broke, unknown, and unpublished, you are STILL a writer.
As long as you have that little fire in you that tells you that you are writer, then no one can tell you otherwise. You know your truth, and even if you can’t live it today, we all know that one day you will.
We, your community, believe in you. We trust you. We LOVE you. We think you’re awesome. We think you’re talented. But we understand it’s hard right now and as long as you are patient, we are patient, too. Know that whatever you are going through will pass, and that one day you will go from being a writer who doesn’t write to a writer who DOES.
To all those writers who don’t write–this one’s for you. We’re all sending you our love and support, in the hopes that one day that little fire inside of you will spark, launch, soar and become brighter than a firecracker in the night sky.
much community love,
(Editor’s note: this post originally ended with the song “Firework” by Katy Perry)
Please leave a note of encouragement below to all those “writers who don’t write.” Let them feel your love.
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