Saturday, 7 January 2012

Either a writer writes or they don’t

Still procrastinating about starting or finishing that novel? Maybe you need to ask yourself if writing is what you really want to do.

Most writers spend years writing, writing, writing only to earn nothing, nothing, nothing. There are so few J K Rawlings and so many D L Richardsons. What? Never heard of D L Richardson? Of course you haven’t. She is a writer who is grateful to have a published novel but in reality accepts she will probably never sell as many books as J K.

But I don’t write for the money. I doubt any real writer does. We write because we are compelled to. Shakespeare summed it up when he wrote “to be or not to be”. It is as simple as that. There is no such thing as an aspiring writer. Either a writer writes or they don’t.

Yes, there are times when I wish I could give it all away and lead a normal life, but I am addicted to writing. My desk has a gravitational pull that sucks me in whenever I go too far from it. I feel guilty when I take time off writing. What good is a holiday if my book is never finished?

Besides, I am loathe to admit this, but I don’t have time for a normal life.  A social life has become a luxury I can ill afford. I work full time and spend every other waking minute writing. True, I miss out on lots of fun but I have learned that there is always a party, always a barbeque, always an offer to catch up for shopping, coffee or cocktails. Life goes on, with or without me, yet occasionally I drag myself out of my cave and mingle with society – after all, there is a limit to what make-believe characters can offer me.

I do try hard to be a good friend, a caring sibling, a model employee, a diligent bill payer, a proud housekeeper, an exceptional chef. Some of these things I can outsource. For example I can employ a cook, a cleaner, a personal assistant. I can’t outsource my writing or my spousal/friend/sibling duties though. So the line has to be drawn on what is important and what isn’t.

For many writers, the thought of not giving it their best shot is the thing that propels us to keep writing. As one author I know said, “On my deathbed, I wouldn’t regret that I didn’t plant those leeks, but I’d regret not writing the novel that’s in my head.” I totally agree.


  1. Great post. I totally feel guilty when I'm not writing. Like I'm letting someone down by not getting more manuscripts finished. I don't remember if I said this before, but that cover of yours is awesome! Your book is on my TBR list.

  2. Even while I'm writing I keep hearing that song by Steve Miller "Time keeps on slipping, slipping, slipping into the future."