Why Writing Withers

Posted on January 5, 2012


My bulletin board of rejection letters for my brilliant short stories.

“I write only when inspiration strikes. Fortunately, it strikes every morning at nine o’clock sharp.”

Somerset Maugham

I’m not truly a creature of habit. I’m more of a habitual opportunist. I write when  there’s an opportunity for me to write. Generally that is never because a full-time teacher has little time to do much else except plan, read, grade, plan, read, grade, Facebook, blog, read, grade, plan, Facebook, etc.

You get the idea.

But, truthfully (not that the previous was untruthful) writing withers because the inspiration to write doesn’t always knock on my attic brain every morning or every day. And, when it does most often strike, I am in the unfortunate position of being without pen. Not by choice, but by necessity. I’ve had moments of brilliance in the shower, on the toilet, and other places that generally involve water and nudity.

By the time I remember to remember the brilliant nugget I mined from within, the actual nugget is more like a pyrite fleck.

It would be foolish to bank that.

The other reason that my writing has withered (specifically fiction) is because after time, I begin to think that perhaps I wasn’t any good to begin with (hold your cursory sympathy, that was not a fishing comment). You begin to laugh at your earlier stories and earlier drafts and wonder how immature those pieces truly were.

Certainly, one might argue that the maturity would have come with the decade since I last published, but they’d probably be wrong. Writing is like riding. You can hop back on that bicycle, but you’re not apt to do tricks and spins and jump ramps. No, you’re most likely going to concentrate on staying up. Which makes it less fun than what it was in the past. And work just isn’t something you really want to do when you’ve decided to write to take a break from work.

So you see, there are reasons why it withers.

But, is that really any excuse?

Posted in: Writing