What Does It Take to Get Writing?

key to success for authors keyboard-621830_960_720I’ve never felt so at home in life as I do now, surrounded by other authors. It’s a good, comfortable, nurturing feeling to be in the company of others with like goals and souls. I thought that would give me what I need to feel validated, and for the most part it does. But there was something missing.

Something different drives each one of us, of course. Feeling like we’re not alone, or the only ones in a particular struggle, makes things easier to deal with. Being a writer can be a lonely, thankless, and penniless endeavor, as we all know. But we do it because we have to – because that “thing” inside of us gives us no other choice.

Then comes life, filtering in all these responsibilities that we feel we need to address – and we put our writing on the back burner. And then, the emptiness comes. But we tell ourselves that these other responsibilities are more important. Well, they’re not.

If being a writer is who you are, then you should be writing. A little piece of us dies each day we don’t put pen to paper or fingers to keyboard. That piece can be revived through the craft, but in no other way. So why do we neglect it as we do? What does it take to get us to stop putting it aside and make it happen?

Sure, I do writing-related stuff every day. I run IU, I write articles, I’m on advisory boards, I’m in writers’ groups on social media. But that’s not the same as writing. I felt like, since I was an active part of the community, that it was close enough, or good enough. Well, it’s not. The writing HAS to happen.

Sometimes, you just need to spend time with people who are NOT writers. Sound strange? Maybe it is. But I realized something over the past few days: most people never achieve their dreams. Most people struggle to figure out what their calling is. They go through life chasing a target they call success – and that target keeps moving on them, pulling just beyond their grasp. They can spend their entire lives trying to put their fingers on what will complete them and never find it. How sad is that?

We, as authors, know what completes us. We have found our Holy Grails. We are fortunate beings. We need to take that seriously.

So the next time you get frustrated thinking about the fact that you’re not writing, think about the guy down the street, or the woman at work, or whomever you’d like, who is struggling through life, looking for their calling. If you don’t start writing for yourself, do it for them. They’d want you to.

Author: K.S. Brooks

K.S. Brooks is an award-winning novelist, photographer, and photo-journalist, author of over 30 titles, and executive director and administrator of Indies Unlimited. Brooks is currently a photo-journalist and chief copy editor for two NE Washington newspapers.  She teaches self-publishing and writing topics for the Community Colleges of Spokane, and served on the Indie Author Day advisory board. For more about K.S. Brooks, visit her website and her Amazon author page.

20 thoughts on “What Does It Take to Get Writing?”

  1. I’ve never really bought into the “one true calling” idea. Personally I think it’s a myth. We humans are good at lots of things, and can find fulfilling lives in many ways.

    Being creative is important to us though. Not just to some of us; being able to find ways to be creative is pretty fundamental to humanity as a whole. There’s a reason why people whose jobs involve using their brains tend to be happier.

    If writing wasn’t a viable way to make a living, I’d probably be doing something else instead. That something would involve creative thinking, probably involve storytelling, and likely allow a high level of independent work. Because I value those things.

    Writing is a means to an end. Not an end in itself. 😉

    1. I think we are all multi-faceted creatures. I am a writer and a photographer, among other things. But the thing that kills me is not writing. That’s all I can speak to.

  2. Speak on, O Guru. We apostles listen and learn 🙂

    Actually, I think the ability to create is one of the needs of human existence. It doesn’t matter what you create, and (fortunately for us poor writers) it doesn’t matter much whether it has an effect on anyone else, although that’s nice when it happens. The act of creating is essential to the human soul.

  3. You’re right. All those other writing related activities, even if they involve words and keyboards, are not the same as “writing”. And those distractions become excuses if we don’t look in the mirror and give ourselves an honest pep-talk. I, too, need time with non-writers, but when all is said and done, it’s just me that holds me back. That has to stop. Thanks for a reboot.

  4. Great post, Kat, and dead on. Yes, we do, and have to do, a gazillion other things, but only writing, creating characters, imagining conflicts and resolutions, fulfils us like nothing else can. We are storytellers; it’s not what we do, it’s who we are. Born and bred, from first breath to last. Not writing would be the worst hell I could imagine.

  5. Yes. 🙁 It’s been almost 3 months. I finished the story that’s been driving me for five years, and there was relief, but now I feel as if I’m walking around with something missing from my life. I tell myself I’m ‘recharging’, but it doesn’t feel like it. Well said, Kat.

  6. Kat,

    I thank the day I stumbled upon you and IU, my life and writing has never been the same since. Now that I am retired from my day job, I look forward to every short story I write and the friends I made through IU.
    Thank you so very much.


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