Why You’re Not You When You’re Not Writing

writing tea


by Meg Dowell

For the first week of 2017, because of the new year, I did not write any articles. Clients either weren’t ready to assign them yet or they were having me work on other projects (because being a content creator means you get to write marketing emails too).

For many of you, this probably doesn’t sound like that big a deal. But you have to understand that the nature of my work resulted in me writing over 500 articles last year – that doesn’t include these blog posts. I write articles. It is what people pay me to do. And having already taken a week off of work between the Christmas and New Year’s holidays, enduring another week without producing an article was like going without food: it was unbearable.

I felt strange. Detached from reality. I had a lot of thoughts circling around in my head, and not many places to put them. Not writing as much as normal, I felt like someone unfamiliar walking around in my own body.

This week, I still didn’t write nearly as much as I have in weeks past (January = slow in the freelancing world? I guess so). But I did write – and I felt like a completely different person. I felt alive. I felt complete.

It wasn’t emptiness I felt when I didn’t get to publish my thoughts as often, but desperation. By the end of the first week of the year, it didn’t matter what I wrote or how much. I just needed to write something. I needed to use my brain; I needed to release my pent-up creativity.

And once I did that, everything returned to normal.

If you’ve ever felt down, and you realize how long it’s been since you’ve sat down and written something, you’ve probably assumed that you haven’t written anything in awhile because you’ve been feeling down. Maybe it’s the other way around, sometimes. Maybe you feel down BECAUSE you haven’t written anything in awhile.

Why does this happen? Because creating something has a way of reminding your brain that it is fully capable of creating things. Once you get that momentum going, it’s much easier to keep it going. It can be difficult to get it going, but the best solution for this is simply to write even when you don’t wanna. Once you start, you find fewer excuses to stop. Maybe only one or two fewer, but still.

You’re not you when you’re not writing, because writing – releasing that creative energy bundled up inside you – is just what you do. You feel better the more you do it, because it fulfills you. It brings you a kind of deep satisfaction not very many things in your life can. This is why people fall in love with writing so soon after they start. It is the closest thing we can find to magic.

Writing is your stimulant, your purpose, your need most commonly ignored. Sometimes, you don’t feel like writing, because writing is work. But the next time you feel that feeling you get when you’re so deep into writing you forget where you are – you know the one – hold onto that. Remember what that’s like, in the moments you can’t see clearly why doing this work is worth it. It’s worth it for a lot of reasons. But that feeling, as if you’re fulfilling your true life’s purpose just by typing words on a keyboard – that’s the most important of them all.




Meg is the creator of Novelty Revisions, dedicated to helping writers put their ideas into words. She is a freelance writer and an eight-time NaNoWriMo winner with work published in Teen Ink, Success Story, Lifehack and USA TODAY College. Follow Meg on Twitter for tweets about writing, food and nerdy things.

19 thoughts on “Why You’re Not You When You’re Not Writing

  1. Reblogged this on Michael Seidel, writer and commented:
    Truth for me. When I’m not permitted to write or feel that my writing time/space continuum has been impaired, I feel like I’m suffering. That feeling of fulfilling my life’s purpose as I’m typing…yes. When it’s right, it’s sublime. Even when it’s bad, it’s very, very good.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. This is exactly where I’m at right now. I haven’t written anything in a little over a week and when that happens, I notice I’m just not in the best of moods. Something about me feels off. But thankfully I wrote something this morning. Even if it was just 200 words, at least it helped release some of that pent-up creativity. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Your point hit me like a sledgehammer to the face, Meg. THIS is why I haven’t been feeling well this week. Thanks for the reality check.


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