I’m Not Writing. Can I Still Call Myself a Writer?


by Maja S. Todorovic


This is very interesting statement. A paradox in its literal translation, the negation in first sentence do implies a logical answer to question, but I still want to elaborate this and offer some additional thoughts.

Many of you know that Business in Rhyme has been established two years ago. With over 600 published posts, this spring it went into more professional realm, hence it coincided with injury of my right arm and deprived me of regular writing for many months. It forced me to somehow reinvent my routine and opened doors to additional possibilities and projects. The truth is also, that I at the moment enjoy other things besides writing (like my renewed interest for astrology, cosmology and nutrition) and I often ask myself: “Am I really a writer, can I call myself a writer since now I can go for days without writing – at least not in the form I am used to?”

It’s not only that with my coaching and other projects I have less time for writing, but sincerely I don’t have that urging need to write. Being that poetry, for blog or journaling. However, I still do believe in all the benefits that writing can bring you. But what to do when you simply don’t feel like writing? And I don’t mean for a day or two, but it can go literally for months! Are you still a writer? One thing I’m certain in my case is that eventually I will go back to regular, full time writing. How will that look like? I don’t have answer to that question.

The truth is, that every action and experience you gain in your life is material for your writing. So you don’t feel like writing? That’s ok. Don’t hit your head against the wall. Don’t blame or push yourself if it doesn’t come naturally. But probably in your spare time you are reading, you are doing research (like I do at the moment). Real writer not only writes. He does everything in between that will enrich his story, poem, novel …He lives.

When you consciously put yourself to be active participant in your life, not dwelling on the past or getting worried about the future, you are like an antenna receiving all valuable information that becomes raw material for anything you want to write. There is no wasted moment. It can’t be. You and your perception unfolds in the same manner as life which you are essential part of. And that becomes unique ingredient which moves your writing from ordinary to magnificent. No minute is wasted.

Many of you are also acquainted with my preference to quality over quantity.  Instead of wrestling with words you don’t like and find unsatisfactory, simply stop. Listen. Bring yourself to present time and feel what you would like to do. Go for a walk. Talk to a friend. Take a break. Even if it takes you months to find words you like, adore, that are strong enough and convey what you want to say.

Friends often ask me did I get tired of writing or do I have a ‘writer’s block’. I don’t think so. But there we can create like gaps in our routines, activities and the way we spend our time that somehow (at least in my case) we have need for something different in order to be pulled back to what we love. So I’m using this my pause in regular writing as an opportunity to remind myself why I love and need writing, why I am writer.

I hope that this will help also anyone of you who are maybe struggling with writing and are indecisive about their writing goals and direction. Just listen to yourself, you have the answer within you. You are a writer if you decide to be one. No number of pages or published books will tell or prove you that. Only you can.



Alternately titled I don’t write. Can I still call myself a writer?

Guest post contributed by Maja S. Todorovic. Maja is an educator and writer from Belgrade, currently living in in the Hague, Netherlands. After finishing her PhD in Organizational Sciences and years of academic work, she switched her scientific pen for more creative expressions. With 3  books and 2 dissertations published, now she helps people find their writing voice and experience creativity through their own words. You can connect with her on Twitter and Facebook.

16 thoughts on “I’m Not Writing. Can I Still Call Myself a Writer?

  1. You, not others, define what you are. I’ve a piece of paper from U of Arizona that says I’m an engineer, but I’ve not done that for over a dozen years. I’m not clocked in at my day-job, so maybe I’m not a pharmacy tech right now.

    I’ve not published anything – formally – in a year, but I’m editing 170k words that will be released in two novels in two consecutive months. Have I not been a writer for this time?

    A little story – I am a writer, after all! – at work on Wednesday, management sprang for free pizza. Sitting around the Conference Room, one of the respiratory techs asked everyone: how did you become what you are now? Everyone else talked about their medical experience; when it got to me, I asked right back: “Do you mean me the design engineer, pharmacy tech, or noted local author?”
    “What’s most important to you?” she asked.
    “Writer. Let me tell you what happened, a mere four years ago, that changed my life…”
    Are you making a new world? Congrats: you are a writer.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. great blog post! I think you can still be a writer if you’re not writing. You could have writer’s block or just be taking a break, or have stuff on the backburner that you’re thinking about while you’re busy with work or other commitments. I think you need to think about what you want to write a lot though, to be a writer. And keeping a notebook helps keep me motivated at least.


  3. I think that it depends what you do when you’re not writing. If you are thinking about your characters and storylines when you’re not then the answer to this conundrum would be yes.


  4. Thank you, this is a question I’ve struggled with because with two little ones I barely have time for anything. It’s been months since I put ink to paper. But I am a writer. And a mom. And a pastry chef. And so many other hats in between. Thank you.


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