I Write And Write And Write

“I force myself to write. And I write and write and write.” Elie Wiesel

Has this ever happened to you? For some personal reason, you have to stop or quit writing for a while, but then you find it very difficult to come back to. You are doing fine, writing every day, sticking to the schedule you set for yourself but then something happens, something that you have no control over and you are obliged to give up your writing. Something like a medical emergency or family obligation. And then when your crisis is over (if it is over), and you want to somehow continue your routine of writing, you find it hard to do so. You are happy, you want to write so badly that you’re aching, but no matter what you do or how hard you try you cannot write even a single sentence.

Unfortunately, I have been through this more than once. Each time I was able to come out of the crisis and continue from where I had left off, but it was not easy. I temporarily stopped writing at a couple of times during my life, for all sorts of reasons. The last time I stopped and interrupted the flow, it took me years to bounce back to my desk.

When I write everyday, like most of you do, I become so lost in the process that I even forget my surroundings. It’s like I live in a dream. A dream of my own making, in which everything in and around me changes, creating magic. As E. L. Doctorow put it:

“One of the things I had to learn as a writer was to trust the act of writing. The invention of books comes as discoveries. At a certain point, of course, you figure out what your premises are and what you’re doing. But certainly, with the beginnings of the work, you really don’t know what’s going to happen.”

As I mentioned, on more than one occasion I left this magical world of writing in pursuit of other more realistic professions in order to help support my family. I abandoned the one and only one thing that really mattered to me and which I loved to do most. I did so with such heartache. In the beginning I tried to scribble down a few words and phrases every day, but after a long day of teaching full time, taking care of two little children and on some days even tutoring after school, I would be too exhausted to even sit on a chair. And of course not a day would pass without me thinking about my writing, without me feeling guilty about not finding the time or place to do so.

Then finally, after a long absence, when it was time again for me to sit at my desk I didn’t know where to start. I had all these ideas, all these stories and plots and images and characters playing in my mind that I didn’t know what to do about. I had trouble concentrating, yet I felt that I had to do something. I had to force myself to write, and write and write. And as the late Ray Bradbury said:

“If you write a hundred short stories and they’re all bad, that doesn’t mean you’ve failed. You fail only if you stop.”


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18 Responses to I Write And Write And Write

  1. Wild Song says:

    I taught high school full-time, and I know exactly what you mean about being too exhausted to write at the end of the day. I could barely see straight by the time I got home, and weekends were barely long enough to recover before it started all over again! I’m glad to hear you’re writing again. Ray Bradbury would tell writers to write everyday, no matter what. I struggle to follow that simple advice, and it makes such a difference when I do.

    • chichikir says:

      I too taught high school full-time. What’s worse I taught mathematics for senior classes and with the pressure of the external exams and all. Whenever I had the time to sit and write it took me a while to get to the place where I wanted to be and then it was back to classes…. 😦 I wish you happy writing (uninterrupted)!

  2. originaltitle says:

    You’ve described my life exactly. I taught middle school and now work in business. I want to make writing a career but get lost in the how instead of simply writing…all the time, whenever I can.

    • chichikir says:

      Years ago when I was teaching there came a time when I was so frustrated with myself for wanting to write and not being able to, that I decided to wake up early to do so. I sat my alarm everyday at 4:00 and wrote till 6:00. It was hard at first but then I was so happy :)))

      • Haha, I do the same thing. While I was teaching I took a Gotham Writers Workshop class and did my work from 4-6 in the morning and now I work from 4-6 before work and it did/does make me happier. It’s just not enough though! I won’t be satisfied until I’ve made it my whole life.

  3. I’m sure this entry will speak to many. As others have said, you are describing my life as well. As if you were dissecting it and viewing it under a microscope! The challenge of getting back to the writing is that often it is in the same place, but you are not.

  4. I like the statement of Ray Bradbury. Never give up, very important. But I also get that there’s times in life where it’s hard to write. I, personally, am not the best at breaking through those times but I do feel I will never give up forever.

    • chichikir says:

      I know it is easy to say that you’ll write no matter what than actually writing! I hope you keep on writing and never give up 🙂

      • I will keep writing, for sure! 🙂 Maybe it would help to have somewhat of a firm deadline to have something written fully by, and break that down into smaller deadlines for pieces of writing… I look a lot at the big picture.

      • chichikir says:

        Brilliant approach! Have you read Anne Lamott’s book Bird by Bird! Excellent read. It teaches how to tackle the big problem by breaking it into small ones, one by one. All the best 🙂

  5. So glad I’ve found your blog. Over the years I have felt isolated as a writer, with all the dilemas of the need to balance time, money, family and writing. At times I have had to deliberately put aside attepting to write because it was so painful not to be able to do enough writing, to always feel frustrated and jangly as the flood of ideas needed expression.

    • chichikir says:

      Thank you! There’s nothing more frustrating than wanting to write and not being able to for reasons beyond your control. I wish you happy writing always!

  6. I stopped writing for 8 years while my kids were young. I just didn’t have the time or energy to do it. When I started again it was incredibly difficult. This year my challenge to myself has been to write for 366 consecutive days. Today I hit day 262. Each day has gotten easier and each day I have learned something about myself and the process. I’m certain at some point I will have to stop, but I hope I will be brave enough to return more quickly than I did the last time I stopped.

  7. Samir says:

    You’ve got to love the wisdom of Ray!

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