writing

What Happens When I’m Not Writing?

I’ve written about writing habits many times before, but this week’s #MFRW 52-week Blog Challenge is entitled, Why I Write. The first thing I thought when I read this was, “Wait, you say this as if I have a choice?” Sure, it’s not like someone is strapping me to the chair and forcing me to purge stories—even though sometimes I might need that extra nudge. But in a way, someone is.

What Do I Have in Common with Betty White

Have you seen the candy bar commercials with Betty White where she’s in a situation where she’s looking completely out of her comfort zone until someone hands her a chocolate bar? The commercials are cute and hilarious—unless you’re Betty. That’s me, when I’ve neglected my writing for too long.

writingYou might also notice in the commercial that someone else alerts Betty to her need for some chocolate. Problem is, I don’t always immediately recognize my own need to write and neither do the people around me who wonder who this bad-tempered, irritable person is and ponder how to escape my cranky clutches.

So far, none of them have discovered that the best thing to do would be to shove me into a room with my laptop and say, “Maureen, you need to write.” (Tossing in a few chocolate bars before retreating wouldn’t hurt either. Just sayin’.)

Don’t Make Me go All Jekyll and Hyde Like

My ‘dayjob’ involves a lot of seriousness and stress, hence why I need

I'm a mean zombie when not writing

Stress of the DayJob taking it’s toll

my escape into fantasy worlds where magic is real and laughter is abundant. If not, who knows what would happen to the limited grip I maintain on my sanity when the plethora of characters chattering in my head collide with the plethora of dayjob strains like water mixing with oil they each have their own outlet. If denied my creative outlet, I could get a lot worse than Betty in those commercials.

What? You haven’t heard the term ‘dayjob’ before? Like most of us writer-ly types we throw out mysterious writing terms now and then thinking you’re all onboard with what we’re talking about. Or you don’t ask because you chalk it up to one more weird writer thing.

Any-who, the dayjob is what many writers refer to as their other job writing weekendoutside of writing. You know, the thing outside of what we were born to do. Although the term makes it sound like we come home and spend the midnight hours spinning stories while nursing a scotch. I hate to wash the glamour from this writing stereotype, except I can barely stay up past 9:30 and I hate scotch—so scratch that image from your mind. Instead insert earlier than the crack of dawn with a pot of coffee.

But Why Do I Write?

Simple answer, it’s who I am. Probably before I even knew how to write because the stories are playing in my head close to 24/7 (and you wonder where the stereotypical image came of so many writers drinking). Before I realized I was a writer I subjected every poor teacher to a novella when they wanted an essay question answered and filling up journals with musings, stories and other nonsense.

So why do I #write? Because I can’t not write. #MFRW Click To Tweet

MFRW Blog Challenge on writingWhat About You? If It’s Not Writing, Is There Something in Your Life that You Can’t Just Not Do Because it Makes You—You?

Follow the #MFRW Blog Hop and find other some other—perhaps more serious—responses from authors about why they write.

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15 Replies

15 thoughts on “What Happens When I’m Not Writing?

  1. Meka James

    Ah yes, the day job. Mine comes in the form of little beings that call me mom. During the summer it’s full time near constant attending to their needs leaving me to write around the 9pm hour once they are happily able to entertain themselves. Something they could do all day, but rather not. LOL

    Chocolate, well that makes everything better. 🙂

    Reply
    1. Maureen L. Bonatch Post author

      Yes those little ones sure like to battle the muse, lol. When my twins were little I struggled to find any writing time.

      Reply
  2. Alina K. Field

    Major kudos to all of you who are working at a day job and writing fiction in your free time. I am lucky enough to have left the day job behind. While I was there, I wrote all kinds of policy memos, reports, legal decisions and employee appraisals (such fun). I had no idea how to go about writing fiction, probably because I had studied literature in college, LOL! Thank God for RWA and the millions of online writing classes.

    And boy, I get cranky too when I’m away from my story writing for too long! Great post, Maureen!

    Reply
    1. Maureen L. Bonatch Post author

      Thanks, Alina! The day job does have a way of sapping creativity at times. Fiction writing is so much more fun!

      Reply
  3. Kenzie Michaels

    I’m in serious need of chocolate! When my older grandkids arrive for the summer, a few years ago the oldest one asked, “Is that what you do all day, write?”

    When I’m on deadline (as I was at the time!), yes. Otherwise, my dayjob in the summertime is spent with the grandkids and generally cleaning up after everyone. Esp right now, when we’re clearing out two houses and a storage unit. There are some weeks I don’t even have hardly enough time to blog! Ugh….I’m looking forward to when the youngest granddaughter goes to full-time kindergarten next year, and I can get back to writing!

    Reply
    1. Maureen L. Bonatch Post author

      Over the years, I’ve come to appreciate the fall and winter months more just because they are a little more relaxed which = more writing time. You sound like you’ve got a lot on your plate. Hope you can squeeze some writing time in.

      Reply
  4. Helen Henderson

    chocolate, a quiet room, glass of red wine. Where do I make my reservation? All the ones I’ve found have been padded, the food was lousy, and there as way too much work to do.

    Reply
    1. Maureen L. Bonatch Post author

      Sounds wonderful, Helen. Let me know if you find that place because I want a reservation too.

      Reply
  5. Robin Michaela

    I’m also up before the crack of dawn, pecking away on the keys . And, sometimes, I need the coffee because my character kept me up half the night, trying to tell me what comes next. Gotta do what you gotta do!

    Reply
  6. Mary J. McCoy-Dressel

    There was a time when I was told my typing made too much noise. I had a dayjob, and by evening my writing schedule had to work around someone else’s TV schedule. (The house was small and the only computer sat in the living room beside the sofa.) I did feel like Betty White without her chocolate fix. Taking away a writer’s need to write, is not a way to gain brownie points. On the bright side, my oldest son bought me my first laptop because of the first scenario. <3 Great post, Maureen.

    Reply

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