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what if you stop?

July 16, 2015

arghhhhhh. i once had a writing teacher who said to me “never stop writing. i once stopped writing and i didn’t start again for 10 years.” it’s not writer’s block, but what if it’s just… laziness? because i’ve kind of stopped writing and it’s killing me, smalls.


i realised that i hadn’t really been doing a lot of writing when i got notice that one of my poems was being published in the malahat review (woo hoo – out later this summer!) and i thought “wait, shit, i haven’t had a poem published in about a year.” and most of the stuff i’ve had published lately has been older stuff that i’ve been dragging out and beating into submission. which is also a good thing, because i forgot how much i love some of the older stuff i wrote and then immediately forgot about. i don’t know how people do that thing – that thing where they set their alarm and set aside their kids, meal plans, laundry, cleaning, work, adult responsibilities until they finish their hour or whatever of writing. also, i’ve never found that that works for me. (maybe i need to do it consistently and hope that my body catches on and i create a habit) mainly, i’ve found that i need to write when i feel i need to write, not on a prescribed schedule. but hell, maybe that’s my problem.

maybe i’m lazy. but i’ve also recently (as in, within the past year) started real full-time work. i have benefits. i’ve started taking on more responsibilities at work. i joined the union bargaining team. i’m taking italian lessons. i’m commuting. i’m lifting weights. i’m trying to date. i’m trying to eat healthy and plan meals. i try to see friends as much as possible with my kind of inhibiting work schedule. i plan outfits. i wash my floors. and somehow, between all of that, which, admittedly, isn’t even that much – i don’t have kids, i don’t have a significant other – i can’t find the time to squeeze in proper amounts of writing time. (usually i find that dating and writing are the two sides of the teeter-totter, and one flourishes while the other lags. it’s because i couldn’t live without deadlifts or quiche, but i can live without sex and going out for drinks. i also think i need to start cutting down on my social life, which gives me an intense guilty feeling. but eventually i’m just going to have to say ‘them’s the breaks’.)


this is real life, taking over. i didn’t realise how much easier i had it in writing school. all you had to do there was get drunk or high, eat french fries, dance on the beach, and “write” your “thesis,” which really meant crying into your whisky while out with your other writer friends at a hippie full-moon party.

i think it’s time to start shaving down on social commitments. do i want to a thirtysomething writer who has never had a book published? that’s the equivalent of a backup singer who wanted to make it to stardom. so, probably not. agents gave me good feedback on my mss, and i set it aside because i was – what? bored, tired, discouraged, blase, lazy? no good. not good. not acceptable.

let’s do this.

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