3 Reasons Why You Might Feel Like Giving Up on Writing
Sometimes, I find myself feeling like I just can’t write anymore.
I start to think that I don’t really want to be a writer, that this dream I’ve had since I was a child is actually just me lying to myself and it’s not the work I’m meant for, all because it seems that my motivation and ability to string words together on a page has completely left me.
As such, I’ve spent a lot of time over the years thinking about what it is that makes me get into these bouts of long-term writer’s block, where I go for long stretches of time unable to make a dent in any of my creative endeavors, despite wanting to.
There are a lot of different factors that go into getting into these writing slumps, from bad mental health days to a loss of passion for a current project. I know I’m not the only writer that sometimes feels resistance toward writing or feels like they just don’t know how to keep going with their project.
While I can’t cover all of the reasons in one article, today I wanted to talk about three possible issues, as well as some ideas of how to overcome them. Each of these problems has held me back from writing in the past, and I think what I’ve learned from dealing with them can help you, too.
Feeling so overwhelmed or pressed for time that writing has become a chore
First, you’ll need to figure out why you see it as a chore.
Is it because you no longer have any passion for your story? (If so, see below.)
Or is it because you already have so much on your plate, so anything else is just too much? If that’s the case, take a serious look at your life and see where you can cut down in order to free up space. Maybe you are spending a bit too much time on Netflix. Or maybe you need your partner to take over childcare or household duties that you typically do one or two nights a week to give you more time for your writing.
While we all tend to think there isn’t possibly any way we can make more time in our lives for writing, chances are there are some things each week that you’re doing that you can cut out.
You also want to make sure that you are taking time for yourself. If you aren’t resting and refueling your energy, you are going to feel burned out, no matter how much you want to write. While you’re looking at your schedule, see if there are any activities that aren’t helping you (like doom scrolling Twitter each night before bed) that you can swap out with meaningful self-care activities, like journaling, going for a walk, or taking a long bath.
Your motivations aren’t lining up
Why did you start writing in the first place?
Was it because you loved it, or because someone told you you were good at it and that you should “do something” with that talent? Did you start writing primarily as a way to make money because it seemed like something you would be good at, or did you start because you just wanted to share your writing with others whether it made money or not? Was there a particular message or story that you wanted to share through your writing originally?
Sometimes we can lose sight of what first motivated us to start writing. If you started because you just enjoyed creating stories, and now you find yourself struggling to keep up with a blogging schedule, it could be because blogging isn’t the kind of writing that brings your joy, or maybe you’ve neglected your stories for too long in favor of blogging. If you started a blog about a particular niche hobby or interest for the sole purpose of finding a community of like-minded individuals, but now you’re becoming obsessed with SEO and Google rankings, that could be sucking the fun out of it for you.
Whatever your original reason was for starting to write, think about it in relation to where you are now. How far off course have you gotten from your motivations? How much does what you’re currently doing line up with what you want to be doing? There’s no shame in changing what you’re doing if you realize it’s not in alignment with where you want to be going.
Just because you love to write doesn’t mean that every type of writing is going to be for you.
You’ve lost your passion for your current project
Passion is important when it comes to writing. If you just don’t care about your project you’re unlikely to stick with it.
If it’s a lack of passion that’s causing your writer’s block, the solution might simply be to focus on a different project for a while or maybe even let go of that project entirely. While you don’t want to be too quick to give up on a project, there’s also nothing wrong with letting something go if you’ve determined it’s not for you.
If you think the love for your story is still there but needs a little help waking up again, here are a few things you can try:
- Attack it from another angle. Write from a different point of view, or write a scene that you know probably won’t make it into the final draft, but that sounds fun to you anyway.
- Read work by authors in your genre that inspire you.
- Create a playlist that evokes the mood of your story, or that represents one of your characters.
- Use Pinterest or another site to create a mood board of images that relate to your story or inspire you somehow.
- Do creative activities that have nothing to do with writing, like drawing, painting, crocheting, or dancing. Sometimes activating your brain by doing something creative other than writing can be enough to break through your writer’s block.
If you find yourself feeling as though you may never write again, for whatever reason, know this: you are not alone. The words may not come today, or tomorrow, or next week or month. But if writing is a part of you, if it something you feel called to do, they will come again. The trick is finding the thing holding you back that is specific to you, and figuring out solutions that work for your situation.
Grace Moore is a writer of poetry, fiction, and nonfiction. Her interests include travel, reading, and doing any activity that involves supplies from the craft store. She lives in Washington with her husband, where they can often be found discussing Doctor Who in-depth. She’s passionate about helping writers find their motivation and unlock their creativity. Follow her on Instagram, sign up for her newsletter, and support her on Ko-fi.