How Long Can You Go Without Writing?

Three hours

Probably a busy time at work. Don’t sweat it. It’ll all be fine once you get home and get back into the typing groove. Jot down all the ideas you have whilst away from the keyboard and enjoy the time you have with it once you get back to it. You’ll be fine.

Three days

Must be a busy weekend or you’ve been traveling or seeing people (if you can) and/or stuff. You might be getting a little itchy, but it still hasn’t been long enough for you to actually start thinking you have forgotten how to write. The worse problem is that you might’ve missed a few precious days of writing on your current Big Thing, but all you have to do is put the pedal to the metal once you’re in the better part of your weekly schedule and enjoy.

Three weeks

Mmmm. Something’s not right. Is it taxes? (It’s probably taxes.) You’ll still be able to get back into it, but it might take a bit longer than usual. You might have to scrap a few pages and/or thousands of words. You should still be fine getting back into your current project, probably a novel, which might get delayed. (Happens to the best of us.) You’ll be fine… in the end.

Three months

You are dying. It’s not just the administration/taxes/day job/life things, it’s something deeper, and something worse. You have forgotten what words are. You’ve never written anything good—and you’ll never be able to write anything good ever again. You don’t have it anymore. You’ll just have to wait until you get the next hot idea you can’t not write or you’ll perish forever into the abyss of the interwebs. Poor baby.

Three years

…what is wrong with you? Is it a girl or something? What the hell happened that you had to go and take three full years off the one true addiction you have? And how did you even survive? Are you sure you’re still breathing? Did your fingers fall off? Are you aware that, the next time you pick up the keyboard or the pen, you’ll probably be living in a different century and you won’t be able to recognize any of your old fiction shit and you won’t even be able to remember who that non-pov non-romantic interest character was? Are you sure you even want to write again? Why? You’ve managed to get so far away from it…

Deep breaths. Deep breaths. Deep.

As a person who’s currently in the middle of the, uh, three-months break (actually, I did manage to get a short story in a month or so ago, but it was fleeting and it was a long time ago), I can surely say that I never want to go for more than two weeks without writing, ever. again.

And yes, I was one of those who took an inadvertent (and relationship-inspired) break for a few years, many moons ago. No, I wasn’t the same person after it. Neither was my writing.

We were both, strangely enough, better off for it.

But I’m not sure how I managed to live through it and come out fighting on the other side. Because, for me—and, I have a hunch, many of us—writing is the one thing I never want to give up. Never ever. No matter what comes out of that gate. No matter who makes me believe all sorts of weird shit about me, the universe, or writing.

Never fucking again.

All I need to do now—at the dawn of a brand new year—is to make myself believe I do know how to write, after all, no matter how long a break the last one might’ve been. And yes… it did not come from writing, but a (sadly) related thing.

And we were better off for it, on the other side of things. But I’ve already managed to get 1k of words in today, and now all I need is to keep typing.

Happy 2022, all! Hug your persons tight (if virtually) and take good care of your typing fingers because you need them to keep good care of you, if we share this weird little writing addiction.

And don’t be hard on yourself. Keep typing.

Photo by Riccardo Annandale on Unsplash.

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