Why are you not writing?

You’re miserable because you’re not writing

Perhaps you are miserable because you’re not writing? Stacey experienced that and really nails what it is like to be a writer sometimes in her post titled “All I’ve ever wanted to do with my life is write”.


She expresses how I have felt when I was not writing as much as I would have liked to or when I wasn’t writing the stuff that I needed to write.

I went through a phase last year when the work I was doing was pretty repetitive and not in the least bit challenging. It felt a lot like this:

I’m a writer who doesn’t have the time to write anymore.It makes me miserable, and frustrated and a bit lost. My North Star has winked out.

One of my conclusions about that time turned out to be one of the reasons I started writing much more for myself here and is nicely expressed by Stacey’s advice to herself:

You’re miserable because you’re not writing anymore, Stacey. Write more, dammit.

When I feel adrift, I usually turn to writing because it unblocks the dam of emotion that has built up. It’s a lot like unblocking a drain that you’ve neglected for too long.

At first it is a struggle just to dig out enough muck to reach the blockage itself. Then, when you dig some more, you see all the gunk ooze through and it isn’t pretty. Soon enough, though, that all gives way to a wonderful flow that you don’t want to stop so you keep writing to keep the pipes clear and fresh water flowing.

A side note about “content marketing”

Writing isn’t just mechanically putting some text on a page, at least not for me. It is very much a creative process. I sometimes encounter an attitude about content marketing that disturbs me. It is this idea that you can just pick a topic, throw some words on a page and give it a list-based title and call that “content”.

Well, sure, you can do that and many “content marketers” do that all the time but the result is hollow and formulaic text that may as well be created by a machine (and, one day soon, will be).

As important as it is to write with a voice appropriate to what you are trying to achieve, I don’t think you can write well if you don’t infuse that writing with a little of your voice, your perspective on the world and your passion for writing.

This is how I see the difference between boilerplate marketing “content” and writing that adds something meaningful to whatever I am reading or for and, perhaps, a response to this question:

Do fewer people trust bloggers?

Image credit: Pixabay


8 responses to “You’re miserable because you’re not writing

  1. Snap: missstaceyvee (@MissStaceyVee) avatar

    It’s such a privilege to be able to spark an idea in someone else with my own writing. Thank you, Paul! On a side note: I’ve been pondering the difference between great, useful, thoughtful content and that hollow, paint-by-numbers type of content you’ve mentioned. What’s missing is the art of storytelling, and it’s being diluted even further by our reliance on tech in the content marketing space. You can’t automate storytelling. Just my thought for the day.

    1. Paul avatar

      That is such a relevant issue for me now too. We are working on our messaging and I find myself resisting pressure to start writing like a marketing jargon-o-nator and stick to writing like a human. It isn’t an easy sell to marketers who are not writers and who see marketing writing as a mechanical process of throwing keywords down on a page.

  2. David Greenway avatar

    @pauljacobson @MissStaceyVee Thank you both for this! I’m miserable as F$%^ not writing anymore. Will endeavour to rectify this immediately

  3. Paul Jacobson avatar

    But @davegreenway, you have an awesome blog that still has that “new blog” smell! You should take it for a drive. @MissStaceyVee

  4. Snap: missstaceyvee avatar

    @pauljacobson @davegreenway That “new blog” smell – I just snort-laughed into my mug of tea.

  5. Tara avatar

    Tara liked this Post on twitter.com.

  6. Paul avatar

    Paul mentioned this Post on pauljacobson.me.

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