Why do you NOT write?

As a follow-up to yesterday’s post asking Why do you write? today I want to ask another question:

Why do you NOT write?

This and That

Going a bit off-topic from the blog series, I am preparing to spend a few days at my childhood home in South Dakota to help my father and uncle celebrate their birthdays, which are on consecutive days. Here is a view to the west of my family’s farm:


The landscape with its expansive space will always be a part of me (and a reason why I write, although I can’t quite articulate why… yet).

“Real depression isn’t being sad when something in your life goes wrong. Real depression is being sad when everything in your life is going right.” Kevin Breel

Finally, like so many others, I am deeply saddened at the news of Robin Williams’s death, for many reasons, including the fact that my husband and I went on our very first date in 1986 to a Robin Williams concert. For anyone who battles or knows someone who battles depression (and that is probably every one of us), the best I can offer are these words from comic Kevin Breel (video below):

“Depression is okay. If you’re going through it, know that you’re okay. And know that you’re sick, you’re not weak, and it’s an issue, not an identity, because when you get past the fear and the ridicule and the judgment and the stigma of others, you can see depression for what it really is, and that’s just a part of life, just a part of life, and as much as I hate, as much as I hate some of the places, some of the parts of my life depression has dragged me down to, in a lot of ways I’m grateful for it. Because yeah, it’s put me in the valleys, but only to show me there’s peaks, and yeah it’s dragged me through the dark but only to remind me there is light.

My pain, more than anything in 19 years on this planet, has given me perspective, and my hurt, my hurt has forced me to have hope, have hope and to have faith, faith in myself, faith in others, faith that it can get better, that we can change this, that we can speak up and speak out and fight back against ignorance, fight back against intolerance, and more than anything, learn to love ourselves, learn to accept ourselves for who we are, the people we are, not the people the world wants us to be. Because the world I believe in is one where embracing your light doesn’t mean ignoring your dark.” ~ Kevin Breel [emphases added]

14 thoughts on “Why do you NOT write?

  1. Your family farm is beautiful — I love South Dakota! Have a wonderful trip.

    On another note, thank you for posting about Robin Williams and depression. I’ve had and lived with close family and friends who have suffered from depression (as you say, who hasn’t?), and it’s pretty scary to see from the outside. I know it’s even harder when you’re the battler. This really made sense to me that Kevin said… “Because the world I believe in is one where embracing your light doesn’t mean ignoring your dark.” Thank you for posting.

    • Julia, thank you! The farm is so very peaceful and quiet–I try to keep that “place” inside of me when life feels hectic.

      I am glad that you enjoyed the Kevin Breel piece. Such wisdom from someone so young.

  2. That is such a beautiful view, Lisa. Wow.

    And yes, Robin William’s death is one of those that really hits hard. It just makes me realize how powerful depression is. That someone with such a light, who brought so much light to the world, got caught by it.

    Why do I not write? Because I get too busy with parenting! Mostly 🙂 Lately I’ve been doing a daily sort of journaling project, and counting that as my writing, even though it isn’t creative writing. Thanks for the permission to count whatever the heck I want to count…

    • Something I am working on is an extended analogy of writing and music. We assume that part of being a musician is the daily grind of scales and practice and doing small bits of playing over and over or just “noodling around” with melodies (aka writing in our journal), but for some reason we view writing differently. We think only some of it should count or that private writing is somehow less valuable than public writing. It’s fascinating to think about.

      I agree that Williams’s death is a powerful reminder that depression is powerful enough to overcome anyone, as you wrote, even someone with such a strong light. Maybe the good thing that will come of this is a better understanding of at least that one form of mental illness.

  3. That view looks a bit similar to the view from my Dad’s pasture in western Nebraska – the wide open spaces and blue, blue sky. There is nothing like being out in the open like that and seeing for miles and miles. I grew up on a Nebraska farm. 🙂

    Why do I not write? Because sometimes it’s just hard and I’m avoiding it. When I have to write a scene that is difficult for me to wrap my head around either because of logistics (an intense action scene) or consists of heavy emotion, I sometimes procrastinate. 🙂

  4. Fear.

    Fear that what people have always told me was true. That I was worthless and didn’t have anything new to say or think.

    But I, too, haven’t ignored my dark. I still treasure the poetry written in the dark. It, more than anything, expresses depth and raw sincerity.

    • Deborah, what you wrote really hits home for me. I am convinced more and more that it is pushing through–writing through–that fear of being a fraud that is a big part of the answer. Thank you for such candid thoughts (poetry written in the dark–that would make a terrific chapbook title!).

  5. Why I don’t write is so much easier than why I write. Not enough time. Don’t have anthing to say. Other things take priority. This turn about got me thinking that I need to go back and “noodle” some more on why I write.

  6. With my academic background I never feel I know enough so keep putting things off until I have done more research. I can write a first draft, but that doesn’t need perfection and it is OK to put notes in brackets (need to find this out!) but then I put off the rest. And sometimes I get stuck even on a first draft, or choose to write something easier. That’s the trouble with PhD, the main thing it teaches you is how little you know, or even can know! I try to think that I do know more than most people (about what I was studying, though I want to write about other things now) and who really cares anyway (me! and my ex-supervisor!) and plenty of people write stuff with glaring errors in (though they will irritate me if I spot them…) but it does stop me writing, or at least stop me finishing stuff.

    Also New Shiny Syndrome afflicts me quite a lot 🙂 which doesn’t so much stop me writing as stop me finishing one thing before I want to move onto the next. And indecision. I have ideas at various stages of notes/planning/drafts for more than ten novels. Sometimes I finish a poem… 🙂

    And then if I’m feeling tired and ill it’s hard to feel motivated to do anything. Also at the moment my laptop is malfunctioning so I can’t write in my favourite place on my preferred computer. I really must get that sorted out. And I have all these other things to do before I focus on writing again.

    Sorry – you did ask! 😉

  7. In those times when I’ve tried to write, I’ve never gotten past the beginning. It’s always seemed that the story has been told before, and better, by someone else.

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