I have lost my faith … (or why I’ve gone AWOL)

Suddenly I find myself without. I have no desire to write, no motivation to edit, no impetus to create. I am lack-lustre and blanched. I look at the goals I have set for myself and turn away, for a reason I can’t quite understand. I have forgotten what it is to enjoy writing.

I’m sure I could write if I sat down to do it. I could print off that short story and improve the dialogue, add some descriptors. If I let my mind wander far enough I can even imagine the beginnings of something new; a character, a place, a scenario. But it seems pointless to me at the moment to do any of these things, to commit to them or even attempt them. An ‘ordinary life’ is all I seem to have the energy for now – the possibilities that I dreamed might come from writing elude me and I’ve lost the faith in myself that I used to possess.

I still want the things I wanted before and I suspect that, one day, the desperate need to fulfil these things will return. But right now I can’t fathom it. I can’t imagine hours spent crafting worlds with fictional people trying to determine their ways. I don’t want to. I’m happy in the worlds other people create for me. I like getting lost in other people’s words: it’s easier somehow.

So I have decided to take a sabbatical of sorts. A break. Some time away. The WIP is almost done, it is so close to being a potential reality I think I’ve stalled out in fear and misplaced the faith I need to believe in it, to believe in me. Pushing isn’t going to yield results, not this way. I can’t pressure myself into falling in love with words again.

I don’t know how long I’ll be gone for. Two weeks, a month, three months…I hope not that long. All I know is that I need some time and, when you feel like that, it’s best to follow your instincts and take the time you need to find your feet again. Thus I plan to withdraw from all types of social media linked with my writing for a little while. I need to escape it, remember why I miss it when it’s absent and rediscover my faith.

I will be back.
Don’t worry. Be safe. Stay true.
Write when you can,
And dream forever.

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10 responses to “I have lost my faith … (or why I’ve gone AWOL)

  1. Writing is a strange creature; it demands of you so much and often offers little in return. I have given up on writing and it in turn, has given up on me countless times over the last ten years. During this time I have felt worthless and hopeless all at the same time, simply believing that everything I write is rubbish. I sit and read it back to myself and think how poor it all is and that I should get another less demanding, more rewarding craving.

    Then, out of the blue I get an idea, an idea that I must do, an idea that keeps me up at night, makes me smile and I’m off writing again! What I realised was that I write for myself, it’s fulfilling and makes me a better person for having done it.

    What I also realised was that some forms of writing do not work for me; short stories, novels whilst others that I think I am good at like Plays I am, in retrospect not very good at. That said I simply go back to basics i.e. what do I enjoy, what makes the time fly? And for me that is comedy. So I try all forms of comedy: stand-up, sketches, radio, blogs, tv scripts, sit-com etc and every day is a new fresh adventure. I do NOT work to deadlines, I do NOt consider it work – more a joy.

    So, where is all this going? Cat, have your break from writing and when you come back and you surely will, do it for yourself simply because you enjoy it and it’s fulfilling for you.

    The mischievous little imp that sits on your shoulder will tell you when!

  2. You have to go with your gut. As you wrote above, pushing through isn’t always the answer. You’ll know when you’re ready to return, and when you do, you’ll be fresh and ready to embrace it.

  3. I have only recently come across your blog so sad to hear your news, but I can empathise with your situation as I’m going through something similar myself, following a short illness. Even though I’m now fully recovered, each day is a struggle to find the impetus to write. This in turn makes me feel guilty because it feels I am wasting precious time and further impedes my writing ability, resulting in a vicious circle of inaction. I hope, like you, that this situation will eventually rectify itself. Until that happens, may I wish you well in all you do.

  4. You have to follow your heart, Cat, and if it seems to be telling you that you’ve worked hard but you need to stand back for a while and recharge, there’s nothing wrong with that. The important thing is to take care of your whole self.

  5. When you return to your WiP you will see it through fresh eyes, which is always good. I’ve enjoyed following your progress though, so don’t stay away too long 🙂

  6. I’m in the same position. I called off writing while deployed because there genuinely wasn’t time for it. I didn’t have the mindspace to go out and capture new worlds, and bring them into reality.

    But now I’m back home, and I’ve got so many things competing for my time, including some important studying for a possible promotion at work, that writing fiction does not DEMAND out of me like it used to.

    I’m going to get back to it, but not now. It’s not the right time. I’ve gone dark on my social presence because I don’t want to get caught up in the guilt-storm of “HOW DARE YOU NOT WRITE!? WRITERS WRITE! FIX YOURSELF!”

    I don’t believe in that Kool-aid. I got into writing to express stories that no one else could write for me. And if I feel I cannot write those stories right now, then I’m not going to hate myself forcing it into reality.

  7. Cat, I’ve had these spells too. They never last long because the writer and the words are still there, they just need a short break, recharging the batteries.

    Go and do fun stuff, just for your own enjoyment.

    Then you’ll be back itching to write again…

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