On June 11, 2012 people of the Twitterverse joined us in sharing their reasons for what we declared as National Why I Don’t Write Day. Aaron Zimmerman kicked off the conversation by blogging about his own struggles with writing his second novel. Zimmerman, the founder and Executive Director of NY Writers Coalition, wrote honestly about his challenges with balancing the demands of running a nonprofit and finding time for his writing life: “My own writing has often had to take a back seat to others’ creativity.”
Elissa Goldstein of Electric Literature offered one reason that might keep hands too busy to get words to the page: “Maybe you just spent half an hour perched on the bathroom sink plucking your eyebrows because you’re afraid of failure.”
The writer and Robert Redford Obsessionist Patricia Berry blogged a list of things that “muffle the keyboard,” which included “throwing not unimportant (but nor are they usually immobile) objects and tasks in the path of pages.” And the writing and mindfulness teacher Emily Herzlin recorded her reaction to the blinking cursor: “The blank page makes me confront the fact that I am not clairvoyant and I don’t like that.”
We’re grateful to everyone who participated yesterday and we hope this encourages people to talk honestly about both the challenges and joys of writing. After hearing everyone else’s struggles, I felt more motivated to confront my own. I know that I’m not really alone, but that there’s a community of people who know exactly how terrifying – and liberating – the act of writing can be. It takes courage to create. And it takes courage to reveal your vulnerabilities, which is ultimately what we do when we write.
Of course as a community writing organization, that’s exactly our aim – to create the space for people of all experiences and backgrounds to come together and write where every word is an act of courage.
You can learn more about our community workshops here and if you need the support of others to face your writing fears, sign up for the 7th Annual Write-a-Thon, where we’ll collectively stare down the blank page. Though writing itself may be a “solitary occupation,” you can join a roomful of others writing against reason(s). Like a marathon or walk-a-thon, Write-a-thon participants find folks to sponsor them for a full day of writing. The funds raised will help us keep leading writing workshops in communities throughout New York.
To see what keeps other people from the page, check out the top 20 tweets from yesterday’s chat and you can follow (or still join) the conversation by searching #whyidontwrite on Twitter.
Top 20 Tweets from #whyidontwrite