#IWSG September – Writing and Apathy


For the #IWSG folks visiting today, in my last posts here and here, I talked about apathy as it affects me as a writer.

I’ve been hit by a sort of burnout, and I’m in a position where I want to write, I even know what I want to write, and have a plan laid out, but – no motivation. Poof, gone – the drive to write (or else) isn’t coming.

I wondered in my last post if writers are any more prone to such burnouts than other professions. Well, I don’t think so, necessarily. You hear about teacher burnout all the time, and lots of people quit decent, well-paying jobs because they just can’t take it anymore.

I wrote about the paradoxes of writing that affect me now:

I have to write about other people facing problems and living their lives, but I’m shy and awkward around real people.

I have to get exercise and eat healthy food, both of which are imposing tasks to someone who needs to sit down and write, dammit.

I have to travel, explore new places and see new things to fuel my fiction, but I have a family and a tight budget.

I also saw articles like this:


It’s clear that there is indeed a big risk of depression among writers, but I’m not so sure it’s clinical depression that I’m feeling. I’ve been depressed before, been on both Prozac and Zoloft. This … doesn’t feel like that. It’s not a crushing despair, it’s more like emotional procrastination. I’m putting it off, I’m pushing it back, and I can’t bring myself to care about writing as much as I did when I started this site.

Can anyone reading this relate?

Do you know this kind of apathy I’m talking about? It shares some symptoms with depression, and could be linked to depression, but it’s not quite as severe – it’s more just loss of emotional investment in writing or other passions.

I’m still exploring this, but will post more this month as I figure out what it is I’m actually dealing with and how I’ll work out some solutions.


11 comments on “#IWSG September – Writing and Apathy

  1. Sorry to hear you’re feeling flat, for lack of a better word. I have no magic cure or diagnosis, but I want you to know you’re not alone. Writing is damn hard. Hang in there.
    all the best,

  2. I think artistic people in general are more prone to depression and related types of mental illnesses, though writers seem to be struck particularly hard. It’s just in the way we look at the world, or maybe we’re more sensitive.

    Personally I often get stuck in a rut when I have lots of ideas and find myself jumping from project to project and then suddenly freeze up because I can’t focus on just one. I can’t decide what to work on and I feel like I’m not making progress on anything and that’s what gets me down. Feeling bad doesn’t usually preclude me from writing, but NOT writing always makes me feel lousy.

    IWSG September

  3. I can totally relate. I fight this problem constantly. I’m being kinder to myself these days and not beating up on myself. I think back to when my first novel came out. I was so energetic. And just look at what Alex accomplishes. Which proves we can’t measure our success by someone else’s.

  4. elsieamata says:

    My writing “bug” ebbs and flows with what time of year it is. During the winter months, I’m prone to write more because it’s cold outside. I hate the cold. During the summer, not so much. I want to be out there enjoying the warm air, so I write less, I lose the urge to write, I’m less inspired. But I don’t think that’s what you’re experiencing. I hope it passes soon.

    co-host IWSG

  5. I can relate. I hit a wall and can’t seem to get by it. Not necessarily a plot problem – just don’t want to sit down and continue. Would rather clean the bathroom. Hang in though – the blahs do foade and creativity surges in.

  6. Debbie Johansson says:

    I’ve been in a similar situation myself lately, and can relate to your three paradoxes. I’m guilty of putting too much pressure on myself towards publication, but I’m learning to ease back a bit to remind myself I write because I enjoy it. The ideas are there, I just need to learn to love the process. I hope you find your way through this soon.

  7. aandj8804 says:

    I’ve definitely felt like that before.Someone once told me to just write anyway – even if it doesn’t make any sense, sounds stupid, and is far from your best work. Write though it. Of course, what you may need is a break from writing altogether. (I know – super helpful comment.)

    Hopefully you’ll find your writing rhythm again, sooner rather than later. Just listen to your body and work through this as best you can. 🙂

  8. I can relate. I have found that because I enjoy photography that sometimes when I am burned out on writing, if I pick up the camera and go on a drive, that I find something interesting to shoot. From that sometimes comes creative ideas to blog about. Blogging sometimes leads to me thinking more creatively about my fiction writing. One of my friends mentioned when they get stuck within a plot, to begin asking “what if this happened?” And, “what if that happened” to hopefully open up a few doors to thinking about the story or idea in a different way. When all else fails, chocolate is helpful 😉 Keep up the good work! http://www.dianeweidenbenner.com

    • TCC Edwards says:

      Good advice! And good IWSG post on your site!

      It’s difficult to carve out those little bits of time, isn’t it? It’s worth it though!

      I always carry around my little notebook, and I bring it out at breaks. Sure, most times I just sit there with my pen hovering above the page until my time’s up, but sometimes I write – and I’m always glad I tried.

      Hang in there!

  9. I actually don’t think writers an creatives are more prone to depression and mental illness. I think they’re less supported by the non-creative communities around them than people in careers with more tangible (and immediate rewards.) In other professions, the people around you see good things happening, and point them out–or they can recognize a downward shift. If you’re a used car salesman, there’s no doubt whether you’ve sold a Ford Pinto–the dealership writes it down, congratulates you, sends you your commission. Writing has much less visible achievements, and most people don’t get “hey, I got a rejection letter that said some really nice things” IS an accomplishment, so they’re commiserating, when they should be celebrating with you.

  10. TCC Edwards says:

    I just wanted to say thank you to everybody who has replied. I have been visiting your sites and leaving short replies to your IWSG posts!

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