The topic today is something quite close to my heart, and I assume it's pretty close to the heart of many a writer. It's a close cousin to the Blank Page phenomenon and the dreaded My Muse is Away on Holiday blues.
Today, we're going to look at 10 Things about Not Writing.
Fact #1: Not Writing is Easy Peasy
Not Writing is one of the easiest things, ever. So easy even babies can do it, and most of the world practices it as regularly as sleeping. A lot of people can do it and still consider themselves experts on not Not Writing.
Fact #2: Not Writing is good for your Stomach
Writers, or at least all writers I know personally, drink a lot of caffeine and/or eat unhealthy things. Who wants to get up and cook a healthy, vegetable-based meal when Mr Muse is FINALLY speaking to them? Why would we want to succumb to something so unnecessary and time-consuming as sleep when the pen is verily flying over the paper (or the fingers tip-tip-tipping over the keyboard)? Seriously, that's what coffee was invented for, right? Which means that NOT WRITING probably involves a lot less caffeine and regular, fresh-cooked meals rather than the odd vitamin pill...
Fact #3: Not Writing is likely to cause Spontaneous Creative Acts
When you're Not Writing, be prepared for a sudden urge to paint (try to stick to canvass, paper or whiteboards - family members and room mates tend to frown on wall-painting) (if you have little kids, though, you could make it a family activity and hang an empty frame around the best pictures), or perhaps burst into song somewhere other than in the privacy of the shower or in the car (I always sing along to the radio when I'm in my car, which is perhaps a side effect of how much I've Not Been Writing lately) (in fact, I'm certain that's the reason I sing along to the radio).
Fact #4: Not Writing is Good for the Environment
It saves on paper, which we all know also saves trees (unless you use recycled paper, in which case it just saves paper, or you only write on the computer, in which case it saves electricity), and it saves on pens and ink, which is indubitably good for reducing the amount of rubbish we leave behind.
Fact #5: Not Writing is good for your Social Media Presence
Because really, who needs to write anything at all when you can keep your communications with the rest of the world to Status Updates and 140-sign sentences? If you doubt the fact that your whole life can be expressed in 140 signs, check out the wonderful Twitterature: The World's Greatest Books in Twenty Tweets or Less - even bestsellers and classics can be summed up in Twitter speak! Why do we bother with things like paragraphs and chapters?
(Do go ahead and read Twitterature, it's a hoot)
Fact #6: Not Writing will make you Popular
With all the time you save by Not Writing, you can go have coffee with your friends (instead of sitting there with your ever-present notebook, writing down snippets of conversations or a scathing commentary on the world in general), or go volunteer for a charity (which you probably do anyway but now you can leave the notebook behind), or perhaps go visit your grandma/grandpa/favourite aunt/uncle (without pestering them to tell you that story, one more time).
Fact #7: Not Writing will let you Catch up on All Your Favourite TV Series
Like I said, Not Writing saves you time - you can now make time for that Breaking Bad Marathon Session you've been wanting to organise, and you won't be tempted to press pause every five minutes to pet that plot bunny that just hopped by (if you have an actual pet, feel free to pet it - that would also count as Not Writing) (if your pet is a fish or similar water-dwelling creature, make sure you dress appropriately before trying to pet it) (if your pet is a merman or selkie, try to remember you're NOT WRITING and get rid of that pesky plot bunny).
Fact #8: Not Writing is good for Commerce
When you're Not Writing, you suddenly have time for things like shopping, both online and at the local mall/high street/shopping centre. Think of it as spending time (and money earned doing Not Writing things) supporting the local economy. You could almost say it's community service...
Fact #9: Not Writing is good for your Sporting Ambitions
When you're Not Writing, Not Watching TV and Not Supporting the Local Economy, you can start training for that Half-/Ultra-/Normal Marathon you've always wanted to do. Or you can run the Wings of Life World Run, which is what I did...
Fact #10: Not Writing is the most Difficult Thing A Writer Can Do
And lastly, here's the truth of it. Not Writing is the most difficult thing a writer can do, because it goes against everything he is, everything he wants and needs. Not Writing goes against the grain. If you're a writer who practices Not Writing, you will probably suffer from a whole list of symptoms.
You may have trouble falling asleep because the stories you're not writing play like a film on the back of your eyelids.
Your fingers could itch whenever you even see a pen, a phantom pain that gets worse over time.
It could be that you start disliking your laptop, because every time you see the file titled "Writing" on your desktop, you feel like someone stomped on your heart and you're bleeding ink into your stomach cavity.
You may spend ages rummaging through your handbag or checking all your coat pockets to find that notebook you always used to carry around.
You suddenly have an oversupply of post-its and a very empty cork board/white board over your desk, and you're not sure why.
You may also find yourself buying notebooks, even if you don't use them because you're Not Writing, and watch the stack of them grow almost organically until they cover your entire desk like mould.
Not Writing is like a part of your soul is moulding away, like an essential part of you is being bleached out by a merciless sun until only a faint shadow remains.
Don't be like me and let that happen, because if you truly are a writer, Not Writing is painful as hell.