Missing My Compulsion

Things have calmed down a bit this week. I’ve had some time to write. The problem is, I haven’t wanted to.

I have a long list of post ideas, but I can’t seem to get excited about writing any of them.

I tried to force myself to write a post that has been bouncing around in my head for about a month. It didn’t end well.

It’s weird, not wanting to write. It’s usually, quite literally, a compulsion, and when that compulsion is gone, and there isn’t even a vague desire taking its place, I start to feel panicky. What does it mean? What if I never want to write again? I ignore these thoughts, pick up a good book, or open FB, or turn on the TV, and go about my day.

It could be said that I’m reading an interesting piece of fiction.

It could be mentioned that I found an awesome new Spanish language series on HBO and have to give it all my attention to understand.

It could be posited that there simply isn’t enough time, especially now that I’ve recognized the very real, and very negative effects of the 4-5 hours of (usually broken) sleep I’ve grown accustomed to, and have started falling into bed the minute I’ve left my daughter’s room.

It could be suggested that, during the beginning of the trimester, when three classes worth of plans need to be prepared for, I can’t spend half an hour before school writing a blog post.

There are plenty of reasons I could give (you all, and myself) for why I’m not writing, but the truth is I could find the time. I could put down the book. I could set aside the TV show. I could write. That is what I usually do. I write even though there are a hundred more pressing obligations. I write because there are a hundred more pressing obligations, but writing compels me in ways dish washing and laundry folding and paper grading (and even book reading and TV watching) don’t.

But that being compelled? It just isn’t there. I’d rather put on Girls and grade papers. I’d rather curl up on my bed with an honest-to-god, paperback book. I’d even rather put in my earbuds and load the dishwasher (even though that’s not my job!).

Just writing this post has required three attempts. Clearly, something is just not there right now.

And it makes me wonder what it is, what invisible force usually compels me. It makes me wonder where it went, and it if will ever be back.

I’m not freaking out. Not yet. I assume it will return. And in the meantime I’m cutting myself some slack, because really, there is no reason for me to write. I do feel obligations to the people who read me, but I don’t feel delinquent in meeting those obligations, at least not yet. And I know that if I ever had to bow out of my unwritten agreement with all of you, you’d accept my reasons graciously.

Much more graciously than I would accept them myself.

So I guess I’m taking a break. I’m not sure if it will be a long, protracted silence or a short jaunt away. I don’t know if it will be peppered with sporadic posts, or marked by a complete absence. I don’t know when my muse will return, but I’m not going to go knocking on doors trying to find her. She knows where I live.

See you all on the other side.

{Post Script. I DO want to keep responding to comments and I know I’ve been spotty about that. I plan to get caught up this weekend and stay caught up. I apologize for my absence in my own comment section. I will remedy that presently.}

What compels you to write? Does the urge ever go away? Do you push through when it’s gone, or just stop writing for a while?


  1. I shall miss you.
    But, I support you.
    Pause, refresh, rest.
    Please do let us know however if the pause becomes permanent … because it would be appreciated to know and not worry.
    For now, rest and rejuvenate.

    1. I will absolutely let you know if the pause becomes permanent. I would never leave you all hanging (and my husband has my log-in information and knows one of his responsibilities if I can’t post myself is to update all of you. 😉 )

    2. Also, thank you for your support. I’ll laugh when I’m back this Monday, refreshed and ready to write. 😉

  2. I’ve struggled with the question of whether I was Done blogging, and for now I’ve come to the conclusion that I’ll write when I want to write and not worry about maintaining any particular frequency.

    I remember Essie (The Accidental Mommy) announced once that she’d no longer be writing any general life updates posts, but we should leave her in our readers because she’d be back if she really had anything to say. And she has been, and I really like knowing that that’s exactly what’s going on.

    1. I haven’t gotten to the point of struggling to know if I’m DONE blogging, but write now I just can’t seem to bring myself to write. I have been writing much less frequently on this blog than I did on my previous blog, but that has had more to do with managing two kids and a full time job (with my weird schedule) than not wanting to write. Usually I really want to write, I just don’t have time. But lately I have really had no desire to write. I kind of actively don’t want to write. And I guess I just needed to write about not wanting to write. Haha. I’m so meta. 😉

      But I wonder all the time how and why I will eventually stop blogging. Will I still be writing somewhere when I’m 70? When I stop, how I will look back on these years and what I wrote? It’s definitely something I think about.

  3. Go refresh (I would say relax, but…I know you’re not doing that), and I bet it will return. You’ve been the most consistent blogger I’ve read, I can’t imagine keeping up with your blogging schedule without needing a break. I do what Deborah does and just write when I feel like it (which isn’t often), but I like having the OPTION of writing.

  4. Yep. I just came off that same kind of hiatus, where my everyday needs overwhelmed the few things I wanted but didn’t feel compelled to write about. It happens, and I think you need to work on keeping your head above water for now. I’ll come back, and when it does… we’re here too.


  5. I know how you feel. I haven’t felt like writing for a long time, even before I became pregnant and was too tired and sick to do anything but fall in bed once the kids were asleep. I really hope my desire returns, and I hope yours does too.

  6. I had a few years where I wrote nothing and had zero interest in writing and actually couldn’t write any fiction or memoir for a writing class I took. It was weird. It was a lot of writing about how I just couldn’t get motivated to write. I’m glad it ended but kind of sad that it took so long so I have this gap in my chronicling of things.

    Take your time, we will be here eventually when you are back.

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