A Few Current Writing Thoughts (aka, When the Pump Dries)

Last week, I participated in Laura Tremaine’s #10thingstotellyou hashtag on Instagram. I did it entirely for fun, because the topics seemed fun and because I didn’t really have anything else on the horizon I wanted to specifically post there.

Turns out, it was just the thing I needed to remember how much I love writing. Who knew?

I call myself a writer. When someone asks what I do, I say, “I’m a writer” — not a podcaster, not a course creator, not even an entrepreneur or business owner. My first career-themed identity involves my books, not the thing I actually spend most of my working hours focused on.

I’ve been thinking about this for several months, actually; I’ve been “working on a novel” for most of this year, yet I’ve hardly gotten any writing done. By the time I spend my week getting out podcast episodes, sharing bonus secret episodes with my patrons, prepping for the class I teach, and generally Doing What One Does via a screen (social media, email, etc.)… come Friday, I’m too spent to have any time working on my book.

This is the thing I want to accomplish most right now, yet it’s the thing that gets the least amount of my work-related attention. Interesting.

I work full-time, and it’s almost exclusively on non-writing things these days. The slide into this rhythm was entirely unintentional, and this recent otherwise-silly Instagram challenge helped me see why: because I’ve gotten out of the habit of regular writing.

I’ve mentioned before here on the blog that I’d gotten burned-out on blogging. I decided to take a blogging break, which turned into a year off. I’ve almost exclusively shared only contributing writers’ and guest writers’ posts since last summer, and have personally mostly published podcast episodes.

The break was refreshing at first. At about six months ago, I confessed privately to colleagues that I missed blogging, but I still didn’t do anything about it. But add another six months, and here’s what I am: my lack of regular writing has officially affected my book writing, the thing I care about most.

It’s like the pump to my well has gotten dry from lack of use. Blogging keeps my pump primed.

So, it’s for this main reason that I plan to start blogging here again. That, and I also miss interacting here on the site directly — Instagram is great for community, but it’s not the same as keeping it in-house (I’ve got a piece on this specific thing I’m working on; I’ll share it soon).

I still won’t publish a ton (I don’t want to burn out again), but I am ready to be more regular here. From what you’ve told me in your emails, social media comments, and in-person, you miss me writing here, too.

We’ve got some fun changes on the horizon, and I can’t wait to share them with you! We’ve actually added another staff member on board with AoS, and she’s fantastic. More on her soon, but fingers crossed, her presence will help us respond better to your submissions and requests. She’ll also help us publish stuff I’m genuinely excited about!

In the meantime… hooray for regular writing again! I look forward to getting back to this habit.

Is there a beloved habit of yours you’ve let grow dusty, too? I’d love to hear.

Top photo by General Photographic Agency/Getty Images

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3 minutes

 

 

 

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22 Comments

  1. Seana Turner

    Blogging does give us good ideas for books. I find all of my different interests can turn into blog posts. I co-host a Minimalism Meet-up once a month, and preparing for our last session has given me fodder for next week’s post. Writing helps me clarify my thinking.

    Reply
  2. Amanda Waters

    My piano and cello playing has gotten rusty and I miss it! I used to play with our church worship band, and it kept me disciplined. Since moving I have no external accountability; and since having tiny children, it’s just one of those things I let go.

    Reply
    • Tsh Oxenreider

      I hope you find a way to get back to your music at some point, Amanda!

      Reply
    • Jill Foley

      As a note of encouragement…I was in a similar situation. To top it off, we moved and I lost all my students. And then we kept moving. And then I started homeschooling. But now my girls are 12 and 13 and I’m in a community orchestra. Which means I’m practicing every day and finding myself through music again. I’m so grateful the season of “not playing” is over.

      Reply
  3. Hannah

    Yes! This post was so encouraging. Mine is music as well. I love playing piano and singing and while singing Raffi songs and random songs around the house with my kids is super fun (😅) it doesn’t quite refresh my soul like sitting down at a piano and singing worship songs does! Gotta do it! Thanks for the nudge!✨🎵

    Reply
    • Tsh Oxenreider

      Get to it, Hannah! 🙌🏻

      Reply
  4. Aimee

    I’d love to get back into the habit of cooking at home regularly. Since I started working evenings outside the home last year plus homeschooling 2 kids this fall, our dinners have been rushed and on the go more than I’d like. Your post is reminding me how much I love to cook and how much joy it gives me to be able to prepare fresh, sustaining meals for my family. There’s something about the quiet simplicity of baking bread, cooking soup, washing dishes that gives me such a sense of mindful presence. I need to find a way to work more cooking back into my weekly rhythm.

    Reply
    • Tsh Oxenreider

      Oh goodness, I completely understand this, Aimee. I hope you find a way to carve out more time for this, since it’s something you enjoy… 🙂

      Reply
  5. Stephanie Wilbur

    I was so excited to see this post!

    I miss listening to podcasts (including yours!)…I don’t know when or why I stopped…I guess this post made me realize that it’s been awhile and I miss it!

    Reply
    • Tsh Oxenreider

      Well, I’m just honored when anybody reads or listens to anything of mine — so thank you, Stephanie!

      Reply
  6. Bethany

    Get those juices flowing again! Good for you!

    Reply
  7. Holly

    I’ve been happily exploring new topics and writers that you introduced me to, but definitely have missed your blog posts! Also very appreciative of your sharing your thoughts on recapturing what you miss, because I’ve unintentionally put into stasis one of my dreams, first because I was focused elsewhere but more recently because my life has been rejiggered by a new job, new church community and new serving. Your “pump priming” concept is just what I need to make a fresh start at journaling regularly with a goal of creating a blog. Just for fun, and a creative outlet. I can’t wait to read what’s next! And btw, love the streamlined podcast (singular)!

    Reply
  8. Regina

    My tennis racket. I love being outside on a beautiful day, getting some exercise, chatting with my partner on rest breaks. My husband and I played regularly until we starting having kids. Now our three kids are out of the baby/toddler stage, I’d love to get back into playing.

    Glad you’ll be writing here again. I’m happy with whatever pace works for you.

    Reply
  9. Guest

    I’m thrilled you will be blogging again! Gosh, I’ve had so many things I’ve let lie dormant over the years. A number of years ago, I began taking piano lessons again and it was good for my soul. I ultimately stopped the lessons but I started playing in church again and now play almost every day at home and am trying to play once a month or so at church (still makes me nervous!). Taking up new things I’ve learned is a big part of who I am. Learner is in my top 10 Strengths (Gallup Strengths) and I find I’m happiest learning new things. Recently engaged the services of a young man to teach me to play chess. Something I’ve always wanted to learn but never have. When we were first married, I took Italian lessons. I’ve also taken a course in beekeeping, learned to make tile mosaics, and a host of other things that probably seem pretty silly to others but oh, how rich they’ve made my life!

    Reply
  10. Sharon

    So glad you’ll be back writing!!

    Reply
  11. Patty

    I have dropped the habit of playing the piano for the enjoyment of it. In my teen years it was an important stress reliever. My Mom used to say that when I began playing the octave chords of the theme from “Born Free”, she just left me alone ’til I stopped. I still play on Sundays at Church, but most of the selections need little practice anymore. Yet, I don’t have a good reason for dropping something that brings me joy, just for the fun of it. Maybe it is time to find a copy of “Born Free”.

    Reply
  12. Ryann

    Yay! I love your writing!

    Reply
  13. Cheryl Hughes

    Thanks, Tsh, for reminding me to get back to what I love, and thanks to your commenters to remind me about music. Right now I am a care-giver to my husband with advanced Parkinson’s Disease, and I have begun to blog. I’m really a retired mathematics teacher, so who knew I could write! But with encouragement from my caregiver support group, I began blogging once a week about 9 months ago. It is a great outlet for me.
    I think we should write because we have something to say, and it is an honor to be able to encourage others.
    Again, thanks for encouraging me. I’m going to play the piano TODAY!

    Reply
  14. Nadene

    I’m glad to read that you’re going to blog again! I love your insights and encouragement here!
    I miss my ballet, aerobic, Pilates and dance classes since we moved to a very remote mountain farm. This has been a long season … 10 years now … and somehow doing yoga daily keeps my muscles and joints mobile, but it lacks the buzz that a dance and exercise class produces! Still, I am grateful to find time to do some meaningful movement daily.
    Whenever we visit our previous home town, I pack in my ballet pumps and kit and join a class, which I love, but then the “missing” kinda aches inside for weeks afterward. I have learnt to trust the Lord with these feelings and find simple ways to be faithful to the passion He has placed in me. Who knows, we might start a farmer’s wives’ dance and exercise class here in our neighborhood one day!

    Reply
  15. Meredith Cox

    I’m so excited to hear this! It’s amazing how much distance we’ll put between us and the things we need when they start to feel like a chore. I had the same realization during the #10thingstotellyou challenge. In three months, my friends will be asking me about my writing and I’m hoping to have lots to share. I’ll look forward to reading more of your wonderful work again and I pray it fills your heart in new ways!

    Reply

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