The Delicate Tension of Being a Writer



When you're a writer, you are always pulled to write.

If you're like me, and I fancy that you are, because we writers share odd (yet wonderful) traits, you're constantly thinking, I should be writing.  Or, I wish I was writing.  Or, why aren't I writing?

The pull of the story is always with us.  And that creates a constant tension in our lives.

Do you remember what it is like to live without this tension?  I don't.

Because the desire to find time to write colors every day.

I think this same tension is present in the lives of other creatives–artists and musicians and dancers.  It is the urge to create, the pull to make something from nothing, the yearning to put something of ourselves into the world.

My favorite line from The Artist's Way is something to the effect that we are most in God's image when we are creating, seeing as how He created the world.

And so even though I live my days with a constant undercurrent of tension, and somedays I think that life would be easier without it, I welcome it, because that tension causes the compulsion to create.

And without it, my life would be pretty damn dull.


PS–Please note the snappy new tagline.  Cool, huh?  I feel it is more in line with what this blog actually covers.  Also please note below my new effort to help you take the ideas discussed here and pull them into your own life.  I'd love to hear what you think of all this.

*Create a successful, inspired writing life: Sit in silence for a few minutes.  (Doesn't even have to be that long, trust me.) What's the tension in your creative life?  What is it calling you to create?

**Comments are welcome: do you feel a creative tension in your life?  How does it compel you to create?  Or is it a hindrance in any way?

***Don't forget to sign up for my free newsletter and Ebook!  Just fill out the form to the right.


Photo by _gee_.

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16 Responses to The Delicate Tension of Being a Writer

  1. Debbie Maxwell Allen 01/25/2012 at 19:45 #

    Well said! I think you’re right. The tension I feel spurs me to create. Without it, I’d probably get nothing done!

    By the way, I love your ebook. I’m planning to highlight it on my blog next Wednesday. I’ll let you know the link.


  2. Charlotte Dixon 01/25/2012 at 19:53 #

    Yeah, without the constant tension I’d lay on the couch and watch reruns of House Hunters International all day. Hey, thanks so much for the kind words about the ebook! Let me know the link and I’ll tweet it like crazy!

  3. Kyra Lennon 01/26/2012 at 00:24 #

    Oh, I know exactly what you mean! I am a freelance writer, so even when I’m not working on fiction, I’m always writing. This is good for me, but when I am earning a living, I can hear my novel begging me to work on it and it’s hard not to give in!

    I do enjoy the pull though. I love the buzz I get from it. It’s almost like that feeling when you get into a new relationship, and all you want to do is spend time with that person. The good news is, the creative pull doesn’t fade over time! 😀

  4. J.D. Frost 01/26/2012 at 05:07 #

    Great tag line, Charlotte, and spot on. Happy? Well, you might catch me that way at a moment when I’m not looking.

  5. Charlotte Dixon 01/26/2012 at 06:54 #

    J.D., thanks for chiming in on the tagline! And I bet we’d catch you happy at a moment when you’re writing.

  6. Charlotte Dixon 01/26/2012 at 07:00 #

    Kyra, I hear you–I’m exactly the same way, working on client projects with my novel calling me to come work on it. I love the days when I get a few minutes here and a few minutes there to write on it. And I agree, I love the pull. Can you even imagine life without it?

  7. Square-Peg Karen 01/26/2012 at 08:45 #

    Charlotte, the new tag line fits so well that I can’t even remember the old one – this one feels very organic.

    I’m not sure I ever thought about “the pull of the story” quite this way, and “the desire to find time to write colors every day” caused me to think about how full of color my days actually are. Thank you for this!

  8. Charlotte Dixon 01/26/2012 at 08:52 #

    Hi Karen, Thanks for the encouragement about the tag line. The other one was something along the lines of “fall in love with your writing, your life, and yourself.” Not quite as on target!

    So glad that this post helped you count your blessings!

  9. patricia of Patricias Wisdom 01/26/2012 at 17:54 #

    I feel guilty for not writing right now, but not tension to dive in…Since our big storm, I have been in rather a limbo and have been trying to figure things out.

    Confronting fear is an important work for me in 2012, I just feel like I need to get down to it and maybe that is why I am afraid to write – Duh!

    I like your taglines and just feel like they belong.

    Thank you for you comments on my blog about the storm. I appreciate you words
    and your ideas shared here – I need to read your last post about letting go- now

  10. Charlotte Dixon 01/26/2012 at 18:45 #

    Patricia, Confronting fear is HUGE work and requires lots of grounding. I’m wondering if journaling will help with that? I just got back to my journaling practice this morning and it is wonderful. Thanks for the good comments on my new tag line.

  11. Patrick Ross 01/27/2012 at 11:31 #

    I like your new tagline, it’s very holistic. Like Karen above I didn’t remember the old one, but I find it interesting you appear not to be able to recall it exactly; that’s probably a sign it wasn’t right! Of course, I have a bias here because I blog about living an art-committed life, and in my case that is through writing. But your blog’s existing focus in that area is probably one of the reasons I read it.

  12. Charlotte Dixon 01/27/2012 at 11:52 #

    Patrick, thanks for the thoughts on the tag line, and yes, you are correct–the fact I can’t remember it speaks volumes. I love your blog on the art-committed life, as you well know.

  13. Sue Mitchell 01/28/2012 at 21:14 #

    I do know the pull. One of my greatest frustrations is not having as much time as I’d like to write.

    I love Kyra’s analogy of the new relationship. Because the time I spend writing is often at the expense of time with my family, it can be a guilty pleasure, like a secret affair. But like an affair, if you really could have it all the time, you probably wouldn’t really want it as much (not that I’m an expert on secret affairs, LOL). If I had all the time in the world to write, you’re absolutely right that I’d lie on the couch and watch Frasier reruns instead.

  14. Charlotte Dixon 01/29/2012 at 07:58 #

    Sue, I love the idea of writing being a secret affair and that it is more alluring because of it. I’ve had days where I have the whole day ahead of me to write and instead I loll about–when we have a lot of time we take it for granted and tend to waste it. I guess I shouldn’t say “we” but rather “I” and not include everyone else in my bad habits! But all this brings up the point that if we start appreciating the time we have with our writing rather than regretting the fact we don’t have one, we’ll be happier campers. And more productive ones as well.

  15. Melissa Amateis Marsh 01/30/2012 at 10:24 #

    This is me. Every. Single. Day. I can’t remember a time when I didn’t feel compelled to write or be writing (I started writing seriously in the 6th grade and that was a LONG time ago!). The only time it goes away is if I feel really satisfied about the writing I did that day.

    I did, however, have the chance to have loads and loads of time to write when I stayed home with my daughter after she was born. Granted, I was taking care of a baby and two little stepsons, but I still had plenty of time. What did I do? I squandered it. Since I’ve been working full-time, I’ve written four complete novels and spend much more time writing than merely talking about it.

  16. Charlotte Dixon 01/30/2012 at 10:31 #

    You’re a kindred spirit, Melissa. I can’t remember a time when I didn’t feel compelled to write, either. And I love the point you make about how having less time can actually be a benefit–sounds like you are figuring out how to make it all work. Thanks for stopping by!

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