The Writing Life

This year, I have written 7 journal articles, 40 articles for mainstream publications, 76 posts for this blog, 25 posts for the EFF blog, 54 posts for Global Voices, and two academic papers, to a total of 204 decently-sized pieces of writing. With an average length of say, 800 words, that comes to about 163,000 words written in 2011. That comes to an average of 446 written words per day, for what it’s worth, not counting, of course, emails (wouldn’t it be great if Google had a search for that?). Definitely my most prolific year yet.

Of course, ever since I could talk, I’ve wanted to write. I won the children’s award in my hometown newspaper’s Christmas poetry contest when I was just six, sparking an acute awareness that I was skilled with the written word. Much later, I would realize that, while certainly skilled, my real talents lie in how quickly I put pen to paper, and how rapidly my ideas flow…if the latter can truly be considered a talent, anyway.

But I’m exhausted. You wouldn’t know it, perhaps, by the fact that I’m procrastinating on finishing up a journal article by writing yet another (my 77th this year!) blog post, but I am exhausted, from my brain down to the worn tips of my fingernails. I’m experiencing unprecedented writer’s block, the inability to spell properly (a problem I’ve never in my twenty-nine years encountered), and a profound sense of déjà vu every time I sit down to yet another assignment on the Arab Spring.

With that, I’m done. Not forever, mind you, and not entirely, as I have contracts and obligations that don’t allow me to take real breaks. But I’m finished, at least for 2011, when it comes to taking on extraneous writing assignments. I’m going to learn–fast–to say no, so that rather than sitting home on a beautiful Sunday afternoon, missing yet another party/barbecue/shopping trip, I can revive the social life I once had…as well as my own writing-weary spirit that’s cruising ever-so-closely to burnout.

2012, hopefully, will bring with it new excitement, new movements, and new things to revive my writer’s passion. Until then, au revoir articles on the impact of social media on the Arab Spring; hello, outdoors!

6 replies on “The Writing Life”

Since I started blogging (properly) and volunteering for various sites and campaigns early last year, I’ve been writing practically non-stop. And you’re right, it’s exhausting (doesn’t really help that I don’t get paid either, so I have to work some more to actually have food). Especially when I write an article on the death penalty now – it feels like I’m just a churn machine on that issue, and it’s just a matter of paraphrasing myself. Not the best thing.

I used to LOVE writing. But lately it’s felt like more of a job than anything else. I’m trying to write articles for my site, and it feels like I’m hitting a wall.

Suppose I should just take a few days off.

@Jen Reading has always been one of my favorite forms of relaxation ( with sport).
When you’re trying to refresh your ideas, the trick is to read something completely different or to g for a walk.

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