Writing Tip: Don’t Write

by Dish Staff

Overcoming writer’s block took years for Bill Hayes, who advises that “not writing can be good for one’s writing; indeed, it can make one a better writer” (NYT):

Then I woke one day, and a line came to me. It didn’t slip away this time but stayed put. I followed it, like a path. It led to another, then another. Soon, pieces started lining up in my head, like cabs idling curbside, ready to go where I wanted to take them. But it wasn’t so much that pages started getting written that made me realize that my not-writing period had come to an end. Instead, my perspective had shifted.

Writing is not measured in page counts, I now believe, any more than a writer is defined by publication credits. To be a writer is to make a commitment to the long haul, as one does (especially as one gets older) to keeping fit and healthy for as long a run as possible. For me, this means staying active physically and creatively, switching it up, remaining curious and interested in learning new skills (upon finishing this piece, for instance, I’m going on my final open-water dive to become a certified scuba diver), and of course giving myself ample periods of rest, days or even weeks off. I know that the writer in me, like the lifelong fitness devotee, will be better off.