Writing When You’re Not Writing and How to Use It

title image:
Writing when you're not writing & how to use it.

I hear you loud and clear, writing is arduous. That’s why it’s easier to wait for the muse to grant you with grace and verbability than to put your butt in the chair and just get some words down.

Truth Time

photo related to the text: an empty desk with a laptop on it, relaying the writer who can't get themselves to sit down and write
Photo by Andrea Davis on Pexels.com

I have some news for you though, friend: you are always writing. Whether you like it or not, and whether or not you are a writer. You are always writing.

Every breath you take, every move you make, you are writing you.

We are who we present to the world. We are in constant calculation of how we are going to come across, who we want to be, and how we express ourselves.

Consider the blog posts you write, the emails you scribe, the Instagram posts and Facebook comments you make, the texts you send—all of it is an act of writing in some way. You are producing the content that makes up you.

I’m Talking to You,
Non-Writing Writer

Not a writer? Well, first of all, welcome to this writing blog. Second of all, you are still writing, whether you like it or not.

I know a guy who is not on social media—in fact, he is avidly against social media—and he rarely, if ever, texts. Sometimes he writes emails and when he does, it is a test of endurance as he doesn’t know how to use the spacebar. Literally (also, this person is very dear to me, I’m not making fun of him, just using him as an example).

Photo related to the text: two people having a conversation because even just talking is writing our story
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This guy is also a writer. How he tells stories, that is, relaying his day to me, telling me about what he learned, sharing his opinions—all of it, is a form of writing. Whether he is physically putting pen to paper or fingers to keyboard, he is relaying a part of himself to a witness, and that witness will remember these conversations and experiences, and they may in turn, use it in their own writing.

Kind of like how I just did.

The point is, even how we express ourselves in conversation is a form of writing. After all, isn’t that what a Bard does? Relays stories to be passed along? One might call that Oral Writing, don’t you think?

Plot Twist

Whether he is physically putting pen to paper or fingers to keyboard, he is relaying a part of himself to a witness, and that witness will remember these conversations and experiences, and they may in turn, use it in their own writing.

Doesn’t that feel liberating? Think about how much you actually write, how you write it, and how it changes depending on what you’re writing or who you’re writing to. Isn’t that intriguing? You are not only writing, but you’re creating different character profiles depending on the person you’re talking to.


Oh yeah, the plot twist is that all this writing means that you are developing your own character sheet of yourself. Not only are you discovering your likes and dislikes through the life you’re living, but you are being shaped through your experiences. You’re seeing how you react to situations, as well as finding out how much control you have over those reactions.

Isn’t that exciting?

The cool thing is that, as a result, you are learning how to develop a character. You are the MC, the Main Character, in your own novel. What’s it like to be the silent observer in the back of your mind taking notes?

Try it out. Let the rest of us know how it went. Tell us in the comments Sharing is caring, and I think everyone here cares.

Your Homework

Now that you know you’re a writer, whether you like it or not, your homework is essentially to study yourself. There are two parts to your homework.

Part 1

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Spend time observing yourself without judgment. Take at least an hour at the end of each day, or several stolen moments throughout the day to reflect on yourself throughout the day. Consider:

  • Things you’ve said, no matter what it is – don’t focus and over analize or beat yourself up if you said something you don’t like, just record it.
  • How you reacted to conversations and situations. Did a car cut you off and you shouted at them? Did you laugh when a kid sneezed and bumped his head on a sneeze guard?
  • Your textual writing.

Don’t judge yourself. There is no room for judgement in this exercise. I cannot stress this enough. This is for intrigue, not criticism.

But go over text messages, social media posts and comments, blog posts, personal writing, conversations, etc.

Write a summary in each stolen moment or at the end of the day of the different ways you portrayed yourself as if you were writing a character.

Again, again, again: this is not an exercise in judgement, but just an exercise of curious observation.

Part 2

Pick a character that you feel is kind of flat that you’ve already created or create one from scratch. If they exist in the modern world, what form of social media do they prefer and how do they use it? If they exist in another time, what kinds of letters do they write, if they can write? How do they tell a story? Are they quick and to the point, or do they meander and waffle?

How do they communicate to their loved ones, their friends, their employer, their customers, their employees?

Develop a character purely through how they communicate, moving through the various forms of communication.

That’s it! That’s your homework!

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Writing when you're not writing and how to use it.
Writing is arduous. It's easier to wait for the must to grant you grace and verbability than to sit down and write. But I've got news for you. 
The background image is Deception Pass in Washington State

Published by

Nicola Thompson

Born and raised in the Pacific North West (Washington State to be specific), I'm currently living on a farm, raising chickens, and writing in North Yorkshire. A former editor of Durham University's online magazine, The Bubble, I also write for the magazine Carpe Nocturne, and have several short stories published in a variety of anthologies.

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