The Hiding Place of the Will to Write

Dear Will to Write (hereafter known as WTW),

I am writing to you (get the irony?) because we don’t seem to understand each other very well nowadays. For months our relationship has been rocky.

I am sorry that I deserted you after you gave me so much. Like all the cherished things in my life, you were quashed by depression.

I hardly knew you, WTW, in the early days of this cruel illness taking hold. I confess I didn’t want to. It was too painful to think about you. The memory of how you have been with me nearly all my life (albeit subconsciously) was too much to bear.

The reflections upon how we started this writing gig in earnest this year; churning out a first draft of a novel, writing short stories, and starting this blog, threatened to slay me.

Like a mourner in denial, I had to pretend that you didn’t exist for self-preservation. If you were never there in the first instance, then your absence could not grieve my heart.

Despite this, I felt your presence even then. Through the murkiness of the oppressive cloud that surrounds me, you nudged ever so gently with ideas and inclinations to write.


I failed you every time and I confess that on occasion I have hated you. I felt like you were mocking me for what I was once capable of doing, and taunting me that I just can’t do it now.

The Will to Read (WTR) was exiled at the same time as you. I hope she kept you good company in the interim. I missed you both desperately.

You are a team and now I’ve broken you up. I am in a paradox of being pleased that WTR is back, but I still cannot let you fully back in. You scare me.

I take heart in that WTR is seeing me through. Words are still present in my life as long as I can read. Reading is saving me.

With a book I can enter other worlds and temporarily  not have to take part in the one I have been dubiously bestowed. I am grateful to other writers who have privileged me with this escape within their words. If only I could formulate more of my own.

6358494852468986221507206941_headerI miss my imagined worlds.

I miss my words.

I miss you, WTW.

I am sure that those who read my blog posts are scratching their heads and thinking, ‘But she’s written this so surely she has not lost her WTW?’

Oh how I wish I could say to them that I still have ‘it’, the whole WTW shebang. I don’t.

Readers of this blog do not know that the only thing I write every week is this blog post. I have not written, revised or edited any fiction for nearly three months. I know that is the way it must be whilst I am going through this depression nightmare, but I detest it.

I battle with you, WTW, every Monday onward. I publish a post and then the fear strikes my heart like a steely cold hammer. The anxiety taunts me: ‘Can I write another post?’, ‘I don’t have any ideas’, ‘My readers will hate the next one because it won’t be good enough’ and so on and on…

WTW, let’s be positive for a moment. For the last few months you have enabled me to write a post every week. Somehow, and only with your tenacity to be recognised, have I produced something in time for Monday.

There have been people who have commented on how they have enjoyed the writing. I should see this as a win. I see it as your victory, WTW, not mine.

The relentless negativity mill that churns up what was once a strong, resolute mind for writing, tells me I am failing. It sneers that I am no friend of yours.

Occasionally I see you as the enemy. You seduce me and offer ideas for fiction pieces when you know I cannot make them a written reality. I let you down every time.

I try to capture the ideas, but they sieve through my mind like sandy grains of amnesia. The fatigue, in mind and body, renders even tapping these keys exhausting.

Aspects of your wider world also hurt me. I despair when I see another blog post about how I should be writing every day and following all the writing rules. I avoid them now as I often end up feeling like a failure.

I cannot attend the writer’s group I used to be part of. I am aiming to get back to it given time as they are such a supportive and encouraging group of people. Right now though, they have the WTW.  I am barely scratching the surface. I would feel like a fraud in their presence. I know they would not judge me as such, but whilst you are so far away, WTW, I feel far removed from other writers’ ability to know you.

WTW, I acknowledge you. One day I hope you will forgive me and come back in like a whirlwind and we can resume this heady love affair we started.

I miss the fire in my heart to write.

I yearn for the highs of exciting ideas popping into my head.

I am heartbroken that words have become obstacles rather than stepping stones.

WTW I miss you.

healing-the-grieving-heart-graphicThis is not writer’s block. I cannot sit down in a grumpy hump with other writers about this thing we all face that soon passes. That ‘block’ can be kicked out of the way given a little space and a boot up the arse.

This is not writer’s block. This is mental illness killing my mental capacity. This is depression depressing my writing ability. This is darkness hiding the joys of what gave me purpose. This is sucking the will out of WTW.

I wrote this. People will probably tell me that’s a win. I don’t feel like I’m winning at all. Every day, knowing you are out there WTW, and I cannot quite reach you, is agony.

Come home soon WTW and patch up this damaged writing heart.

I miss you.

In fragile hope,


About Lisa Sell

Lisa Sell is a fiction writer. When she's not wrestling with words she can be found showing the love for chocolate, cheese, coffee, books, the cats, and the husband. Perhaps not in that order.

36 comments on “The Hiding Place of the Will to Write

  1. Oh Lisa, this is so beautifully written! You have done so well to keep writing every week, and I think just take it as it comes. If you have something to say in time for Monday, then go for it, if you don’t, then you don’t. You have made tremendous progress and headway in your writing habits and your author ‘platform’. You’ve started a blog, kept at it regardless of your health troubles, you’ve written a book and short stories, and planned another book! perhaps you do just need a rest and the words and the will will begin to flow again once you’ve had this. Did you, by any chance, read Mike’s blog about the will to write? Well, it was a similar subject about how his will and passion and drive to write differs from others, and it sometimes makes him feel like a fraud, but as long as he is enjoying writing, he will keep doing it. I think it comes and goes, and as you know I have had years without writing, so don’t panic too much. It does and it will come back. You’re doing the right thing by reading lots too! That’s how I got my will and drive back again, by reading great books that just made me want to write again! Please don’t feel you can’t come to group because of this either. Not everyone is flowing with creativity all of the time, and I am sure the others will understand your will to write going awol, and will have experienced this too. Perhaps it is a topic we could discuss! Lots of love to you, as always.

  2. Thank you Chantelle. I haven’t read Mike’s post but I certainly will now!

    Thank you for noting my progress in your comment. Sometimes you need an outside voice to give you some clarity in what you have achieved.

    I am finding that writing a blog post every Monday is both a blessing and a curse. I am stubborn though so I will keep persevering!

    I will be back with you all in the group as soon as I can. There are other depression-related factors involved but I will return! xx

  3. I understand your struggle. I have been there. What you have here is good though. An outlet for those horrid feelings. Art can heal! I hope you continue on. And if you ever just need to talk to someone who has been there please contact me.

    1. Thank you. Whilst I would never wish this upon another person, it helps to know I’m not alone in this.Thanks for taking the time to comment and offering support. I really appreciate it.

  4. Oh Lisa, I ache for you and all I can offer is what I do or what happens to me when I feel I should write but I just don’t want to. I read. And if I find a book which consumes me I find myself, unconsciously writing in my head the next bit of the book I am working on. It happened to me last night. I had got to a really exciting bit in the book I was reading but had to put it down and before I knew it I had the next section of my book, 2,000 words, written. Then I read what I had done, thought it was pretty good and went back to the book I was reading, happy.

    1. Thanks so much Ian. Thankfully I am able to read again and I do find the writing head whirring a little as I read. I’ve never considered writing around what I read before but I certainly will be giving it a go in the future.

  5. Thank you for your blog; deep posts, comic posts, husband guest posts… I’ve enjoyed reading them all. You provided distraction when I was at my wits’ end with boredom this year. There were times when your blogs stood guard over my sanity as my tiny human fed and fed then fed some more.
    I think you are incredibly brave for writing this and confess it made me feel uncomfortable – like a peeping Tom at your soul’s window. You may feel estranged from your WTW but your craftsmanship is as evident in this post as in previous posts.
    Hugs. x

    1. Oh Pam you’ve really touched my heart. You’ve been so encouraging right from the beginning and I carry on blogging because of people like you.

      By the way, you really do have a way with words. Don’t ever feel that you don’t or can’t.

  6. You put into words the way I’ve felt about writing for a long time now.

    I don’t have depression, but my Bipolar gives it to me very often and it makes writing difficult. Admittedly, I’ve written just by blogging and role-playing with friends – yet none of those are my loved fictional ideas that live in my head.

    You can do this! *cheers you on*

    1. Thank you Stephy, both for your kindness and for sharing how it is for you. That means so much to me. I hope the WTW finds its way back to you too.

  7. My WTW must be having a long coffee with yours, as she slipped out the door a few weeks ago. When you find yours, please send mine home, too. I don’t know you, but I do, and your faithfulness with this post encourages me to carry on. Thank you!

    1. I guess our WTWs don’t understand the concept of coffee ‘break’ rather than long holiday!

      It helps to know someone who knows you through a shared experience. I wish it could be a happier one.

      I sincerely hope your WTW makes a speedy return. Thank you so much for commenting.

    1. Thanks for taking the time to comment Caro. Not sure if you’re commenting on the correct post though as it’s not lighthearted like my others. No offence intended, it’s just a difficult issue. I do appreciate you commenting though.

  8. Lisa you are an absolutely beautiful writer. I feel for your struggle and think that you are brave to have written about it so openly. I wish you the best of luck and hope that your WTW gets back on track soon. You are very talented.

    1. What incredibly kind words. Thank you so much. I needed this today. Your taking the time to leave such an encouraging comment is very much appreciated.

  9. I’m new to your blog but can relate. I had a lot of depression and anxiety throughout college. My anxiety especially, comes and goes in waves. Thank you for sharing so openly and honestly.

  10. I know the feeling all too well, and I cannot tell you how comforting it is to know that others out there go through “lulls” just like I do in terms of writing. You definitely have a unique voice though, you could probably write commentary on a sporting event and I’d be sure to read it. Consider yourself naturally entertaining and inspiring. Cheers!

    1. High praise indeed. Thanks so much! I wish I could find some great words right now to say how moved I am by your comment but I hope thank you for reaching out will suffice.

  11. Love this! I’ve pinned this to my “Get it in Writing” board (which is intended to motivate me when I’m going through what you so thoughtfully detailed here!)

  12. Beautifully written and heart breaking. I could feel your ache and struggle through your words. Your words are quite clearly there, but I know how frustrating it can be when you cannot seem to access them! Please keep going! You have a wonderful talent!

  13. Thanks so very much. Your comment has given me a much-needed boost to work on a future blog post! I appreciate you taking the time to let me know your thoughts.

  14. I have been there before. The WTW has come and gone multiple times in my life. It can be a struggle to reconnect with it, but I’ve been following your blog for a while now, and I can see how strong a person you are. You will make that reconnection.

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