Is NOT writing the real secret to writing?

Reading time: Just over 1 minute

This is my weekly installment of “writing about writing,” in which I scan the world to find websites, books and articles to help other writers. Today I discuss a blog post about the real secret to writing….

Kate Angus is a founding editor of Augury Books. Her poetry and nonfiction have appeared in The Atlantic, Tin House, The Washington Post, Poetry Daily, Verse Daily, Best New Poets 2010 and Best New Poets 2014.

In short, Kate Angus is awash in writerly bona fides. This is perhaps why I found her essay in the blog Literary Hub to be so deeply persuasive.

Writing under the headline “Maybe the Secret to Writing is Not Writing?” Angus argues for the value of fallow periods — times when you don’t expect yourself to write any words.

She acknowledges the challenge of such acceptance…

When I stood in front of my students at my lecture podium, I felt like a fraud. Who was I to comment on their tender new drafts when I wasn’t writing? How could I pretend to be an authority on a subject I no longer intuitively understood, a process I wasn’t even participating in? I used to be a writer, but now I was blocked: a failure. 

But she also describes the benefit of it:

In the past year, I have reframed my concept of writer’s block so it is no longer a binary dialectic of either/or, where either I am writing or I am blocked, exiled from my creative practice…. Even when I’m not writing in the denotative sense of inscribing words on the page, I’m still writing in a larger sense, as I am doing the necessary work of building up a storehouse of experiences, images, and ideas I will articulate later.

Read her essay! It is both superb and inspiring. My thanks to friend Soken for sharing it with me.

An earlier version of this post first appeared on my blog on Oct. 14/19.

Scroll to Top