Are You a Writer or a Non-Writer?

Writers are supposed to write. Sometimes writers want to write–or say they want to write–but don’t. They do other things instead.

Yesterday I sat down at my desk to write, but I didn’t. The day before I thought I might write, but I began cleaning out old files and the piles on my desk. I wanted to get organized. Yesterday I decided I should finish that job before I began writing. I filled a large garbage pail with papers. I never got around to writing. one word

Has that ever happened to you? It’s called procrastination.

This reminded me of a great book by my old voice dialogue teachers Hal and Sidra Stone, called You Don’t Have to Write a Book! The Procrastination Manual for Aspriring Writers and Doers. This is a very funny book…unless you find yourself doing the things they mention, like cleaning, talking about your book, exercising, and meditating, rather than writing your book. They call this “non-writing.” If you are accomplish the task of non-writing, you are a “non-writer.”

I like the photos in the book and the captions because I know Hal and Sidra. Looking at them provides me with another way to procrastinate.

I’m still not sure if Hal and Sidra really want aspiring writers to just “be” rather than to “do.” (I really think they are just pointing out all the ways writers procrastinate so they might stop and actually write their books. I could be wrong.) Maybe they want writers to feel less pressured about having to write a book, but I can tell you they have the aspiring writers’ procrastination tools down pat. So, if you want to discover more ways to procrastinate and not write your book, check out Hal and Sidra’s book.

I’ve got the cleaning part down. Meditating provides me with a good one, too. I like it a lot. Blogging works well. It constitutes writing, and, while I have blogged a book, it doesn’t always help me get a book written. More often than not it stops me from writing my book.

Are you a non-writer a lot of the time or some of the time? What do you do instead of writing a book?

Tomorrow we’ll consider why writers don’t write and procrastinate instead.


  1. I’ve been up for several hours non-writing. I’ve pulled up my story and closed it down several times already, because I didn’t want the timer to continue as I non-write. Some of the things I’ve done to make this a non-writing day: email, visiting blogs (hi!), critiqued someone’s work, facebooked, twittered, visited forums, played with cover art, surfed stockphotos, browsed Netflix for my next movie, looked at the first sentence of the chapter I’m working with of my WIP and think I need to fix that, then went back to non-writing.

    Whew! All I can say is it’s been a busy day non-writing. It’s past 3:30 pm, and I’d just pulled up my story again and thought, I really need to fix that first sentence. Then I saw your tweet and voila! here I am.

  2. Hello Nina,

    How wonderful for us to have this seminal work of ours finally discovered and appropriately – and fully – appreciated! We are delighted to know that there is at least one teacher out there disseminating this extraordinarily valuable information. We do sense that you have deep understanding of the material we were trying to convey 🙂

    Our congratulations on your work and on your obvious mastery of the fine art of procrastination. The latter is most assuredly a major – albeit a secret – component of any book production.

    Our very warmest wishes to you,
    Hal & Sidra Stone

    • Dearest Hal and Sidra,

      It was so nice of you to drop by and comment on this post. Now I can procrastinate a bit more by commenting on your comment!

      From a Voice Dialogue perspective, I wonder who it is that stops us writers from writing? Who prevents aspiring authors from getting published? The Inner Critic? The Inner Procrastinator? The Protector Controller? The Inner Child? Hmmm.

      Maybe you want to stop your “being” and non-writing for a little while and write a guest blog post for me on the most common inner selves writers possess that stop them from achieving their writing goals? It’s a lovely idea…Consider it!


  1. […] we examined what writers do to procrastinate rather than write and how this prevents them from writing or publishing their work. Procrastination leads to the same […]

  2. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Nina Amir, Jeanne McCrae . Jeanne McCrae said: Are You a Writer or a Non-Writer? […]

Speak Your Mind