All the wasted words

This will be my 223rd blog post. At around 600 words per post, that’s 133,800 words. The average novel is 80,000 words long. If I had taken all those words, all that inspiration, all that time, I would have written one and a half books by now. For someone with “write a book” firmly at the top of their bucket list, this is a sobering thought.

all the wasted words

Blogging has allowed me to scratch my writer’s itch. It gives an immediate outlet for the thoughts that race around in my mind and demand release. But it has also stolen time and head space I might have used to write that novel.

So why I am writing this blog post, rather than getting started on a book?

Blogging is fun and tidy and immediate. There are no narrative puzzles to resolve. There are other people to play with. The work becomes reality within an or so hour or of its inception. As soon as you start, the end is tangibly close. It’s the sprint rather than the mountain climb.

I have established a discipline around writing this blog. I have fallen into a comfortable rhythm. Little pieces have been added and it has become something I am proud of. Tinkering away at my small space on the huge internet. It’s the small home projects rather than the building of the house.

A beautiful Facebook group I am part of was asked why they blog. The themes of creativity, community and connection kept coming through. There is a sense of being part of something larger when you blog. Even when we type individually at each of our devices there is a sense of sitting alongside co-creators. It feels more like a group pursuit rather than a solitary one.

The stakes seem smaller when I blog. If a blog post doesn’t hit the mark or the words don’t flow like I want them to, then it’s only an hour or so of my life that may have been wasted. But what if I spend hours and days and years and write a terrible novel? What if I can’t write a novel at all? Blogging is familiar and comfortable — a part of my every day while writing a book seems like the elusive stuff of dreams.

I (to some extent) control this blog. I don’t need to offer it up to someone else to have it realised. I could slave over a book and it could come to nothing if no-one else saw it’s potential. I could offer up something I was proud of, something I wanted to protect and have it smashed to smithereens. Blogging feels safer. Less sacrificial.

But for all of that — do I still want to write a book? Yes. Yes I do.

I don’t think fear should hold any one back and as I reflect on the reasons I am not writing a novel, fear seems to be at the heart of it. The fear of things unknown. The fear of rejection. The fear of going it alone.

At her recent talk Elizabeth Gilbert said that many of the best novels were written over years, within one hour a day. She said that to drive, you don’t need to see your destination, you only need to see the road before you. Practical truths. Fear soothing.

Another hero of mine, Pip Lincolne, has aptly summed up how you write a book – you write the book.

So, I suppose, I should just really write the book.

Arrow 2

Do you want to write a book?
Do you think blogging is a help or hindrance to that particular dream?

Linking up with Essentially Jess and IBOT

47 thoughts on “All the wasted words

  1. Bec Senyard says:

    Yes! This post resonates with me so much. The thing is I have written a book and that’s partly why I started my blog. I’ve since read my draft and because my writing has grown over the last 4 years consistently blogging, my book could be a lot better. I was encouraged with Elizabeth Gilbert shared that the best books are written in an hour over each day. I’ve got to get onto it.
    For you, you just need to face the fear and write that book. x
    Bec Senyard recently posted…Ruby Olive Necklaces PLUS A GiveawayMy Profile

    • Robyna says:

      I DO need to just write the book – it’s actually a book to help parents through the first year of grief after the loss of a baby through creative healing. I couldn’t find anything like it when Xavier died. And I’m sure your book will be so much better for the both the distance and how far you have come in your writing.

  2. Kathy says:

    I love this post Robyna and can relate so much. Blogging does seem the easy option and we all love instant gratification. I have a book in me (one written and unpublished and one just starting) and I don’t think it is so much the thought of all the work that stops me as the fear,
    Kathy recently posted…Things that make you smileMy Profile

  3. Bel says:

    I don’t want to write a book, but if you do, do it! I love blogging, have so for the past six years, but I’m happy with just that and much of what you said relates to me.
    Bel recently posted…Melbourne Stay-cationMy Profile

  4. Min@WriteoftheMiddle says:

    Ahhhh Robyna – I have no doubt that you will write a book. Maybe more than one book. You are a very good writer! I agree with all that you say about blogging. I love it. It IS about creativity, community, connection and it IS immediate. It can take up a lot time and sometimes that’s ok and sometimes not so great. Sometimes I find (and many others do too) that I need a break from it in order to live, experience, refresh and come back recharged with enthusiasm and creativity. xo

  5. Haidee@Maybe Baby Brothers says:

    I’ve thought about writing a book but honestly, I’m not sure I’m disciplined enough to get to the end! I used to start writing books as a teenager but I never finished them before I’d get a new idea and start writing that one. I do have 3 manuscripts in my possession that my mum wrote though, I’m not really sure what to do with them to be honest … #TeamIBOT
    Haidee@Maybe Baby Brothers recently posted…Nostalgia (And An Impromptu Lesson On Kiwi Slang!)My Profile

    • Robyna says:

      Oh, how precious to have those manuscripts of your mums. And just think of offering your kids the same thing from yourself. I too have those half-written teenaged books. They mostly featured angst-y vampires. If only I’d finished them, I could have been Stephenie Meyer 😉

  6. Michaela Fox says:

    I am someone who hates waste. I HATE waste. Seriously, I can’t even throw out a strong onion without feeling terrible conflict. And so you had me at the title of this post!
    And that’s what I love about blogging. The words aren’t really wasted. Of course, there are times when you feel like no one is reading, and you question whether your energies would be better directed elsewhere (like writing that book, or investing in a compost system!!) but the words are never wasted.
    Don’t delay for too much longer, though. I like Pip’s advice!! x

    • Robyna says:

      She’s a very wise lady, Pip is. You are right – words are never a waste, but I wonder if I am directing my energy in the right ways.

  7. Cathy @lifethroughthehaze says:


    I have at least 3 books that I want to get started on and yet here I am reading lots of other writers and not doing the writing of the book (writing 2000+word blog posts or 6500 word life summaries for my psych instead) how many words are there in a book anyway? Oh and I just wrote the first line of one of my books as a reply to someone this morning and I can’t remember who and now I also can’t remember the first 30 words of the book! Whoops!
    Cathy @lifethroughthehaze recently posted…Surprise! (ps it’s long I’m sorry!)My Profile

  8. Vanessa says:

    I have so many books in me and it’s only in the past few days I’ve made progress on one of them. Huge vein of being in the right mindset and stuff. I’ve pumped out a lot of content for it!
    Vanessa recently posted…Getting Good AdviceMy Profile

      • Vanessa says:

        Yep. Current hack: voice recording it. Life-changing. Sure, I’ll have to pay for transcription, but $100-200 for a raw draft of a book? WORTH IT! And I can just send them segments as and when I can afford little bits to be transcribed.
        I exported all my old LiveJournal posts from back in the day and wow, talk about wasted words haha. I’ve edited them into a Scrivener file for a possible memoir style book in the future.
        Vanessa recently posted…Getting Good AdviceMy Profile

  9. Eva @ The Multitasking Woman says:

    I just love your perspective and completely agree that the stakes are smaller with blogging. I need to go and see how much I’ve written, I think it will be quite a lot!
    Do I want to start a book? It’s been an on and off thought, but to be perfectly honest, I’m too scared to do it. I keep telling myself I don’t have what it takes, my imagination and creativity isn’t there and I’m not sure what I’d produce. Who knows what the future holds.
    Eva @ The Multitasking Woman recently posted…I Don’t Care What You Think, I’m Having an Epidural!My Profile

    • Robyna says:

      I think you’d write a wonderful book. We are always are own harshest critic — I am constantly surprised when anyone tells me I write well.

  10. EssentiallyJess says:

    I had a conversation with someone the other week about writing books. They were talking about writing conferences and fb groups and those kind of things. My view is that all those things are great, but they don’t write books. Blogging is great and it stretches the writing muscle and there’s no such thing as wasted words because the experience is vital, but it won’t write books.
    So just do it.
    Write your book. xxx
    EssentiallyJess recently posted…There’s No Place Like Home #IBOTMy Profile

  11. Sarah @sarahdipity says:

    A huge big ditto to all of the above! I think there would be many bloggers out there that feel the exact same way as your Robyna. i often think of Pips words too “just write the book”. Someday maybe I will but you know what? For now I’m happy blogging, it think it’s great practice!

    • Robyna says:

      It IS great practice, and actually my other blog, Chasing His Sunshine, will lay the foundations for the book I want to write.

  12. Renee Wilson says:

    Oh I love your thoughts on this, Robyna. They’re so similar to mine. Blogging is more instantaneous, you do have more control and I find it’s a lot less scary. A lot less scary than putting a whole lot of work and love into writing a book only to find out you’re not really meant to be an author. Not meaning you, of course. I’m just thinking out loud about me …Time to hit the hay, I think 🙂
    Renee Wilson recently posted…Taking time out for meMy Profile

  13. Jo @ You had us at hello says:

    I totally agree – there’s something quite fresh, new and instant about blogging when it comes to writing. And the community you create is just the best!! You’ll know when you’re ready – ity’ll just happen, and you’ll have an instant audience here waiting and cheering you on xx

  14. Claire says:

    I’m not much of a writer myself, for me it’s all about the visuals. What I find the hardest of any project is starting, but all you need to do is start, no matter how small. Also don’t be scared about writing a whole book because even if it doesn’t work out you will have learnt something along the way no matter what.

  15. Dawn says:

    Firstly, your blog is awesome, helpful and you really do have a way with words. I have no doubt you will write that book someday. I have started ‘my book’ so many times- I actually made a (public) comitment to write it in 2016….and I haven’t touched it since January. It’s terrifying isn’t it? I wonder if we wrote more about time management it would help…..xoxo
    Dawn recently posted…7 Books to Inspire Creativity in EveryoneMy Profile

    • Robyna says:

      I think I just need to APPLY all the things I know about time management. Thank you for your kind words about the blog – it means a lot to me.

  16. Michelle says:

    Hi Robyna! As per your suggestion I’m using bloglovin’ now, and I’ve just seen a whole stack of your posts I didn’t get in my reader. BOO that I missed them in the first place but YAY I now have lots to read. 🙂
    I suppose if you stack up all the words into piles and compare them to what a book might be we’re all authors! I’d love to publish a book too – still figuring out what kind though! You’re well ahead of me (and most bloggers I’d think) because you already know what kind of book you’ll write, and that it’s needed… that’s obvious just from looking at the comments at Xavier’s blog.

    • Robyna says:

      Yeah, I notice that Bloglovin doesn’t always show everything – but thanks for stopping by 🙂 I really do need to write it – it is needed. I just need to find that time.

  17. Mummalove says:

    I’ve been at the BWF over the weekend and, after listening to many different authors with different styles and process, I came away from it thinking that the best advice is Pip’s – just to write the book. I’m scared too. If you ever want someone to be accountable to and share without judgement, I’m happy to be your person xx
    Mummalove recently posted…The Big Ride {we need your help}My Profile

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