Friday Speak Out!: Writing by Assignment

Friday, January 25, 2019
by Elizabeth Morabito

I'm a writer who doesn't put many words on paper. I have the usual excuses – no time, writer's block, can't focus, I suck, yadda yadda yadda. For a long time I refused to even call myself a writer. Until one day I realized I really am.

How do I know? Well, I figured something out about myself fairly recently. It only took a few decades.

I think in sentences.

Weird, I know. But my thoughts are more often than not well-crafted sentences. Compellingly complex in their simplicity. Thought provoking. Nobel Peace Prize worthy. Okay, maybe not. But these structured subjects, verbs and objects are a part of me. Part of my soul. The very essence of who I am as a human being.

Now if I could only get them out of my damn head. When I try to write, like now, I panic. The eloquence just isn't there. The words won't flow like they did when captured in my cranium. I'm getting antsy. I can't catch my breath. I want to exit out of this godforsaken document.

But this time I won't.

I understand a writer needs to practice the craft. Writing something, every day, will make it easier and I will improve over time. I get it. I. Just. Can't. Make. Myself. Do. It.

That's why I'm writing this submission for The Muffin Blog. I've decided to give myself assignments. Enough excuses. I'm a veritable task master – I adore checking things off a list. When an assignment comes my way, I sit down and crank it out. With a given subject, word count and deadline enforced upon me, I can structure the swirling cyclone of thought-words into what is required.

I'm actually published. And paid, believe it or not. Nothing of major import. Magazine articles and advertorial publications mostly. But, paid, published work nonetheless. Assignments.

My dream is to write for the pure enjoyment of it. But that is so rare, it's nearly non-existent. I have dozens of journals. No lie. They speak to me with their empty pages and implied opportunity. But mine are all blank or have pages ripped out or are the start of some great writing adventure I abruptly aborted after a few days. But I keep them all.

I wonder what my poor kids will think when they go through my things after I'm gone. Hopefully they find the magazines as well as the crazy-lady journals. Maybe I should put them in the same place.

* * *
Elizabeth Morabito grew up a voracious reader. Her love for writing stems from this lifelong passion. She hopes to someday be an author. For now, she is comfortable simply calling herself a writer as she strives to be authorship worthy. She is a single mom of three kids and five fur babies - two pit bulls and three cats. Besides reading and writing, she loves to mountain bike, search for treasures in thrift stores, and help nonprofits achieve their missions. Elizabeth is working on a website in 2019, but can be reached at
Would you like to participate in Friday "Speak Out!"? Email your short posts (under 500 words) about women and writing to: marcia[at]wow-womenonwriting[dot]com for consideration. We look forward to hearing from you!


Sioux Roslawski said...

Elizabeth--Have you considered trying a program where your speech becomes text? (I think there is one available with Google.) That way, you can simply talk, and your thoughts-that-are-complete-sentences will appear on the page...

Good luck. Try setting a daily (or weekly) word goal. Don't worry about how the lines look like on paper. Just get the words down. Later, you can revise and edit.

Angela Mackintosh said...

Elizabeth ~ I'm glad you wrote this post! :) I think I have the opposite problem--not good at speaking, and words flow easier from my brain through my fingertips. We all have our things. The important thing is making time for writing somehow. Assignments and deadlines are great fuel for writing. Journaling daily can also unlock your creativity. I'm glad you're owning it by calling yourself a writer, and I can feel your passion. Keep at it! I know you can do it. :)

Nicole Pyles said...

I can so relate! I've been pushing myself to try out more prompts and contests and hopefully speed up write and revise rate (which is so slow). I'm like you, so much of my writing is in my head. I've been pushing myself to try and go for deadlines for contests. We can do this!

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