Weaseling Out of Literary Things… To Do Literary Things


I was supposed to return to my monthly Writer Unboxed column this month. But I’m not. Well… I’m here at the moment, but I’m only here to say that I’m not going to be here. Make sense?

But I have an excuse!

I love this community and it has been so fabulous to be a part of it. I owe plenty to this relationship with WU, and to its great members, and to the amazing Therese Walsh. So I’d like to explain why I’m leaving.

I seriously burned out last year trying to take on too many tasks in too many areas. And I sort of lost my voice (in just about all areas) along the way. Also went through a bout of depression that had the scary result of causing me not to enjoy making fun of myself. (I’m better in that regard, FYI. I’m a bumbling fool and it’s funny again.)

So this year I’m trying a different tact. No more blogging. Less social media. Less online stuff. More offline writing time. My writing isn’t honestly going as smoothly as it was before; I suspect it needs some serious attention to find my way again. I’ll also be working on videos, since that is a sort of therapy for me, but I decided that I don’t want to just do videos about writing. I feel like I told some of my key tales in that realm with the I’m a Failed Writer series. Now I’d like to branch out in all kinds of shameless directions so I can discuss very important things… like my little boy’s obsession with My Little Pony. To keep my life in balance, the videos will often be very short and the schedule won’t be too fixed. (I recently launched the intro episode of my new video series — The Scribbling Bucket — so if you want to follow these even-more-misdirected videos, you can visit my website and sign up by email or RSS.)


Anyway, I hope y’all understand. This whole day job + family life + writing life + video making life + online life + social media life is just not doable for me. I’m about 3.5 lives overbooked.

Please feel free to check-in with me at any point. I’m most responsive on Twitter though I’ll eventually come around in other forms of communication.

Wish you all the best. In writing. And in the rest of life.


About Yuvi Zalkow

Yuvi Zalkow writes and worries in Portland, Oregon. His stories have been published in Glimmer Train, Narrative Magazine, Carve Magazine, and others. His first neurotic novel is now available. He is working on a second novel (about one Jew obsessed with napkins and another Jew in the Klan). He recently received an MFA from Antioch University, which makes him feel official.


  1. says

    Yuvi – say it ain’t so! I’ve always enjoyed your articles and videos and will now have to read and watch reruns in the archives to satisfy my Yuvi jones.

    But I thoroughly understand, as I’m pulling back a tad on the online stuff myself. All that twitting and friending and circling and … well, you know the drill … are taking a back seat.

    My writing beckons. I hope to see you in guest/random posts. :)

  2. says

    Thanks you, Yuri, for the trail of crumbs that will allow us to follow you through the woods. I am now subscribed and, if I don’t hear from you, I will be on http://www.yurizalkow.com to find out why. I am one of the hoards — hoards, I say — who appreciate your humor and are in wonder of your creativity. Dial back but don’t do a Gary Larsen on us.

  3. says

    You know, I bet you’re going to find a bunch of us who read this post, nodding our heads in complete understanding, and admire your leap. May you find joy in writing and rediscover that internal sigh of satisfaction when you know your written words are your soul’s expression.

  4. says

    “Don’t do a Gary Larson on us.” Seconding Alex’s comment! We will be watching you, Yuvi Zalkow (RSS Feed, check), and waiting in high anticipation for novel #2! You can’t be rid of us that easily. ;-) Thank you so much for sharing your brilliant wit and talent with us here at WU. You will be sincerely missed.

  5. says

    You always make me laugh, but my advice to all writers is that your health, family, and fiction writing should come before social media. All the best to you in 2013.

  6. Carol Frome says

    What a wise choice! Congratulations on choosing art over networking. I predict that in hindsight, we will all see you as a trailblazer.

  7. Ronda Roaring says

    I know what you mean, Yuvi. I’m about 3.5 lives overbooked as well. Do what works for you.

  8. says

    I hear ya. Tryin’ to do several hundreds of things all at once right now myself. I have so many novels, stories, memoir pieces, etc. happening right now that it’s all paralyzing me, so I’m getting none of it done.

    You’re right not to let the same thing happen to you. Best wishes on your creative endeavors.

  9. says

    Thank you everyone for all the kind and supportive words! It was so hard to let go of posting at WriterUnboxed and so it’s a relief how understanding everyone is. It sounds like it is not so uncommon to be overbooked these days… I just hope I picked the right things to focus on :)

  10. says

    I thought you drew a really good weasel.

    Your drawing did, however, bring back bad memories of college, and when one of my dormmates (who owned a ferret) would let her ferret loose for some exercise. and it bit more than one of us on the butt when we were using the loo. This particular ferret liked to skulk in the bathroom and then bite people on the butt when they were peeing.

    So your post was traumatic only in that sense.

    You know what I think (as someone who struggles with major depression and struggles to not overload my brain with too much stimulation)? I think you are great for knowing what you need and then finding what you need to do to get those needs met.

    Right on, Yuvi. PLUS, YOUR BOOK WAS–ALONG WITH SHINE SHINE SHINE–MY FAVORITE FROM 2012. So I need you to write another one.

    I’m also going to stalk you via your website. ;) Here’s a hug!

    • says

      Yuvi, your book was my favorite read of 2012 as well. One of these days I’ll send you the pic Sean snapped of me, reading ABNiTW while standing in the ocean.

      I knew I didn’t like ferrets, Sarah.

  11. derekd says

    Yuvi, like the others here, I’ve greatly looked forward to and enjoyed your wonderful self-effacing humor. I too will miss you but totally understand.

    Most of us are way too busy. I applaud your decision to back off and search for balance. Happy hunting.

  12. Bernadette Phipps-Lincke says

    Yuvi, I’ve enjoyed your posts, and you will be missed. I wish you the best with your writing, and your writing career. Congrats on your new book!

  13. says

    Dude, speaking as someone who burned out twice in medicine, you don’t want to acquire that t-shirt again. It’s not a wrong decision if it’s for health. How can it be?

    Wishing you all the best. You won’t be missed, because I’ll be reading your blog when you post.

  14. says

    Great Post. Great Advice. As a novice I sometimes find social media addicting, confusing, and annoying. But still I try to do a certain amount each day.

    Good Luck. Since all the comments are so positive I am going back up to the top of the page to click on your website and follow you as best I can. As I say to my sisters and brothers – keep your chin up, do what is best for you and it will likely be best for your fans and friends too.

  15. says

    It’s not good to do too many things all at once. A good practice to have is to only add to your daily routine the very essentials at first, and then, when those have sufficiently become habits, to begin taking on about 1 new task every other week or so.