Why Write?

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The front cover of my journal

I have struggled for months now to brave the cold, forbidding world known as the Internet, and post again. I have written down kernels of ideas, epiphanies, and fun topics into a small blue notebook, waiting for my courage to spike again, and my fingers to find that familiar template, and to press “Publish”.

 

But every time I do, a thought goes through my head: “Why bother?”. And it’s a good question.

Why do I write?

Why do you write? To become a famous novelist? To earn a living from your desk(or couch, or bed, or wherever you write)? To find a release from something dark pent-up in your soul?

I write for several different reasons, and have for most of my life.

I write because that’s where I find clarity. Through the simple act of holding a pen to paper, I find my thoughts straighten themselves, announce themselves, and often bring friends with them. I find my mind makes new leaps to different conclusions than I would anticipate, and I usually walk away from my writing with a renewed sense of purpose, or focus, or clarity, or whatever I felt was lacking, and I often have food for a few more day’s thought.

I write because I want to. That may seem like a silly reason, but truly, when you look at your life, how much of what you do is because you truly want to? Did you really want to go to work this morning? Did you really want to wash the dog? Did you really want to make dinner and clean up the kids and wash the dishes? I write because that’s what I truly want to do with my spare time. I obviously don’t do it often (see this post), but that’s because I don’t always want to. When I was about 12, I realized that my journal wasn’t a failure if I didn’t write in it every day. So, to remind myself of that, I wrote a series of “rules” in the front of every journal I’ve kept since:

  • This journal will not be kept on a regular schedule
  • This journal will not be neat
  • This journal will not always be truthful, but it will always be what I am feeling right now.

This set of rules has proved invaluable to me over the years – I actually have written more often once I realized I didn’t have to write regularly!

I also struggle with the fear of writing. It’s very difficult to put your intimate thoughts down on paper, particularly since, as I am an introvert, I have usually nurtured those thoughts for a long time before putting them in any physical form that another being might see. For me personally, the fear of rejection is very strong.

But that’s the beauty of writing – I have to choose to share it! If I have a groundbreaking thought on, say the meaning of life – I can choose to share that, or I can choose to conceal it. The choice is mine.

And I choose to share.

 

 

Perfectionism

Someone asked me recently why I don’t go back to something I’ve been involved in heavily for the last 6-7 years, but recently stopped participating in. I was pretty ashamed of my (internal) answer: Because I might not be the best anymore.

Why do people feel the need to be perfect? I don’t want to go back to something that I may no longer be the best at. Not just good at, not that I might not enjoy it anymore, but that I might not be the best. and it’s the same in everything I do. Once I’ve stopped doing something, I don’t want to have to relearn it, or even “get up to speed” on it. I feel like I should just be able to step back into something, like I never left. Is this a tendency of a perfectionist?

Or is this just my pride?