Determine Why You Write
People write for many reasons, but I would argue, sometimes people focus on the wrong reasons and, sometimes, don’t even know why.
When I first picked up a pen (okay, opened my computer) to begin my first book, I didn’t put much thought into why I was writing. In the back of my mind, I knew I wanted to prove to myself that I could do it and hoped, maybe, I could write a bestseller.
As the months went by, the adrenaline of working on a new project carried me through, but I was beginning to have self-doubt. Finally I opened up to a good friend, Kelly, that I was writing a book. I mentioned that I was afraid it might be a waste of time. By now my goal was to get my book published, but the sensible part of me couldn’t help but see that I was spending a lot of my valuable time writing when I could be doing more practical things.
Kelly surprised me. She said, “Don’t put that pressure on yourself, think of writing as a creative outlet.”
After our conversation, I reflected for the first time on why I was writing a book. I knew the odds were against me of getting it published, let alone making money. So why was I writing? There had to be something more.
I realized Kelly was right. I deserved to have something creative in my life, something fun. Looking back, I grasped that most of the creativity had left my life by the time I hit high school. There was simply no longer time for arts and crafts, drawing, or creative writing. Then by college, sports were replaced by exercising to stay healthy— a good stress-outlet but not much fun.
From that point forward, when I’d read sections of my book and think, “This is terrible; what a waste of time,” I’d focus on writing as a creative outlet. Letting go of the pressure to get published, writing became more fun. I was anxious to write each day because I was dying to know what was going to happen next.
After I completed my first draft, I began to educate myself about writing through reading and webinars. Then when I began to develop my social media platform, I learned even more — never in my wildest dreams did I think I’d develop my own website or blog or tweet to thousands of people. Usually it’s only my kids that learn new skills. Now I was too—yet another reason to write.
I encourage you to make a list of the reasons you write. Then, when the self-doubt creeps in, you only need to review your list to remember: it is not for nothing, regardless of what becomes of your book.
Thank you for reading this post. I hope you found it helpful.
1/17/2016 10:47:02 pm
Thanks for this. It reminds me to keep exploring other creative outlets, too!
1/23/2016 06:14:57 pm
Thanks for the reminder to view writing as a creative outlet. I recently took up piano lessons and returned to writing; both of these creative outlets are invaluable in adding joy to my daily life.
1/25/2016 06:16:57 am
Thanks for reading these posts. I am glad I could change your perspective of writing. And I think it's great that you have taken up the piano too.
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