I write for the joy of it. Why else would I spend hours trying to carve out writing time around a busy life? But if we’re being honest, writing is the most demanding job I’ve ever done. So, when the day’s plot proves elusive or comes out flat and colorless, I begin to question myself. Should I give my time to a more straightforward pursuit, or you know, just breathe, instead of struggling with my unruly imagination?
Because those kinds of questions rear their heads so often, and because I got tired of wrestling with my mammoth self-doubt, I came up with several pages of why writing is a gift (which it is, even when I’m wrestling with my squirming first draft). This list has been my go-to reminder of why I write when the writing is hard. It sends me back to my computer with a metaphorical hug and a “it’s so worth it!”
Here's a sampling from that list. If you’re a writer and you struggle with self-doubt too, I hope you will find some inspiration from my list, and may even choose to write your own.
When I write:
- I feel more “me;” writing is what I’m made for
- I organize my flitting, sometimes distressing thoughts into something coherent and find their redemptive core
- My senses start to sing (I see more beauty, taste my food, hear the music, find the mystic quality in the ordinary, until the mundane slips away)
- My creative soul wakes up and brightens my world
- I get to spend time with my writing friends who I love and cherish
- My polished end products from blog posts to novels give me a sense of pride
- There’s the surprise and delight of seeing a character take off on their own or a page practically write itself every once and a while
- I go places and experience emotions that extend past the limits of my ordinary world
- I’m reminded of the power of keeping at it – first tries often stink, but third and fourth and fifth tries sing
- My readers are entertained
- My readers may better understand people in their own lives through reading about my characters
- I share beauty, and isn’t beauty meant to be shared?
- I offer new perspectives, to myself and to my readers
- I let my readers know they aren’t all alone in their experience of the world
- I’m a happier, more confident mother because I’m creative (and a creative Rachel is a happier mom)
- This introverted writer helps her loved ones know her better
- I’m more confident and have more self-respect because I’ve finished big projects
- When I write? What else is there? I’ve tried, and I can’t not write