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Why write?

Updated: Jul 1, 2019

It’s hard being a writer or wanting to be a writer. It’s hard feeling like you have something to say, but also being aware that someone else has probably said it before - many times before - and, therefore, what you have to say may not be as impactful once you say it as you feel like it should be. Whew! Did you get all that?

I definitely struggle with this; it’s why I’ve always been a writer, at least in my mind, but have never published anything personal (until now). Sure it has to do with confidence - it’s scary putting your words out there to be subject to the comments of others - but it also has to do with just being human. We want to be seen as special and as having something unique to say, so sometimes if we can’t think of anything unique to say we just don’t say anything.

There are three thoughts I have on this.

First, I may not be saying anything different, but I may just say it in a way that speaks to you differently. Like I was talking to a friend recently about Brené Brown who writes and speaks about shame and courage and vulnerability; I love her work and the way she delivers it. And let me just stop here and say if you don’t know who she is Google her this instant…I’ll be here when you get back.

Anyway, I’m going on, gushing about Brené Brown, and my friend’s response was kind of like yeah, ok, she’s got good stuff to say, but I’m not so sure about her. And this got me thinking - wouldn’t it be a shame to miss the message just because you couldn’t get on board with the messenger? What if only one person ever said what you needed to hear and you weren’t able to listen? Isn’t that idea just kind of depressing?

Second, sometimes it takes hearing an idea more than once before it truly sinks in. Maybe it’s because we aren’t paying attention or because we aren’t able to pay attention or because amid all the other information we are bombarded with every day, it just takes a couple passes for a particular idea to come into focus. Like a spinning merry-go-round that has to rotate in front of me a bit before I grab on and join the ride.

Or maybe, we might be able to pay attention and our attention might be laser-focused, but because our brains look for patterns, if we only hear something once, we just can’t give it weight. You’ve experienced this I bet, in having to watch a movie or listen to an album more than once to really “get” it.

But my last thought is this: sometimes writing is not for others anyway; sometimes it's just for me and it feels better to just say what I have to say.

And herein lies the lesson.

For me, it’s writing that I feel compelled to do in order to say what I need to say, but what is it for you? What is it you want to be saying or doing that you’re not? And what if you set aside all those reasons that you're not doing it and just did it anyway?

Of course, as I write, I want others to be reading along. I want to evoke something; I want to light a spark that gets people thinking; I want to start a conversation. But if I’m honest, that’s not my primary motivation. Really, I write because I feel lost if I don’t.

There are usually many reasons not to do something, but the most important reason to do something is so you can say what you’ve got to say, whatever that means to you.

So get out there! And until next time…

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