Why Writing Is Worthwhile (even when you are unsure what you are writing or why)

2016/09/05 § Leave a comment

Me: “I am a writer.”

Other Person: “What are you writing?”

Me: “Well … Nothing in particular … Lots of things, but not one thing specifically … I mean, nothing I can publish or anything … I mean, nothing worthwhile ….”

Why all the qualifiers? What makes my writing worthy or unworthy?  Does it have to be published to be worthy? Am I a real writer if I don’t have a specific project in process?  What gives my writing value? Do other writers ask themselves these same questions?

For some reason, I like to place my thoughts onto the page. I like to string words together. I like to play with them. I like to pull over to the side of the road while I am driving just to scribble thoughts on scraps of paper before they fly out the window.  I think that makes me a writer, right?

To answer my own questions, and for the sake of my own self-acceptance and appreciation of what makes me Me, I have strung together a list of the reasons why my writing is worthwhile:

  • My “morning pages” are worthwhile, even though they are mostly grammatically-incorrect ramblings. Getting my thoughts and feelings out of my head and onto the page clears away the clutter, settles my monkey mind, gets my fingers moving and the ideas flowing.
  • Exploring an idea on the page is worthwhile, even if a fully fledged piece doesn’t emerge.  I could leave the scrap of paper on the floorboard of my car, but better if I give it a chance to turn into something before tossing it aside.
  • Writing a message to someone is worthwhile, even everyday, ordinary communication like texting, emails, and letters. They build and deepen my relationships.
  • Commenting on articles or posts is worthwhile. Why not take part in the conversation? And forcing myself to encapsulate my opinions into coherent, persuasive arguments helps tighten lazy thinking.
  • It is worthwhile to publish pieces on my own personal blog, to a larger audience, or even anonymously. There is value in simply sharing insights and experiences that even one other person may find helpful or entertaining.
  • It is worthwhile to practice and work on specific skills. Practice makes progress!
  • It is worthwhile to write down my memories and process difficult life experiences, even if I will never share them. It helps me learn about myself and move through the hard stuff.

I’m not sure why I dismiss such an essential part of who I am. I suppose it’s fear. (Isn’t the answer always fear?) Fear grabs ahold of us when we are vulnerable. And writing definitely makes us vulnerable. Nevertheless, I am compelled to keep stringing words together, whether I am brave enough to share them or not.

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