“I am a writer.”
“What are you writing?”
“Well … Nothing in particular … Lots of things, but not one thing specifically … I mean, nothing I can publish or anything … I mean, nothing ….”
Does this sound familiar to anyone? I hope I’m not alone in this. Why all the qualifiers? What makes our writing worthy or unworthy? Does it have to be published to be worthy? Are we real writers if we don’t have a specific project in process? What gives our writing value?
We writers like to place our thoughts onto the page. We like to string words together. We like to play with them. We pull over to the side of the road while we are driving just to scribble thoughts on scraps of paper before they fly out the window.
Our writing is worthwhile, just because we do it, but here a few more reasons why:
- “Morning pages” are worthwhile, even though they’re often grammatically-incorrect ramblings. Getting our thoughts and feelings out of our heads and onto the page clears away the clutter, settles our monkey mind, gets our fingers moving and the ideas flowing.
- Even if a fully fledged piece doesn’t emerge, exploring an idea on the page is worthwhile. We could leave the scrap of paper on the floorboard of our car, or we could explore it a little and give it a chance to grow into something meaningful.
- Commenting on articles or posts is worthwhile. Why not take part in the conversation? And forcing ourselves to encapsulate our opinions into coherent, persuasive arguments helps tighten lazy thinking.
- Publishing pieces on our personal blogs or even anonymously has value simply in the act of sharing insights and experiences that another person may find helpful or entertaining.
- Even texting can be worthwhile, sometimes building and deepening our relationships. I think of texts from my best friend at just the right moment offering a thoughtful insight or encouragement.
- Writing down our memories and processing difficult life experiences is extremely worthwhile even if we will never share them. It helps us learn about ourselves and move through the hard stuff.
I’m not sure why we tend dismiss such an essential part of who we are. 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.