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.

Writing Makes Me Sleepy

2015/11/10 § 2 Comments

Last night when I pulled into my apartment complex after work, a woman was standing by her car parked in the middle of the driveway. She had her flashers on so I asked her if everything was okay. She said, “you know how it is when you are so tired, you just want to cry?” I said, “yes, I do.” I chatted with her for a couple minutes. She was okay, she was just waiting for someone. But she had just finished a long drive after a long day at work. She wasn’t home yet, but she wanted so badly to be.

This morning, I am tired. Maybe not so tired I want to cry, but tired enough that the venti iced coffee I just downed in 10 minutes doesn’t begin to touch it. Tired enough that I could pull a George Costanza and curl up under my desk right now.

I have not posted very consistently this week for #NaBloPoMo, but I have been writing. I posted an entry on another website that I don’t have the courage to share here. I wrote until after midnight last night, working on another one that is not yet finished, but I like the direction it’s going.

This writing challenge has been very good for me. I feel alive when I am writing. And the energy of it is keeping me up way past my bedtime. So this morning I am sleepy, but happy.

Critic, move on

2014/02/08 § Leave a comment

I had just sat down to write in my journal, but my thoughts were scattered and I was starting to feel pressured by the clock. I only had 45 minutes before I needed to leave. I hadn’t writen anything today.  I was thinking I should, but I didn’t. I was down on myself for “wasting” the morning away.

“I’m a f**king idiot who has nothing to offer.”  That’s what I just heard myself tell myself.  WTF?  What am I going to do with the merciless judge and jury in my head?

Should I sit here and try to gather evidence that I am worthwhile? Should I debate the point? Should I make a list of my good qualities and try to convince myself that I actually do helpful and meaningful things and some people like me. I am not an idiot. And I do have something to offer. But for some reason, this inspector general is never satisfied. It always wants more. More more more more more more more.

Should I distract myself from this internal argument? The thought of a cookie passes through my mind. But I know I am not hungry. I could turn on the computer. I could turn on the radio, go sit in front of the tv, browse through Amazon or play a game of free cell. Any of these things would distract me from the angst I am feeling.

But I don’t feel like fighting or flighting.

I sit for a moment and observe. I close my eyes and take a deep breath. I was happy just a few hours ago; but now I am low. Every feeling is temporary. This one feels like crap, let it pass through. Do not attach to it. Do not dive in and analyze, just observe.

I feel it dissolving. Just watch, it is a puff of smoke. I am lighter now. I am free.

Mental note: Don’t take that critic so seriously. It’s flimsy and weak. Don’t give it the power to bring you down.

Today I’ll defer to the dog

2014/01/20 § 11 Comments


My inner critic has run amuck, haranguing me with disapproval. I am resisting its critique of my worthiness and capabilities. Then I remember, don’t resist. What you resist persists. Observe without attachment. Observe without attachment. But I have attached and internalized its assessment of me.

I’ve got to shake this mood.

Take a walk. I grab the leash. The dog is so happy he knocks himself over with his exuberant tail wagging. We take off down the street–a mile and a half round the corner, up the hill and back. The sun is shining. The weather is perfect. We both feel good and happy and fulfilled.

I am back to work. He naps on the floor beside me. For the rest of the day, I’ll defer to the dog’s judgment of my worthiness. He thinks I’m pretty spiffy. What else do I need?

Weekly Writing Challenge: Lunch Post 

2012/04/20 § Leave a comment

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