3 Reasons Why You Must Write Right Now
We need your peculiar form of brilliance
In my experience of the literary world, writers tend to sort themselves into three broad groupings:
- Hobbyists, who write primarily for an audience of one (or a select few) with no desire to make their words available to a broader audience;
- Passion players, whose compulsion to write is driven by a cosmic assignment to share their talents with the world, with money a secondary consideration for sharing their work; and
- Careerists, who are sufficiently gifted at wordcraft that they can live off the output of their pens, even when passion or self-expression is not the primary motivator of their creative work.
I’ve seen hobbyists being lobbied by passion players to “just let the world see how brightly your words can shine,” which more often than not leads to an argument, hurt feelings or strained relationships. Hobbyists just want to be left alone and not be pressured to be something they’re not, thank you very much.
Writing can heal you as you learn to healthily process trying events and circumstances in your life
On the other hand, passion players think the careerists are sellouts who have learned how to play the game. They prefer their art to be unsullied by the pressures of securing critical acclaim, wealth, fame and/or legacy.
Careerists think passion players are hypocritical fools. They believe that by sharing their work with a broader audience, they can inspire and cultivate the very passion for written words that they are criticized for monetizing. And if they’re going to put in that kind of effort, why shouldn’t they be paid to produce something people want to read? After all, what’s the point of widely sharing one’s writing unless you want to attract the attention of readers in their multitudes?
These are broad generalizations to be taken with a grain of salt, of course. But you may find them to be useful in examining a very important (and often recurring) question in the life of a writer:
Why on earth should you write down your words at all?
If you don’t write them down, chances are they will eventually get you down
There’s an old cliché that creating art is the world’s cheapest form of therapy.
A few years ago, I was hired as an advisor at a weeklong arts camp for high school students. We acquired a Muskoka chair to give as a gift to the camp’s staff coordinator, who was retiring from teaching. One of the visual arts advisors painted a beautiful setting onto the chair. I was invited to help stain it. I fell into a healing trance while using the paintbrush to layer the stain onto the wood.
For the first time in my life, I had a small inkling of what it must be like to lose yourself in the creation of visual art.
As a writer, the process and sensations are a bit different, but the end result is similar — writing can heal you as you learn to healthily process trying events and circumstances in your life. It can take you to a place that permits the time, stillness and emotional space needed to come into closer contact with oneself and come out the other side refreshed and fortified to face the ongoing challenges of life.
The process of writing can add structure and purpose to your existence
For many writers, the most difficult part of their art is setting aside sufficient time to create it.
Let’s face it — life is crazy-making and busy at the best of times in 21st-century Western society. We have impressive ways to fill our time doing incredibly important things — few of which give us any personal or communal satisfaction. It’s easy to come up with excuses as to why you haven’t put pen to paper in days, weeks, months, or even years. You keenly feel the loss of a significant outlet for your thoughts, feelings, and emotions, but feel like there is precious little you can do to remedy the situation.
The time you need to create is time that you need to create. The words will not appear on a page by themselves. Setting a daily schedule may sound regimented, boring and restrictive, but so is going to a 9-to-5 job — and you manage to make that work, right? Attach a priority to your writing and it will flourish. Fail to prioritize it and it will never bring you joy. It’s pretty simple.
When you stop making excuses and make masterpieces of poetry and prose instead, the world will be better for your efforts. So get to work at your pre-appointed writing times and spread scripted magic instead of grumpy despair.
An artist can only be judged on their body of work, so judge yourself accordingly
It’s no good to claim to the world that you’re a writer if you have no hard evidence to back it up.
Where are the poems you wrote that elevated the hearts and minds of others? Why aren’t your articles and opinion pieces that graced the pages of journals, newspapers, blogs and other publications available anywhere? Who will know about your page-turning novels or sparkling works of nonfiction if they can’t be found in a library, bookstore or resource centre anywhere on planet Earth? The masterworks that are locked away in your neurons will do nothing to edify human existence unless affixed via computer code or printer ink to a page accessible by people other than yourself.
Do you want to be considered an artist? Then create some art!
And even if you are disinclined to share your work while you’re alive, the process of recording and leaving behind your thoughts, feelings, and emotions may one day move and inspire others in ways you could never imagine during your lifetime.
Words have power. If you’ve got a constellation of content inside of you, and feel compelled to get it out, leaving work for someone to discover after you’re gone makes sure the passion of your heart, or the hobby that gave you joy, will continue to live on in the hearts and minds of humanity. The purpose of art is to cause people to feel something. Don’t sell yourself short by failing to plant seeds that germinate whether the gardener is present or not.
There are three steps to fully expressing your literary brilliance: first, you must believe you have it within you; next, you must write or record it so that it exists in tangible form; and finally, you must take action to demonstrate it. You can’t leave behind discoverable brilliance until you take all three steps.
And if you’re moved to write, trust that you have your own peculiar form of brilliance inside of you, just waiting to be shared with the world.
Why on earth should you write down your words at all?
Whether you are best described as a hobbyist, passion player or careerist (or some mix of the three), you’ve been given the gift of words for purposes that extend beyond your own craven self-interest. While it is certainly true that it’s important to feel a sense of personal satisfaction from your writing, remember that ultimately it’s not just about you.
No matter the method you use to record your words, get them down and preserve them for posterity. We, as humanity, are going to need your wisdom, wit, and wry written wizardry one day.
This article was originally published by Greg frankson on medium.
Driven achiever with entrepreneurial mindset, skilled communicator, experienced media commentator and radio personality, award-winning literary artist, poet and performer, and passionate community advocate.