Today I’d like to start with an item that didn’t make it on last week’s list but that’s at the core of why many of us don’t write. It’s the guilt we feel when we’re writing and we think we should be doing something else, the guilt we feel when we refuse other activities in order to write. It’s particularly acute when dealing with family and close friends, or when faced with the many tasks of running a business.
This guilt is a double edged sword because most of us also feel guilty when we don’t write. But this guilt does us no good. It weighs us down and we spend time focused on being guilty that could be spent working on our writing, or doing all the other things on our task list.
It’s easy to get down on yourself, but you can’t do everything, so instead you have to eliminate guilt. You need to stop feeling guilty every time you say ‘no’. You need to stop feeling guilty about the time you spend writing. You need to do what feels best for you. Focus on yourself before agreeing to do anything for anyone else. You’ll be amazed at how much happier you’ve become.
To help you get around this guilt, I’ve created a list of reasons why you should write. Refer to this list whenever you’re feeling guilty about the time you take out of your day for writing or create your own and put it somewhere easy to see. It might not eliminate all your guilt, but it will at least be a happy reminder of why writing is important.
Without further ado…
Reasons To Make Time for Writing
1. Writing nourishes the soul–journaling can obviously be a great outlet for your emotions and an interesting way to discover yourself, but all forms of writing can help you do the same thing. Writing of any sort is intellectually stimulating and it makes you slow down and think, which allows you to grow as a person.
2.You’ll be happier–Regularly sitting down and doing something you love will make you happier. Having a healthy outlet for your emotions and a place where you can keep your secrets safely will make you happier. Someday reading your work to someone else and knowing that they enjoyed it will make you happier. And who doesn’t want to be happier?
3. You need to finish something–You may dream of a writing career with fame and fortune and many adoring readers, but you’ll never achieve even a fraction of the success if you don’t finish something. In fact, you can’t really call yourself a writer until you’ve finished something. There’s something simultaneously humbling and invigorating about finishing a book length project. It gives you a new respect for authors–and for yourself.
4. Your dreams are important–Often we are told to push aside our dreams. They aren’t realistic, we’re told. We’re told it’s impossible, that instead of following our dreams we should just hope to have a good, steady job. We should become a doctor or a lawyer. Working to become an artist, a writer, an entrepreneur, that’s crazy, irresponsible, and stupid. So we’re told. That’s been the paradigm for pretty much the entire industrial age. But your dreams are important. It’s important to be doing work you love, since you’ll spend a good chunk of your lifetime working. Not only that, but in today’s economy, jobs aren’t what they once were. Even the most stable job is subject to total annihilation. At this point, the normal job seekers are no less insane than we are.
5. It can help you build other good habits–Learning to establish habits–at least good ones–is hard. Anyone who’s ever tried a diet knows that. Still, like everything else, this goes easier each time you do it. Once you’ve found a way to implement a regular writing habit, you’ll know the keys to get yourself motivated on creating all those other habits you’re supposed to have. Like, you know, exercising. (It’s okay, I don’t do enough of that either.)
Remember, you’re not superman(or superwoman). You can’t do it all. You have to make priorities. You have to be selective about what you do in your spare time. We all do. No matter how much we might wish for an extra four hours in our day, there will always be twenty-four. No more, no less.
In ten years, what will you regret? Will it be not spending enough time running errands for your family? Will it be that you didn’t spend enough time gossiping? Or will it be that half-finished manuscript you left buried on your hard drive?
I think we all know the answer to that question.
What other reasons why writing is important can you think of?