Boy, do I hate writing sometimes. I stare at the screen. My fingers pitter-patter over the keys instinctively, as I watch the letters quickly form into words. Even when I don’t exactly know what I’m trying to say, the text builds on itself, like little worker ants making their colony. By the end of the process, I either have to go back and refine everything, or be satisfied enough with the piece to share it.
Writing is silent. It’s thankless. No one knows exactly how much time or effort you spent writing something.
Not to mention, self-proclaimed “non-readers” won’t even bother to read your piece you worked so hard on, so a fraction of people who could be forming a connection with your piece, are probably at a bar somewhere playing billiards instead. (But maybe you’re better off without them.)
There’s no real frame of reference to where you should or shouldn’t take a written piece; it’s pretty much completely up to you, which is why it’s so easy to lose yourself in it.
Sometimes I chip away at a document I’ve just written, and I end up with nothing — the page literally becomes blank again, even after I invested so much time into it. Why? Because the amount of time you spend on a project doesn’t guarantee its success. Plus, if my intuition suggests I should delete everything and try something new, my original idea likely didn’t have much to it in the first place.
So why do I still write if I hate it?
I consider writing like eating vegetables — I might not always enjoy it, but I know that my life would improve if I kept with it. I’m aware that the benefits outweigh the not-so-great parts, so I try to stick it out, every single day.
And what are those benefits?
There are quite a few, actually.
Writing forces me to see things for how they really are.
As I mentioned in my first article, I’m very susceptible to self-imposed delusions. I can be a master trickster of my own mind, for the sake of comfort. But when you’re an adult, you don’t have people like parents or teachers to guide you or let you know how you’re doing. Friends can help you stay on track, sure, but ultimately you’re responsible for yourself, and you know that.
By writing more often, you develop a good backlog of what you’re really up to and what you’re really thinking. This brings me to my next point.
I learn more about myself.
When I write, it’s like I’m letting a miniature version of myself run around my laptop and say whatever I need to say.
Allowing yourself that room to wander around, and develop new concepts, will give you a place for all those conscious and subconscious ideas to go. It can also provide you with directions on where to improve on in life.
Writing makes me want to be a better person.
This one is huge. When I take the time to observe and apply myself, I find things about myself to work on. (I mean, even when I got the idea to write this article, it was because I’d gotten so annoyed with my writer’s block that I had to let it all out. But it also reminded me that I still have work to do on maintaining patience and bringing my ideas to life in a present way.)
Any hobby or activity that makes you want to take on more challenges, rather than hide from them, is a valuable one. These facets of your life will help you become more skilled and capable.
In conclusion, it’s more like a love-hate relationship with writing, than anything else.
And maybe that’s why it’s so important for me to commit to it — sometimes the very things we get so frustrated by, are the very things that help improve us the most.