What happens if you don’t write? Literally speaking? Not much. Things don’t get written.
Maybe other things get done instead. The battery life on your laptop might decrease slower. Your bank account, however, might not (we all know if you’re not writing then you’re obviously snacking on four different brands of biscuits at the same time. Right? Right? Just me?)
Otherwise, that’s pretty much it.
Not writing means you’re not printing words on a page or a screen or a scabby piece of toilet paper. That’s all there is to it.
What Happens if You Don’t Write?
In every other sense? Oh, that’s easy. Worlds don’t get built. People don’t get rescued. Lives don’t get altered and experienced and enhanced.
If you don’t write then you’re not doing your part in opening up the universe, bringing in light and encouraging it to expand. For every story that you don’t share with it, that’s one less mark stitched into the fabric of the cosmos signed with your name.
If you don’t write:
- Libraries go cold.
- Christmas presents become boring.
- Book-clubs get awkward.
- Trees become too abundant and thus the Organic Apocalypse begins.
If you don’t write, then there are people, there are journeys, there are adventures that simply will never exist. If you don’t write these stories then the world will never know them.
That ninety-year-old man, tiny and slow but with eyesight more powerful than any telescope (at least, that’s what he tells his grand-kids. They don’t believe him, of course. They’re in their twenties and they work at NASA. But they humour him, because they love him and he has good taste in horror novels) will never have that exchange with his grandson — handing over his latest scary story with a grin.
The book that, two days later, they’ll bond over, because they both knew who the killer was immediately and now they’re bickering over who guessed it first (neither of them. They’re lying. They were both fooled by the book), but they’re laughing joyously, too.
That young girl — who never quite realised she didn’t actually want to be a girl until finding that book — will never have that feeling of bravery, of empowerment, of being a part of something bigger and better and bound within the pages of the book you didn’t write. She’ll never know that she’s not alone, that her story is similar to so many others, whether fictional or not. She’ll never experience the moment of closing that last page, slipping the book onto her bedside table, this newfound pride washing over her as she pads her way downstairs to reveal her news to her parents. Perhaps without that book, she would never have told them at all — and they would never have had the opportunity to express to her just how damn proud they are of her. Their daughter.
That entire generation, you know the one. The one with the potential to change the course of history, to implement a future full of beneficial change and peace and hope. Only, they haven’t.
Why? Because they were not motivated to do so. They weren’t brought up on that book of yours, the one that becomes a worldwide phenomenon, sparking discussion and fuelling action and all of it derived from the very particles of the universe that are huddled together to form your heart. It would have been compelling. It would have been spellbinding. It would have possessed the power to save the entire planet. But you didn’t write it, because Scrubs was on and your laptop wasn’t and it was just so much easier to turn on the TV rather than your brain.
If You Don’t Write It, Nobody Will Read It
But hey, I get it. We all do. We’ve all been there. I suspect so has J.K. Rowling. And Shakespeare. And Stephen King.
But do you know where else they’ve been? They’ve been in libraries and cafes and hunched over at their desks, tippidy-tapping away at their keyboards (or parchment paper? With their quills? A flickering lantern sat nearby? Perhaps even a pile of shillings beside a tankard filled with port?) for hours upon hours upon years.
And because they have, we have experienced and learned and loved things we never would have had the opportunity to, if they hadn’t.
Whether it’s an entire generation spanning the whole of the future — or an excitable teenager for one hour during a winter’s afternoon. Whatever, whenever, whoever; if you don’t write it, they won’t read it. They won’t feel it. They won’t live it. And their life will never have a piece of you, a tiny star in their galaxy. Instead, there will be a dark, empty gap where you could have been (bit solemn, am I right? That’s the point).
If you don’t write these books, then these people don’t get to experience these feelings that later go on to mould these weird little things we call our lives.
That’s what happens if you don’t write.
No pressure. (Okay, maybe like 32% pressure — but please, if you can and you want to, then it’s important that you do.) Write to create lives. And write to save them.
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