Why I Write — A Journey with No End
For as long as I can remember I’ve wanted to be a writer.
For the past few years I’ve given more of my time than ever to writing. I’ve authored books. I’ve written posts. I’ve set up a blog. I’ve written for other people’s blogs. I’ve written for some of the most widely read blogs on the planet.
Something drives me to write. It’s no longer a wistul “one day I will …..” and more a case of often now being one of the very first things I think about on waking. I have that well known affliction, the writing bug.
Why I write hasn’t always been clear to me.
On a certain level, much of my writing is driven by trying to provide value to others. It’s me sharing ideas with whoever wishes to read them. I don’t expect, or want, the reader to agree with all I write but I always hope what they read will be of some value.
Of course I hope to entertain along the way. Playing with the order of words, the length and rhythm of sentences to try to ensure the reading is inviting. That there is the right mix of words and white space. Trying to ensure each word has earned its place on the page.
Writing for the Reader, Writing for Me
I write for the reader no doubt. Not necessarily an audience as a whole, instead I often try to write as if sharing a personal note with one. This helps me focus. It helps me try to keep the message tight although invariably I will stray. What I think I have written and what I have actually written often prove to be at odds with each other.
Importantly, I also write for me.
As nice as it is to hear back from others that have got something out of my writing (and believe me, that is a great feeling) I need to be happy with what is written. I need to know that it’s the best writing I had in me on the day.
Writing also helps me clarify ideas. It’s thinking out loud. Reducing the clutter is essential if the writing is to breathe freely. Distilling the important from the not so important. The process of writing, then editing and rewriting teaches me something.
Trying hard to improve the clarity of my writing continues to be a major goal. A challenge never to be truly won over.
The constant search for the perfect run of words. Have I conveyed my message to the reader as simply as possible? Have I added what needs adding and taken away what needs taking away? Will the reader like it? Will I like it?
So many questions, some never to be truly answered.
Inspiration from the Masters
Reading a great book or great run of words is transformative. Like music it has the power to take us somewhere else. To lift us, to inspire us, to educate us, to make life better.
The great writers make it seem so easy. Even for them though writing is a challenge. We see the finished product but not necessarily the edits and effort it’s taken to get there.
Great writing can be read again and again. Always something to marvel at. Something to learn.
Someday, we as writers hope someone, somewhere will be inspired by our words in the way we are by others.
The more I write the more I hope to improve my writing. To get better at anything takes practice and writing is no different. We have to show up and do the work. The hope is that today’s work is better than yesterday’s and that tomorrow’s will be better than today’s.
Small steps. Tiny steps. Slips along the way. All part of the process. Importantly, we’re in this for the long run. We’re on a journey with no end.
Mostly, when all is said and done, I write because I can’t imagine a life without writing.
Note: This piece was originally published on the Huffington Post
Carl is a writer and the proud owner of Frictionless Living which is focused on helping readers live a simpler and more personally satisfying life. To read more or contact him go to his site or see his books.
Follow Carl Phillips on Twitter: www.twitter.com/FrictionlessLiv