Writing Can Be Hard but Someone Has to Do It
I really don’t know how to begin. I’ve been meaning to write for such a long time now. Almost two years have passed since I have last written something more than a blog post. There weren’t so many of them, either. But aside from the fact that I had a lot of work to do for Odeen, my startup, I also think that I didn’t write in all this time because I was afraid.
I was afraid that what I would write — if I indeed tried — would have not been very good or inspired or inspirational or helpful or useful. I think if one wants to be a writer, one has to accept this as a possibility. Probably, this will be the reality for some time. Maybe it will be the case forever. But if you never come to accept this as a possible outcome, you will write nothing of value or, perhaps, you will write nothing at all, period.
Looking back, when I was writing my first books, it didn’t even cross my mind to evaluate their quality or to predict how well they would do once published. That’s part of the reason I could write them so quickly, so effortlessly, so unconcerned about how they would be judged. I was merely interested in getting my message across to the reader, whether there was going to be one or a hundred or a million. Of course, I hoped there were going to be millions.
Who doesn’t want to (positively) impact the lives of people? But solely concerning oneself with how many people are going to read your work, as an author, you compromise your work; you compromise your message and you compromise your creativity. Writing becomes something akin to the mathematics you learn in school; a dull, predictable, and calculated undertaking that loses the magic and charm it had in the first place and which made it so magnetizing.
Writing is a risk that one who wants to do it rightly, respectfully, and successfully has to take. Yes, you write for other people. Yes, you want your work to be read. Yes, you want to be successful. But foremost you do it for yourself. You do it because you enjoy it. You do it because it brings you peace. You do it because that’s how you enter your depths and bring to light things you hadn’t known about yourself.
Although the recognition and the claps feel good, like you’ve been somehow validated, you don’t do it for the claps. Although it feels good when people tell you that something that you’ve written changed the way they saw things, you don’t do it to change people. And you don’t do it to help them either. You do it because you enjoy it. You do it because something’s missing if you don’t.
Opening your mind and heart to people can be very frightening. You fear being judged, placed in a box, criticized, attacked, but none of this matter. It’s easy to comment on a post. It’s easy to criticize people. It’s easy to press the dislike button. But none of these adds any value to yourself or to the world. None of these things really have the power to put you down.
Writing involves sincerity and transparency and these two are the keys to promoting useful dialogue, advancing our society, to making the world a better place. So never apologize for that. Never let comments or the lack thereof make you feel inferior. You are doing what most of us are terribly afraid to do. You are doing all of us a favor.