Like many others, there is a part of me that writes as part of ‘work’ – emails, marketing copy, the occasional magazine article, and everything else in between that needs to be in a written form to get work done. But there is another part that writes by choice and this is what this post is about.
Unlike George Orwell who knew that he ‘should be a writer’ from a young age, I never felt such a calling. While I may have been a relatively competent writer when I was younger, it was often a task that I had to responsibly complete and it was only in my late 20s, during a phase of life that demanded a lot out of me, that I started to feel differently about writing.
It started as the cheaper option to therapy. Through journaling, I discovered the opportunity to dig into the depths of my self and sift through pieces of thoughts and emotions that I could then dust off, examine, and reconstitute into a slightly more coherent form. Then, as I reassembled myself through reassembling those thoughts, the words that glued me back together began to intrigue me.
I started fumbling and playing with them, penning cringe-worthy rhymes, writing bad puns, banging out blog posts about regular things just so I can have fun discovering sentence cadences, structures, flows, and words. I used it to clarify old ideas and unravel new ones for both my personal and professional life. And if the blinking cursor on my screen staring back at me could speak, it always seemed to be asking me, “What are you really feeling and thinking? What do you really need to express? Could you type in a string of words that can convey all of that?” Writing always seemed like a response to an invitation to be honest with my self.
But please don’t get me wrong. I don’t think that writing is my gift or my purpose in life. I don’t believe that I have ‘a way with words’. I wouldn’t dare to imagine that my stories are meant to impact someone’s life. The words that I write is for a small audience of myself from the past, myself from the future, and the other kindred spirit that perhaps exists in another part of this magnificent world. I sometimes get embarrassed and even terrified by my own writing. I place no expectations on the words that I write, and to paraphrase the thoughts of Elizabeth Gilbert, I do not expect my writing to provide for me financially or give me fame, though if it happens, it would be a bonus byproduct that I will gratefully accept. And yet, I still return to writing.
It took me a while to figure this out but it is through writing that I am discovering a new world inside me, and a new way to connect to the outside world.
Writing is nothing more than a practice to me – a creative and personal development practice for myself. I write because it is a creative outlet. I write so that I can reflect and realign myself. I write because it keeps me human and honest.
But most importantly, I write because it feels right.