The Importance Of Writing For Yourself, Even Though It’s Hard
Any writer – no matter how big or small, published or unpublished – is going to tell you that they either love writing or they hate it. Hell, most of them are probably going to have a love-hate relationship with the skill itself and, in turn, this has bred the stereotypical tropes that society associates with writers themselves.
This is more of a rambling blog post, but I think there are some thoughts that I need to get out and there are things to be said that a few writers, including myself, could do with being reminded of every once in a while.
Writers are seen as recluses, dramatics, people who are meant to find a muse in every living thing and view the world through rose-tinted sunglasses. This isn’t the case, at least it’s not the case for everybody, and that’s purely down to the fact that, surprisingly, writers are individual people too who have their own individual thoughts and their own individual processes. No stereotype is going to fit the same person in exactly the same way – so it’s an ignorant process to think that every writer is going to be the same type of cabin-dwelling person who takes notes on the way the colour of the curtains should make the reader feel.
Just like there are different types of writers, there are different processes of writing and there is no right or wrong way when it comes to how you write, why you write, or what motivates you to do so. As long as you write, that’s the important thing – even if you’re writing complete shit and it’s the same word repeated over and over. You’re still writing, so good for you! It’s harder for some people than it is for others, but that’s the whole catch to the writing game – there’s no shortcut to getting where you want to go. There’s no quick solution. Just like you’re not a stereotype and you don’t fix a ‘writer’ category box of a generic character type, there’s no unlockable personality trait that allows you access to all the secrets of writing in the world. Sometimes I wish it were that easy, but that would also mean that the field would be incredibly boring. Originality would die and get buried 6 feet under – people wouldn’t be able to find a writing style that suited them individually, they wouldn’t be able to express themselves or create dynamic voices of their own because everybody would be following the same step-by-step guide.
No, writing needs to be hard, because that’s what makes writing what it is and that’s what makes writing so important in itself.
To be a writer, you have to do the hardest thing: you have to write. I know, I know, I hate it too – I wish I could snap my fingers and suddenly have the most interesting ideas and the right words flowing from my fingertips but that just doesn’t happen. Sadly, we have to put in the work. Though I say that, and it’s not sad at all – we need to write to be writers and we need to keep writing to become better writers. You’re never going to expand on those skills and those talents unless you try and put the ones that you already have to use. Practice makes perfect and, even though the saying is old and worn out, it still rings true. Do I wish I had the ability of Stephen King? Yes. But I don’t, and I won’t ever have that level of ability unless I actually write. You write, you get better – then you write more and you get better still.
But it’s important that you know you don’t have to write to fit a category! You don’t have to adhere to a certain style or a certain tone just because you may think that it’s better received by a specific audience. Write the way you want to write, write the amount you want to write, and – most vitally – write what the hell content you want to write. If what you’re writing or how you’re writing isn’t making you happy, then find the way that writing does indeed make you happy. Write for yourself, tell yourself the story in any form, any context, any way that you want and find what’s comfortable for you. Don’t let the ideas or the assumptions of others restrict your writing and your ability – don’t put yourself in a box and don’t feel as if you need to stay in a box. If you want to try something that others wouldn’t necessarily expect from you, do it anyway! If you’re scared to write that story that’s always floating around your head, open up a word document or grab a notebook and just see what happens. There is so reason to stop from exploring and trying to find what style of writing suits you and what sort of writer you happen to be. There is no right or wrong, so don’t be afraid to expand your horizons. Experiment if you want, or stick with what you know if you’re comfortable and happy with it.
For example, there seems to be a continuous debate over whether people should write digitally or by hand, whether they should draft an outline first or whether they should completely eyeball it. Who cares? You’re a writer! What works for you works for you, and, even if it takes you a hell of a long time to find out what that process exactly may be, you’re no wrong in conducting something in your own way. Some people know what works for them – other people take years to figure out just what point of view they prefer taking on, and that’s completely fine. All writers have their own styles, their own way of working, their own way of getting inspired, and their own way (and extent) of distributing that work (yes, even if it’s only you who happens to read it).
Writing lets us achieve so many various things. You don’t need to write a novel or a poem or whatever you think may be expected from you – all you need to do, like I said, is write. Put words out there. Pen to paper or fingers to keyboard, you are achieving something fantastic. A sentence or a novel, either is fine – either is great and, sometimes, if you can’t write, that’s okay too. Sometimes we do need to take a break, we need to take a step back. Don’t feel as if you’re not worthy of being a writer if you haven’t written in days, months, or years. Don’t feel as if your work isn’t good enough because it’s not ‘recent’ enough and, vice versa, don’t feel as if your content is too repetitive or you write ‘too much’. Please, just write.
I think a lot of us are worried that our writing isn’t good enough or we aren’t doing it in ‘right’ way to be categorised as ‘writers’ at all. I know that, personally, calling myself a writer makes me uncomfortable because I don’t feel as if I’ve earned the title – I don’t feel as if my words are of a high enough standard, when, really, every single one of us is a writer in some respect or another. You’re a writer if you write fan fiction or published books, you’re a writer if you write the occasional stanza or poem. Hell, you could take this further, you see where I’m going. The point is, there’s no level that we have to reach to be writers – we just are. Yes, some writers have different tones and styles, they have different methods, but that doesn’t make anybody lesser or greater than the next person. Some people are known, some aren’t, they’re all achieving something in their own way.
Being a writer is hell of a hard and it’s not easy to explain just how difficult it is sometimes. There are so many pressures and expectations that society just overlooks and acts as if they aren’t a big deal as if the job role is easy – whether you do it professionally or just write as a hobby. We continuously feel as if we need to write in a certain way or a certain style for a certain group of people to reach a certain level of ’success’ to be ranked and handed the title of ‘writer’. But we shouldn’t feel like that because we don’t need to do any of that.
You are your own writer, so write for yourself and that’s all you have to do to be worthy of being called a ‘writer’. Just write.
Thanks for reading this rambling post, and I’ll write you later.