Writing Advice

Why You Should Write When Writing Sucks

writerproblemsComputer messages that shouldn’t be annoying any sane person right now– and here I am, having to schedule a restart for 9:15 AM (when I’ll be at work in the morning) so I can keep pecking at my keyboard undisturbed until I finally drag myself to bed when the creatively-exhausted stupor sets in– if I drag myself to bed at all tonight. I love my brain, I love watching this process of expressing ideas and stories unfold, but I do wish it were willing to show some sympathy to MY schedule, which pays the bills.

Don’t let anyone tell you being a writer is easy, and don’t let anyone make you feel like your work as a writer is in any way less than a “real job,” even if it doesn’t earn you a penny. Coming up with ideas can be easy, letting words flow onto a page can be easy; on rare and treasured occasions, even feeling somewhat confident in your work is easy, but the lifestyle of a true writer is never easy. In the throes of creativity, you will be exhausted. You will be isolated from the rest of humankind in the strangest and most inopportune ways, leaving you to wonder if you are an undiagnosed madman. You will sometimes cry with frustration or sheer exhaustion from not being able to keep up with the speed and scope of your own mind while doing your thoughts justice through hurried words or brushstrokes. But if your soul is meant to write, there is a secret corner of your heart where you are somehow able to enjoy every minute of the all-consuming creative disease, even through the stretches where the process threatens to break you with its demands. If you can weather that process, if you can tough it out through the exhaustion, you will have produced something that is true art (or has the potential to be, with some proper polishing). So next time you feel like your creative projects are crushing you and not worth the trouble, just keep typing. The exhaustion will pass, and eventually (perhaps years later) you will have a piece of true art, produced from your own hands and mind– a piece of art which is somehow simultaneously beautiful, compelling, and uniquely you.

Art is the only way through which people are able to communicate mind-to-mind, heart-to-heart, and soul-to-soul, regardless of personal identity or time. Art enables two people (the artist and the art consumer) to share a moment of thought that passes only between those two minds– it’s the closest thing to a Vulcan mind meld you’ll probably ever experience. Your art is the best way to pass your experiences, your perspectives, and the lessons you’ve learned from your own life on to others, including future generations. If done right, and with a little luck, your art will be a vessel for your soul long after you’ve moved on from the world. (That’s right: your art is your own personal hopefully-less-malignant horcrux. Make it a powerful one– shred your soul to make that art.) Your life is unique, therefore the things you learn are unique– you may put pieces of thought together to produce a conclusion about the world, God, or just a simple but relatable quirk of human nature, that literally no one else can conclude because no one else is you. Just by living and thinking, you collect unique information about yourself and the world. No one else has your experiences (your data) to analyze the craziness of life and come to the exact conclusion you will– a conclusion that just might be the bright idea that actually changes the world.

No one knows who will come up with the ideas that truly create change, because no one knows what other humans can create (whether for good or evil). Therefore, live. Think. Process your experiences. Tell them to others in whatever form works for you– writing, art, music, mathematical equations that explain our universe, whatever!– and you might just be the one who strikes the first note to change the entire chord of humanity. You never know who will start that change (often change comes out of the most unlikely of circumstances), so whoever you are, whatever your skill level: never stop creating. Never stop honing the talents that enable you to communicate your life to other people. Between the 7+ billion people on this planet, we should be able to work out some solutions for this mess we call the modern world– we just have to find ways to talk to each other in a world where the technologies of communication are greater than they’ve ever been, but human understanding of each other is at an all-time low. Art can speak where conversations fail. So whatever you can create, make sure you create it, because if you have the courage to weather the creative process, to stick with your art to the end, your dedication alone means your art has something worth saying.

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