“With pencil and paper, I could revise the world.” – Allison Lurie
So many blogs about writing.
So much advice about writing.
So much about the craft of writing, marketing with writing, and how to sell your latest eThing through writing.
And so little about the joy of writing. Writing to write. Not to sell, woo, seduce, hypnotize, or get more subscribers to your blog. Just pure writing.
“What’s the point of that?” you might ask.
And it’s a good question.
Let’s face it. Most people want a good answer before they’ll invest. (Translation: An answer that will make money, make them more important, or give them power over something.) For those people, I don’t have the good answer. Because the process of writing daily, preferably with pen and paper, is the answer. It’s an end in and of itself.
(I know. I know. Most people aren’t too fond of those “rewards unto themselves” kinds of things either.)
I’ve been filling up spiral notebooks and journals since I was twelve. I believe that this practice gave me a jump start when I began writing songs. Now, it comes in handy when I write blogs or my e-Seminar or anything else. It’s like breathing to me. It just is. I just write.
In case you still don’t believe me, here are 11 other reasons to write everyday…
1 – Writing creates order
If you’re at all like me, then your thoughts can race. And they can multiply. And then they can race some more. And multiply some more. They become unruly crowds. I call this “brain clutter.” My friend James calls it “The United Nations.”
Then you sit down to write. Your hand can only write one word at a time, one sentence at a time. And your thoughts are forced to get in a line, wind around the velvet ropes, and wait their turn. No one has to shout at them. Writing lets them know that they will all eventually be heard. And the unimportant ones (e.g., most of them) will shuffle away. Writing creates order and helps you hear yourself think.
2 – Writing erases perfectionism
Nothing keeps us stuck like perfectionism. Many people won’t even begin something because they’re so paralyzed by having to “make the perfect choice,” or “buy the perfect gift” or “write the perfect song.”
When you write everyday, you soon learn that perfectionism is pretty funny. Word by word, you teach yourself that there’s no such thing as perfect. And you learn that how deeply you participate in the creating of something has much more effect on the outcome than does the disconnected idea of “perfect.” Perfect implies an event. Writing teaches us that there are no events, and that everything is a process.
3 – Writing connects your hands and your heart
Your hands are physically connected to your heart. Writing solidifies this connection. It’s mechanical.
I meet a lot of people who have forgotten what they want. They forgot what delights them. They’ve lost the connection to their heart. I encourage them to write. Writing teaches your heart to speak through your hands.
4 – Writing falls you in love with your life
As I write this, I’m sitting on my sofa in front of a flower arrangement made for me by my neighbor. It is wilting. My dog is sitting under the bird feeder on the deck chewing loudly and neurotically on sunflower seed hulls. I notice these things when I write.
When you write, you claim this moment. You claim your life. You fall deeper in love with it. It is all there to be inhaled by your pen.
5 – Writing revises your world
You can also re-write your world. You can tell a whole different story. There’s an exercise called “Scripting” that some people do every day. They write their ideal lives in present tense, as if it were already so. You can revise your world with your powerful imagination. This is how many children survive their childhoods.
6 – Writing engages the five senses
The smell of paper. The scritchy scrape-y sound of a pen on paper. The touch of the notebook page after a good fine-point pen has created a Braille-like indentation on it. The unmistakable loopiness of your handwriting. It’s all there. No amount of on-line marketing can give you that.
7 – Writing builds self-esteem
Brenda Ueland wrote:
“For when you come to think of it, the only way to love a person is… by listening to them and seeing and believing in the god, in the poet in them. For by doing this, you keep the god and the poet alive and make it flourish.”
When you write, you listen to yourself. When you write, you love yourself. When you write, you keep the god and poet alive. This alone will center you, strengthen you, and give you something to look forward to each day: a date with your own strong centered voice. She will begin to show up more and more throughout your day, too.
8 – Writing makes you friends with uncertainty
Let’s face it. Some days writing is choppy and heavy. It’s like roller-skating on gravel. You’ll have no idea why you’re even doing it or where it’s taking you. Some days the blank page talks back at you. Some days nothing comes at all. But you keep writing and showing up because you learn that uncertainty is not the enemy. You know that you’ll write your way through to clarity. Most people avoid uncertainty like the plague. Writing teaches you to befriend it.
9 – Writing finds your voice
When you write every day, you learn your voice. You learn your rhythm. (Even if it takes re-writing the word “rhythm” three times before you get the spelling right.) I think so many people love Twitter and texting and blogging is that they these are safe arenas where they can find their voices and delight in that process. Finding your voice is an unfolding. Your voice comes out when it starts to feel safe, when it’s allowed to just write.
10 – Writing container-fies you
When you write daily, you “container-fy” yourself. That is, you become a container. You set yourself up to notice everything. You keenly observe, you take things in, and you see the world through artist’s eyes. Your subconscious takes note. Everything is raw material. And surprising things begin to happen when you become more than just a lowly soul plodding off to work each day.
11 – Writing teaches you that this is it.
There’s no there to get to. There’s no destination. This is the bad news for the people who want to get things. It’s the good news for people who want to get it. This is it. Start where you are. Take pen in hand and write your world.