11 Irresistible Reasons to Write Everyday - Christine Kane

“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.

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42 COMMENTS ADD A COMMENT
  • Jordan Mercedes

    These days, it’s in the moments when I’m writing that the world seems right. I’m aligned and focused, the ideas easily flow and there’s a feeling of abundance and generosity. Funny, how things have changed. I used to wait for the mood to write to show up, now it’s always there and I’m waiting for the time.

    Thanks for the article, as usual it’s a gem like the others.

  • ruminator

    Hey Christine! (That’s southern-speak, in Texas we’d say “Howdy!”)

    Wife shared this post with me. In fact, she printed it and put it on my desk. I’m working my way through it and I keep coming back to your list and reading, then thinking (and sometimes even writing).

    I’m reminded of Julia Cameron’s book, The Artist’s Way. My copy is in my garage in a box somewhere after my last move. I’m motivated to go find it now. There is something about writing that is both cathartic and energizing.

    I’ve been thinking about this and wonder if I should have a couple of writing sessions everyday — one in the morning to script the day (at least my attitude) and another in the evening to chronicle the day just passed. Maybe that’s too regimented.

    In the end, I just wanted to say thanks for the encouragement. Those are some good words.

  • Jamie Grove – How Not To Write

    I had a hard time carving time out to write today. Such a busy schedule, but I did it. Like working out, it feels so good once you get to the gym (err, keyboard).

    The story I’m working on is really flowing and it definitely fits into the “Writing Falls You In Love With Your Life” category.

    Great post, Christine! Thanks!!!

  • fivecats

    thank you for this entry and for casting some much needed light.

  • walter hawn

    I have a bit of a problem with writing first thing. It scratches my creative itch just enough that I don’t feel any urgency to do much towards my real practice. BUT: If I put the writing to some other time of the day, it tends to damp out after a couple or three weeks, until I remember it again. The dilemma has horns.

    The proper combination of pen and paper makes the act of writing much more a sensual and aesthetic delight. I’ve moved up, penwise over the years, from Flair to a very nice Waterman fountain pen. I’ve tried unlined paper and don’t like the untidy result. It was difficult to find a lined paper that takes fountain pen ink without blotching, as quality has declined in that area. Once upon a time, all ‘legal’ pads were made of very good paper. Not so, any more. Tops still makes a good, albeit pricey, legal pad of 20 lb paper, called “Docket Gold,” that comes in both yellow and white. I’ve decided that the extra 9 cents or so a day is a bearable expense. Once I found this combination, I discovered my handwriting improving and becoming much more legible.

  • tre ~

    hey friend…

    here you are being….
    inviting all to leap into theirs, ours, mine…
    thank you for the gentle nudge and the adamant push….
    claim our lives we must…
    writing is the how ….
    thank you for your constant advocating…
    may we all ‘go be’ too 🙂
    hugs from the tropics of the keys….
    tre 😉

  • m

    I’d back up that suggestion. When I start sometimes I’m really mundane and just list all the things I can hear or see then it flows into other stuff. Another good writing book is Natalie Goldberg’s Writing Down the Bones. Oh and I’d recommend a cheap cartridge pen which flows easily, and unlined paper so you aren’t reminded of school.

  • Christine Kane

    cate – I’d recommend that you read Julia Cameron’s “the Artist’s Way.’ it’s a great book. and she’ll help you get a better understanding of how/why/where to begin with writing. There is no real way to start but to start right where you are. when i’m stuck, i simply begin describing everything around me. the way the light is coming in the window, the birds on the feeder, my dog sighing, etc. Nothing is too boring or mundane as long as the pen is moving.

  • cate

    any ideas for what to write? how to begin? i’m ready to write, but stuck there, i’m afraid.

  • Emily

    Kay-
    Thanks! The website looks great and I will definately spend more time exploring it!

  • becky

    Great Clarity, Christine. I could have gone down the list and checked them off one by one: true, yep that one’s right on target, true.
    I’m hanging it over my desk.

  • Kay

    Emily,
    Your comment made me think of a wonderful site that I was introduced to by a friend who knew the creator…… Not that there are any sites quite as special as THIS one…..but your comments brought to mind

    http://www.oneyearofwritingandhealing.com/
    You might want to check it out.
    Thanks Christine for sharing so much with so many of us!!!

  • Emily

    Christine,
    I have always been a journaler and up until college wrote a lot of poetry and stories. In college & grad school my creative drive seemed to get taken over by the necessity of academic writing. Recently I’ve gotten more consistently back into journaling and I am so grateful for it.
    I agree with the things you wrote and I have also found throughout my life that if some situation or anything is overwhelming it is helpful to spill it out onto paper and take it outside of myself. Then, instead of feeling like that situation or emotion is consuming me, I can be in relationship with it. Writing in this way has helped me through many things and now as a therapist I also use writing with my kids in therapy and many of them report it to be beneficial.
    Written word is such a beautiful and healing art.

  • Christine Kane

    sunrise sister – thanks for your great perspective on blogging. people often forget about that creativity/recovery part about having a blog. in fact, most of the marketing types dismiss it as useless. their loss!

    diane – yes, the right pen makes all the difference. i like a really dark blue ink. and the fine point ball point vs the really thick point ball point (can’t find them as much anymore) is always a toss up!

    you’re right gladys – the everyday thing makes a huge difference.

    thanks laura! and you can go ahead and print this up. (It’s best to use the PRINT link at the bottom of the post. I think that will format it so you don’t get all the comments, etc.)

  • laura

    Christine, this is truly a stellar post. I teach writing and am asking for your permission to print this up and give to my university students (mostly sophomores). I am constantly encouraging to write because it’s wonderful, they’re mostly interested in a grade, like “Do I get extra credit if I write because I want to?”

  • Gladys

    I find I often think myself into knots, and writing down my thoughts is how I begin sorting it all out. I’ve found it interesting that when I actually dump thoughts out of my head and onto paper, their importance changes, allowing me to sort out what really does matter. Insights come out that had not occurred to me before. This usually happens on days when I don’t think I have much to say, which is a good reminder to me to keep journaling every day no matter what!

  • Diane

    I love the feeling of a really great pen when writing. You know how some pens just won’t do? I know I need to write more and I especially appreciated the reminder of how the one word at a time slows down the brain/voices.

    I recently saw the film “The 11th Hour” which is along the same lines as “An Inconvenient Truth.” There was a great line from one of the scientist, “We are a society that can’t get enough of what we don’t really want.” I think that is so true and writing helps focus on what I do really want.

  • Sunrise Sister

    Number 7 – I like hearing what I have to say. I told a small group with whom I meet regularly that I felt my blog was really a gift of creativity from God. It has opened up me and has brought to the surface long held feelings of “want to” creativity – turned into – the writing aspect, and the paint to canvas recall that I’ve been so many years without. I love to receive responses to my posts but somedays there aren’t any…..I can see visitors numbers but no response. And, I’m beginning to think that’s o.k. because when I do receive a response it’s usually something very special that I truly treasure.

    Thanks for the list. Prodding, reassuring words – as always a renewed sense of can-do when I visit your site.

  • Carrie_in_TN

    Found you recently and absolutely love the soul nourishment you offer. Thank you.

    I wrote daily once and got paid for it. I was a newspaper reporter. I wrote other people’s stories but could not force myself to sit at my personal computer at home and write my own. Three years after I quit the gig and launched a business, my own stories — and there are a few — are still stuck in the head. I’ve got notebooks everywhere to inspire me and allow me to pour it out. They’re mostly blank.

    I recently enlisted two friends to create a writing group. We’ve called it Pinky Swear…it will begin, for I don’t want to look back and wonder what if…and if anything, I’d like to leave books — published or unpublished — for my daughter. There’s much to say and much that wants to come out.

    Your list is simple and dead-on, especially the part about falling in love with your own life and connecting hands to heart.

    Thank you for the reminders…

  • Christine Kane

    Thank you Clay! I LOVE the idea of writing the book you’ve always wanted to read. I’ve never written fiction. I feel like I lost that capability at some point along the way, even though I perpetually wrote stories and “books” when I was younger. I love reading it though. Thanks for your kind words!

  • Clay

    Christine,
    I’m a fiction writer myself, so I’m something of a connoisseur when it comes to advice for writers, having personally consumed so much of it over the decades. Advice for writers has proliferated to the point of saturation, and much of it strikes me as very limiting in nature.

    As an example of limiting advice, aspiring writers are urged to “write what you know.” For me as a novelist or short story writer, following such advice would be a disaster, since restricting myself only to what I know would eliminate the huge role that imagination plays in shaping where the story takes me. Wouldn’t the better advice be to “write what you love”?

    Have I ever come across some good advice about writing (present company excepted, naturally)? Yes! I can’t tell you who said it, but I’ve always liked this suggestion of how to select what to write about: “Write the book you’ve always wanted to read, but have been unable to find.” That’s advice you can take to the bank…

    Your site is a recent discovery for me, and my wife and I are loving the process of thumbing through the archives. Keep up the stellar work!

    Thanks,
    Clay

  • Christine Kane

    thank you peggy. that’s great to hear…

    zach – you nailed it. when you write everyday, then you really do get to a place where you can look forward to it. the “event” thinking is what can keep you away from the page!

    imelda – you described the mental clarity that comes from morning writing so beautifully. I hope you’ve inspired yourself!

    thank you susan! that is indeed my favorite part of writing. it’s so easy to dismiss our lives and the moments therein. (i am so guilty of that.) and hey – you’re not a technoweenie at all! I have friends who don’t even know how to leave a comment and refuse to try!

  • Christine Kane

    irene – i’ve never gotten to the place of transferring pen and ink over to typing. They’re so different. and i kind of keep them to themselves. I’ll have to try it sometime.

    hi caren! have fun with the artist’s way group. (and remember to not get too 4-ish in the morning pages! 🙂 It’s easy to drown in your emotions in that notebook!)

    hello linda w — i think i’ll send a copy of your comment to my sister. I’m the youngest in a family of academics – and I hear such a common theme of “gosh, i’d really love to be able to write something NOT academic related.” i can certainly understand the new delight you must be experiencing!

    thanks sue! I definitely thought of your poetry when i wrote this post. (I’m assuming you’re THAT sue! 🙂 )

    you’re welcome stacey!

  • Susan

    Trying this again – the passage I was referring to (above) is:

    “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.”

    I used brackets when I should have used quotes – I’m such a technoweenie!

  • Susan

    Hey, Christine –

    >

    As I read this passage, my immediate reaction was a sharp intake of breath… followed by my eyes filling with tears… followed by a wide grin, and I realized the wisdom of your words had circumvented my brain and gone straight to my heart – that’s all… that’s enough…

    thanks for encapsulating the magic moments – “write your world” indeed…

  • Imelda/GreenishLady

    Thanks for this Christine. I know this stuff. But don’t act on it. When I started a job involving very early morning starts for me I left my morning pages slide, slide out of my consciousness, and yes, my brain gets more clogged now. I know that whenever, however I do it, when I do write, life is smoother and better. Thank you for bringing me back to this moment again.

  • zach

    Yeh this is good. What I like especially is the idea of erasing perfectionism. Ain’t nothing gonna be perfect, and it damn well doesn’t have to be. It’s more important to just write.

    Of course, for me one of the biggest pleasures in writing every day is that, hey, you get to write every day. That’s good fun, there. That make sense?

  • Peggy

    Christine, your posts are like balm, and this is just what I needed today. Thank you for writing.

  • stacey l.

    Thanks Christine, as always you have inspired me to write, write write. I have so many journals, but I haven’t written in a realy long time! Thanks for the inspiration!

  • Sue

    Thanks Christine! This was a great thing to read today. I love the parts you wrote about writing making us friends with uncertainty and how it creates order. It’s great to see how all that stuff in our heads can come out on paper in 15 lines of concise writing sometimes! That seems so much more manageable!
    Like music and art, it is phenomenal to read all the variations writing can take through the unique voice of each person’s experience. The timelessness of it gives me chills on a good day of writing! I love Mark’s comment (via Dave) about how good writing should stimulate the visual cortex! 🙂 Awesome.

  • Linda W

    Thanks, Christine, for another great morning-starter.

    I began my blog in order to write again. I’m coming off of several years of academic writing and while it was very focused, I enjoyed getting my own voice squeezed into academia. I also discovered that I love to write.

    Now, writing my blog on a every few days schedule, I hear a lot more of the voices inside me. I’m becoming clearer about what it is that I really want to write about and, cosequently, what I want to do with all of that academic training.

  • Caren

    A couple friends and I are just about to start The Artist’s Way, morning pages and everything. I will sometimes start a writing practice, write every day for months, then I’ll completely and totally forget about it until I find the notebook somewhere. Oh, yeah! I was writing! Then I’ll either pick it back up, or not.

  • Irene

    Morning Christine,
    I always write with a pen and paper. I feel totally connected with everything that way. Along the way I give in and transfer some of my work to my computer to have it easily accessable. #3 is truly the essence for me. Thank you again for sharing. It is helping me in a lot of ways.

  • Christine Kane

    thanks mark. i’ve come to enjoy the editing process too. it’s fascinating how much you can blurt out in the beginning and then cut cut cut. I could probably edit even more than I do — but blogs have a bit of time pressure on them! when i write songs, i’m almost always working with both sides at once. the editor (not the critic) steps in more frequently than with writing prose.

  • Mark

    Thanks Christine – very cool post.

    Editing my writing is where the fun begins. I find it challenging and it helps me in other ways – it changes the way I talk to people. I ramble less and filter out the extraneous words and abstractions that tend to make conversations (and writing) boring.

    Your lyrics are filled with strong visuals. My friend Dave used to say that all good writing should stimulate the visual cortex.

  • Christine Kane

    deb – as for the blog, and that pressure to write — whenever i feel that way, i go back to that place where I just love writing. I’ll write something that’s totally un-blog-like. it turns out being more fun. then i remember why i write at all, and that’s more motivating than “you have to blog!!”

    thanks lilalia!

    judy – that’s true. that same thing happens for me all the time with writing – those unexpected places.

  • Judy

    Writing creates surprises. I find as I sit and write what is in my heart it will take me to unexpected places, that I never would have seen or thought about if I hadn’t sat down with pen and paper. And who doesn’t love surprises!

  • lilalia

    Once again you have shone a gentle light on a subject dear to my heart. We have all become raconteurs of humble existences. I write to write. What I write though, is a gift from me to those who while a moment on my blog. This post captures this endeavor so well.

  • deb

    it clarifies things. in this sense, i’m thinking of those wonderful things called “morning pages.” (i wish i was more disciplined about doing them.) when i write them, first thing in the morning and with no thought about style or grammar….just….free-flowing, stream-of-consciousness writing…..and go back to read them later, patterns emerge. i see changes that need to be made. i see things that need to ‘stay the course.’ i see old habits and old friends and the day-to-day details, new loves and new adventures.

    it really is the coolest thing since sliced bread.
    😉

    unfortunately, my blog started out as me just…..writing.
    now, i feel like i have to have something to say. or wish i’d spent more time writing better in the past. or whatever. but then i remember my blog isn’t really about writing well, it’s about what it does. (for me, for others, the connections made, etc.)

    thanks for this post.
    i definitely needed it, right at this moment.
    and isn’t that how the universe works?
    😉

    all the best!
    deb