The Why of It

One of the hardest things I do as a writer is write.

I love writing. I submerse myself into a world and wait with anticipation to see what will happen but often I ramble about, searching for a distraction, because I am afraid that what I write is mediocre, or just plain bad.

Recently, I had the privileged to speak to students in a creative writing class at a local college. One of the questions presented to me was “how do you write when you don’t feel like writing, when the words don’t come to you?” My response was to just sit down and write…anything. It’s like trying on clothes in the fitting room – if you don’t like how it looks, don’t buy it. Often, when I want to write, have the time to write, I will tap away at the keyboard and before the page is done I have deleted it all because I didn’t like it, and that’s okay. The point was, I wrote.

Often we feel that unless it is perfect, we should not do it. Don’t play ball unless you’re going to be the best. Don’t run unless you are going to do a marathon. Don’t take a job unless you can make x amount of money. But what about doing something simply for the joy of doing it?

I do not write this blog because I think I am the best, or even to make money at it. I didn’t publish a book to get famous. I don’t work to get rich. I do these things in the hopes of making a difference in somebody’s life, even if it is just one person. Knowing why you do something is the key to staying motivated to do it. If it is for superficial things, chances are, it will not last. Working for money is not enough. Exercising for weight loss is not enough. There needs to be a goal, a joy, found in everything you do or you will lose momentum and the desire to do that activity.

Washing dishes isn’t really an coveted activity but I have refrained from getting a dishwasher because I found this rather mundane task allows me the time to be meditative. When I implore my children to assist me with the chore, that time becomes an opportunity to bond. If I simply focused on the act of cleaning dishes, it is an empty task, but by finding the deeper meaning in it, true purpose is gained.

There are many “have to’s” in life, especially if you are to have a home or family. You have to make money. You have to clean the house. You have to eat. It is easy to become resentful, avoiding those things that are not quite savory tasks, but if you remind yourself of why you do it, refocus your thoughts and how you view the activity, then it becomes less of a burden.

So back to my procrastination on writing. If I love to write, why the struggle to write? Because I lose focus on the why of it? When I let go of the preconceived ideas of success, perfection, and how others may react, I am able to relax and simply enjoy the process. Some of my best writings have been when I had no notion of what I was going to write, whether it was a class essay, blog, or book. In silencing the need for perfection, I opened the door for creativity.

Do you struggle to sit down and write? Do you find yourself procrastinating on doing a task? Share your secrets on how to break through that wall, you never know who you may be helping in the process.

In the meantime, do it for the love of doing it. It’s not about pleasing everybody else, it’s about pleasing yourself and accomplishing your goals and reaching your happiness.

-Pax tibi


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