Why Write? Overcome The Critic (and The Dude!)
Drumroll, please! I present to you the champion of the “How Writing Has Positively Influenced YOUR Life” writing contest: “Why Write” by Troy McLaughlin. Join me in congratulating Troy in the comments below.
I have a friend who loves to write. I’m more along the lines of Hemingway, bleeding on the page. Not literally, but it’s still painful.
It’s doled out by the critic and the dude.
Whether it’s the critic, saying I misspelled or omitted a word or some other grammar mistake. Or the dude inside my head who says “this sucks”, “why try”, or “nobody is going to read this.” I label him the F word. No, not that F word. No, the one that ends in “r.” You know fear.
When I write I feel like the machete wielding explorer whose blazing a trail in a dense forest but getting whacked, scratched, and nicked along the way. The critic, and the guy inside my head know how to poke and prod every bruise and every wound inflicted on the journey.
They seem to miss the trail I’ve made. They just point out the limbs I didn’t cut; the dude with his words of discouragement and the critic pointing out all my grammar mistakes.
You may be one who loves grammar, the comma, period, or the perfect sentence. Me, not so much.
The perfect sentence?
Ha! I’m begging for words. I’m hoping my words are more than “this sucks.” I’m hoping the guy inside my head finally shuts up and goes away. He never does. I’m hoping the critic shows some grace, not sure if he knows what the word means.
So why write?
Why put up with the pain, the hassle, the critic, the dude?
That’s the question we writers all have to answer. It’s not someone else’s why either. That won’t get you very far. Maybe it’s love like my friend, or maybe it’s a combination of love and something else you believe. But it has to be yours, and yours alone.
Jeff Goins says you need to call yourself a writer. It’s his reason. It works for him.
I need what works for me.
You need what works for you.
Find what works for you. It may be the same thing each time you face the empty page, it may change every time. Doesn’t matter much, what matters is, you embracing your reason. Frankly who cares what someone else’s reason is, they’re not writing for you.
Here’s my reason now. Like I said it might change. I’m not in love with writing, but I am in love with what writing can do. I’m in love with the magic of words, and how they can transform others. How they can encourage others. How they can paint when there’s no paint. How they can create something beautiful by stringing letters together on a page.
Your reason is the only one that will carry you when the critic shows up. Your reason is the only one to tell the dude to shut up and come back another day.
Now it’s your turn.
It’s your boat to navigate, your water to sail.
By Troy McLaughlin