It’s easy to get down on yourself when you’re a writer. I remember talking about the entire process of publishing, landing an agent, and how it can take several years to a friend and he went, “wow, if I had to do that for a living, I’d quit.”
I think all of us as writers have our doubts. We get to that point when we look at our latest work-in-progress or even a whole pile of novel drafts and wonder why we keep bothering with it when we haven’t made it as far as we hoped yet.
But in reality, there are so many people out there who actually do care about what you have to say. Be it friends, family or even unfound lovers of the message you have to share.
If you’re a niche writer and you are writing something that doesn’t appeal to the masses, it only means that you’ve got the chance to be one of the few people speaking about topics that are found in the hearts of certain special individuals.
Even if your passion isn’t making headlines or selling books by the truckload, it doesn’t mean that it would be better left unsaid. You’ll never see this unless you keep writing.
So here are some reasons why you should keep writing, even when it seems like no one in the world could care less.
- Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that your writing only matters if it is read.
- Write for yourself.
- Use your writing to discover the world.
- Gain a better understanding of yourself and the world by becoming intimate with your words.
- If you want to write, then write. Don’t wait for feedback to start or keep going.
- Creativity is for everyone, not just “the chosen few”.
- Writing to heal. Sometimes putting pain on paper can help you alleviate it.
- Any words you write are better than no words at all.
Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that your writing only matters if it is read.
One of the most disheartening events that a writer can experience is when they feel their writing has no purpose—because it doesn’t get read, or read by “enough” people.
It’s true that what you write does have value, even if no one reads it. You were brave enough to put your ideas on paper when maybe you didn’t really know if anyone would be interested in them. You probably spent hours—maybe even days—trying to perfect your phrasing and create a voice that would be engaging to others.
And even if you’re only writing for yourself, you can still take pride in the act of putting words on a page, knowing that you were able to organize your thoughts in a way that makes sense and communicates something meaningful to you.
Sometimes, though, we get discouraged because we don’t think our writing will do any good unless other people read it. That’s a trap many writers fall into, and I’m here to tell you that there are better ways to live life than potentially sacrificing the things you love because of an expectation about getting other people’s validation for your work.
Write for yourself.
Why do we write?
We write because we have something to say and because we want to share it with the world. But that’s not really the whole story, is it?
The real reason we write is because we’re compelled to. We’re compelled to share the thoughts and ideas that are inside of us, and even if we never get to share them with anyone but ourselves, we will continue to write—no matter how much time or effort (or even money) it takes.
When someone who writes for a living tells you that writing is their life, they’re not just talking about their career; they’re talking about their very existence in this world. They’re telling you that they’ve poured so much of themselves into their craft that they can’t imagine a life where they aren’t doing it—and I can certainly attest to this fact.
I started writing when I was just six years old, and I fell in love almost right away. For me, there was no other option; writing wasn’t something I did or even wanted to do; it was something that I needed to do.
Writing is often a part of who we are; it’s part of our identity. We’re writers. Just because no one is reading doesn’t mean that we’re not writers anymore. The same person who writes for the joy of filling blank space on paper or screen might also write for the joy of crafting a well-constructed sentence or paragraph—and the same person who writes for love of the craft might also write for the love of sharing their thoughts with others.
This does not mean that we should not strive to be read, but rather that we should evaluate why we want to be read and make sure that our goals align with both who we are and what we strive to accomplish.
Use your writing to discover the world.
Patience, grasshopper. We’ve all heard the old adage that “if you want to be a writer, you have to write.” It’s sound advice, but it’s also easy to take that phrase too literally and imagine yourself hunched over your computer every minute of the day, fingers flying as you type up the next New York Times best-seller.
In reality, writing is a lot more than just putting words on a page. It involves observation—and more importantly, interpretation.
When you look around your world and find something worth writing about, you’re using the art of observation in order to take what you see and turn it into something that readers can relate to.
In other words, writing happens only when you start seeing things from a unique perspective—which can be anything from how you react to pop culture references made by your friends, how the people around you are different or similar to your own family and upbringing, or even how they react to an event in history that has shaped our society.
Writing is a way of looking at the world, and sharing your writing is a way of finding out how other people view the same world—and it may surprise you.
Gain a better understanding of yourself and the world by becoming intimate with your words.
Writing is an introspective process.
You are pouring your heart out onto the page, expecting that your words will be saved forever and that they will be judged once they are read. To do this on a consistent basis is an act of bravery, because it means that you must face yourself honestly and write things down that you probably don’t want anyone else to see.
The thing is, we create stories for a number of reasons: to entertain people, to voice our opinions about things and to understand ourselves. The first and last of those reasons tie into each other—the point of creating characters and situations is to better understand ourselves and our reactions to things.
When we become intimate with characters in our stories, we can view them as stand-ins for ourselves. We can see how they react in any given situation and learn how we would act in similar circumstances; maybe they’re more aggressive than you would be, or more shy or reserved. By seeing these different sides of yourself through a character’s actions and words, you can gain a better understanding of yourself as a person.
You find your own voice and express what you want to say in a way that’s easier for you to understand. In this sense, writing for yourself helps you become more intimate with what makes you tick and how you think about the world. Every time I write something, I learn more about myself than I could have imagined.
In addition to becoming closer to yourself through writing (even if only in a small way), creating characters and worlds allows you to experience life from other perspectives—a skill that can help you empathize with others in ways that might surprise you. It allows you to understand thoughts, feelings and motivations of other people without actually having experienced them firsthand.
So trust me, even if it doesn’t feel like it, you need to keep writing—because there is someone out there who is going to get something out of it, even if you never know who they are. Even if that person is yourself.
If you want to write, then write. Don’t wait for feedback to start or keep going.
This is hard, I know. It’s nice to get validation. It’s like getting a pat on the back from your parents when you did things right as a kid, and so it makes sense that the same behavior we were rewarded for as children becomes an ingrained part of how we live our lives as adults.
But here’s the thing: when it comes to writing and publishing, no one is going to hand you a gold star or a cookie just because you’re doing it. Sometimes people will read what you write and share their thoughts with you, but often they won’t—and that doesn’t mean they don’t care about what you’re doing or that they don’t appreciate it (or even that they don’t love it).
The truth is, we have to have those moments of inspiration and encouragement from within. They’re part of who we are as writers. That moment of self-doubt before you put your fingers to the keyboard? That feeling of panic when you hit “publish” because you think no one will care? Those are your own internal encouragers saying keep at it—keep writing because it matters to you.
Creativity is for everyone, not just “the chosen few”.
The classic quote, “Those who can, do. Those who cannot, teach,” perfectly sums up what society has told us about people in creative fields for generations. But this statement only reflects a small part of the story.
Yes, there are people like Picasso and Shakespeare who have defined their own niches in history, but there are also people who never receive that same kind of recognition for their creative abilities. However, just because someone isn’t recognized by the larger world doesn’t mean that they can’t continue to use their creativity to enrich their life and the lives of others.
Many of us have been conditioned to believe that creativity is something you’re either born with or not. Creativity, we’ve been told, comes in bursts and starts with a flourish at a young age. If you’re not an artist by the time you’re in high school, you’ll never be one. It’s much easier to buy into this idea when you’re feeling insecure about your own creative skills.
You know those people you’ve known your whole life, the ones who always seem to have something unique and beautiful to offer? They’re living proof that creativity is not something that only starts to emerge at a certain point in your life or when you’re born with a special gift.
Creativity is an energy that flows freely through all of us; it’s simply up to us to learn how to access it and express it in whichever way we want.
Writing to heal. Sometimes putting pain on paper can help you alleviate it.
Writers have a unique way of healing from the pain of everyday life. It can be difficult to cope with some things that affect us, and we all need ways to heal. One way is to write out our thoughts, feelings, and emotions. This can be very helpful in healing situations like bereavement, trauma, or any other sort of hardship that might make it difficult to get through the day.
Everyone has a different style—some people find writing cathartic while others find it difficult to put feelings into words. Either way, after writing something down, you will feel like a weight has been lifted off your shoulders.
It may feel pointless to share these kinds of things, and that’s okay, you don’t even have to! But if you do choose to share these things, remember someone could be going through the same thing and need a reminder that they aren’t alone.
Any words you write are better than no words at all.
Writing is a funny thing. You think you’re the only one who’s ever felt that way, but in reality, it’s a feeling that seems to be universal. We all want to be read—but how many times have we gotten into our own heads and lost sight of what that means?
At their core, stories aren’t just about words on a page or lines of dialogue in a script; at their core, stories are about people. They’re about the relationships between characters which stems from the relationship between the writer and everyone involved.
And if you want to create meaningful work, you need to pay attention to that relationship with yourself as well—which is why you should keep writing, even when it seems like no one could care less.