Last week, I shared my frustration with my writing, especially in the context of my own blog.
This past week, I’ve continued to think a lot about not just what I write, but when and why I write, specifically taking account of my level of satisfaction with the various types of articles I produce, my frustrations, my ever-shifting goals.
Ironically, I discovered a post at Copyblogger: “If Your Blog Disappeared, Who Would Miss It?” Author Ryan Imel describes the question as a “meditation” to help folks find direction in their blogging.
It’s not a new inquiry at all, having been bantered about since the dawn of time various forms, most notably “if I died tomorrow, would anyone miss me?” or “if I died tomorrow, how would my family cope?”
For writers, a variation of the query, considered periodically, is useful and, in my opinion, essential: “If I stopped writing . . . ?”
You could complete the sentence by asking, as Ryan does in the remainder of the article, whether your readers would inquire about your silence and miss you if you stopped blogging. So you could take stock of your writing pursuits by contemplating whether anyone would miss your efforts, your work, your end-product.
Of course, if you are an unpublished writer, submitting your work and waiting for that elusive first acceptance and subsequent publication, that question might lead you to a dead-end. After all, no one can miss your writing if you have not yet established an audience.
However, the inquiry is still valuable. Because I think all writers need to periodically reassess the importance of their writing — to them. To their own lives. So the relevant questions to be asked by all writers, are: “If I stopped writing, how would my life be different?” To what activities would I devote the time that I currently spend writing? Would I be happier?
Successful writers invariably talk about being driven to write. Needing to write. Feeling incomplete, unfulfilled, frustrated and lacking direction when they don’t write. They describe themselves as compelled to write and that compulsion leads to perseverance and, eventually, success.
The same analysis holds true for musicians, artists . . . all those who create in various media and genres.
If you blog, I urge you to read Ryan’s article in its entirety because he offers some outstanding and directly applicable tips that will give you plenty to consider with respect to your own efforts.
But all writers, regardless of the genres to which they dedicate their efforts, can benefit from considering the questions posed above. So this week, I am going to continue considering the answers to those inquiries and challenge you to do the same. Are you compelled or driven to write? What compels you? What keeps you going back to the keyboard or picking up pen and paper when you are frustrated, weary, feeling like you have no authentic voice? What would your life look like if you were not a writer? Why is that picture unacceptable to you? Or is it?
Leave a comment — share your observations and conclusions to the extent you feel comfortable doing so. I will be very anxious to hear your thoughts on this topic.