I write because I have an overwhelming desire to create. As I get older, I feel a burning need to have something to look back on and show for my work. It can be something like writing, or something that I’ve created with my hands, or even something I’ve fixed. Working with my hands gives me almost the same enjoyment as I get from writing. The goal is to have something to show, something tangible, something real. I want to be a producer and less of a consumer.
I’ve sold software, been the technical support for salespeople, and managed salespeople for nearly 25 years. I have very little to look back on and point to as an achievement other than a stack of worthless, plastic, gold, and wooden sales trophies. A stack of logos of the companies I’ve sold to doesn’t seem to satisfy my creative nature. It’s useless to point to a company, as I drive down the road and say, “See that company over there? I sold them a system that turns paper into electronic form.” Some will say it’s because I haven’t found my purpose.
Not all purposes are worthy
I disagree, as my purpose is not one that anyone would want to revel in. Just like people who have past life experiences never seem to say how they were some poor schlep who died of cholera in the middle ages, not all life purposes are going to be about saving lives or making the world a better place. So I turn to writing to try to express my creative side in hopes that it will quench the thirst my soul seems to be after. When I’m able to create something that I look back on the next day and surprise myself, I am satiated.
I’ve liked writing since I was 15. I wrote an essay my first week in an English class over Thanksgiving on why Huckleberry Finn was a picaresque novel. My teacher pulled my essay out of the stack and proceeded to read it to the class and tell us that this is how an essay is supposed to be written. I had no help, and Huckleberry Finn was the first book I had ever read cover to cover. I fondly remember typing that essay on my parent’s electric typewriter, having to correct and retype it several times because that’s how you edited in the mid-80s.
An early calling to write
While I hated the exposure in my first week of class in a new school, I did love the appreciation of something I wrote. It was a turning point in my life, although a brief one since most of my other English teachers were also coaches of mine. I hardly was pushed by any of them. And being a good writer in high school wasn’t as cool as being on the soccer team.
As I got my Literature degree a decade later, I heard from several of my professors about my writing. They helped, they edited, they worked with me to get my technique down. I even wrote a short story for my final research paper in Early American Lit instead of a normal research paper. My professor told us that while she would love to have something “interesting to read” in the middle of all the research papers, it had better be good because the requirement was a research paper. I gave it a try, and it was the first and only “A+” I ever received on a piece of writing in college. It was fun to write, and from that, she tried recruiting me into the Master’s program. Knowing I needed to start working and making money, I chose not to get an MFA. A minor regret in my life because it would have caused me to miss out on the career I have and enjoy now, which gives me the freedom to write and work from home when I’m not traveling.
Write every day
Now, with me writing every single day at least 500 words, I have something to show for 2018. My goal is to have 100 blog posts by the end of 2018 – that’s only a little over 2 posts per week. With daily writing, I should have enough content to keep me going within a few months.
Feeding the artist and the reader
I find I need to keep generating ideas daily, and that is still the biggest challenge. I go back to my weekly writing searching for ideas that still resonate after I’ve let them out of the attic.
I take a closer look at the likes and views on my existing content to see what people want to read more about. I hope that I can meet both needs, my desire to create, and the satisfaction of creating something that people read and like, just like my first experience when I was 15. I do find that after doing this for several months, I’m less hesitant to write about a topic that, on first sight, didn’t excite me. The desire to create content that people want is growing in me. I think that can only help me as an artist.
I’m eager to see where my writing takes me and what comes out of my mind next. I know ideas are in there, baking and brewing, and I’m excited to see them be birthed and come to life. It’s exciting, it’s exhilarating and it scares the hell out of me most days.
Do you feel the same way? What motivates you to write? What dredges up that urge to express yourself? Please let me know in the comments below, or drop me a note when you sign up for my email list.