Why write? Day 1

Is a pencil mightier than a sword?

Daily writing is something I’ve struggled with for years. I wanted it badly, but I didn’t have the right discipline in place. I’d write for a couple of weeks straight then something(mostly my own laziness) would derail me. Blogging here forces me to write nearly every day, but I’m learning that isn’t enough. This post is for my future self to show that I struggled and I published despite that. So today not knowing what to write about, here I am listing down the reasons why I should keep at it:

  1. To vent out. To talk about everything that stirs my heart albeit temporarily.
  2. Improve my thought process and the more I write, the more I think clearly
  3. To know and understand what I want.

These reasons might sound very abstract to you but to me, they are reasons enough to persist. Thanks to Simon Sinek, aren’t we always asking ourselves why we do what we do?

So is writing easy? Definitely not! It’s like putting down your naked thoughts for the passerby’s to comment. Perfectionism also causes writers to obsess about the finished product. They erroneously think that “good” writers easily churn out articles and books and that they must be “bad” writers because they struggle.

Don’t write a lot. Just write often.

Spending five hours on a Saturday writing isn’t nearly as valuable as spending 30 minutes a day every day of the week. Especially when you’re just getting started. The idea is repetition, developing a discipline of showing up, making this a priority, and working through The Resistance. Thus, authors first need to generate quite a bit of text and then set about deciding what to keep and what to toss away. Fortunately, with time and experience, this process becomes more efficient. Fingers crossed.

      Be Realistic About Criticism

Authors would do well to abandon the fantasy that the readers, editors, reviewers’ responses to their write up will be, “Please, don’t change a word”. I read somewhere that an editor with 25 years of experience editing a journal reported that she could recall just five occasions when this was the response of three independent reviewers to a writeup. One should accept that the act of submitting a work invites critique and that a recommendation to “revise and resubmit” is a positive outcome.

I will not allow my feelings to be hurt, withdraw the manuscript rather than make the requested revisions, or fire off an indignant, defensive message or mail to the reader. Writers need to develop a “thick skin” rather than take criticism personally. Just as a professor does not expect a standing ovation at the conclusion of each class taught, writers should not expect uncritical acceptance of each work published.

Now that I am writing almost daily I can say that writing is not the most time-consuming part of the process; it is rewriting and recorrecting significantly and still, it feels unpublishable. I pledge to persist despite those disappointing early drafts that can be revised into something publishable.

Hope Floats.

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