What’s the merit in writing?

Lately I have had this nagging doubt hanging onto my legs. It isn’t that I haven’t been writing lately, or that I’m struggiling to write. For the first time in a long while I actually am finding inspiration to write all the time and I love it!

But, there is this nagging, mean little voice in the back of my head saying, ‘What the hell are you doing wasting your time on writing? No one reads it, and if they do, who cares? No one will really care about it for longer than a week tops. You won’t make a living on it, and honestly, some of your stuff sucks.’

I have always been someone who wants to change the world, who wants to, at the root of changing the world, change people with my words. It’s a lofty goal, something I don’t live up to most of the time though I keep at it. But now this nagging voice is getting louder and louder.

What’s the point of writing anyways?

And I struggle to answer this voice, because secretly I’m afraid there isn’t a point. That it’s all a lights and mirrors narccistic show of vocabulary that we create to validate what we feel or think.

And maybe it is.

But I know that there is more to it. That through writing I can connect with people and worlds that I may never physically see. I can live a thousand different lives as a thousand different people. I can feel pain I never knew existed, and passion that I swear will light me on fire.

I know that writing can change the world, change people. I have been changed by reading, I know others have as well. I believe in what I write and I know that I will always write. But that nagging voice hasn’t gone away.

I think maybe it’s from this fear of applying for an MFA. That getting a degree in creative writing is silly and a waste of my time and money. But I don’t think that’s the case. I’m excited, albeit still scared, about going for an MFA. I know there’s a lot more to learn, to read, to write and I hope to get all that with an MFA.

No, this is not an ‘I quit writing forever, boohoo!’ post, I am going to keep writing and just ignore this little nagging voice. I’m not going to let it keep me from doing what I love. This is  just a way to throw the voice out of my head and into the world. Anyone have any answers, comments or thoughts? I’d love to read them.

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8 Comments »

  1. Ignoring the little nagging voice is the only right decision, otherwise it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. The only sure way to fail is to give up: your work may yet change the world, unless it never gets made.

    With regard to the MFA, I can’t give you any particular advice as I’ve never been in such a program. If anything, it will give you a lot of practice and make you more confident about your own work.

    • Judy Black Said:

      I absolutely think that listening to/giving in to the nagging voice can become a self-fulfilling prophecy for sure. Thankfully I have been able to work past that nagging voice and am back on target and feeling good again.

  2. Eric Said:

    Why does everything we do have to have some grand purpose? Sometimes we do things just to do them. Not that there’s anything wrong with knowing your motivations, but not having a certain, concrete notion shouldn’t stop you.

    Self-doubt is normal, but it’s unproductive to entertain such notions for more than a minute or two.

    You write because you feel compelled to write – that’s all the ‘justification’ you need.

    (I’m still not sure. Does MFA = a Master of Fine Arts degree, perhaps?)

    • Judy Black Said:

      That’s something I think I need to remember. When I try to sit down to write thinking ‘This will change the world.’ It’s so much pressure and feel like a thousand pairs of eyes are watching me. I need to focus on writing FOR ME because writing is what I love to do and what I would do even if no one ever read a word I wrote.

      Thanks for putting this as a comment because it’s something I really need to remember. I actually put “You write because you feel compelled to write – that’s all the ‘justification’ you need.” on a note card on my bulletin board on my desk so I can see it every time I sit down to write.

      Yes, an MFA is a Masters of Fine Art particularly in Creative Writing. I am in the process of applying for MFA programs with the hope of going on to teach.

  3. Chris G. Said:

    Thoughts we all experience at one point or another, I think. I actually believe we couldn’t be real writers if we didn’t have doubts in our capabilities, or the logic of what we’re doing. Second-guessing’s natural – questioning, worry. It’s the ones that just chug along thinking they’re God’s gift to man and destined for naught but greatness that you’ve really got to worry about!

    We all have these notions, but the strength lies in pushing past them. As you say, do what you love – don’t let that little nagging voice keep you down. If you love it – that’s *point* enough. If you enjoy doing it, embrace it for all it’s worth.

    • Judy Black Said:

      Thank you. This is something I really need to remind myself of, that the joy in writing IS writing. It’s taken a long time to get to the point where I feel okay calling myself and acting like a ‘writer’ but I still panic and run into that doubt eery few months, and have to crawl over it. But it’s exactly like you said, “If you love it – that’s *point* enough. If you enjoy doing it, embrace it for all it’s worth.”

  4. Colum Said:

    You write because the world would be missing out on something special if you didn’t.

    We, the people who read your work, are the justification.


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