Why Bother? Redux

“I write because I can’t imagine not doing so. Because in writing, I become a little bit more of myself.” – Jeff Goins

Yesterday on Facebook I wrote, “Some days the world is terrifying. We write anyway.” I can’t fathom what it was like in the crowd at Vegas just like I couldn’t fathom the scene in the nightclub in Orlando or the hurricane in Puerto Rico or the floods in Houston and Florida. The world is crazy. Life is crazy and some days I just don’t know how to go on. But, I do. Writing helps.

I keep writing even when nothing makes sense. Especially when nothing makes sense. For me, writing is about more than recording events or making up stories or journaling my feelings. It is for sanity. I unload what’s in my mind or work on something I’ve created or rant and rave or make up a story from scratch or tell a story I’ve lived or write down the ways I manage to thrive and something inside clicks. Something feels alive in a way that it rarely does at any other time.

I mean, why do we write? Or, more importantly, why do we write in the face of horrendous violence, climate change that threatens people we love, and forces of nature that make us wonder if the world will ever feel safe again? Why bother? This is not the first time I’ve attempted to answer this question. I come up against it a lot. I come up against it monthly it seems and definitely during times of political turmoil, world troubles, the pain of other people, and my own pain. Why bother? Because it’s what I do. I am a writer. I write. I had a good friend who used to say, “Writers write.” He died of cancer but his words live on. I hold on to them in difficult times. I hold on to them when I am troubled. I hold onto them when I feel lost and alone. I hold on to them when I am just about as blue as I can be. Who am I? A writer. What do writers do? Writers write.

So whether I’m writing about a unicorn barista living in the woods along the Olentangy Trail in Columbus, Ohio or about a woman who is having the same dream as a truly insane man she met in a psych hospital or about running a marathon despite the voices in my head that tell me it’s impossible or writing daily meditations about staying in the moment when fear and doubt want to drag me into the past and future, I keep writing. It may not save the world, but it may save me.

If you’re asking why bother? I urge you to write. Scream and cry. Wail and flail. Then sit down at the page and write. Write in the face of it all. Just put it out there. Put it in the words that work for you. Don’t worry. No one has to read it. But if you want them to, all the better. It’s your story, your life, your ideas, your heart. Pour it out on the page. Then choose later what to do with it. Just do it. Just write.

It may not bring you fame or fortune. It may not keep your job our your family safe. It may not save the world, but if you’re like me, if you’re someone who is a writer in your heart of hearts, then write. Good times and bad. Happy or sad. No matter the weather, write. Write because it’s what you know how to do or write because it’s what you’re learning how to do or write because you just can’t not write. Just write. It may save you too.