The other day, I posted a brilliant and inspiring screed from a guy who went by Double Down at the SportsJournalists.com forum. Today, I actually have some original thoughts to share. They’ll likely not sound as smart as Double Down, but I know they will at least be true, and I hope that counts for something.
And of course, whether you’re a writer or not, this concept applies to all of life.
Yesterday I read a something that I published three years ago. And I laughed. I thought my writing was so amazing back then. It was ... fine. But not amazing.
It was a nice reminder: however high I get on whatever success I feel like I'm having, there's always vast room for improvement. I think most passionate writers are plenty familiar with hubris, but it's healthy for me to remember that however proud I get of my work, there's always plenty of reason to be humble.
Of course, sometimes things swing the other way. Sometimes can’t for the life of me coax or beat or threaten a half-decent sentence out of that gray matter that is supposed to be my brain, and I feel pathetic.
I think all of us writers have been there. And whenever our moments are most grand or most bleak and we're tempted not to write, that's when we should remember one very simple, very important thing: why it is we write at all.
Maybe it’s because yeah, we've got a little talent or because we like to tell stories or we like to provoke people to thought or maybe all three, but isn't it always really about something more?
Isn't it always really about this thing we call passion?
I write because sometimes that's the only thing that puts out the fire in my chest. I write because it wakes me up in the morning and keeps me up at night. I write because through stories and through processing and progressing I get to explore, to share, to learn, to grow, to evolve.
This life is short and this life is chock full of things to figure out, thick with fog, and telling these stories are our stumbling way of shining a light through the cloud, of finding our way forward. And if we're really lucky, we get to show someone else the way, too.
That's why I write, anyway.
Whatever our reasons for writing, let's remember them. Grow them and grow from them. And along the way, every tiny step, let's just try to write the best sentences that we can.
Yes, we're all always 10 years from the writers we wish we were. But so long as we write and so long as we burn for it, we're also always getting closer.