Five Reasons Why Your Writing Matters (Even if No-One Will Take You Seriously)
Do you ever think about giving up writing?
You’ve been working on a novel, but you’re afraid it’s never going to be good enough. Your short stories never win competitions. Your poetry hasn’t been published.
Even your blog only has a handful of readers.
It’s easy to feel disheartened – especially if you don’t have much support from friends or family. Perhaps your partner just doesn’t get writing, or your friends tease you about it.
Don’t give up.
Your writing does matter. Even if you’ve never shown a piece of your work to anyone, even if you know that publication is a distant dream, it’s still worth writing.
#1: It’s Not Just a Hobby
Non-writers often think that writing is some casual hobby – and not a very productive one at that. After all, you might sweat for days on a story, and it still might not get published. If you took up knitting instead, you’d at least have a lumpy scarf or a pair of socks to show for your effort.
Writing isn’t just a hobby, though. It’s a calling. Writers don’t pick up the pen (or turn to the keyboard) because they’re bored – they do it because they feel compelled to put their thoughts down on the page.
Your writing is part of who you are, and it’s not something to take lightly.
If you want to make sure your writing is more than just a hobby, read 7 Habits of Serious Writers.
#2: Your Writing Can Outlive You
We’re all going to die one day. Of course, memories live on – but eventually, there’ll be no-one alive who ever knew you.
Your writing may well outlive you. Perhaps you’ve not got an audience for your memoir right now … but it could be an incredible treasure for your great-great-grandchildren. And if you’re a poet, playwright or novelist, you might find that your work lives on long after your death. Just think of Chaucer, Shakespeare and Dickens.
Your name could be one that every school child knows in three hundred years’ time.
Want to write your life story and get it published? Start with Are You Writing a Memoir?
#3: You Can Change Lives
Most of us have a pretty small circle of influence: family, friends, colleagues, our local community. Writing, though, lets us reach across the world. If you have a blog – even a blog with ten readers – you’re touching other people’s lives.
It always makes my day when I get an email or comment telling me how much one of my blog posts meant to someone. Often, I’ll hear “this came at just the right time for me”.
Your writing could change someone’s life, by opening up new possibilities for them, by teaching them something new, or simply by giving them an experience that they wouldn’t otherwise have had.
If you want to start reaching more people, read Aren’t You Blogging Yet?
#4: Self-Expression is Important
If I don’t exercise, I get cranky – and if I don’t write, I get cranky too. I do some of my best thinking with a pen in my hand, or with a keyboard under my fingers – and I’d bet that you do too.
Being able to get things off your chest and onto the page can be extremely therapeutic – more so than simply talking about problems. The contents of your journal might be ephemeral but the act of writing it might be crucial for your well-being.
Fiction or poetry can also be a crucial outlet, letting you explore emotions and ideas, and bring structure to them.
Not sure what to write about today? Try Writing Prompts 101.
#5: You’re Improving with Every Word You Write
Perhaps you’re tempted to give up writing because you’re not good enough. Perhaps you’ve had nasty comments on your blog, or you’ve sent off your short stories again and again, meeting with rejection each time. Maybe you’re worried about how to find a literary agent.
Even if you’re not quite there yet, you’re learning and improving all the time. Every single word you write helps you to hone your craft and take your skills further – especially if you’re actively seeking to learn new techniques.
If you give up now, you’ll never know what you might have been capable of.
Where Next for Your Writing?
I know life is busy, and that it’s hard to find the time and energy to write. But I’d encourage you to set aside just an hour this week to focus on your writing. If you’ve been reading a lot about writing without actually doing much, then now’s the time to change that.
If you want others to take you seriously, it’s vital that you take your writing seriously. That might mean joining a group, enrolling on a course, or simply committing more time to your writing.
What will you do, this week, to make your writing a more important part of your life?
About the Author: Ali Luke is a writing and writing coach from the UK, with the cute accent to match. She’s just released How to Find Time for Your Writing, a short, practical ebook that’s completely free. Click here to find out more and to get your free copy.Recommended for you: « A Guide to Colloquial Contractions »
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23 Responses to “Five Reasons Why Your Writing Matters (Even if No-One Will Take You Seriously)”
Thank you for sharing your inspiration and motivating others to pursue their interest. I sent the quote,
“Non-writers often think that writing is some casual hobby…Writing isn’t just a hobby, though. It’s a calling. Writers don’t pick up the pen (or turn to the keyboard) because they’re bored – they do it because they feel compelled to put their thoughts down on the page. -Ali Luke”
to my son, a recent High School Graduate with a passion for writing and a strong desire to develop the passion into a lucrative career. While I’m not a gifted (or called) writer, I so appreciate the talent of those who are. Thank you for expressing yourself in such a way…for giving me a connection to the very heart of my son!
Truly inspiring. This line really hit me hard: “Writers don’t pick up the pen (or turn to the keyboard) because they’re bored – they do it because they feel compelled to put their thoughts down on the page.”
Thank you. This article has convinced me to give up writing once and for all. That’s not a criticism, it is praise. Again, thanks.
When writing, I doubted my own skills, which seemed to be constantly outpaced by my standards of quality. I really wanted to get my ideas on paper, but I didn’t know how. I tried reading several help sites and they all said something similar to this:
“If you merely see writing as a hobby, stop trying. If you don’t take it with utmost seriousness, an integral part of who you are, you will never succeed.” It was not until I read this article that the advice took hold on me. No, I do not take writing seriously. I have trouble taking anything seriously, writing included.
What compelled me to attempt writing? I really wanted the ideas brewing in my head to take form. Actual success as a writer was irrelevant, as long I could achieve that goal. But since I just saw writing as an activity to do casually, I know I will never do good at it at all. Thanks.
I used to write when I was a 12 yrs old. But couldn’t continue due to several reasons. I studied to be an Engineer but now I am trying to reclaim my first love of writing after 14 years.
I liked the way you pointed out the importance of not giving up. It will help me not to loose hope even when the things are not too rosy in the beaning.
Oh yes, Ali, this came at just the right time for me. I’ve been going through a rough time at work at the moment and the negativity is starting to seep into my personal life. Over the weekend, I think I hit on most of the insecurities you talked about – my writing’s not good enough, my blog doesn’t get many hits or comments, my submissions don’t get chosen in competitions and the like and people (my mother especially) always tells me that my writing is ‘a nice hobby’. ARGH!
And then I found a link to this post on Twitter and, honestly, I got tears in my eyes reading it. I’m so new to writing, having only recognised my love for it last Christmas, and I was on the verge of giving up until I read your post and you’ve made me realise “If you give up now, you’ll never know what you might have been capable of.” So thanks so much Ali!
I write online for several content sites. Recently I joined a new site. I was very excited until I discovered they expected you to choose from some very ill written key words that left out adverbs and you had to write the article using exact key words in an exact sentence and they made NO sense what so ever! As I was debating on resigning from the site they sent me an email and told me that I wasn’t “of their quality” so they were letting me go.
As I pondered this I remembered that I had left 15 articles in their que. So I took these 15 articles and added in a few words to make the required words on another site I write for. Each article was accepted, I was paid a lot more and my page views soared.
Had I given up when they rejected me, I’d have lost out on a lot of money. Instead, I took my writing where it was appreciated. The site I took it to is a lot more worthy and I am so grateful I didn’t give up.
Thank you for this great reminder, I think I might post it on my fridge and by my computer.
I like this very much, especially the first point. No matter what other people say and no matter if others don’t see the point, if writing is who you are, then don’t give it up. Why take away something like this if it adds joy to your life?!
Ali, that was inspirational. I’ve often said that even if I knew I’d never again be published I’d still keep writing; it’s fun, lets me express myself, and undoubtedly my biggest vice. I say with all due humility that I know my work is good (I’ve had enough positive reaction to cement that opinion) whether it someday shares a bookshelf with other authors or not, but everybody(!) needs a pat on the back now and then. Your article is that affirmation.
All this is very true; I’m just struggling to find the energy to do it. My brain often seems quite dead.
Thanks for this. I’ve been pretty discouraged as of late. It is nice to read some encouraging words.
Great points Ali, I totally agree, btw!
shirley in berkeley
Writing a journal is writing, and it is a record of your life – a sort of blog to oneself. When you write a journal, you are keeping track of who you are and where were, and entries will echo your mood when you wrote them. At the same time, you are practicing writing. Mining a journal is a time-honored way of creating stories, poems, even articles. Sometimes it is easier to experiment with prose in a journal, because only you will see it; that is, of course, unless you become famous or, as in the case of Dorothy Wordsworth’s beautiful journals, have a brother who did.
This was exactly what I needed to read today. Thank you for the reassurance
Some of my fiction’s never been seen by anyone, though I workshop most of it in small groups (and hope to get a much wider audience for it soon!)
I think, deep down, most writers — certainly most fiction writers — are simply writing for the sake of the words. We have lots of other motives too, but when you strip it back, that’s what’s left!
I agree wholeheartedly. Despite the criticism, rejection, and questions about the process, the actual content, and why I do it, I’d do it even if no one saw it (and in fact, no one does see my offline fiction).
I write for the sake of the words. Not because anyone will actually read them but because they have to be there and I feel compelled to put them there.
Thanks, that was very heartening to read Ali. I’m very new to the world of writing, having gone from writing nothing since I was at school to trying to finish a novel. It is very rewarding, but on other days it seems more of a discipline than a joy. I really don’t know why I feel compelled to write, all I know is now I have started I want to see where this new direction takes me. This fascination with writing has taken me by surprise, and it’s reassuring that I may still possess some sanity. Your blog continues to inform and encourage. Keep up the good work.
Yay! 🙂 Thanks Tony!
As usual, you are right on about writing, and thanks for all the links to lots of great resources:) I will share a link to this post with my readers, with your permission.
When people find out what I do, they always ask me how they can become a writer, and that is why I started my blog. What I think they are really asking is how to get people to pay for their writing, and I can help guide them in that instance.
But, as you said, writing is a calling…something you feel you have to do– not just something to make a quick buck, but a long-term relationship… (Till death do us part, lol)
Dean K Miller
So you’ve been inside my head/life for the past few years, haven’t you? This is exactly where I’ve been, where I’m at, and know I’ve got a great journey ahead of me.
Love all the links at the end of each section. Thanks!
Tony J. Alicea
This was fantastic, Ali. You just got a new subscriber!
Thank you. This came at just the right time.
Thanks Ali! I enjoyed this list of reminders why to write – sometimes it seems pointless, but I’ll try to keep these things in mind.
Thank you thank you thank you. Just what I needed to hear.