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.