If you want to write, whether you write or not matters. . .

It doesn’t matter because writing is the holiest calling or the most important thing. It doesn’t matter because writers are better (or worse) than other people.  It doesn’t matter because art is more crucial to society than garbage pick-up or school teaching.

Nope, whether or not you choose to write matters because:

  • You are the only person who can say what you have to say as you would say it. Sure, someone may have written something similar in theme or plot. Sure, a book with that kind of idea may already exist.  But YOU are unique, so anything you write with authenticity and honesty will be reflect your absolute singularity.
  • You will resent the fact that you are not writing for every day you don’t do it. You’ll walk around feeling guilty and burdened.  You may be testy or grumpy with the people you love.  Every other thing you do will be harder because it’s bearing the weight of your not writing.
  • However, when you do write, you will feel unburdened, fulfilled, clearer, even on the days when the writing isn’t awesome, because you will have done your “first work,” your “real work,” to quote Sven Birkerts.  You will not be avoiding writing; you will be embracing it . . . and if writing is something you want to do, the simple act of actually doing it will make you more fully who you were created to be.

The same can be said, of course, for any calling, any deep desire that comes from that true, real spot in the center of ourselves.  When we live into the most honest expression of who we are – be that as writers, technicians, landscapers, doctors, teachers, electricians – we give the world the gift of our unique existence, a gift that cannot be given by anyone else in the world.

Thus, all work is holy work when it is done from our purest spirit with our genuine attention.  (Thank you, Brother Lawrence and Thomas Merton for that lesson.)  And we are all blessed by it, even on the hard days.

What work gives you the deepest sense of fulfillment and joy?