But I still encourage anyone who feels at all compelled to write to do so. I just try to warn people that publication is not all that it is cracked up to me. But writing is. Writing has so much to give, so much to teach, so many surprises. That thing you had to force yourself to do – the actual act of writing – turns out to be the best part. It’s like discovering that while you thought you needed the tea ceremony for the caffeine, what you really needed was the tea ceremony. The act of writing turns out to be its own reward. ~Ann Lamott in Bird by Bird
People write for all different reasons, and lately I’ve been struggling a little bit to determine my own. I’ve been reading a lot of blogs about writing, people who’ve managed to parlay their blog writing into successful businesses, people who have published successful eBooks based on their blogs, people who teach writing. People who spend a lot of time promoting their work on all sorts of social media sites.
Honestly, it’s made me feel a bit like a slacker. Like maybe I’m being lazy, just sitting here contentedly writing my little blogs every week.
Like I’m missing the boat.
So when I’m feeling confused about my personal writing experience I turn to some of my favorite “teachers.”
Do I need caffeine? Do I need to put myself out there for the big payoff? Or do I just need to write – about life in general and my own in particular, about the books I love and hope you’ll love too, about this writing life that I try (on my best days) to live?
I suspect I’m more of a ceremonial person than a caffeine oriented person.
Not that I don’t want to work at writing, to get better at it- because I do.
Not that I don’t want other people to read my writing – because I do.
But writing is a very personal means of expression for me and being able to set my thoughts and ideas on paper is hugely rewarding. I don’t need to worry about blog stats or Facebook “likes.” I don’t have to “follow” a zillion people on Twitter.
All I have to do is write. That’s the payoff.
And it’s fine for me.
How about you? Do you go for the caffeine in your writing life, or are you happy with the ceremony?