June 18

Let’s change the way we talk about writing


    I’m throwing my hands up in the air—I’m tired of the way we talk about writing!

    From our earliest years, all of our talk about writing has to do with grammar, subject, objects, prepositions, and commas.

    Then, we move on to three- and five- paragraph essays, with thesis statements and summary conclusions.

    Then, we move on to ten- or twenty-page essays, which are essentially just longer versions of what we’ve already been trained to write.

    We learn to use phrases like, “to which I would like to add” in order to avoid ending a sentence in a preposition.

    Even the way we talk about the emotional experience of writing is belabored.

    We hear over and over again:

    Writing is hard.

    Writing is draining.

    Writing is only for the special few.

    Writing will drive you either to the insane asylum or to drinking.

    You know what? I want to change this entire conversation about writing.

    Because writing is fun.

    Seriously. Writing is full of joy and exhilaration. Writing is when we most fully express our souls. Writing is when we open ourselves up to connect with others and to share in our vulnerabilities. Writing is when we create new realities or explore reality in a new way. Writing is when we can put ideas out on paper and tweak them, play with them, refine them. Writing is like a great, big sandbox, and we are the architects of beautiful sand castles.

    Sure, there are aspects of writing that are less fun. Knowing that others are judging us is intimidating. Editing your writing to make sure everything is written clearly and correctly can give you a headache (although you know I love to edit, so that’s just more fun for me). Finding time in your schedule to write can be deflating.

    But once you’re actually in the middle of writing? My gosh, you might never have more fun in your life. (Okay, probably not true, but I’d still say it’s fun!)

    Pay attention to how you talk to yourself about writing.

    Do you let those cultural mantras about how difficult writing is creep into your head? If you catch one of those depressing little mantras on repeat in your mind, flip it.

    Every time you’re tempted to think, “Writing is difficult,” I want you to say, “Writing is fun” or “fantastic” or “exciting” or “fulfilling” or “meaningful” or just plain “awesome.”

    Bonus points if you say this out loud.

    Before you know it, you’ll join the ranks of people who are having fun writing.

    Forget about being judged or editing or even finishing. Today, just enjoy the process of writing. Let it be easy. Let it be light. Let it be you.

    Go have fun. :)


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