Every so often when I write one of these blogs I have a major revelation. That happened today as I continued working on a piece called “Writing as an act of love.” Frankly, I was proud of the concept; it tied nicely into what I’d examined last week in my “Writing as therapy” entry. It also dovetailed with the holiday themes that would’ve been so appropriate.
As I sat at my computer contemplating how to unite those concepts into a neat little bow, I asked myself a question: “Why does writing have to be for anything but writing?’
Excellent question, Pari. Life-changing, in fact.
You see, before I got married, I wrote because I loved to write. Sure, I had fantasies of publication, of being famous and retiring to the Cote D’Azur (or at least having a second home there since I could never leave NM permanently). Enough writing conferences taught me that, perhaps, those fantasies might be a bit overblown.
However, I still let myself dream . . . and let myself write for the pleasure of writing.
So what happened? Somewhere around the time I had children and opted to stay home with them, writing became a selfish act because it impacted others. I began feeling obligated to justify the time I spent doing it in terms of “success” and money and having it be a “business.”
How fucked up is that? More than sixteen years of forgetting why I’d written for all the years before. And now, even when I don’t have to justify why I write, I still automatically require the act of writing to serve double duty.
I believe that that’s a huge part of why I haven’t been editing for nearly two years . . . Talk about confusing issues! I used to adore editing! While the Master Class I went to stood that idea on its head, I’d hope by now I’ve incorporated those lessons deeply enough that they don’t have to be impediments. So why haven’t I been editing? I think I was equating editing with selling and, intuitively, I didn’t want to jump on the must-market bandwagon again.
What happened to my old attitude about editing? It used to be about making a piece as good as I could.
Sheesh . . .
The challenge with epiphanies is that they seem incredibly important in the moment and then — poof — often they fade into the background and things return to the way they were. But this realization feels very different. I don’t recall ever pondering it before.
Writing is for writing.
And meaningful enough right there.
How about you?
Does your creativity have to serve multiple purposes?
Do you feel compelled to justify it?