Why I Keep Writing

I’ve already alluded this in another post, but there have been a few points in my life where I have spent so much time writing, I started wondering, “What good is this accomplishing? What if I should be doing something else instead, like volunteering at a soup kitchen?”

I’m a spiritual person. I believe I’m happiest when I’m not dwelling on myself, and writing can be isolating. I believe I’ll still be alive after I die, and I hope to look back and see I had at least a few moments of triumph and clarity on this earth. With these as my deepest motivations, I sometimes start wondering if writing things that no one else will ever read is a purely selfish use of time and therefore a waste of the time I’ve been given.

Being a creative person so often leads to this kind of internal battle. I wonder if people who are good at and enjoy creating widgets for a predictable income that then allows them to feed their family or the poor (who are sometimes the same people, by the way) don’t have to constantly weigh the value of their time. Do they? Widget-producing friends, comment!

For me, the most recent encouragement to keep writing was getting an agent. She gives me hope that my writing will indeed be transformed into a widget that can be transmitted to consumers everywhere. Mwa ha ha.

The most constant reason I keep writing is because I get grouchy when I don’t. And how can I volunteer at soup kitchens when I feel like biting heads off? Write first, volunteer later. This is the way I function.

A year ago, a big encouragement I got to keep writing came from Dieter F. Uchtdorf, Mormon Apostle. Here is a small taste of what he said:

Love that guy. He glows. He has a German accent. He knows how to fly big, bad, scary airplanes. And he gave me a spiritual reason to keep writing and feel good about it.

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10 Comments

Filed under Religion, why I write

10 responses to “Why I Keep Writing

  1. Yes–don’t let the voice of the critics paralyze you! You must create–I believe the ability to create is one of our most Godlike attributes. Give it the respect it deserves.

  2. Mak

    Love Emily’s response. Mine is less poetic, being a humble widget-maker myself.

    I think we all feel that ‘tug’ that we should be doing something bigger or more impactful. I feel that when I’m at work making widgets (and being bossy) I should be home with the kids. When I’m home with the kids, I feel like I should be making my home clean and more temple-like 🙂

    I agree with Emily- creation is one of our best god-like qualities. Plus, as a consumer of writing, I feel it is SOO very important to our world. It makes it easier to put yourself in someone else’s shoes, understand them and their perspective, and love them more.

    • Kim Reid

      Thanks, Emily and Mak. I love both your responses!

      As a widget-consumer, I’m thankful for your work too, Mak.

  3. Kim, this post has really touched me. That talk has always given me chills, and it always helps me realize that what I’m doing isn’t a waste of my time.

    I think that’s why I want an agent so badly – I just want to know that what I’m doing is actually good enough to keep doing it. It’s validation, that’s all.

    You are an inspiration to me. Are you over that donut sickness? Can we go to lunch now? 🙂

  4. Kathryn

    You know, we spend time writing in journals and it helps others find out more about us and who we are. I believe that writers reveal volumes about who they are in their literary works. Just think of all the unpublished stuff people find years later and are elated over. Put those things that you don’t feel are ‘perfect’ or ‘good enough’ somewhere because down the road someone will be able to learn more about who you are from those things. And from the ‘perfect’ works, too.

  5. Thanks. I totally needed this today.

  6. I know I’m late on this one, but thanks. You are awesome. And like Bro, I really needed this.

  7. “Don’t let the voice of the critics paralyze you” and don’t let that critic’s voice come from inside your own head. That seems to be my biggest problem. Thanks for the uplifting words! I always need to hear things like this.

    • Kim Reid

      Glad to see people still read my blog when I don’t post for 11 days. ha.

      Have you read Uchtdorf’s talk lately? That’s exactly what he said–whether the critic comes from inside or outside, don’t listen!

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