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.