Words can heal or harm, uplift your spirits and make them soar as if you’re floating on a cloud of weightlessness while injected with ketamine. They can also plunge you into the darkest recesses of hell, making you feel depressed, unworthy and generally “not good enough.”

I find that some stories, especially those aimed at new writers, end up not motivating you but questioning the “insanity” of thinking you can write, or worse, that nobody will read your story.

You read about “helpful” hints!

“Don’t write a sad story.”

“Write a sad story!”

“Write a happy, funny story.”

“Don’t write about your experiences.”

“Write about your experiences.”

“Don’t write about current news.”

“Write about current news; keep it “relevant.”

The list carries on…

When you read some stories, it’s enough to question your sanity and make you wonder why on earth you decided to write. Sometimes you are pulled into so many different directions that you want to scream at the confusion it creates in your mind.

Writing is a largely masturbatory exercise.

You write because something inside you calms down when words tend to overflow in your mind like a broken tap that spews water and won’t end until it’s fixed.

You write because you have a story to tell: a story that can no longer be contained.

You write to heal yourself, and while healing, you hope your writing makes enough sense to heal others.

You write for intensely personal reasons or to offer the world something you feel can make it a bit more bearable.

But reading some of the stories makes you want to give up, change direction, or write about butterflies and bows. 

If you are chasing money, you will become even more confused, and each story will be influenced by what you have read without your unique personality shining through.

Why do you write?

I write because it keeps me sane.

 Writing is my self-help therapy.

There are stories inside me I need to tell, and I comfort myself (even if said comfort is at times cold) that the world is made up of different people with unique experiences and that we all matter, even our writing.

“I’m a writer in the world. I translate the confusion that I might feel, the dread that I know I feel, moving towards some other place, moving away from puny language, from all that dread into some other kind of language.”

– Toni Morrison