Love to Write / Write to Love


I don’t love to write. Yes, it’s true. You read that correctly. I do not “love” to write.

Like many creative writers, I feel certain that writing is my calling. It’s one of those few things where, when I’m doing it, I feel like I’m actively participating in the very thing I was meant to do with my time here on earth.

But I frequently struggle with motivation and energy. I have to cajole myself into sitting down to write. Sometimes I have to tie myself to my chair so I can’t get up. It makes me question whether I’m a “real” writer. If I were a “real” writer, wouldn’t I pop out of bed first thing in the morning, race to my desk, and write like a zealot for hours and hours? That ain’t me. Instead, I waffle between thinking “This is my life’s calling!” and “Wow, I’m totally boring and can’t write a plot to save my life!”

Frequently, the result is this: I simultaneously want to write and not want to write.

For a long time, I thought this was some sort of cosmic joke, feeling this intense ambivalence toward writing. But then I had…an epiphany! A real, live epiphany, like something out of a story. Here it is:

I don’t love to write. I write to love.

I had this epiphany during a meditation session, and I have to tell you—I burst into tears. The phrase—I write to love—welled up from within, and I was suddenly overwhelmed with emotion. I knew I’d stumbled onto something big; a new perspective that would fundamentally shift my relationship to writing.

You see, there was never anything wrong with me. I am indeed a “real” writer. It’s just that it took me a long time to hit on the heart of my motivation.

But I’ve finally figured it out: writing is an act of love that I do for other people. It’s my way of making my slice of the universe a slightly better place. By working within the storytelling medium, I have the power to touch people’s hearts and minds and allow them to come as close as possible to the experience of seeing the world through another’s perspective.


Now THAT I find motivational. When I’m lying in bed in the morning, debating whether to hit the snooze button or get up and write, THAT’s a motivational sentiment: I need to get up and write because this is my opportunity to help make the world a better, kinder place. Maybe I don’t “love” to write—but I love what writing allows me to give to the world. That’s the kind of deep-rooted motivation that helps me blast through procrastination and stay connected to my life’s calling.


Sheila Ashdown is founder and managing editor of The Ne'er-Do-Well. She's pretty stoked you're here.