Love to Write / Write to Love

bigstock-pages-of-a-book-curved-into-a-41217277.jpg

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.

HOLY CRAP.

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.