Why are you reading this blog post? How did you find it? And does it matter? This is not so much a story for the journey, but some thoughts about writing and the creative process. And why it’s important to you. And to me.
When print was king, I remember feeling guilty about all the piles of magazines and newspapers I wanted to read but knew I’d never get to. Now, it’s digital. Links to articles, blogs, Twitter. It’s exhausting. I never get to them all.
Which led me to thinking about what claims our attention these days. It seems everyone has something to say. Yep. I’m guilty and among those entering the digital fray with this blog. The Internet has opened a world where everyone — but especially writers — finally has a platform, a place where we can say, “Here. Read this. You might like it.” Or not.
See, that’s the problem. There are a gazillion of us out there writing and blogging our little hearts out, knowing that a gazillion people will never find this blog, and if they do, even read it. We live in a world where we drop into a piece, scan it, move on. The hit-and-run of a society never in the moment.
Granted, some topics are of more interest to us than others. We can’t be expected to read “everything” (refer to the first sentence in this blog). Still. Why do we do this? Why do we want to be read? Why do I do this?
Let me back up to the second question: Why do we want to be read? I want to make a joke here, something like, “If a writer writes a piece and no one ever reads it, is it still writing?” along the lines of “If a tree falls in the woods and there’s no one around to hear it, does it make a sound?”
The truth is, we write for many reasons. And one of them is indeed to be read.
Perhaps that’s ego. Perhaps. But ask any creative person and I believe that the participation of the observer is what it’s all about. It’s about relationship. We want to relate on deep levels with the world. We write, or paint or create music in the hopes that someone out there, somewhere, is taking in what we’ve created, otherwise I believe it is a selfish, ego-driven task. We yearn for the “other” to be present in some way to the gift we’ve shared.
Ah. But more often than not, it doesn’t happen. So what to do? We still show up. Even if the observer, reader, listener, whomever — doesn’t. No matter what. To be writers, we show up at the blank screen. To paint, we show up at the canvas, or if we’re musicians we show up at the keyboard. And then we hope someone ponders it, loves it or hates it, but participates in that process with us — and then we let it go.
So why do I do this? Because, to paraphrase singer Joni Mitchell, “writing is in my blood like holy wine.” My soul yearns to share. Or, to paraphrase writer C.S. Lewis, “I write to know I am not alone.” And writing is a gift I’ve been given. One for which I’m forever thankful.
I’m always reminded of the Gospel story of the man who buried his talents. Or of the late and wonderful Wayne Dyer who said “Don’t die with your music in you.” I don’t want to die with any words left in me. I want to share them and shape them so that they will inspire, uplift and give others hope. Because we are a people desperately in need of hope.
In a world where countless others are writing and blogging, I often feel a lone voice crying in the wilderness. But I’ll keep voicing and writing and showing up. And if you’re reading this, hey there, kind person — thanks so much. Thanks for being part of this creative relationship. Without you, these words mean nothing. Really. Like the tree falling in the woods, these words falling onto this page are just words until you take them into your heart.
When you do that, you give them life. And then I know as reader and writer, we are in relationship. We are not alone.