Why I Write

On the way back from Hong Kong, I was perusing the the magazines in the airport lounge and I came across a magazine called ‘Womankind’ (Aug-Oct 2017). This magazine had a lot of interesting articles and one of the things that stood out to me the most was the Editor’s Letter. In it she wrote:

“We expect to be gratified with sights, sounds and tastes. Nothing need wait any longer… to be instantly gratified means to shun activities that take time, discipline and commitment” – Antonia Case.

She followed this up by giving examples of what we do to make things ‘faster’ such as dining out instead of preparing a meal, watch a movie rather than read a book. We’ve even made catching up with our friends ‘faster’ and ‘more efficient’ especially with the amount of social media we consume.

The article got me thinking. Am I speeding through my life? What activities am I shunning that require time, discipline and commitment? It occurred to me that writing is one of those activities.

Constructing a blog post, writing a piece of creative writing or even a proper letter to another person is a form of self expression that takes time, effort and discipline to complete. I realised that I usually gratify my need to express myself with short messages and pictures on “Facebook” – or the aptly named “Instagram”. Rarely do I take the time, as I am now to truly share and reflect. So I’ve resolved to write more – because I believe that the only way I can truly express myself is to allow myself to put the time and effort into thoughtful creative pieces.

This October, I signed up for National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). It is a writing challenge in which one has 30 days (Nov 1- Nov 30) to have written 50,000 words – preferably in a novel form (but to be honest, they’re not that strict). What appeals to me most about this online event is the community of writers that I am meeting and the new things I am discovering about myself.

So far I have constructed the outline of my first novel – I’ve come up with so many bumps along the way (and I anticipate there is more to come); it’s frustrating and annoying. In the last month I learned that instead of trying to force the story to go my way, I could to take a tangent – you know write something else – perhaps not about the novel and allow it to be less “perfect”. I was surprised to find that diverging from “The Plan” – especially when you are hitting road blocks – can lead to unexpected epiphanies, interesting discoveries and more creative solutions. I also realised that this is not just true about writing a novel, but also life. I’m feeling less anxious when things don’t go exactly according to my “Grand Life Plan” and I’m learning to take the tangents and make the most of them. After all… the trip to Hong Kong I took this October was one of my life’s unexpected tangents – and I feel like its already allowed me to hit upon some epiphanies, discoveries and solutions that I wouldn’t have found had I not allowed myself to take the journey.