WHY I WRITE WHILE YOU PLAY GOLF

A friend asked me why I do this, why I blog. So I asked her why she plays golf.

This is an evergreen post for me. I’ve modified a bit with each iteration, but it says something that’s fundamentally true about the creative process and certainly about my personal creative process. Writing (and also photography) are my version of sports. They really have always been, throughout my  life. With a little bit of luck, they always will be. So here it is again because sometimes, I need to remind myself of things I already know.

I feel I should point out that writing isn’t only an art. “Real writing” can also be a craft, or “non-fiction.” Books about science or technology are no less “real writing” than a novel. I know we who toil as wordsmiths who tell others how things work or how to accomplish tasks, rarely win prizes or make a best-seller list. Nonetheless, we do not need to hang our heads because we aren’t don’t create characters and plots. I doubt most fiction writers would be good at technical or science writing. Or, for that matter, news writing. It’s not something less, just something different.

If one kind of writing doesn’t work for you, try something else. If you are good with words, somewhere, there’s a place for you in the big world of writing and writers.

One last point. “Professional” means you get paid to do it. If you’d like to get paid, but haven’t yet, you aren’t a professional. It doesn’t mean you aren’t good, just that you don’t (yet) earn a living at it. It’s not a judgement; it’s a distinction.


We do what we do because we love it, need to do it, or both. For me, writing is like breathing. If I don’t write, I strangle on words never used. My friend needs to compete, to be active. To play golf or she will suffocate.

I can’t begin to count the number of people who have told me they want to be writers, but don’t know how. They want me to tell them how. That they asked the question makes me reasonably sure they aren’t writers.

If you are a writer, you write. You will write and will keep writing because it is not what you do, it is what you are. It is as much a part of you as your nose or stomach.

75-FadedBooksFloatingWordsNK-004

I started writing as soon as I learned to read, which was about 45 minutes after someone handed me a reading primer. It was as if a switch had been thrown in my brain. Words felt like home.

Writing was (is) exactly the same as speaking, but takes longer. I have never minded spending the extra time. I love crafting sentences until they are just right. I love that I can go back and fix written words, that unlike words you say, you can take them back.

Raison d’être? I write because I’m a writer. Writing is how I express myself, how I interact with the world. It’s my window, my doorway, my handshake, my dreams.

If you are going to be a writer, you probably already know it. Practice will make you a better writer, can help you understand the techniques you need to build a plot and create books that publishers will buy — but writing itself is a gift. If you have it, you know it — and most of us know it pretty young.

computer gargoyle

Writers have words. They collect in your mind, waiting to be written. We have heads full of words, sentences, pronouns, adjectives, and dependent clauses.

My advice to everyone who aspires to be a writer is to write. Don’t talk about it. Do it. Whatever medium works for you. Blogging, novels, short stories, poetry. Whatever. I’d also advise you to not talk about your work until you’ve done a significant amount of writing. I can’t count the number of great ideas left on barroom floors, talked away until there was nothing left but a vague memory and a lot of empty wine glasses. Save your words to a better purpose.

Write a lot even if it’s mostly not very good. Sooner or later, you’ll find your thing. If you don’t write, it is your personal loss, but maybe it’s the world’s loss, too.

You will never know how good you can be if you don’t try.

Source: WHY I WRITE WHILE YOU PLAY GOLF



Categories: creativity, Humor, Literature, Poetry, Words, Writing

Tags: , , , , , ,

7 replies

  1. I have done some writing too, Marilyn. I have two published papers one in a Nursing Journal and another was a presentation at Queens University in Kingston, Ontario. My biggest claim to fame is the publication of a slew of letters to the editor, over the last 40 years. Today I just fired off two letters – one to the Prime Minister and the other was to our local Member to Parliament. This particular letter was about the Temporary Foreign Workers Program that is being sponsored by our government. There was and expose’ program on TV last night that showed this program to be nothing more than indentured slavery.
    Sometimes I get so mad I have to write.
    Leslie

    Like

  2. Love this Marilyn- and the analogy with sports- am going to use that!!

    Like

    • It really IS like a sport for me these days. During my working years, it was how I earned a living, though I always wrote stuff that wasn’t part of my job. Now, it really is both mental exercise and part of my identity. I believe that writing and other creative work helps keep your brain ticking along as we age. I think that science is beginning to agree with me.

      Like

  3. So many wise words here, Marilyn. It’s good for even a well-trodden writer to be reminded of all these points – and one that especially chimed with me – telling too soon about some idea that’s come to you, or showing too soon a piece of work when its only in its beginnings.

    Like

    • I think about this a lot. Why I bother. Especially when I’m tired, out of sorts, don’t feel like writing, but somehow feel compelled to do it anyway. I talk to myself about it. I point out to me that I don’t have to do it. It’s not like someone’s paying me. But in the end, I do it because writing is what I do. If I don’t, it bothers me and will nag at me until I give in and write.

      Liked by 1 person

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  1. WHY I WRITE WHILE YOU PLAY GOLF — SERENDIPITY – Sig Nordal, Jr.

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