“Do you write to impress or do you write to improve?”~CANDICE COATES
The thought suddenly came to my head several years back. It is always a good thing to go back to the beginning, remember the plans that you first had when you began your creative journey.
For me, as an author who had recently published my first work of fiction, and being conscious of the ebbs and flows in ‘sales’ and ‘follows’, I had and have had to continue to ask myself, am I doing what I am doing to impress others or to improve myself?
Even now, I continue to ask that question with every step I take.
If my goal is to impress, then who exactly am I impressing? And if it is to improve, who and or what am I improving? What are my reasons? Actually, we all need to ask ourselves these questions. Because if we don’t know the answers to these questions, we will find ourselves continuously derailed with every story we attempt to tell.
For me, I write because I have fallen in love with the people who live in my head. No, I don’t need medication. I am talking about the characters that grow out of nothing but have such amazing stories to tell.
At least to me, their stories are amazing and deserve to be shared. Even if only my eyes and keyboard are the only ones who get to know these beings, they still deserve to be known.
Thusly, I write because I want to give them a voice. I also write because if I leave these beings screaming on the inside of me I feel like my head is going to explode.
I truly feel as if I am going mad and I can’t think straight. I will admit that I become VERY grumpy and hard to communicate with when I bottle-neck my own creativity when I try to silence it in order to pursue more ‘adult’ or ‘responsible’ things.
As if storytelling doesn’t tick both of those boxes … I digress.
These are the main reasons why I write. I love to visit the worlds and realms these voices live in, and for just a few moments find my escape from the mundane and predictability of my own life at the time.
Dare I say, this is also the same reason others write, and for that matter, read? We shall visit that question in a later article.
The truth is that I now understand that writing, word-weaving, and storytelling is not only a gift from God but it is cathartic exercise and conduit of release, development, and discovery. It’s a healing tool.
I have uncovered many subconscious ‘whys’ to who I am and am becoming through the experiences of the men and women who are little more than fiction born of my imagination.
Apart from my self-serving reasons, I write because I like to share.
If you go to the theater and see a movie that was a rollercoaster ride from the opening credits to the very end, you want to share it with someone else. You want others to have the same exhilarating experience that you had.
This is why I write. This is why I put into words the worlds that I travel within my mind and soul. I find treasures there that I just can’t keep to myself.
So, for me, writing is to improve because as the Lord Jesus teaches, it is indeed better to give than to receive, and giving from a glad heart certainly improves my character.
But I suppose on some precarious level, I also write to impress because isn’t giving delight to others and knowing you’ve delighted them a form of impression?
I still wonder and certainly, I still don’t know.
We are all creative beings created by an imaginative, CREATIVE GOD. We are made in His image, not with fingers and toes and noses but with the power and the need to create. It is in our nature to give life, mold it, share it.
So why do you, fellow writers, why do you take up your pen or punch the keyboard each day? ( I love the sound the keys make. It’s one of the best kinds of music.) Do you write to impress or to improve? I would love to hear your story.
*Revised from January 5, 2014, October 7, 2018