Writing: It’s Something To Do…

There’s a yawning chasm inside all of us. Not just all writers, or all artists — all of us; all people. And the chasm isn’t loneliness or self-esteem or any of that deep stuff. It’s just life. It’s about 72 years deep, and you’re filling it one day at a time, like it or not.

So how do you do that?

Well you’re gonna fill 28 years of that with working, or school, or feeding yourself, or showering. And that takes it out of you, so you’re gonna fill another 24 years sleeping that off. That’s 52. So that leaves you with 20 extra years to do whatever you want. You might fill those ones with gardening, or creating human life, or getting really good at running really fast, or moving in weird ways so that your back doesn’t hurt as much as mine does sometimes. These are all acceptable.

I fill them by thinking up things that never happened, writing them down in words and showing those words to people in the hopes that they go, “Oh that’s quite good, actually.”

Each to their own.

And sometimes those people will put on costumes and speak those words out loud in front of other people and all those people will say, “Oh that’s quite good, actually.”

And then you’ve got a whole thing going.

I’m not meaning to over-simplify, even if maybe I am. “You have to do something so you may as well write” sounds like nonsense, but it’s honestly it feels like the truest way to say it.

Writing is something to do. Like fine cooking. Or rock climbing. Or home decorating. Fun to do, and satisfying to do well. It’s a way of working out thoughts that have been rattling around in your head; of playing with your sense of humour; of testing out your own ideas about the world.

Maybe you have deeply held anxieties about your own time-management. A boy-who-cried wolf story about a perpetually late man who finally decides to get his life together and is then abducted by aliens right before an important date would be an ideal, if slightly overwrought, avenue for that.

Maybe you were raised Catholic and have spent the last ten years grappling with the fact that a fundamentally evil organisation still holds the loyalty of millions of people — and until recently, you. A high-concept farce where the Pope is a literal werewolf who kills and eats people but gets away with it because it must be God’s will or some nonsense… That’s… something… right?

Okay, fine, maybe writing does touch on some of those deeper things for me. But that’s kind of my point. That’s what most people spend the quiet moments of their lives doing. Cooking for their loved ones. Wilderness adventures with friends. Writing absurd sketch comedy about Hallowe’en monster. That’s the same, right?

I may be losing my thread.

But honestly, if you’ve ever been curious about writing, then just give it a try. You have so much to gain and, honestly, nothing to lose.

And if you’ve never been curious? Then yeah, sure, don’t. I don’t know. Fly a kite or something.

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