Who Cares If You Write?

August Perennials at Elm Bank

August Perennials at Elm Bank

I’ve got a quotation over my desk by the novelist Louis Auchincloss. In large font, it reminds me daily, hourly that,

“A man can spend his whole existence never learning the simple lesson that he has only one life and that if he fails to do what he wants with it, nobody else really cares.”

I’ve been lucky. I have a husband, his family, and a few close friends who relentlessly, yet lovingly, cheer me on in my writing. Still, I’ve been swayed by well-meant, but often intrusive, invitations.

Who Cares?
Those folks who invite you to spend an afternoon at the 4th wedding shower you’ve attended that year when you could be home writing? I doubt if, at the end, even one of them will say, “We should have left him [fill in your name here] alone to get his writing done.” They won’t care that you never finished that essay or novel or children’s story, or the small book of poetry that would have felt so right in your hand.

It doesn’t even need to be anything grand. You might just need to write yourself through a bad experience or record some lessons recently learned. A personal diary or journal will do for that.

In our busy-making, byzantine world, where a good deal of energy is spent in occupations unrelated to our deepest desires, a quotation like the one by Auchincloss can help you buckle down and get your writing done.

Pinning it over my desk works for me. Despite distractions and demands, I get my writing done. My articles and essays have been published in reputable outlets because I remind myself that if I give in to the external pressures instead of doing what I feel I was meant to do, nobody will give a hoot.

Auburn Lakes

Auburn Lakes


Use These Inspirational Quotes
Here are some quotations to encourage you to value your writing, make time for it, feed it what it needs.

“If you wish to be a writer; write!” – Epictetus

“Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great.” – Mark Twain

“Writing is a form of personal freedom. It frees us from the mass identity we see in the making all around us.” – Don Delillo

“To write something, you have to risk making a fool of yourself.” – Anne Rice

“I have lived on the razor’s edge. So what if you fall off? I’d rather be doing something I really wanted to do.” – Georgia O’Keefe

If you’ve got any quotations or any mantras you made up that propel you to your desk and keep you there, please share them.

And, post your favorites over your desk. They’ll help you out in times of doubt.

Additional Resources
Finding Time to Write
What are you Willing to Sacrifice to Write?
Quit Complaining and Write

If you really need a push to get it in gear, to realize we shouldn’t put off our writing because we don’t live forever, try this one. Writing & Illness: More Than Metaphor.

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13 thoughts on “Who Cares If You Write?

  1. Good question. One I’ve asked myself over the years. Some of the answers have been:
    No one
    Those who come after me
    Those who read a poem, a tale of mine and are moved
    No one

    I care

  2. Good question. One I’ve asked myself over the years. Some of the answers have been:

    Those
    Who come
    after me
    Those who read a poem, a tale of mine and are moved
    No one

    I care

  3. Good question.
    Who cares?
    I’ve asked myself
    Over the years.

    Here
    Are some of my
    Answers

    No one
    Family and friends
    Those who’ve read
    My poems, my memoirs

    I care
    As I type
    Here

    I care

  4. This was inspirational Lynette!

    We’ve got to write no matter what. Writing feeds our souls. The only motivation I get to write is my muse chanting “write, write, write” when I’ve neglected her. I’ve long tuned out what other people think and write for the love of it.

    Keep writing!

  5. I love the force of your comments, Arlene, and the fact that you wrote them as poems. Your words—and conviction—went straight to my heart, to my commitment to my own work, my writing students’ work, and to all the authors famous and not that I’ve read and loved and lived with in my mind my entire life.

    I am thankful for all of you every day!

  6. I’m so glad you found it inspiring, Andrea. *Your” response was inspiring too. Yes, writing feeds our souls. I’m sure we do it more for ourselves many times than for an audience.

    And I love that you have a speaking muse!

  7. WHO CARES IF YOU WRITE? It has to be you because it’s you who is putting in the effort to write. A writing coach told me: “if you can quit writing, then go ahead and quit.” So quit if you don’t like it or if you are writing for others’ opinions – but a WRITER can’t quit. That’s because a writer has to write, it’s part of him or her.

    I’ve had many non-fiction articles published, but I wrote for over twenty years before I had my first fiction screenplay BLUNT FORCE produced in Mississippi in 2012. I’ve had other screenplays optioned, but it is tough to get to the finish line in this difficult economy.

    WHAT DO YOU CARE WHO CARES IF YOU WRITE? To write is great mental stimulation. It is about keeping your mind working sharper and getting out your feeling, good and bad.

    Novelist Tom Thurston told me: “You can’t measure the value we have gotten from our writing.” And Tom is right since there is no dollar value you can put on what your writing gives you.

    SO WHO CARES IF YOU WRITE? The real people care, for the real people in your life are those who understand that you enjoy writing. And if you quit, then go ahead.

  8. Thank you, Michael. All you’ve said is completely true. Real writers can’t quit, whether or not they get recognition. The challenges of writing are great, but the rewards of expressing our feelings and ideas to the best of our ability are immeasurable, as is our enjoyment in the writing of others.

    Congratulations on getting your screenplay produced. Good on you!

  9. This post is the most Lynette Bentonish thing I have ever read. So you and your struggle to live a life outside of writing, but the torment and regret that causes you! Carry on Lynette Benton!

  10. Another great post, and I love the quote you keep above your desk. Mine says “So. Do you want to write or don’t you?” I like it because not wanting to is pretty much the only valid excuse : )

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