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WHY WRITERS WRITE

I live and work in an inspiring place overlooking a dynamic river combusting with life.  Sailboats, tugs, kayaks, tour boats, and ferries connect me across swirling tidal pools of fresh water and ocean brine to the silver monoliths of Manhattan.  I’m stimulated by every muse of man and nature I could ever want, and yet sometimes I still don’t write.  Sometimes I stare out the window, pay bills, clean my desk, polish my nails, or convince myself to browse through email or Facebook one more time before beginning a blog, short story, or next chapter.  Sometimes I can’t confront that stark white page, concrete or digital, which though empty, is far from silent.  If you’re a writer you know what I’m talking about.  Sometimes the white abyss invites you in; sometimes it taunts.

“Why are you bothering?”

“There are thousands of new titles every day; nobody really cares what you write.” 

“You’re wasting your time; stop writing.  Get a job!”

Sometimes these words affect me.  Sometimes they bruise my ego or more deeply, my spirit. But sooner or later I reclaim the power and commit words to paper.  Sooner or later, I ignore the demons and make friends with that blank sheet or screen.  I wrestle down the shadow side of this thing I do.  I wrestle with it, pin it down time and again, until I see that abyss for what it really is—not emptiness at all, but treasure.  Not silver candelabras or gold doubloons from a sunken wreck, but the incomprehensible and incalculable treasure of Pure Infinite Potential.  What I will write on that page will be an idea or a story that no one has ever written before.  A mere twenty-six letters of the alphabet manipulated into a stream of thoughts and hopefully, a coherent tale, that did not exist in quite the same way before it encountered the alchemy of my mind, my brain, or yours.

This is why real writers write.  Not for fame or money, though those can be just rewards in a lucrative marketplace.   All markets are not lucrative, however, or even discriminating.  A lot of fine writing gets lost in the swill.  The next time somebody asks why you continue to write in spite of spare or modest commercial success, tell them that not all celebrity writers excel at their craft.  That celebrity for its own sake is not a good enough reason to write.  Real writers write for the challenge of clearing obstacle after obstacle from the cluttered creative path, and in the process, unearthing a chalice from the abyss.  In its purest form, it is a spiritual, transformative process that derives from the soul. If the writer archetype is truly within you, it must be expressed.

What will you write today?

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