It happens once in a while that I wake up in this mood.
I don’t know where it comes from — there’s just this moment when I notice I have a big fat smile on my face. I don’t need to try and “think positive.” I just am. Positive and alive. Why would I be anything else? — I ask myself on those mornings, drinking my breakfast coffee a tad slower than usual.
On those days, I’d be willing to screw my entire “writing career plan.” The rational voice in my mind tells me that I should sit my ass down and create something valuable for the reader. That I can’t afford to publish just whatever comes to mind. If I do, I’m running the risk of wasting all the hard work and trust I’ve earned so far.
Strangely, I just laugh this voice in the face. Quite literally. My smile becomes even wider at the thought of fucking around for a bit. Instead of getting to work, I go for a walk and turn my face towards the Sun.
Then, when I’m back at my desk, I start typing. But not for my readers. This one is to me, the person behind the words.
You hear it every day that to “make it” as an artist, you need to keep your audience in mind. You need to serve their needs, not your own. Solve their problems and address pain points, so they keep coming back for more.
For the most part, I agree with this. Except for days like today. Except for the moments when I feel it in my veins that I need to create something for me.
You know, an ode to my soul or a sonnet with my heart in the title. A piece that only I will be able to understand in its entirety. This will be precisely why it’ll keep me alive.
Those occasions remind me why I’m a writer. It’s not just the everyday habit that keeps me going deeper and deeper into the “craft.” It’s also that I can’t imagine my life without this particular dance of thoughts anymore.
The fluent conversation between my fingertips and the keyboard also has something inherently beautiful to it — regardless of the result.
I am a writer because I love this conversation. I also love recognition, traffic and claps on my posts, sure. But even if I took that part away, writing would still be worth doing.
But, it’s very easy to forget when I’m constantly focused on “serving the reader.”
A part of the self-care of an artist is to create something for themselves. This is how I see it. To fill my cup so that I can pour from it for others, I need to allow time to indulge in my art as if there’s no tomorrow.
Because let’s be honest — if I knew that there wasn’t going to be a tomorrow, I wouldn’t write one more word of another “how-to” post. I would probably sit down and put together a synopsis of this book that I tell myself I’d write one day.
In the end, my writing is about me. Appealing to the reader is a means to do something else. Establishing myself as someone who helps people through writing is ultimately supposed to take me to a different level of this game. The one where I can afford an unlimited amount of time to write out my soul without having to care about the money.
That’s not to say that I don’t enjoy writing for the readers. I do. But if I’m honest, the kind of writing that sets me on fire is this one. The one I do on the days when my smile is effortless, walking pace gentler and the sense of awe arising from every word — unshakeable.
The fact that I can write about my feelings feels miraculous today. It feels like a Universe that enables that sort of feat was highly improbable to ever come into existence. Yet, it did.
And here I am, proving this with every. next. word. I. put. down.
Yes, I want to be a writer who’s widely read and appreciated. I want to serve because there’s a certain satisfaction that comes with it that I can’t get in any other way.
But to pour words for others, I need to fill my creative cup in the first place. The way to do it is to write for myself, too. I don’t always have to publish that writing. But the important part is to connect with this part of me that I forget about in my day-to-day hustle.
Recently, I read that if you don’t know what your life purpose is, a good way to find out is to look back at what you were passionate about around the age of 14. This is when you become mature enough to start ideating your ideal future. At the same time, you’re not yet realistic enough to verify and put limits on those ideas.
When I was 14, I was exploring writing in the most romantic ways I could come up with. At night, I’d wait until everyone in the house was asleep. Then, at 3 a.m., I’d wide-open the window in my room, sit on the windowsill and scribble down poems, staring into the darkness.
When I think about that girl, I adore her attitude. She didn’t think of whether what she was doing would bring her fame, money or recognition.
She just sat there, alone, in silence, doing what she loved doing the most. She wrote for herself, not caring the slightest bit what the rest of the world would think of it.