Why I write

Allow yourself to spiral into my mind

I have not written here for the past few weeks. Besides a brief period of traveling I was free enough to publish but ended up resisting every effort to actually do so. It was not for want of ideas—I created five drafts during this period—rather that I simply lacked the motivation to put my thoughts fully to paper.

It is ironic that something we love to do so dearly should nevertheless demand motivation. Should such things not come more easily? Should they not come effortlessly?

Perhaps things are different for different people but I find that I seek an indescribable muse even when working on something I love, enjoy and cherish as a passion. With this on the back of my mind I came across Lars–Christian’s recent essay on those whom he calls his kind of people where he describes them as doing something “because it’s so damn interesting to them that the thought of not spending all their time thinking about the thing doesn’t even enter their minds”.

I recognised a dozen people I know who would fit this description but on some level I recognised myself and my website in this. Since at least 2007—through whatever ups and downs—I have genuinely never considered not writing here.1 I am tempted to extend that thought to my love for writing itself. I could wriggle away time from something else and prioritise writing simply because I felt like doing it. It gave me rewards, almost all intangible, almost all delayed, and none of which motivated me to do it in the first place but they came anyway.

So the thought of wanting to take a couple of weeks off just because I physically could not type my words on screen would seem counterintuitive. The thought of someone seeking motivation, or a muse, to do something they love would seem jarring. I have still not wrapped my head around it fully. What is it that makes us tire of things we really do love?

There is something unique in all this, though: even when I tire of it, I still recognise that I love to write. But there is a certain level of mental and physical exhaustion that simply prevents us from doing it because we know we are not capable of doing our best; we know that the thing we love deserves far more from us than we can give it at the moment and for that we are better off taking a step back, heaving a sigh and taking some time off.

The muse is there but it is shrouded in a mist of our tiredness. The desire is there but it is overwhelmed by our fear of doing a shoddy job. The motivation is there but it hides from us weary that we mistake its reliability for tedious discipline. For the things we love must save themselves from these follies. How else will they be prepared to save us from ourselves?

I write because words flow through me. I pause occasionally not because the flow dries up but because my thoughts become laminar. That is no longer my writing conveying my voice. I want my writing to smoothly wrap up my turbulent ideas—ideas that are real, thought-provoking and true. The moment either of those wanes I am better of pausing to breathe than continuing to write and do this act of meditation a grave disservice. But doing what I love, writing, is my ground state so when I pause the turbulence builds, and when the turbluence builds the words start to flow, and that is when—and why—I write.

(This is an unedited first draft. It may or may not contain errors.)

  1. I could say the same about my photography but that is for another day. 


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