I’ve thought a lot about writing this year.
And about the value of writing.
Writing has felt like an act of defiance.
After catching Covid early April, I’ve felt lethargic. And, sometime in June, my inner critic tried to tell me writing was a waste of my energy.
You’re burnt out, she told me. Or maybe it’s a serious writer’s block? It would be better to give up. Quit writing!
But I didn’t want to listen to my inner critic.
I told her that sometimes life is hard but that it would get better again. Everything shall pass.
I asked my inner critic to be patient. I asked her to stop scaring me and to allow me to keep trying.
Because writing makes me feel alive, and it allows me to be my best self. I didn’t want to give that up. I knew that feeling of aliveness would come back.
I realized that for me writing had become an essential part of being human.
2023 has, of course, been the year of AI
Everyone seems to talk about Artificial Intelligence and how to use it to be more productive.
I understand that.
There is an extraordinary pressure to produce more, to publish more.
And writing is hard.
The process of creating something new is full of doubts; you’re never sure where you’ll end up at.
Over the years, I learned to be okay with that discomfort, to acknowledge it, and to keep writing. I learned to be patient and to trust my writing process.
I even learned to appreciate the difficult parts of writing. Because it’s often thanks to the chaos, the uncertainty, and the unease that new insights arrive.
Of course, I’m extraordinarily lucky. I write for my own business. The pressures are different when you write for clients.
Writing this blog is not just a business venture
I don’t think of it as content marketing.
Of course, it’s true that I make my living writing and that my blog helps me sell my writing courses.
But writing is so much more than that.
Writing helps me formulate my ideas. It has taught me what matters to me. It taught me about my values and even who I am.
As Elizabeth Gilbert suggests, creativity allows us to become deeper and truer versions of ourselves. I believe in that. I’ve witnessed it.
Writing is also an opportunity to connect with you.
Even if you stay quiet, this feels like a conversation with you. You read what I’ve written and interpret it in your way, add your own ideas, make it your own. This is such a wonderful thing about writing: It’s an opportunity to connect, to recognize each other’s humanness, to be human.
Asked about AI, songwriter and musician Nick Cave writes:
I’m a songwriter who is engaged, at this very moment, in the process of songwriting. It’s a blood and guts business, here at my desk, that requires something of me to initiate the new and fresh idea. It requires my humanness.
I also think of writing as an embodied practice. I don’t just write with my brain. I write with my whole body—with my heart, with my gut, with that softness that nestles in my belly, with that fierceness that races through my veins.
Just like we sing or make music or dance with our whole bodies, we write with our bodies, too.
Writing is an expression of life
Living with low energy has changed my perspective on life.
Before my car accident, I wanted to cram as much into my days as possible. I was always busy.
Slowing down has allowed me to be more present and appreciate the small moments of life, such as waking up in a warm bed; cooking and eating nasi goreng—my favorite comfort food; seeing the moon through the trees—that benevolent, waxing crescent was so beautiful yesterday.
And yes, writing is part of that, too. Being present. Paying attention.
As Zadie Smith said:
The very reason I write is so that I might not sleepwalk through my entire life.
There’s much pressure online to produce more content, and that makes the call of AI so tempting. But I resist. How much I produce feels less important to me. Instead, I want to be present in my writing.
I want my writing to be human. I want this to be a conversation between you and me.
Writing as an act of human defiance.
My spark is back
In recent weeks, my lethargy has dissipated. My energy is flowing back. I started working on a new course.
We might be on the cusp of winter but I’m tiptoeing out of my winter cave. My heart is ready for spring. My creative soul is ready for renewal.
I feel excited about exploring creativity afresh. I want to keep writing, drawing, exploring, learning, connecting.
New creative adventures are waiting.
Thank you for reading me this year.
I wish you happy holidays and a sparkling new year full of creative adventures.
See you in 2024?