The Foundation of the Writing Life


So many people want to be writers. They talk about it, they read books about it and they dream about the day when it will actually be a reality. I know because I was one of those people for many years. For a long time, I idealized being a writer, dreaming of a romantic life which entailed me sipping espresso on a balcony on the Mediterranean while the words flowed from my pen and my hair blew in the balmy breeze.



I know I’m not alone in this fantasy. But of course, this is not reality, as anyone who truly has a compulsion to write will tell you. Most of the time, we are writing in the midst of clutter, noisy kids, full-time jobs, bills and dirty dishes. We do not write for the romance of it; we write because we have something to say. Any illusion that life will stop to give us those moments of inspiration has long since flown away, and we are left with a raw desire to get words down on paper, no matter the cost.

This then, is the foundation of the writing life. Unless you have something to say, you will never survive the daily grind of writing in the midst of chaos.

Will there be moments of romantic inspiration? Of course! I have written on the Mediterranean (although my hair is frizzy and didn’t quite blow in the balmy breeze the way I envisioned) and it was awesome! But so is completing a 100,000 word novel in the midst of a crazy life. It is the deep-seated knowledge that you have something to say which will keep propelling you forward.

Extraordinary work is often forged in the fires of an everyday existence.

So, when you are feeling discouraged, come back to the foundation: write because you have something to say. You personally have something to say that no one else can express.

Do you feel this conviction in your writing? What foundational things do you hold to that keep you going through low times in your writing? Feel free to share in the comments!

Reading Contest Update: Dad and I were reading maniacs during the month of June! We were neck-and-neck most of the month, but he beat me out at the end, 1,227 pages to my 1,158. Way to go Dad! Still, I am undaunted…



One thought on “The Foundation of the Writing Life

  1. Megan Sutherland

    “Write because you have something to say.” – that struck me! Now I have to figure out if I do really have something to say.
    Inspiring post and well said. Thank you.

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