Why You Should Write For Yourself, And No One Else

My least favorite phrase is: “But… If you know you aren’t going to make a lot of money, then why do you write?” You’ve got to be kidding me.

I don’t write for the money. I don’t write because I love the feeling when someone compliments my grammar or word choice. I don’t write because I hope my crush will read it and finally understand my feelings. I don’t write because people read it.

In other words, I don’t write for you.

I write because, sometimes, I feel so much that the words overflow from my fingers, my mouth, my pen. I write for expression, for freedom, for honesty. Because sometimes it’s the only way I know how to communicate. Because sometimes the moon is so bright, it overpowers the stars.  

Writing is how I deal with heartache that physically hurts. It’s how I discover new things about myself, others, and the world. It’s how I process my anxiety, depression, and stress. It’s how I decompress from the day.

It’s how I figure out who I am.

Words are what flow out of me when I’m happy, when I’m trying to understand what the world means, and when I don’t feel like I’m ever going to be enough. Words flow out of me when I’m hopeless, helpless, and scared. They flow out of me when I’m joyous, celebrating, and silly. Sometimes, I can’t help but let them out.

But most of all, I write because art is the only thing that sustains me.

Us artists have to stick together. Even if your painting or poem or play only gets seven views, four likes, or one thoughtful glance. We need art.

Art causes emotions. It spurs conversation, thoughtful criticism, happiness. Art is what has survived through the ages and what will continue surviving for as long as we keep making it.

My favorite phrase?

“Please keep making your art.”

It doesn’t matter if you write, sing, paint, doodle, act, dance, sculpt – as long as you create.

I don’t write because I think I’m the next Shakespeare. I write because my art is my passion. It’s what I love to do. It gives me something to do with my hands. It gives me something to love when I don’t feel like loving anything else. It gives me something steady to count on; my pen is always right there with me. It gives me a way to describe the way some flowers only bloom at night.

And when I can’t find the muse to write, there’s other art for me. When I’m down, there’s a painting for that. If I need a laugh, there’s a play for that. If I want to feel affected and changed, there’s a gallery, a slam poem, a book for that.

I might not ever be a millionaire. I might not ever be published in a major poetry magazine. But it doesn’t matter.

What matters is that I do create. What matters is that I care. What matters is that my art – all of our art – is out there, in the world, being seen and heard and watched and being appreciated. It may not seem like it when people would rather give up their art for good in order to make money, but art is still appreciated.

It doesn’t matter if you don’t make money. All that matters is that you just keep making art.

Featured Image via We Heart It.

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