Writing is hard. No point in denying it. Writing is lonely, messy, and ultimately terrifying when you finally put your words out into the world for all to criticize.
Not to mention, writing can be really boring. For every clever turn of phrase and brilliant-if-I-do-say-so-myself word choice, there are dozens of hours battling with the blank page and wrangling complex ideas into line. The editing never ends, especially not after you've hit publish on a post or committed ink to paper.
I've met hundreds of writers over the past decade who are unable to get past the fear, chaos and monotony of writing. I wonder how many of them truly knew their Why. I know they have something to say, that they've been bitten for a reason. But without doing the work to understand what's at the heart of their desire to put pen to paper, whatever message they're meant to share will never make it into the world.
Writing takes commitment and consistency, and getting crystal clear on your Why is the greatest tool I know for creating a sustainable writing routine.
Are you writing to make money? To become famous? To share a message that won't let you go? Or can you embrace the ultimate uncertainty-- that you simply cannot not write?
Whatever your answer, get comfortable with it. Embrace it. Flesh it out. Turn it around and describe it in powerful, active language. When I work with writers or aspiring authors the first thing I ask them to do is write up their Wild & Crazy Why. This exercise isn't meant to confine, but to ground them in a reason to work it.
Because [see above] writing is hard work.
Someone determined to earn a living as a writer is on a very different road than someone who sees their book as a marketing tool for a non-writing based business. Someone who hopes their book will transform a personal tragedy into a gift for someone else is on yet another road. There are unique paths to success for entertainers and educators, artists and activists, executives and entrepreneurs.
It's not all about you
Nothing is more important than your audience.
It's easy to slack off on a writing project when it feels like a self-indulgent waste of time. It's a lot harder to abandon a project that we truly believe someone else needs.
The Wild & Crazy Why flips the script and suddenly makes you feel selfish if you don't finish that story about your obsession with Sharpies, because there's someone out there right now who needs to hear that message. And possibly an intervention.
But wait-- aren't you supposed to write for yourself?
You bet. That's called a journal.
If you don't have a strong reason Why your writing serves others, you will simply not be able to endure the rigors of the writing life.
When you're clear on your Why, you're clear on your audience and how exactly you will serve them. Consequently, you'll produce consistently for them.
Your Wild & Crazy Why will infuse everything you write with a deeper intention. And the beauty is that you won't even have to think about it. Your Why will be working hard behind the scenes to create a consistent message that flows through every little scribble.
Who doesn't love a shiny object?
God bless the internet. We have infinite opportunities to pursue our interests.
A clear and powerful Why ensures that whatever you choose to spend your precious time and energy on will build toward a cohesive body of work. That's how you create momentum and that's how you build something larger than yourself.
Speaking of large, the best Whys always are. That's the Wild & Crazy part. A great Why doesn't have to be doable so much as it has to be inspiration-able. The Why that pushes you to go beyond what you think you can do, to matter more and serve better-- that's the Why you want.
Getting to Why is critical. Making it Wild & Crazy ensures it'll keep you interested.
Because if you don't a compelling Why, why bother?