Writing is one of those skills that fails to excite the instant gratification that Americans (and increasingly) the world have come to expect. Writing yields dividends for the courageous; whether the writing process clarifies ideas in one’s mind or reveals errors in them, at least one knows where they stand and can move forward. E.M. Forster said, “How do I know what I think until I see what I say?” Of course, when ideas are scratched down on paper they are vulnerable, but they are also prophetic.
The problems arise when we start equating our initial thoughts with our worth. If that was the case, I may never write again. It is too often that I write something down the first time only to realize that what I thought I knew was horribly wrong or even heretical. There must be a level of trust built with the pen and the pad. There must be a brotherhood that says, “Even though you are an idiot and thought that idea was good, I’m still here to help you revise it until my pages and ink run out.”
Write for fun and for self illumination. Write to convince and to encourage the wayward. Write to tell someone you love them or that you can’t stand them. Play with your words and steal a few from those that are better at it than you. Above all, write and write often. And then, sail it off into the world of readers to be bashed and tattered by the winds and rains. Without time on the open sea of opinions, you will never get better at writing.