Have you ever felt like you’re pouring your heart out and people just aren’t listening? Does it feel like the words come forth but they seem wasted in the way they float about in cyberspace without much ‘value’ or readership?

Up till about a week ago, I felt that. I would publish a post and sit back, waiting for people to say they lovedΒ it (hey, I’m human) or that it didn’t really resonate with them (well, I was probably vague) or even that tantalising notification which said someone ‘liked’ the post by hovering over that Word Press button (yes, that’s the icing on the cake).

But, something happened a while ago. Something unrelated to writing.

I was contacted by an agent offering me a job, based on some information I’d fed into a job portal. While this isn’t new, what worried me was the excessive information he seemed to have about me, which he could not have gleaned from the portal alone. Later, I discovered that the account had been hacked (along with that of several thousand others) and that the portal was doing its best to avoid further unscrupulous activity. That did it for me, though. I went from being calm and content to paranoid and freaked out!

Immediately, I set about de-cluttering my Social media presence, especially removing people from my list whom I had hardly interacted with. Better safe than sorry was the motto I was going for. A lot of people took it in the right spirit. Some didn’t. They stopped coming by my blog. That’s fine. They probably felt offended. I mean, who wouldn’t?

But, a couple of days later, I threw my shoulder out and had to stop all screen activity for a week. Post that, I have limped back to writing and blogging gradually. Now, I attempt a post a week for each of my blogs. It’s just about all I can manage, given the pain.

How does this tie in with the real reason why we should write? I discovered something in this process.

Photo credit: Pixabay
Photo credit: Pixabay

Now, I am so grateful to be able to write at all, that I just sit back and am happy with the fact that I managed to type an entire post without pain.

I count comments/ likes/ shares as a genuine bonus, because I realise that people have lives. They cannot (and should not) be online 24/7, pandering to the needs of a blogger/writer who may or may not churn out the best posts.

Writing gives me a pleasurable high. I think it is the greatest dopamine booster in my system. The thrillΒ I get after churning out a post is so palpable that I forget the pain that it took me to sit down and pen it all.

So, now I know. The real reason I should write is because it makes me joyous: Not the shares, the comments or the likes (although those are incredibly lovely). I should write because I can. I should write because it makes me feel happy to be alive.

The reason I must write is just that: To write for its own sake. Nothing more.



pen with diary against a blue backdrop

This post made it to the Top Row 3 on the Crowd Voting over at Yeah Write grid!

It is my first ever time at the top of the grid. Needless to say, I am on top of the world.

Such an incredible feeling. Thank you to all who voted.

*Featured image courtesy: Shutterstock

83 thoughts on “The Real Reason you should Write

    1. Mind? I think I am honoured! Beyond words. I get the Coffehouse digest in my mail and I hadn’t checked the latest update. Thank you for letting me know. I am very glad that the post made you contemplate. It’s a wonderful reason to write and I love what you’ve undertaken to do!

  1. Aww…hugs <3. Loved the honesty in your words. Guess all of us do get a big dose of encouragement and varied perspectives when people read, comment and appreciate what we've written. But as you aptly put it, nothing beats the feeling of being alive by writing for yourself!

  2. So happy for you, Shailaja, on the grid success. Also happy that you’ve gotten past the ego of blogging and landed in a calmer sea. So looking forward to hearing from you again!

  3. When we write for ourselves and not to please others, we write best and honest. I agree with you. Some of my posts that were entirely mine are the most beautiful writings I own. While others written to maintain a continuity are not that close to my heart!

    Also I have always been skeptical adding people on social networking sites, now I see why! I hope all your accounts are safe! From time to time google your name and check if any extra info is shared there. If it does, do talk to that site-onwer to remove it! Has happened with me!

  4. Glad that you figured this one out. I came to terms with this when I started realizing that internet being a fun and opportunistic place, it is also a creepy one. Anything on the internet is out for everyone to see. A lot of people don’t realize the impact of this because bad things always happen to someone else but we could be that ‘someone’ anytime.

    Like you said, it is better to be safe than sorry.

  5. I agree with this 100%. I have a friend who works for Ann Patchett (the amazing Ann Pattchett). Her advice was “You must promise me you will never read comments on your published work, because it will change the way you write.” It is your voice and people will always agree, disagree, dislike it or like it, but you must never alter your voice.

  6. I love this realisation. The process you went through to come to it is so interesting. I’m sorry for your shoulder troubles, but glad it brought a reinvigorated joy for writing.

    Writing is so often shouting into the void, and we all just want to be heard. I really like your observations that writing must be for its own sake.

    Such great insights.

  7. after reading this i totally wanted to award you a medal around your neck because i felt like this piece deserved the gold.

    you said it so well! i too struggle with wanting feedback, and churning out each post is so much work… but you are right. ‘i should write because i can…because it makes me feel happy to be alive.’

    you nailed it right there. bravo!
    thank you for writing and sharing this. =)

  8. I very much respect the honesty of this post. Hey Shailaja your post has given me an idea or two…let’s see if I end up writing anything on that. If I do of course you will be the first to know πŸ™‚ Thanks for writing this piece.

  9. Such a good reminder. This month I’ve rediscovered (for what is probably the fiftieth time) just how transformative an effect writing has on my life. Yes, that validation and feeling like your writing isn’t hitting a void is nice, but the writing itself can give structure and meaning where there wasn’t before. Happy you’ve come to this place, too!

  10. Great writeup this one, Shailaja. We all start writing/blogging because we like to do it. Comments and likes are a boost for the writer. But there are many posts of mine sitting there with no love, which made me feel bad. Like you said above I too realized it isn’t the comments that keep me going (though I enjoy that feeling when I get a comment or like) it’s the part of me which wants write for me is making me come back and write again.
    You have explained it very well here, Shailaja. πŸ™‚ Loved every word of this one. Keep going!

  11. Writing for the self matters a lot, I believe and is the greatest joy. I don’t understand why people take this social media thgy so personally. I mean, there are bloggers who removed me from the list but I keep visiting their blogs because I enjoy their work. We need to move beyond the FB thingy.

    1. Vishal, you hit the nail on the head. And you are better than most bloggers I know. To keep visiting people after they remove you from their lists is very commendable. I doubt I would have the same feeling if I found myself missing from their friend list one day!

  12. Shailaja, you should never worry about statistics on your blog. It stresses you out and takes the joy out of writing. The people who matter will always stick with you. Always enjoy what you do. If it doesn’t make your soul happy, don’t do it. πŸ™‚

    I write because it makes me happy.

    Hugs…write like you always do. And get well soon. Your health is more important than anything else, okay?

  13. Agree completely Shailaja. Writing for your own self is the happiest thing to do. It’s just that we end up taking it for granted and start to focus on the add ons rather than the core of things. I am so glad you are back.

  14. And in all this pain you discovered the true meaning of writing πŸ˜€ I love writing, love comments too, but like you I think that’s an add-on to the whole experience of writing for myself. I have been doing this since 2007. There are posts that don;t have comments at all, yet I write because no matter, I read my old posts and smile back at the memories.

  15. I think I write because if I don’t I’m just another person in this rat race … I’m just another hollow person…That’s what I feel, empty when I think of myself without writing…And yes so I agree with everything you have written here

  16. You hit the nail on the head Shailaja! Even though it is tempting, perhaps addictive to be ‘liked’ with our writing posts, the most important is that we write for ourselves, because we love to. And I can SO relate to that! I’m SO glad to see you back, even if only once a week. <3 (You may appreciate Part 2: The Call to Write at http://xpressyouressence.blogspot.ca/2011/05/to-write-or-write-right-part-2-call-to.html). πŸ˜‰

    1. Elly, that is actually a beautiful point. When our posts are liked, is it an extension of ‘us’ being liked? How curious! Yes, we associate with our writing, but that isn’t all us, is it? Very interesting point!

      Thanks for your eternal support. I am so grateful!

  17. Such a lovely post!! and I am so much relate to it. I sometimes even get up from a deep sleep to see if there are any likes/ comments for my posts, I make sure there is a separate buzz for these on my phone which unknowingly wakes me up. All said and done, we write because we really love to !!!

    1. God, I know! Those silly notifications! Did I tell you I uninstalled many apps on my smartphone? I also muted notifications on my tablet. So, now I see the comments/likes etc only when I get on the laptop. So liberating. Try it πŸ™‚

  18. Everytime, i feel there are no sufficient views on my page, or hardly any likes, I think about ‘why did i start to write in the first place?’. You have given the answer. I can then move on to the next post with a fresh perspective.

  19. I loved the honesty of this post. Like you I enjoy writing. It gives me a lot of happiness. Besides it is the way I make my living. And I just love the range of topics I explore and research. Hopefully somewhere my words strike a chord or make a difference.

  20. I go through this self-doubt frequently, I also struggle with the questions “what does it all mean and what’s the purpose?” You have hit on the magic. It is about the writing, it’s about what it means to you and how it makes you feel. If you write for you, the rest of it doesn’t matter as much – and the high you get from the writing itself gets even better. Keep writing!

    1. Ah, the ‘what does it all mean’ question haunts me every third day. Not just with writing, of course but with the greater scheme of things. But, here, I am at peace. In my space, in my little world where people walk by, pause, ponder and leave. It just speaks to me. Thank you, Silverleaf. Your writing is so admirable. I am in awe of you <3

  21. It’s weird because the biggest hits I’ve ever written on my blog were random things I just crapped out for the Daily Prompt so I could say that I posted something that day. That’s not to say that I don’t write DP posts that I put a lot of heart into, I do and those are often successes. However it’s very different writing a successful post that isn’t a DP, no matter how much time I put into it.

    Here is my most Liked post: http://djgarcia94.wordpress.com/2014/10/10/queer-diction/
    I did put a lot of effort into that one.

    1. I know exactly what you mean. Some of my posts are just 100 words or 55 words long, but I still put a LOT of effort into them. And the measure of a post’s success should be more than about likes, comments or shares, right? I mean, what about some wonderful writers who don’t get read simply because they are novices to the idea of sharing their posts. So it is a tricky thing, this success.

  22. I’ve been blogging for nearly a decade….and I know for a fact that if I’m not enjoying it, I shouldn’t bother. There’s nothing worse (for me) than sitting, staring at a blank screen, while trying to “come up” with something that others will like/comment on/read/share. It’s been a funny irony, really, that the posts that were pretty much just me ranting about something, or that were writing in a “stream of consciousness” fashion just to purge my head were some of my most read/liked/commented on posts. πŸ™‚

    1. I so get the irony. For instance, look at this post of mine. It has got more ‘likes’ and comments than most of my posts, in the shortest period of time. Not all of my posts are stream of consciousness ones, but the ones that are, will generally reach into the raw soul inside and lay it bare. That’s a good thing, right?

    1. Kathy, you have been one of my strongest pillars, right through my phases of continuous writing, my non-writing period and after I came back. For that, I will be eternally grateful. And yes, please do get back to writing, as you always did. I miss your fabulous long stories <3

  23. I think when we write and publish our posts we feel as if we are in the centre of the universe, but for others we are ‘just another blogger’, and as you mentioned, people have lives. So it is sane to see likes and comments as a bonus. We write because we want to. πŸ™‚

    1. Centre of the universe. You mean, I am not?? πŸ˜‰
      Yes, I get what you mean. I like the centering that happens with this thing called blogging. Of late, though. I have started enjoying the grounding that comes with it. Thank you for reading, Joan <3

  24. I agree… A lot of people have stopped coming by my blog too over the years for various reasons… But, I still write because it’s the art of writing that soothes me… Comments and likes are an added bonus πŸ™‚

  25. I started blogging recently. I feel like I write for myself but the act of ‘blogging’ itself seems to make me (un)consciously a slave to comments/likes and other forms of public appreciation. This is a wonderful article that I will bookmark and come back to time and again to remind myself why I started blogging. Thank you.

    1. That’s very true, Sam. Blogging can be a very enriching experience and it’s perfectly fine to expect those likes and comments. It’s a part of us, out there for the world to see, so you expect some return. Perfectly acceptable. That last bit, though, is the nub of your comment. Every now and then, take a blogging break to remind yourself why you write at all. Very effective as a way to keep grounded. Good luck with the blogging bug ?

  26. Shailaja, I so agree with you. I, too, write because it gives me a fantastic feeling! And, if people like my posts, then that gives me an all time high! But, the bottom line is, that I write to keep myself sane. Times can be so tough. One needs something to stay afloat.

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