Julia Cameron, author of The Right to Write, says, “We should write because it is human nature to write…because humans are spiritual beings and writing is a powerful form of prayer and meditation, connecting us both to our own insights and to a higher and deeper level of inner guidance as well…
“We should write, above all, because we are writers whether we call ourselves writers or not. The Right to Write is a birthright, a spiritual dowry that gives us the keys of the kingdom. Higher forces speak to us through writing. Call them inspiration, the Muses, Angels, God, Hunches, Intuition, Guidance, or simply a good story – whatever you call them, they connect us to something larger than ourselves that allows us to live with greater vigor and optimism.”
This is a whole new way of looking at something that I’ve done all my life. For me, writing was not particularly spiritual or enlightening, but infinitely more basic, and not especially glamorous – like scratching an itch, or letting a pet out to do its business in the garden. It was something I did to appease an impulse, a soundless voice, that woke up now and then inside of me, insisting on being let out. If I tried to ignore it, it resorted to begging and then to torture.
I’ve been scribbling ever since I was a small child but selfishly, for most of my life I kept my writing to myself. Secretly I thought that some of it was actually quite good, but I wasn’t so sure that others would feel the same way, and I didn’t want to risk criticism, ridicule, or even worse, smiling tolerance and a pat on the head.
As I grew older, writing went from something I hid to something I outright denied. Writing was all very well when you wanted to lose yourself in another world, exorcise a demon, or bring a fantasy to life, but it didn’t do much to pay the bills or put food on the table. And so for a while I stopped writing altogether.
Thankfully, I think the line that’s my writing life is starting to curve back on itself to come full circle. I’ve found a genre I’m comfortable in – narrative journalism – and which I’m becoming quite passionate about, because it enables me to tell stories but at the same time remain grounded in reality, and because it brings together everything I love: words and people.
So here’s to writing, living with greater vigor and optimism, and never being selfish again.