Words on the Page

What if, when you woke up tomorrow, you could only remember what you’d written down?

(I know it’s a great book idea. It was my idea first. Go find your own.)

I didn’t want to write today. I drove all the way to a coffee shop a friend just told me about, and I bought my iced almond milk latte and I put my phone on silent and I plugged in my laptop and I started thinking about all the things I could do instead—answer some work inquiries, text half a dozen friends, edit a video. And then I did most of those things. And then I decided I better get down to business, which is when my computer decided it was time for mandatory updates.

Procrastination is easy. So are excuses. Before I write anything I have to convince myself again that writing is, in fact, a worthwhile use of my time. That my words have a value all their own. That I am not obligated to prove anything or impress anyone with my work.

I majored in English Literature. But being a writer doesn’t require credentials. It requires only that you engage in the activity of writing. And while I still have to do battle with myself almost daily before I reach a headspace in which I am able to engage in said activity, I never have to argue that writing is essential—to me, to everyone.

Every time you defy your mental demons and set that pen to paper, you are adding sentences to your story. And the thing about your story is that you are the only person in the world who can write it. It doesn’t matter how great a writer you think you are or are not.

I’m going to say that again, because I think it’s awesome: You are the only person who can write your story.

And there are unlimited ways to do that—storytelling is a beautifully fluid thing. It is not confined to expertly-expressed journal entries or perfectly-crafted pieces. There is no standard format. You can write your story however you please.

So let’s live life, fully and imperfectly, and write about all of it—the good, and the bad, and the things we don’t understand, and the things we wish were different, and the things we can’t stop smiling about. Because our words have value. Our stories matter.

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