The value of writing

If you are still waiting for part two of my previous blog post, “Fear of Marriage: Part One”, don’t worry! It is coming. (Just like Christmas.)

Yesterday, I went to the library to edit my thesis*, but while I was walking to the library I started thinking about an idea, and as I was thinking, my thoughts turned into sentences that I wanted to write down. As soon as I arrived at the library I opened up a blank document and wrote down 941 words in one sitting.

I couldn’t publish those 941 words as they are. Some of what I wrote didn’t make any sense, there were tangents and parts where I couldn’t express what I wanted to. I also wasn’t finished – there was more I needed to say, at least another thousand words, and then I would need to revise it.

I also didn’t do any work on the thesis because by the time I had finished writing it was time to go home. As I walked home, I started to wonder what was the point of what I had just done. Why had I just contributed another unfinished document to my hard drive instead of doing the work I wanted to get done?

But then I started to think about the value of what I had done, and my thoughts turned into sentences again, and I wrote them down in my phone. This is an edited version of what I wrote:

It is always better to have written. It is never a waste of time. If you have written something, that is always worthwhile.

Even if it is badly written.

Even if it is factually incorrect or in any way wrong.

Even if it is not what you sat down to write.

Even if it is a big ramble.

Even if it is unpublishable.

Even if it just means that you have yet another unfinished piece of writing sitting on your hard drive.

Even if you feel you don’t have the authority to write about that topic.

 

What has happened is that you have taken something that exists only in your head and made it a physical reality in the world, even if only on a computer document that no-one else ever sees.

If you want to write more about that topic, you have a head start. If you never want to write about that again, then at the very least you have gone through the finding out what you don’t want to write about.

But whatever happens to those words, the fact remains that they were in your head asking to be written, and now you have released them into the world. And the act of doing this is inherently valuable.

 

*I submitted the thesis last year and it has been assessed, but I am revising it before making it publicly available.

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