Do you blog or write and share to the masses (however intimate or wide) and wonder why you do it? I’ve written professionally for 20 years, sharing intimate opinions and ideas across 11 columns, and I’ve blogged for seven years.

Paris, 1946
Paris, 1946

I blog here for free. I’ve written roughly three posts a week and also ran my I Quit Sugar 8-Week Program for two years without pecuniary recompense.

I’ve stopped often and asked myself why I do it. Most writers do, even when they’re paid handsomely. Because, on balance, we mostly give more than we get back. If you weigh up the blood and sweat and tears lost (priceless!).

I spoke to poet David Whyte about this when we met during his Australian tour. I asked if he felt a responsibility to write. He has a supremely special knack for going down close to the soul of us all and emerging with words that say it as we know it and need it expressed for us. It’s painful for him. I can tell.

He replies: “Absolutely, a responsibility”.

Then Jo, who I’ve turned on to Whyte, sent this to me. Sensing a waft of despair come over me as to What The Hell I’m Doing On This Planet. It wafts often.

In the silence that follows

a great line

you can feel Lazarus

deep inside

even the laziest, most deathly afraid

part of you,

lift up his hands and walk toward the light.

David Whyte 

This is why many people write. Even those of us who are not supremely special with our lines. But it’s what we aim for, right? Creating that light that can lift even lazy souls. Or even just the lazy parts of our own souls. We all want to be lifted.

Whose lines lift your lazy parts right now?

Have your say, leave a comment.

  • I totally feel this – writing is such a visceral, compulsive act. When you’re a writer and you’re not writing, there’s this little void that nips at you.

    And for reading: When I need non-fiction, Naomi Klein. When I need a little escape: Andre Malraux. When I need lyrics, Father John Misty.

    • Favourite Andre Malraux book?

      • Anti-Memoirs. Picked it up at a college library book borrow… And never returned it 😛

  • Daniel L

    “I want to write something so simply about love or about pain that even as you are reading you feel it and as you read you keep feeling it and though it be my story it will be common, though it be singular it will be known to you so that by the end you will think —- no, you will realize -— that it was all the while yourself arranging the words, that it was all the time words that you yourself, out of your heart had been saying.”
    Mary Oliver
    Sublime definition of writing from beautiful poet soul.
    Currently, among others, I read “Purity” by Jonathan Franzen, but “Consolations” by David Whyte was impressive …Poetry became more enjoyable to me lately, somehow… The list is long…
    Your lines are truly special. Keep producing them and enjoy your time over there.
    All the best!

  • Anna

    I’ve been thinking about this a lot recently- reflecting on creativity, processes, language, art, beauty, ephemera – and why I can’t escape my need to write, and also why it is that other people may never feel the same pull, and why I’ve chosen (did I choose?) words and not images or sounds or movement. I struck an idea that I write to connect. Thoughts are lonely things but words give thoughts place and I feel closer to something. Maybe I write to witness.

  • mw

    Hmmm ! .. I’m revisiting Hesse (Herman) right now .. not so much for the odd brilliant line .. but for the overwhelming Grandeur. It’s ‘The Glass Bead Game.’ A lot of women are turned off by Hesse because his writings are so ‘Male Centric’ but I’d urge them to get beyond the Gender aspect to the heart of his work, which elucidates the eternal human condition in a world of less noise and distraction.i.e. b4 our modernity started to swallow us whole but leave us empty. Sounds like “The bloody book club.”

    • which book is your favourite?

      • mw

        Well .. I read Hesse in my late teens and early twenties .. and nothing since then .. I’m beginning my sixth decade. From memory I read Demian, Narcissus and Goldmund, Siddhartha and The Glass Bead Game. My favourite is ‘The Glass Bead Game’ – he got a Nobel for it. It’s an ‘Important’ book. But if you just want a good, light read and are new to Hesse I would go with Siddhartha.

  • Right now? To be honest, my own lines. Not because I think they’re amazing. But because each time I write, I feel more expansive. When I face my fears of being too uninfluential/invisible and publish a post regardless, I know I have been resurrected from laziness. Hallelujah!

  • Amen, Sarah, amen! You have been a huge influence to me as a writer and woman. Not sure if that matters, but just so you know!:)

  • gwen

    What a great little piece. I’m a non-writer who likes to write. It took me a while to find my voice in prose, but once I did, learning how to write as myself was like having a switch flicked. My initial inspiration – this blog of course! Thank you Ms Wilson!