Writing is keeping me sane
Why posting on Medium isn’t a total waste of time
I won’t lie: I do frequently ask myself why I am here. On Medium, I mean. It’s nothing to do with frustration at not already having an army of thousands of followers. Currently, I have about 130 and I think that’s great. Thank you for showing an interest and reading my stuff! Nor is it anything to do with writer’s block, or a creative crisis, or that I think I write badly.
It’s more a question of pragmatism and priority. When I’m trying to get one business back on the road while simultaneously trying to build up a whole new one, one may reasonably ask why I don’t funnel the time I spend writing into things that actually have an outside chance of resulting in income. That would be wholly justified, and to be honest I often ask myself the very same thing.
And yet, and YET!
There is never any serious doubt in my mind that sitting down and writing and posting stuff is the right thing to do. One of the main reasons I started writing again last year was because I realised just how much time I spent per day reading news and that this was doing me absolutely no good whatsoever. Quite the contrary: it was making me depressed, angry and frustrated…and because the quality of most media today is so bad, I couldn’t even claim to be especially well informed at the end of it.
So I called time on that damaging, wasteful behaviour. And I decided that, henceforth, all the time I had been spending reading news each day would be spent on writing instead. And that is precisely what I have been doing for about 6 months now. Even if no one had ever read anything I have written— it matters not one iota. Curtailing my news consumption has improved my overall mood by an enormous degree — AND I have about 60 articles to show for my effort. That’s a win already!
Who cares whether I am up to date with all the latest developments in the farce that is British politics these days? I do care about what’s happening in the Ukraine of course…but I can’t do a damned thing about it and reading about it won’t change that. Much better to make a donation to an appropriate charity and let that be my contribution.
Writing also provides support and balance at a time when I’m dealing with a high degree of uncertainty in my professional life. When you are working hard on something that may or may not work out, and your economic existence depends on it, and you aren’t sure what exactly Plan B is, it is so easy to succumb to what German author Andreas Altmann has called “attacks of pointlessness”. When you ask why on earth you are doing this when it might all be in vain and what the value of it all is…demotivation and depressed inertia are just a hop skip and jump away. You’ve got to keep your mind occupied and stay clear of those weeds. Promising myself an hour of writing at the end of each day goes a long way towards that.
It is also my firm conviction that anything that gives you joy has an inherent value — and sitting down to write at the end of a working day is like lowering myself into a lovely, warm bath. Submerging myself in the language and letting the words flow over me…it is such an enormous pleasure. Whatever has happened in the time since I sat down at my desk that morning looks a whole lot better in the rear-view mirror when I sit down and craft a sentence which reads JUST RIGHT. When I leave my creative space, I mostly feel relaxed, fulfilled — and ready for a nice evening. Unsurprisingly, The Other Half supports my new writing habit wholeheartedly!
Yes, writing is always a good investment.