Write like nobody’s reading

July 14, 2009

A friend of mine claims the phrase “dance like nobody’s watching” as her birthright. She is also a writer, and as writers, I think the phrase could equally apply: “Write like nobody’s reading.”

Both of these phrases are about joy, the pursuit of a passion for the sake of the passion. The dancer being watched is awkward and inhibited, worried that she might look like a fool or be judged harshly. Ditto for the writer who writes with a reader perched on her shoulder. The reader is also known as the critic. The watcher and the critic turn out to be literal killjoys.

Write – first, foremost, and always – for yourself. At least on the first draft. And if you are writing for publication, find a secret place where you can go and write just for yourself for a while. If you are writing about zebras in Africa for publication, that’s all well and good – but set aside some time and a place to write strictly and purely for yourself. Maybe what it would be like to be the zebra. Or maybe you just want to sit down and write about the funny antics that your 3-year-old niece did today.

Write. Just keep writing. And be sure to spend some time writing for yourself.

© writingreading, 2009