Why You Should Write
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One of the first things I saw when I joined the Wanderer's Library was a guide on how to go about writing. How to get ideas flowing, how to get them written, and how to get them on here. This slid right off me. Why on Earth would I want to write? From what I'd heard, it was exposing, slow-paced, complex and unrewarding. But as I started to write more, I discovered this was mostly a myth. A misunderstanding of writing as a whole, and an under-estimation of myself.

This piece is intended for those who aspire to write, but find themselves chained by their self-doubt. Hopefully my story will get you out of that rut.

"I'll make a fool of myself!"

This was my most prominent and straight-forward feeling. I thought that since there were so many amazing pieces on the site, the bar for entry was too high for a newbie.

This is fundementally flawed thinking. Several great authors on the site had never written before joining, myself included. In fact, before joining, I thought the only way to start writing was to seek critique from family and friends, which considering my calibre of writing at the time, I'm glad I never did.

Fortunately, internet strangers are less complex critters than your dad.

First off, toxic critique1 is explicitly banned here. If your critter is discouraging you in a mean-spirited way, please go report them to a mod!

Second, the community is really empathetic and helpful towards new writers. The WL is a growing site, so never feel like it's "full" or "better off without you". Every experienced writer on here was in your position at some point. They know you'll struggle along the way. Which brings me to my next point:

"Everything I write is trash anyways."

But, what does that actually mean? Do your ideas feel lacking? Do you look upon the finished product in shame? Do you think others would hate it? These are all valid reasons, but I'd recommend shifting your focus away from the product, and towards the process. Did you enjoy writing this? Do your unique characters and worlds feel real and enjoyable to you? Does turning your real life anxieties and malaise into a satisfying story put you at ease?

Remember that at the end of the day, writing is a hobby, not a responsibility. You don't have to be the very best that no one ever was, you have to do what you want to do. To quote Site Admin UncertaintyCrossingUncertaintyCrossing:

If it's not fun, there are other ways to contribute to the site - reading, drawing, music, chatting - that are just as valuable. Or stepping away entirely. WL is one of many places to experiment and explore with various kinds of creation, but at the end of the day, you should be having fun with what you do.

"I suck at constructing elaborate, faraway settings."

You don't have to excel at world-building to write. Fictitious worlds completely different from our own are awesome (see Atlas' Burden Hub or The Journal of Aframos Longjourney), but plenty of great fiction takes place in the contemporary world (see A Note To My Muse or Night Fishing). Write about that lovely hike you went on, or that friend with a vibrant personality. The magnitude of a story isn't tied to its quality.

The Perks

If that didn't convince you, I've listed some of the things I've gotten out of writing:

Great literature was demystified.

I stopped viewing the greatest writers in history as in an unobtainable league of their own, and instead saw them as seriously experienced. This really changes how you view your own progression.

I had achievements to lean on.

Like I said before, a strong motivator to keep up writing is tangible proof of progression. I know that this is leagues better than this2 because I've learned over time what makes a good story.

I cared less about what others think about me.

Not just in WL, but in life. I felt great with concrete proof that I excelled at something, so devaluing vitriol just doesn't hit as hard anymore.

After a long and painful week of being forced around a lot of insensitive and unpleasant people, I found myself doubting my self-worth. Wondering if what I'm doing in life means anything. On the cusp of giving up, I receive a DM from an unfamiliar user:

i read your stuff
i just wanted to say its awesome[…]
keep it up please
so many artists quit out even when they are so good
its genuine talent to write good stuff

Even if it doesn't show, assume your work means something special to someone. That someone out there is prepared to passionately defend your writing.

My imagination was boosted.

Not only is this skill helpful in day-to-day life, it helped me find story ideas faster. "Those wires over there, what would happen if they came to life?" "What sort of things could be in this fog?" etc etc. In other words, you'll see the world around you in a new, more playful light.

If you look through my works, you can deconstruct my inspiration. For example, Kenophobia On George Street as poetry on lockdown-era Circular Quay, and Shite Fishing as a parody of Night Fishing.

I felt like I was being productive with my insecurities.

I took my anger or fear of things I can't control, and turned it into a story I was proud of. When you bottle up your stresses, you feel overwhelmed having to keep track of them all. We invented art for a reason, y'know.


Hopefully this guide shows you why writing might be for you, and why it's not as scary as you think. You're better than you think, honestly. With this in mind, pop back over to the Guide for Writing tab in the Orientation. I hope to see you on the site soon.

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