Word pollution and why I bother writing

Charlie Brooker wrote this article last year about why he’s going to limit his written output. Then I read this piece encouraging all writers to take a year off. And then I read this brilliant analysis showing just how hard it has become to get anything actually read on here.

So what’s the point in adding to the clutter? Here are some of my personal reasons for persevering.

  • Practice make perfect. Sort of. Perfection is perpetually out of reach, but I am at least practicing a craft. And in theory, the more I practice something, the better I become.
  • Pleasing an audience. Imaginary or otherwise, I like to think I write to entertain and engage a readership. Even if it’s low in number, I’m still giving an experience to someone, somewhere. And that feels good.
  • Feedback. Chance favors the connected mind. Maybe if I keep putting stuff out here on the Internet, someone will eventually comment on it. They may even give me an idea how to improve it, or the spark to create something new entirely.
  • Words look nice. If I’m going to add to the cultural snow pile, I may as well do it in style. And as someone who struggles with the technical side of blogging, Medium gives me a beautiful container to pour my thoughts into.
  • The fun of it all. I get to play with language. English is my sandbox, and I’m here to get my hands dirty. It may not be quite as relaxing as playing with real sand, but it’s fun in it’s own way.
  • Delayed gratification. Just like a long distance run, I know I’ll feel better after I’ve written something. Or, to borrow the vastly over-used quote, “I hate writing; I love having written.”
  • More creation, less consumption. I decided a while ago I wanted to adjust my create/consume ratio. It’s still important to absorb and learn from the work of others, but I also need to spend a little more time generating new content myself. I may not be creating anything worthwhile yet, but hopefully I’ll get there.
  • Inspiration and motivation. Finally, there seem to be a heck of a lot of posts similar to this one on Medium (and indeed the web at large), motivating other would-be writers to keep at it. I guess we write these kinds of pieces to inspire others, but I can’t help thinking we do it to motivate ourselves too.

I have to believe I’m not just adding to the clutter. I have to believe I’m not polluting the Internet with popmous, self-referential detritus. I have to believe I am – in some small way – contributing. Educating. Entertaining.

So here we are then. Another fun piece of carefully crafted writing ready to engage and inspire an imaginary audience.

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Views are my own, apart from ones I receive via osmosis, telepathy & telegram.