self examination in writing

Fiction is nothing less than the subtlest instrument of self-examination

and self-display that mankind has invented yet.”

John Updike

By far, the most challenging reason to write is to lay bare your present thoughts on paper for all to see. Imagine that, complete strangers entering your psyche for a day. Try to write without honesty, and it’s stilted.

Look back at your written work a year from now, and discover you didn’t agree with yourself, fiction or non-fiction. Or your perspective seems skewed in a direction you don’t now believe, or you must have been having a bad day when you wrote that! Yup, been there, done that.

But you want to know what you think? Write it out.

You want to clarify your daily purpose? Write a list.

You want to clarify your life purpose? Write it down, check back on it, work toward it, and you’ll quickly decide whether if it hits what you want. But if you never write it down, you’ll never have known. We quickly forget what we wake up to do.

Or we don’t, because we flow along in our lives following the wave that takes us along, requiring us to do whatever someone asks us to do, to go with the flow of other’s expectations, of an institution’s expectations, considering little about our own hopes for our brief timeline on this earth.

Write it down. Write it all down. You’ll figure out who you are, what you think, why you think it, what you want, even how you want to order your day. Just write.