Writing helps me in many different ways. It allows me to process the thoughts that flow through my head. It gives me an outlet for my energy that just cannot be released through exercise or talking alone. There is something about using language, wrestling with words, and creating a visual representation of my mind on paper that helps clear the mess upstairs. This is all not to mention that it gives the many characters in my head a place to live.

My anxiety can become overwhelming and too intense for me to handle, and the pressures of family and others who don’t understand it from my unique perspective simply add to it. People often think they can relate to everything, but their speech and suggestions do not reflect it and I cannot bear it when my struggle is dismissed or ignored because I am not living up to others’ expectations. This is another reason why I write.

You see, writing gives me an opportunity to do something productive and creative, and that helps me establish a sense of purpose and meaning. By creating characters, formulating ideas, expressing my fears, desires, and frustrations, arguing with imaginary people (or imagining myself arguing with real people in my journals), and exploring ways to record the major events in the world I live in so I can look back and watch how my mind has evolved, I feel satisfied that I am doing something better with myself than wasting time. Since I have been writing, I barely watch television, I read and research much more, and my mind has opened up to ideas I never considered before.

These are some reasons that keep a pencil in my hand and my notebooks open. Now I will go on a bit of a tangent.

I am working on a novel right now and a lot of its inspiration comes from the multitude of controversies and wars going on today. It also draws on material from my favorite movies and literature. But this overwhelming task is big enough without the constant criticism and pressures of others, as well as my own doubt in myself and whether or not my writing and ideas are trash. I almost always hate what I write, and I know I can do better. The constant reminder from others that I need money and the realization that I fall short on my work build up and some days I just wonder if it will all be worth it.

You see, while having a job terrifies me to the bone, I know it is something I need to do, and I am fully aware of that. I am hoping to use my degree to get a job online and earn money working for a company out of a home office. But that is not my dream. It is a necessity. Being a writer of fiction is not always feasible and money is a problem. But I cannot let that stop me. I have to remind myself that I write because I have to, not always because it’s fun. In fact, it is often maddening.

There are so many other things I need to do (not just want, but need) and I will find a way to make money in the meantime. But my constant doubt in my ambitions is really discouraging and sometimes I just don’t really know what I am going to do. I am writing, reading, researching, drawing, or studying a variety of things trying to learn and expand. But because I do not yet have a full time job (I am a writing tutor and a pianist for a church), I feel judged and diminutive in the minds of others. The job market is terrible for some people. (That being said, I am not one to spend much money anyway. I buy books, my cell phone service, my own subscriptions and computer programs, my share of the insurance, and most of my own groceries. But I do want to be independent, and that requires a decent income).

Writing and the arts are my priority and that might sound foolish to some people, but I guess I don’t care about a lot of things like television shows or new clothes the way others do. When it comes to books I say “I need that!” But when it comes to clothes, I’m walking out a looking for a coffee shop or bookstore. Sometimes I worry about how people see me; I don’t dress sharply or walk around talking with people I happen to be near. I don’t go to college parties or clubs, and I have no romantic interests. I do, however, cope with my anxieties and emotional flatness by writing out who I would want to be and what I want to do.

I want to reach out and help people, but I am just not quite sure how to do it yet. But writing gets my mind working toward solving problems in my life and gives me ideas for how to reach other people in whatever way they might need. Writing soothes my loneliness and anger. It gets me into the heart of an issue and helps me push my way out.

When I’m thinking, I’m alive. When I’m writing I’m thinking. Therefore, when I am writing, I’m alive.