Why You Need to Know What Your Writing Means

Filed in Your Purpose as a Writer by on July 30, 2019 3 Comments • views: 285

As a writer, you need to know the answer to one question:
What does your writing mean?

We tend to get so caught up in producing our work, publishing it, and marketing it that we fail to stop and think about this important question.

I encourage you to take some time this week to do so. Here’s why.

7 Reasons Why Writers Need to Define What Writing Means

Many writers feel that their writing is somehow connected to their purpose in life. Whether that’s true for you or not, it’s important to define exactly what writing means for many reasons. Below are seven of the most important.

1. Having a Purpose May Help You Live Longer

According to a study involving over 6,000 people, those who can articulate the meaning and purpose in their lives die later than those who see their lives as aimless. In fact, those with purpose are 15 percent less likely to die than their aimless peers.

It doesn’t matter what the meaning is, only that you have a definite answer to the question. Even better news—it doesn’t matter much when you determine your purpose. Some manage it in their 20s, but others wait until the age of 50 or later.

If writing is part of your life’s purpose and you define it as such, it could help you live a longer life.

2. Defining What Your Writing Means Helps You Focus

It’s common for writers to feel tossed about, chasing one goal and then another. We work to finish a novel, then get it published, then upgrade our websites, then build our email list, then get more reviews, and on and on.

If you know exactly what your writing means in your life, it helps you focus on those activities that support that meaning. You gain clarity and make better choices.

If writing is your way to connect with others, for example, you can focus on activities that open the door to more interaction. If writing is your way to explore life questions that puzzle you, your focus may be more on protecting your writing and creative space.

“To me, writing means asking myself the questions I desperately need to consider,” says Ariane Vigna. “It means searching for a greater meaning to things and people. Sometimes, before I grab my computer, I don’t even notice that there is a specific thing in my life that is worth examining. When I get to my keyboard, it becomes crystal clear that there is something on my mind. Once I get in the mindset of expressing my feelings and opening up, I can understand myself and the world better.”

3. Knowing What Writing Means Helps You Tap Into Your Passion

There are times when writing can feel like drudgery; a joyless chore. It’s at these times that reconnecting with what writing means in your life can pull you out of the doldrums.

“Maintaining a connection with our passions can help us in many ways,” writes novelist Jami Gold. “When the crap of daily life gets us down, remembering the things that drive us, that matter to us, that make us feel like our life has meaning all can help us feel a glimmer of happiness, no matter what else is going on around us. Our passions link us to the bigger picture of our life. They prevent us from feeling that we’re just existing rather than living.”

4. Defining What Writing Means Opens the Door to Opportunity

When you clearly define what writing means and what you want from it, you open yourself up to new opportunities.

That’s because being clear on what writing means clarifies your thinking and focus, which in turn, helps you make choices that put you in line with the right opportunities. This is when those coincidences and synchronicities are likely to occur—when things tend to just fall in place the way you need them to.

5. When You Know Your Purpose in Writing, You’re More Likely to Find Fulfillment

You may have experienced this in your writing life: You go after a goal with all your energy and effort, but then when you finally get it, the results aren’t what you hoped for. After a day or so, nothing changes, and you’re disappointed.

Why did you try so hard for this?

Knowing why you’re writing can help prevent this sort of thing from happening. With your purpose clearly in mind, you’ll set goals that are more likely to feel fulfilling when you accomplish them, and your efforts will no longer feel wasted.

6. Knowing What Writing Means to You Helps You Weather the Down Times

You received a negative review. Your story didn’t place in that contest. Your book sales weren’t what you hoped.

We all suffer from these sorts of disappointments. If you know what writing means in your life, you’ll be much better able to weather these times. You’ll be able to look at the big picture and keep your vision trained on your end goal.

“Writing is my solace,” writes Natalie Juteau in The Rocky Mountain Collegian. “To not write would feel foreign to me. Without words, I would be lost.”

7. Defining What Writing Means Makes Writing More Fun

Indecision is hard. The brain doesn’t like it. It fights against it, trying to find a reason why you’re doing what you’re doing. Once you solve that problem and define your reasons, you free up your brain to just enjoy the process.

It doesn’t matter what your reasons are. Maybe writing is an escape for you. “Writing is a way of escaping my struggles, and in a way, it works as a medicine when I’m facing a problem,” writes Natalie Figueroa. “I realized that throughout my writing I can be whoever I want to be without anyone judging my true self.”

Or maybe writing is your way to gain insight into yourself. “Writing is my textual meditation,” writes Suyog Ketkar. “It is the way I introspect. Just like one must close their eyes to see within themselves, one must pen their thoughts to sieve through to the core.”

Whatever it is, defining it for yourself can help you get rid of any guilt or other negative feelings that may be wrapped up in your writing, allowing your creative self to thrive.

What Does Your Writing Mean in Your Life?

Maybe you already know what writing means in your life, but if you don’t, here are a few questions that may help you discover the answer.

  • If you were never to sell a book, reach the bestseller’s list, or win a contest, would you still write? If so, what for?
  • Think back on the feedback you’ve gotten on your writing—what others have said about it. What is your most treasured piece of feedback? Why does this one statement affect you?
  • What writing work are you most proud of? Why? What is it about that work that makes it special?
  • What do you most hope that others get out of your writing? If you could describe it in one word, what would it be?

What does your writing mean to you?

Figueroa, N. (2017, August 28). What Writing Means To Me. Retrieved from https://www.theodysseyonline.com/what-writing-means

Gold, J. (2017, August 1). Reconnecting with Our Passions: Storytelling. Retrieved from https://jamigold.com/2017/06/reconnecting-with-our-passions-storytelling/

Hill, P. L., & Turiano, N. A. (2014). Purpose in Life as a Predictor of Mortality Across Adulthood. Psychological Science, 25(7), 1482-1486. doi:10.1177/0956797614531799

Juteau, N. (2014, April 20). What Writing Means To Me. Retrieved from https://collegian.com/2014/04/what-writing-means-to-me/

Ketkar, S. (2018, July 9). What Writing Means to Me. Retrieved from https://suyogketkar.com/2018/07/09/what-writing-means-to-me/

Vigna, A. (2018, November 30). What Writing Means to Me. Retrieved from https://www.hercampus.com/school/bu/what-writing-means-me

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Comments (3)

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  1. J. M. says:

    “In fact, those with purpose are 15 percent less likely to die than their aimless peers.”

    Can I say how much I love this sentence?

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