Why You Should Put Your Ideas To Paper

It’s a familiar story – person sees something written up, marvellous in completion, and thinks ‘I’ve had this idea lying around, maybe I should do something with it!’. The person, of course, doesn’t, and goes about their life until the cycle repeats itself. This person has been all of us at some point, creatively ambitious yet scared off by visions of terrifying labour and endless effort. Topping it all off is the fear of failure looming over everything, the reality of risk – best to forget about it and move on, right?

Writing isn’t easy. If it were, it wouldn’t be nearly as valuable as it is. Like any activity, it takes dedication and an appreciation for the form. My failings in school PE lessons were not solely down to a total lack of ability in most sports; I struggled because, like the stubborn child I was, I didn’t want to try. I didn’t care about sport, it didn’t interest me. Across the sports field, the usual clan of die-hard football fans impressed in their 5-a-side matches, growing on and off the pitch thanks largely to their love of the game (with that sprinkling of athletic skill it never hurts to have). As much as I resented the idea of stepping onto the pitch, I viewed their comfort with any and all sports with the typical contempt of the outsider. Much to the satisfaction of high school me, the situation was turned on its head once we entered the classroom – now I was the star being watched from across the room. It’s immature pride at its most obvious, but it mattered to me back then. Thankfully, I don’t think I need such external validation these days.

Back to the present. I said writing isn’t easy, and it isn’t. Writing for recognition is an exercise in vanity, far from worth the effort it requires. Trying to get into anything just for validation and approval is a lost cause, bringing only disappointment and crushed dreams even if you do succeed somehow – ambition is never satisfied. Write because you have an interest, both in the idea itself and in the form of writing generally.

If you’ve an idea in your mind that captures your imagination (and since you’re reading this, you presumably do), make time for it. Don’t jump into writing it right away, it will almost certainly affect its quality. Sit and think for a while, tracing the idea back to its roots, asking yourself why does this interest me? There doesn’t need to be some epic backstory to your thoughts, there doesn’t even really need to be a tangible answer, simply an enthusiastic response. Such desire to develop this idea beyond your own mind will be vital in writing any piece.

Then comes the writing. I’m a sucker for pen and paper, but even I do most of my writing on computers (it’s more a question of practicality than preference). Write something you’d like to read – after all, even if this piece is to be something only ever read by you, it’s still there to be read. Write in a way that reflects the feel and intention of your idea. Most of all, write for the sake of it, the sake of getting that good idea you’ve been lugging around with your university books out of your head and into reality. It’s a lengthy yet soothing process, a slow exhalation after a deep breath.

After it’s written, take pride in it. Show it to others – provided they’re interested in whatever you’ve written. It may feel like arrogance before you do it, however there’s a large gap between pride in your efforts and boasting. If you’re the sort of person to worry about coming across as arrogant, you almost certainly never do. Being excessively proud is like plagiarism – it’s hard to be guilty of either by accident.

Write because it’s worth it to yourself and others around you. Write because it captivates you and won’t let go. Write because nobody else will.