Why Everyone Can (And Should) Be a Writer

My wedged heels thumped across the wooden platform stage, echoing throughout the silent gymnasium. Every pair of eyes watched as I made my way awkwardly to the podium decorated with navy and gold banners. Looking. Leering. Skeptical. 

The pamphlet said the commencement speaker would be reciting a poem. ‘Oh, great,’ everyone thought. ‘Another cheesy reading of Sylvia Plath to round out another boring graduation ceremony.’ 

And as I peered into the far-too-bright spotlight, nervously adjusting the microphone to align with my lips, they surely pitied me in this embarrassing moment. Yet, when I spoke, Sylvia Plath’s poetry did not project from the sets of speakers. There was nothing cheesy about my speech.

I had written an original spoken word poem. Terrified, I recited it in front of my graduating class and their families. My family had never heard my writing before. My sister didn’t even know I wrote poetry. 

It is uncommon to find young writers. There are few who admit to their writing abilities, and those who do tend to be the ones who post-dramatic poems on Instagram as captions to black-and-white pictures of mountainous landscapes. There is something wrong about so many young people hiding their passion and talent. Everyone can be a writer. And everyone should be a writer, for it’s the greatest invention of all time. 

Yes, I said the greatest invention of all time. You disagree? That’s fine. I’m a writer, so maybe I’m a little biased. But let me explain why everyone else should be a writer, too, including you. Maybe you’ll change your mind.

I wrote my first poem in the eighth grade. I knew nothing of poetry besides being obsessed with Shel Silverstein (his poetry collection Falling Up was one of the first books I had ever read). There was a lot in my life that I wanted to change. There were experiences that made me bottle emotions. And so, I decided to write down everything I was feeling because I couldn’t stand to feel it anymore. And I wrote the worst poem I’d ever read.

It was very dramatic. Something about being willing to pay for happiness? It had a very angsty teenage energy. Even though it was complete trash, I felt so much better after all my thoughts were on paper, every emotion represented in a different word or phrase. 

Communication, in all aspects of the word, is essential. You have to be able to communicate with others. You also have to be able to communicate with yourself. One of the main methods of communication is writing. We write Instagram captions, college essays, medical reports, recipes, song lyrics, and grocery lists. We write to remember, to document, to inform, to predict, to entertain, and to vivify. 

Writing can also be used for self. It is especially useful in processing emotions and relieving stress. Everyone goes through shit – it’s inevitable. People process things differently, some more than others. And writing is here for everyone – a set of tools that can be used differently by each individual who wields them. 

I love poetry. That’s my method. In poetry, every word carries a new emotion. You can use diction to portray every thought, every feeling. Some people prefer personal narratives. Others prefer journaling. Some enjoy short stories. Even more write songs.

Find out what method suits you. Discover how you can use the set of tools writing provides in a way that makes you happy. It’s hard work, sure, but the payoff is priceless. For those of you who resist, why? 

Are any of these your excuses?

  • “I’m not good at writing”
  • “Writing is boring”
  • “I’m too busy.”
  • “I’m too stressed”

a bunch of books

“I’m not good at writing”

So, what? Seriously. Who said you have to share your writing? You don’t have to be the next Shakespeare or Maya Angelou, you can simply write for yourself. The most important audience is you, anyways. In my writing, I am the author, editor, reader, and critic.

Even if you don’t think you are an excellent writer, the hobby can still be fulfilling. For those of you who don’t have the natural ability, I recommend journaling. This is a great way to express and understand how you are feeling in a way that is simple to do. Dating your entries can allow you to reflect on your work and record important events in your life. 

Woman Wearing Brown Shirt Carrying Black Leather Bag on Front of Library Books

“Writing is boring”

Maybe you just haven’t written anything that you think is interesting. Writing for yourself is different than writing an essay for class. Writing for yourself means writing about things that are important to you. If you can’t figure out what to write about, stop thinking. Pick something – a moment of your day, a conversation you had, a piece of information you learned from a class or saw in the news – and just write. Once you start the flow of words, the rest will come naturally. Soon enough, you have three pages down and you finally are writing about what’s been really bothering you – the true stress in your life. 

Writing isn’t boring, it just takes time.

Silver macbook by planner and flowers

“I’m too busy” 

Are you, though? You may have class and you may work two jobs and are involved in three student organizations, but we always make time for things that are important to us. When was the last time you binge-watched your favorite TV show? Stress-baked at 3 a.m.? Stopped studying to scroll through social media?

We have a lot more time than we need, we are just awful at using our time efficiently. Sometimes it’s nice to have an evening where all we have to think about is which rerun of Friends we want to watch and what kind of wine we are going to buy. And yet, what if you took an extra ten minutes to write about your day instead of scrolling through Instagram? That’s all it takes. Ten minutes. The same amount of time it takes you to wait in line for your morning coffee. 

We find ourselves in the midst of a global pandemic where we have all the time in the world as we sit at home and practice social-distancing. And let’s be honest, writing may be our only hope during this time. If you are anything like me, you find the idea of moving back home with your parents just as horrifying as the fact that you have to go to six stores before you can find toilet paper. We all may soon be screaming at each other as we shop for bidets on Amazon. 

Take the extra ten minutes and write down your feelings, especially if you are going crazy sitting at home with a house full of people and nowhere to go. 

man doing street art and painting the word poetry

“I’m too stressed”

So, write about it! If this is still your excuse, you obviously haven’t read a single word of this article. Writing can help alleviate your stress. I’m not saying it’s an end-all, cure-all, but writing can surely improve your mental health. 

My anxiety has been an issue since middle school, and I am the kind of person who likes to bottle emotions up until they boil over. Writing allows me to process these emotions and keep them at manageable levels. I’ve found that when I go a long time without writing, my anxiety swells and I begin to have attacks that always happen at the most inconvenient times, like in the middle of class or on a date. It has by no means cured me, but it allows me to live my life without being overwhelmed by feelings of anxiousness or sadness.  

The most important part of writing is having a voice. Being able to express your thoughts, opinions, and beliefs is crucial to our fundamental freedoms. The proudest moment of my life was delivering that spoken poem at my graduation. Why? Because that was 100% me. That poem was a collection of my thoughts and experiences, and I was able to convey those to my family, peers, and teachers. Writing is about first understanding who you are and then expressing that to the world.