I pledge to, whenever the opportunity presents itself, write for myself.
It’s quite simple, really. Writing just for myself, right? Sure. Why not? I have neither peer nor teacher to critique my work. There is no strict deadline or a time limit, or even any of the usual limits for that matter. But yet, why do I find this pledge so difficult to follow?
Even now, a few sentences into the post, I have started to get friendly with the backspace key. Perhaps, I have gotten too used to the idea of writing to be read that even a semblance of an audience scares me into being a cautious, self-critical writer. It, then, becomes difficult to write for myself. It seems that all my problems concerned with writing for myself stem from the fear of being read and being read critically. Then, why did I choose to publish this post and not write in a journal?
Journals, at least to me, are phantasmal objects. We write to be read. Being assured that at least one lost soul might stumble upon this post is enough readership for me. I believe that writing that which is read is substantial and therefore concrete in its form. For once writing is read, it cannot be taken back.
What exactly is writing for oneself? First, we must lead with what writing is. For one, writing is a way of putting vague thoughts floating around in one’s head into words which are substantiated by the act of being read. Writing can be reflection on something you just read or an event you just witnessed. It is also, in a sense, a record in time. For some, writing is the release of emotions. It was Wordsworth who wrote that poetry is, “the spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings: it takes its origin from emotion recollected in tranquillity.” His description also applies to prose (mainly being our musings and rantings) when we add the spontaneous overflow of thoughts to it. It is through writing that we piece together our vagabond thoughts into a story for the reader to be led through.
Then, what is writing for oneself? Its sole purpose, I believe, is mental clarity. When we want to make sense of our thoughts, the events in our life or our feelings, we write in order that we may give these thoughts some form of order so that we may arrive at some understanding of our own discourses for we seldom can comprehend our own trains of thought. Our minds get so much input every day and clarity is required before we may utilize the input. Clarity is advantageous to the thinking mind. Clarity is what we seek as writers. Writing for oneself is writing for clarity.
Now, let us return to the pledge. I have been, by virtue of being the writer of the pledge, granted by myself unto myself the right to define when “opportunity presents itself.” I shall define it as every day without school, and school days in which there are no writing assignments or heavy reading. I know I have arrived at a satisfactory conclusion when I have not even touched the backspace key for a good three paragraphs. Do wish me luck on toughing out the vicissitudes of life as a high school student.
That Guy from Burma