In any given context, there are several preconceptions when hearing the word “writer”. When peers encounter that word, they’re thinking about any of these images: the Byronic recluse, the candid activist, or even the sensitive dreamer. I say that all of these are romantic exaggerations because these images describe who we think we are; we are, in actuality, writers within our own skin. The very idea, at first, sounds so uncomfortable-who would want to be a stranger when they can strive to be someone extraordinary like the next Walt Whitman or a modern Mark Twain? There’s wisdom I’ve acquired, however, that helps me embrace this unknown, yet every person-like persona.

Every writer must answer one question before they can even consider fully dedicating themselves to that craft, and that one question is seemingly simple: why  write? Writers may scoff at the idea, only to borrow wisdom from classrooms, professors, and even past lectures. There’s definite insight to borrow, but solely doing so limits the personal pursuit of writing as a cold business spearheaded by textbook academia and sucking up to the academia. I write in order to fulfill my own ambitions and to embrace my inner emotions; textbooks reinforce this motivation, yes, but they don’t inspire that level of thinking. The urge to write must transcend these academic boundaries because a writer can only be as good as their ambitions allow.

When writers see the word “length,” it should really mean “depth.” When I was younger, I was so daunted with writing too little, and now that I’m older, I worry about writing too much. As a writer, the much healthier concern I’ve attained is whether my writings live up to my own ambitions. Long or short, it really doesn’t matter either way because there’s only so much that an essay or even a book could capture about a subject. That’s the bittersweet truth of published literature-it captures a valuable perspective, yet since most texts reflect its own time period, they risk devolving from timely reads to innocuous time capsules. The good news, however, is that people still talk about these ideas against the backdrops of changing times. It goes to show that these conversations don’t really expire once they transcend the written medium.

In order for myself to become a good writer, I had to realize I could only write for myself. The moment I realize I write for the approval of another person or a group, the integrity of the written word becomes a shallow pageant of fame and notoriety, instead of creativity, experimentation, and expression. Love poems, for example, embrace other people, but not so much as our inner need to share and feel love. Writing to capture other people’s approval is, therefore, far too secretarial to be rewarding. In answering why I write, I had to remember for whom I writing: one introverted and queer person with a sincerity and curiosity for what artistry can capture. I don’t write because I’m obligated to prove all of this, but how they propel me towards the writer I am right now, and I don’t plan on taking that for granted anytime soon. Once I find my target, writing becomes just as personal as it is cerebral, if not more so.

If there’s any major takeaway from the virtue of writing, it’s that it proves that I can see the world, and my life is worth this endeavor. When this urge can weather through rejections, lost dreams, and just about every other unfortunate chapter in my life, then it really speaks to how writing evolves from a personal necessity to a natural extension of myself. Writing is, at first, an escape from a reality but it then matures into a lesson of such. There’s something to be said when there’s more popularity for novelists, playwrights, and poets than the critics and scholars who evaluate them; if these critics and scholars reflect who we strive to be, creative writers embody us for who we actually are.