Micro Tattoo – Why “waste” time writing?

Recently I was asked AGAIN why I write. The question has come up a number of times. I wonder if a micro tattoo exists that would answer the question in a single word. Maybe I can have it tattooed on my forehead and save us all a little time that could be spent on taking a deep breath, exhaling and knowing we are alive!

I answered the writing question, this way, “it makes me happy.” Did it work? Nope. It led to more questions. The person who asked the question is a friend and has a genuine interest in people, as do I.

But regardless of my intimate relationship with and knowledge of their caring side, my thoughts led me straight down the path of feeling selfish for doing what I love to do, and the defenses went up.

Whoa I thought, what’s with all the resistance here, check it!

“Selfishness” is a negatively loaded, tricky word. The first thing I did was choose an alternative,  “self interest.”

The differences in the two words are miles apart. Selfish (as commonly understood) is the narcissistic idea that me and only me matters. Self interest is the exploration of one’s life, desires and identity.

The question of why I write when framed with selfishness sounded like an accusation. It brought up negative ideas in my thinking. I must be a bad wife, mother, daughter, friend etc to waste precious time on such frivolous things as story writing.

In removing the why and selfishness from the process and inserting desire and self interest in their place, it set up entirely different thoughts and feelings.

Desire framed as selfishness uploads tons of self judgement to the brain and is unhealthy. It leads to a lack of appreciation for life. There is no way to make yourself, or anyone else happy with that attitude.

Desire framed as self interest, uploads a freedom to explore you to the brain and is healthy. This is self empowerment and leads to an interesting life filled with appreciation. Thinking with empowered thoughts moves us toward self approval and acceptance of others.

When you follow a desire that makes you happy such as writing, you explore a part of the life you came here to live. Each piece we put in place that fits brings more happiness, peace and well being.

The simple, if not so simple answer is, if writing makes you happy then in self interest do it! Do it with the same degree of enthusiasm you give to your loved ones, friends and strangers when supporting and interacting with them.

If you want to escape selfishness, don’t participate in it! Instead pursue self interest. I think you will be quite pleased to learn, part of real self interest is in the caring about others, and this is what the philosophers mean when they talk about humans being social creatures that are compassionate and enjoy helping others.

The next time you are asked why you write, try this. I love to feel good, smile, and interact with/support EVERYONE.


6 thoughts on “Micro Tattoo – Why “waste” time writing?

  1. Jane Carroll

    Great post, Aries…so true…sometimes it does feel ‘selfish’ to do the things I love…especially if I say ‘no’ to someone else to pursue what I love. It’s all a balancing act and shifting of perspective…glad you’ve found what works for you!

    1. ariescottrell Post author

      Hi, Jane. We really need to consider what makes us happy, don’t we? If I ignore what makes me happy all the time I find myself feeling frustrated. Not a great way to be there for others. All around it is a good idea to be considerate of everyone, including the self. Thanks for commenting!

  2. Brittany

    Thank you for this. I am a wife, mother, employee, church member, friend, daughter, etc. Writing makes me happy, but I’m often made to feel like I should be doing something more productive (like cleaning house.) I’m glad to know I’m not the only one who feels this way. My husband says there is no point in writing unless I’m published and paid. That’s not my end goal. I just want to tell the stories in my head and express my emotions in a creative way. Again, thanks. It’s nice to be understood.

    1. ariescottrell Post author

      This is the reason I love blogs. We can share our thoughts and experiences and feel connected to others who have similar ideas. I am happy to hear this post resonated with you! My kids are adults now, and I remember the pain I felt when I would carve out a bit of time for myself to write. Value, added comes in many forms and when we are happy or maybe happier, we are able to interact with those around us and spread that happiness. You don’t need my permission but, write on! Thanks for commenting!

  3. David Beeson (@DavidBeeson2)

    Just one brief reflection: ‘self interest’ has terribly negative connotations too. It’s what drives the bankers that bankrupt our economies, the politicians who lie for power. Interest itself is not particularly attractive, suggesting as it does a desire for gain.

    Aren’t you talking more about the pursuit of self-fulfilment or self-expression? Or if you can move beyond words referring to self, you might say achievement, development, flowering.

    1. ariescottrell Post author

      Thanks for this comment, and I agree with you. Higher up the emotional, energetic scale of words, your suggestions are appropriate. In this post I wanted to take it a step from selfish to self interest because being interested in who you are is often maligned with cries of selfishness.

      I think it is important to allow the step from feelings of selfishness to those of self interest to occur before heading off to the more magnanimous energies (if ever) of say self – fulfillment flowering, etc.

      Remembering that many have never had so much as the slightest interest in the self, excluding what they are taught at home, in the media and from their peers an active “interest” in the real self is a starting point and a pretty darn good one at that.

      When I jump from ‘a’ (selfishness) to ‘t’ (development) on the scale too quickly confusion can often set in and frustrate the process of moving up the emotional scale. Whereas if I go from ‘a’ (in this case selfishness) to ‘b’ (self interest) the process is easier for most of us to follow.

      Not sure how self interest became associated with greedy bankers, personally I think interest in the self is a worthy aspiration, and abundance and prosperity can follow. In my thinking an attitude that is negative toward self interest, is selfish, petty and wrought with jealousies instead of productive.

      In this post I stand with the term self interest/ed… stubborn so and so that I am!

      Thanks again for your thoughtful comments.


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