Actually, there should have been a question mark at the end of that title.
Does anyone know how?
Most of the time, you get halfway into writing something and realize it’s basically a re-hash of something someone else has already written. And they did a better job of it.
So you go back to the drawing board. By which I mean your laptop. (By which I mean staring at your Facebook timeline and looking for something either shocking or inspirational to write about. And Youtube. Because, funny cats.)
Maybe something catches your eye and you start to write about it.
Maybe you click over to the tab where you have Netflix open and watch a few episodes of Breaking Bad.
(Maybe you muse to yourself that you should have paid more attention in chemistry instead of doodling and writing poetry.)
And then it hits you.
It’s that thing that’s sort of like a cross between a lightning bolt and an orgasm and you never really know when it’s going to strike.
(If you’re anything like me, it’s usually not while you’re at your laptop. It’s in the shower. Or while you’re driving. Or when you are supposed to be working on something else.)
And on the good days, or scratch that—on the great days, you get that itch and you know inspiration is coming and you harness it and put it on the page.
And on the other days, you keep working the muscle. You do like Neil Gaiman says and put one word after the other because it’s Just. That. Simple. (And that difficult. And that terrifying.)
And on the truly great days, you write something and you feel it all the way to your toes and it does that toe curling-inspiration-gasm thing like ohmygodohmygodohmygod this is the BEST THING I EVER WROTE.
And you hit publish.
Hey…where did everybody go? Didn’t you see I just wrote the best thing in the history of ever and the sky opened up and God commanded that thou shalt read it and share it on Facebook immediately?
Because that one? That one was for you. It was right from your cracked open heart and it was for you and the three other people who read it.
And that’s as it should be.
Because you do it and you do it again. And maybe this time it’s just for you, and then next time it’s not.
Next time, you’re sitting on your couch on a Saturday night and you write out the thing you’ve been dancing around for months and you hit publish and head to bed.
And a thousand people read it. And then ten thousand people read it. And then a hundred thousand people read it. Then a million.
And it’s wildly exciting for a second, until the introverted part of you says, Holy Shit…a million people read what I wrote! I want to go hide under my bed now with a good book and a flashlight until it’s all over and I can go back to just writing stuff that three people read.
But you don’t. You keep on writing what’s in that cracked open heart of yours because it’s the only thing to do.
It’s why we write.
This article originally appeared on Be You Media Group.