The Reward of Writing

Anne Lamott from her lovely book on writing, Bird by Bird:

Writing has so much to give, so much to teach, so many surprises. That thing you had to force yourself to do—the actual act of writing—turns out to be the best part. It’s like discovering that while you thought you needed the tea ceremony for the caffeine, what you really needed was the tea ceremony. The act of writing turns out to be its own reward.”

I gave a talk about the benefits of writing last year at WCICON21. I didn’t know about this passage back then, but if I had, I would have included it at the beginning.

As the absurdly prolific Brandon Sanderson repeats in The Way of Kings as one of the ideals of the Knights Radiant: “Journey Before Destination.”

Process > outcome.

A reader asked me recently about starting a website, something that happens every so often and a topic I’ve written about before. And my answer in that post, which Lamott so beautifully captures, is that the writing has to be worth it in and of itself.

You think you want to teach others, get a following, sell something, or influence (as a verb). And of course you do! You’re human. I do too. But most people can’t just write for that and keep it going very long. Because while the output can be awesome, the outcome is unknowable. The process is the only guarantee.


  1. Great post, I used to write a lot on FB, then I wised up and came to the realization that they became the owner of my content. All the time I devoted to helping others through connections on FB became a way for them to capitalize off of me and my readers. I like to write, and will continue to do so on my own platform, thank you for sharing this!


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