A Life Worth Writing About

I didn’t write yesterday. In fact, I haven’t written anything for the last several days. I’m not supposed to tell you that, but it’s the truth.

Worth writing
Photo Credit: djking via Compfight cc

I’m supposed to tell you I got up at five a.m., that I hustled to “do the work” before sunrise, and then perfectly managed my responsibilities as husband, father, and writer without difficulty for the rest of the day.

I’m supposed to tell you I don’t struggle with discipline; that hard work comes easy and perseverance is the key to success. And that’s all you’ll ever need.

But if I said that, I’d be lying.

What discipline can (and can’t) do

Can discipline be helpful? You bet. Without it, it’s difficult to succeed. But is discipline enough? Hardly.

A month ago, I received my dream book contract.

Last week, I had one of the best weeks of my year, financially.

But today, I’m back to square one, back to anxiety and desperation and second-guessing myself.

How did I get here? With discipline. Putting my nose to the grindstone, I worked harder than most, seeking opportunities where I could find them and stepping into them whenever they came. And because of this, I succeeded.

Without discipline, you won’t break through the noise. To get the attention you deserve, you will have to hustle. But there’s one thing discipline can’t do:

It can’t give you a reason why.

Losing your why

A friend of mine made over a million dollars this year. He got to this point in less than two years, racing past the competition and causing most of his peers’ jaws to drop. Everyone, myself included, was amazed.

But do you know what he told me recently?

“I still haven’t found my why.”

Few people have been as successful and even fewer in such a short amount of time, but my friend still doesn’t know why he does what he does.

Apparently, the work is never enough.

Your art can consume you, if you let it, but it can’t fulfill you. It can’t give you a reason for why you create in the first place.

So what, pray tell, sustains us as artists, if it’s not work, if it’s not the accolades and accomplishments?

Maybe it’s the life behind the work.

What writers write about

Some writers tell stories about other people; they base their characters on friends or live vicariously through the experiences of strangers.

Others write about their own lives.

But the best writers, I believe, write about something more, something larger — the experience of life itself.

Here’s how Joseph Campbell put it:

I don’t believe people are looking for the meaning of life as much as they are looking for the experience of being alive.

Yes. This is why we read books and watch movies and search out transcendent experiences; it’s why we get lost in stories. We want to feel alive.

And this is the job of a writer: to set the stage for us to lose — and then find — ourselves.

So what does this mean for us as artists and entrepreneurs, those dreaming of creating things that will change the world?

How do we apply Campbell’s words to our novel, our startup, our new course?

We put ourselves right in the middle of life, so that we remember what it means to be alive.

The marching orders

We must do our best to capture the essence of life — and then share it.

Ben Franklin Quote

We must strive to live, truly live, and when the busyness of life subsides, to steal away for a few minutes and re-member those memories. To piece them all back together again so that others may benefit.

We tell our stories, as my friend Jon Acuff says, so that others can find see stories in our own.

Yes, we need you to live. But we also need you to write, to tell your story. 

This is where most artists fail: they lose themselves in the art or let life squelch out any opportunity to create. And because of this, we miss their contribution.

What we don’t need is more platitudes about discipline. We don’t need you to write another blog post about loving the hustle. And we don’t need you to be a jerk, pitting your family against your work. We need you to lead by example, to live first and create second.

That’s why I canceled my appointments yesterday, loaded up the minivan, and took my family to the zoo.

And it’s why after spending all afternoon watching my son chase kangaroos and goats while screaming “Baaaaa!!!”, I raced back to the keyboard, the words almost spilling out on the page.

Living and writing — we need them both; one to inspire us to write, and the other to remind us why.

What does “a life worth writing about” look like to you? Share in the comments.

117 thoughts on “A Life Worth Writing About

  1. Jeff, that is amazing. I’ve been writing an eBook for a it, but realized there was something missing. What was missing was me. I was telling this thing in the writing, but I was missing. The why I was trying to answer the question of the book. Due in large part to you it is becoming more of a story of my life Andrew journey I’m on instead of just some facts spilled out on the page. Thanks for all you do, bro.

  2. To me,a life worth writing (and reading) about can be different at differing times in my life. Sometimes I write and read for pure escapism – because I wish to be in a different life for a while. Sometimes I just want to share the longings of my soul for a world that is more equal and more worthwhile for everyone. I like to write about the small things that happen that have a huge impact – like receiving an act of random kindness. None of it is hugely important to anyone else but me, except that if we can sometimes waken someone to the small blessings that we all receive along the way, then maybe it is important. Not making myself very clear here I think. Oh well, back to the drawing board

  3. On my personal blog, which serves as a journal as well as a place to try and inspire my family and friends, I was trying really hard to catch up on some travel and family events in the last 6 months and had all but stopped writing about what was actually going on. I have discovered (or actually re-discovered, yet again) that when my writing is too far disconnected from my real life, I get antsy, anxious, even depressed. In the same way that I need to live in order to write, I need to make sure I’m aware of the living, rather than only going on memories or even future hopes and dreams. Making note of this moment seems to matter.

  4. Love how you said that what sustains us is the “the life behind the work.” If we simply create art it won’t fulfill, we will eventually realize that it’s not enough. I realized that again while out on a much needed run the other day. Ideas began rolling out of me as I ran along, as I was participating in and experiencing life. I read this great quote from Bob Goff yesterday “Change is made by those who show up; we’ll do our best thinking on the way.” I love that. Life and change happens “on the way” We have to be active participants.

  5. Yes. Yes. Yes. Live the life then write about it. Yes, indeed. Not the other way around. I like it. Thanks Jeff for reminding us and so many times taking us back to the basics again. Thanks for writing and challenging me.

  6. A “life worth writing about” adds value to others. Writing needs to encourage others, even if it’s a small step of encouragement. A “life worth writing about” bleeds authenticity in a way that motivates others to live without hiding from themselves and others.

  7. Well done! Experiencing life and relationships keeps the heart alive and powerful writing and communication can only come from a heart that is alive. A heart discipline in what matters will keep that flow healthy.

    1. Thank YOU, Mike. your story inspires me. The life you live challenges me to be more intentional with my family, my work, and relationships. Your story is making a difference in mine — and I know I’m not the only one.

  8. Well said Jeff. I loved the quote from Jospeh Campbell. I think if we are fully inhabiting our experience we feel alive.

  9. Love this, Jeff. I’ve really been struggling to find this balance. I’ve been focusing on living life and enjoying it, and the writing has taken a back burner. Then, I have times where the writing and podcasts are consuming, and life takes a back seat. I’m really learning that I need both in my life. Posts like this help me remember that. Thanks for all you do!

  10. I’m hoping to find that life worth writing about. I’m hoping to find the balance you spoke about. The one that would allow you to put aside what you thought you’d do, to do what you need to do. For you, for your family. How fortunate we are to learn that getting to where we think we want to go is NOT the end all. You are saving us mileage. You are saving us disappointment. But only because you are open enough to share, it isn’t enough.

    Oh, do I want what you’re talking about.

  11. A new job and my uncle’s funeral have thrown me for a bit of a loop the last week or so. I’m not working out or writing on a regular basis, but actually living and being present is so important.

    Thank you for the encouragement. I need to work on self-discipline, but I also need rest.

  12. Thanks for the reminder that our lives write our stories. So often I get caught up in the details and planning of what i want to create. I forget to live the life that brings me the content.

  13. Ok so yeah, consider myself squarely smacked in the face. I believe Acuff’s words are a spin of Buechner’s originally and they are just flat out true. But when my story starts to suck, I start to retract. I withhold and run. I despise that about myself, so thanks for sharing some of your own story that clears some of the shame of my own.

    1. Love this line from Telling Secrets: “My story is important not because it is mine, God knows, but because if I tell it anything like right, the chances are you will recognize that in many ways it is also yours.”

  14. Jeff, thank you for the transparency. It is encouraging, inspiring, and refreshing. I have been thinking about starting a book for the past couple of years and this post has really stirred my heart and mind towards a real starting point. Thank you for helping me become more creative and generous. You are definitely fulfilling your mission!

  15. This is exactly what I needed today Jeff! Thank you so much for an excellent post and for the reminder that you actually have to Live in order to have something worth writing about.

  16. I love this! I’m writing a memoir of our family’s eight years of ministry in Haiti and the nine-year adoption process which culminated in the earthquake of 2010. Your posts seem to be divinely orchestrated to spur me on. It’s not enough to live it… I need to write it too… Thanks so much, Jeff!

  17. For me, it means doing the things I’m afraid to do so I actually have something to write about later. Otherwise, I’m just cycling through outdated and used stories from past braveries.

  18. “But the best writers, I believe, write about something more, something larger — the experience of life itself.”

    In my opinion, this is something that I wholeheartedly believe in. I’m currently in the process of reading Allison Vesterfelt’s book Packing Light, and for her this rings true in so many ways.

    I’ve been going through a season in life where I’ve wanted to do nothing but talk about my experiences, and the desire is so deep that I’m contemplating writing an online book about it.

    Thanks for your transparency, Jeff — that’s what makes you so infectious.

  19. Jeff, I think this is a God-moment.
    I’ve had such a desire and passion to write a book on the subject of testimonies and why sharing our stories is the most powerful thing we can do. I have a vision of coming together with teenagers/young adults and combining our testimonies into a book that can be used to help other people. Lately, I’ve been doubting this and wondering if this is something God would actually call me to do. I was praying about it last night and asked God for a sign. Well, I believe God used you and your post.

    I think I’m going to start writing again today. Thank you.

  20. I struggle with this balance all the time and don’t feel like I have the answers yet, but I am beginning to notice some things that might seem like they may be affecting my balance. One that comes to mind at the moment is something about the rhythms of life. I don’t know yet how to articulate that, but I’m learning to monitor how my natural rhythms work – like when I am most creative, when

  21. Jeff, Thank you for the timely and poignant words. Your posts are always encouraging and helpful, but today you are 100% on target for me (and obviously for many others, from reading the comments). Living true to ourselves and our convictions (the why) is not always the “easy” path. Writing authentically and honestly, about it lights the way for others. Thanks for shining the light.

  22. This hit me right where and when I needed it today. I loved your honesty in saying that today you are “back to anxiety and desperation and second-guessing myself.” That’s how I feel today. I gave me some gusto to write knowing that even successful people feel the way I am feeling from time to time, that I need to persevere through it, and while I am persevering, I need to be living wholeheartedly.

  23. Thank you. I signed up for your blog because I needed to hear about the why of writing. I read Dewitt Jones’s columns because he teaches me the why of photography. I know his columns have helped more than the columns on new gadgets or technical tips. For me, your best stuff is the spiritual stuff. I write to participate in god’s ongoing creation. Please help me to continue to do that. Larry

  24. I’m not a nerd guys, but really good books is one of the assets may not appreciate. They put in what we thought was the meaning, read good books and OT needed for our sex so much priceless.

  25. Great inspirational message today – thanks! For me, Discipline is my #1 Cornerstone but it’s only a component to fulfilling my purpose. Determining your purpose can prove tricky and is different for everyone but I think balance is the key. And finding and maintaining that balance requires Discipline too! Thanks again for the refreshing perspective!

  26. Great post Jeff, too often I get lost in the hustle of it all, those doubts and fears take my focus away from my why, this is a good reminder. For me, it’s all about helping those that want more from their life but have listened to too many negative voices. I want to show them that it is possible.

  27. Perfect timing on this post!

    As of this week I’m in a big break from school (waiting to get in nursing school) and I really want to get back to writing.

    Sometimes I feel guilty because I don’t write a lot of “how to” when it comes to parenting. I just share my experiences and what I’m learning while trying to raise 4 daughters.

    My blog has always been more about what I’m learning through these trials.

    A very faithful reader once told me: “Don’t ‘rant.’ Persuade. Better yet, demonstrate.”

    I enjoy my own work so much better when I demonstrate what I’ve learned and hope other dads out there feel where I’m coming from.

    Thanks for the timely reminder, Jeff!

  28. I needed this today, Jeff.

    After recently finishing up a successful Kickstarter campaign for my show, This Is My Brave, I took a few days away from social media to rest. Now I find myself back at the same place you’ve found yourself after your recent success: second guessing myself.

    I believe the answer to turning this feeling around is to get out there and live life, experience new adventures, meet new people and then return to the page to write it out where I’ll work to find the meaning of it all for myself.

    This may not be the complete answer, but it’ll be a good starting place at least. I’m super excited to jump back into Tribe Writers, too!

  29. Such a great message–yes, we need to create the experience, the life, the passion; before we can write about it!

  30. I love this post, Jeff. You’ve expressed something here that I have struggled to explain to myself (and to my fellow writers) for many years now. Thank you.

  31. Couldn’t agree with you more, Jeff – if we don’t allow ourselves to ‘live’, we have nothing to write about. I’ve come back to writing very late in life, after a career doing something completely different, which I never really enjoyed – but if ever I’m tempted to dwell on regrets about that choice and all the years I’ve wasted NOT being a writer, I remind myself of the riches that other life has given me as material for my writing.

    And when my days now don’t go completely as planned, I try not to beat myself up or worry about it – because nothing’s wasted.

    Thanks for the searing honesty and passion of this post – and I’m glad you had such a whale of a time at the zoo 🙂

  32. I was once told that “to meet extraordinary people, you need to do extraordinary things”….

    That made me give up my construction business and go and live in Uganda working for CARE, where I met and later married an amazing Swedish nurse, so I’d say the theory holds… 🙂

      1. Just added your book to my amazon ‘wish list’ Jeff, liked the vid! Seems like we’ve had a few ‘in-between’ periods, the most memorable was being a ‘stay at home dad’ in New Zealand for a couple of years before our kids got to school age. I think our time here in Norway (while the kids go to school) is another one… who knows where is next, if you’re not scared to break away from the herd…

  33. A life worth writing about is the one where I learn better to see all which is living around me. This is excitement and fullness. It is pure gift and grace from God as I live in this time of chronic illness and tell a story still worth living, still have a story worth telling.

  34. Just like Sue I started writing late in life and I felt so behind
    everybody. Especially when the query application asks for all my
    experiences in writing including professional short stories,writing
    contests, and essays for magazines, newspapers, etc. Then it dawned on me I’ve been busy living and now I’m ready to write!

  35. Thanks, Jeff, for sharing this with the rest of us. We, just like Jon Acuff says, see our stories in your own. I’m just starting the process of writing my first book. My story is about caregiving for my husband. Already, I’ve been frustrated about not having time to write… because he needs me. Oh, how quickly our priorities can get out of whack! How in the world can we write about our lives if we don’t live? Good message. Chase the kangaroos and goats while you can.

  36. That’s something I’m trying to find Jeff.

    Right now it looks like a little bit of adventure (ice climbing, adventure races, etc) mixed with loving my family. All the while trying to piece together what makes life happy.

    The mixture of frustration, grief, happiness, action, and love make it a life worth writing about.

  37. Life is what happens while you are doing what you are doing. So, are you doing what is important? That is the question and you said it so well in your article. If we are active participants in our journey, we will find inspiration abounds all around us.

    So true. Thank you!

  38. I’ve been really fortunate– I had a wake up call four years ago and unwrapped a long-buried passion. So my life-worth-writing-about includes a lot of play time on the water. Except it’s not just play–it’s the reason I get up and push myself and test the limits. Because the lessons of life are all wrapped up in there too.

  39. It looks like getting up each morning with expectancy and gratitude for what lies before me. It may not look exactly how I want it to, but it’s how I live through it that matters. And that…THAT is what I want to write. Not necessarily WHAT I’m living, but HOW I’m living it.

  40. Jeff, you did a phenomenal job of explaining that, all summed up in the last sentence. Thank you for the inspiration and reminder!

  41. I agree, we like to find the meaning of life throughout the stories of others, I always love to watch movies, the “after’ effect is so special, makes me want to drop everything that im doing and live that characters life. One small problem that I find is that sometimes we focus too much energy on how other characters/people are living their lives and we find it so amusing that we forget that our life is sooooo special too, we just have to value cause you never know that one day, your life would be adored by others “)

  42. So Inspiring Jeff — a really great blog —“Living and writing — we need them both; one to inspire us to write, and the other to remind us why.”

  43. While I live my life constanly thinking, “I’ve got to write about this”, I miss living in the moment. A life worth living would (and hopefully will) be a harmonious balance of experiences and a voice that gives it all meaning, making it applicable to my readers. My mom says my sister and I put feelings into words in ways others may not be able to; it’s my responsibility to live a life worthy of my calling.

  44. This is a good bit of reinforcement – a well placed rest is as important (at least) as as hard work. I only took to writing professionally recently and later in life as some have mentioned. I dove in hard and fast as I always do – writing and self publishing three eBook in my first year with limited success. I’ve had to take a step back and look and putting some building blocks in pace to support my writing (the stuff I like to avoid). I appreciate it when you share the challenges you had getting to where you are as well as hard work and patience.

    Best Sam

  45. A life worth writing about us a life that is captured by real feelings — your happiness and your sadness, your joys and fears. Life is an expression of who you are and not of what others expect you to be. I like writing about that.

  46. I just love this “Living and writing — we need them both; one to inspire us to write, and the other to remind us why.”
    Writing is the expression of where my life has taken me. If my choices in my life gave me heartaches, discipline or joy, then I fill my pages with that.
    I’m learning and unlearning a lot from you, Jeff 🙂 Thank you !

  47. Wow, this I can do. All the blogs about the steps I must do daily to build my platform wear me out-stress me out. Hearing about living and then writing–what a breath of fresh air!
    Thank you for continuing to pour out what God intends for you to. wonderful…..
    The How to Guru

  48. Thank you. I hope your friend finds his “why” and that the rest of us connect with it enough to deliver value in our writing and satisfaction for ourselves.

  49. This is absolutely true. To borrow your phrase, it’s always in the “in-between” life moments that I get my best writing ideas. I especially find that playing with my son sparks creative thoughts. That’s the best part of being a writer- you’re ALWAYS writing, even if it’s just in your own head!

  50. I just finished raking some leaves in the yard, and now, as you can see, my words are spilling into the comment window as if my literary jugular had been slashed with a chain saw.

  51. Jeff – awesome post!! I am staring at a graphically enhanced (daughter is graphic designer) version of the last chapter of WILD AT HEART….It says.
    WRITE the STORY…..it is your turn to write…..venture forth with God….Remember, don’t ask yourself what the world needs…..ask what make ME come FULLY ALIVE and Go do it!….The world needs people who are truly alive!
    This motivates me like no other thing…..for once I was among the walking dead…..now I am traveling in the land of the living thanks to God….and many, many people like you and others…thanks…..Bruce

  52. Boy this post brings a water drop. Not sure if it’s the “take more time to play and enjoy life” or the “write about the true emotion” of life. I’m thinking it’s the later that has me touched because it’s hard to be that vulnerable. Thanks for the nudge for both.

  53. Thanks again Jeff for giving me a reminder about what is important and why I attempt to do this writing thing.

  54. Thank you for the truth of it all, Jeff. I often fall off the motivation wagon and look around and just about everyone seems to have it so together with discipline and inspiration and “can’t miss a day of writing or else” that makes me cringe. Then I take my boys out to explore or have simple mindless fun and the writing resumes as if nothing happened. My why is in the world around for sure. And the reason I write is because I am grateful to be alive and see it all. Thank you for the reminder and encouragement to keep at it :-).

  55. Looks like I have similar moments the last couple of days. Keep forgetting about my why when something is happening in my business that I did not expect.
    I walk it off. I go outside and walk for about an hour and inspiration comes right back to me and I remember again why am I doing this.

    Great post Jeff. Thank you.

  56. As an independent songwriter/musician, there’s a lot of work to be done. And if we want to “make it”, or so we can be tempted to believe, we’d do a whole lot, maybe re-locate, tour more, network more. And though we are always challenging ourselves in discipline, follow-through, etc. our why is just as you’ve communicated today – it’s out of our living.

    We are rooted in a neighborhood, with a garden, kids next door who come make art and a life of hospitality. Those things take time, and if we didn’t make time for living, there’d be no point to our music. For us, people/life + writing/music need each other.

  57. So true. If we don’t live our life, we have no life to write about. I am a literacy coach in an elementary school. I work with teachers and students every day. I did some dreaming (one day) of quitting my job to write. But, most of my best stuff. . . if from my job. That’s my living.

  58. This is beautiful Jeff and I think it’s pretty darn simple, but extremely difficult to execute; kind of like the whole Apple thing. I think “a life worth writing about” is simply living in the present moment. Up until I read your book, The In-Between, I was not living in the moment, I was not focusing on the now, I simply was not present, physically yes obviously, but mentally or emotionally no. I often was thinking about the things I needed to do next or thinking about situations or scenarios I have no control over or thinking about all the different outcomes a particular decision could have. Simply put, I wasn’t totally focused. I think if we can be intentional about living in the moment, freeing our minds of afterthought or worry and be completely present, that devotion to that moment, to the now, naturally creates life experiences worth writing about. After reading your book I think about this a lot while it’s actually happening. I’ll find myself drifting and then look down at my wrist (I made a custom rubber band that reads “The In-Between” and “Fred” (in reference to Fred 2.0 – taking the ordinary to create extraordinary)) as a subtle reminder that pulls myself back in offering total focus to that moment. Some times it’s by myself, at work, with friends or family or with my son. Immediately when I pull myself back in I feel this sense of rejuvenation to that moment; a sense of purity to that moment. A sense of, this is my life, live it. As always, thanks for your words. #unlessyoucare

  59. your writings.s a good reading!I believe in self-discipline.I still have to internalize your writing.

  60. Jeff, I follow you on Twitter and friend you on FB. I love reading what you write and have been very blessed by your writing. I write because I want to share my story with others so that through my experience they can learn what I have learned in my journey through this life. I am not a writer by any means. I am sure I have broken ALL the rules for writing. I don’t even know English and have never written anything but my story. You said write, so I write. If I send my story to you will you be kind enough and take the time to read it? Thanks

  61. Something I’ve noticed from working with so many musicians is that the good ones aren’t necessarily the most disciplined ones. Sure, there are guys who will hit the writing like its a job, but there are also those who are out living — drugs, divorce, affairs, adventures, etc. You don’t have to do these things of course, but I think the empathy it instills can help you to come up with something that connects with people when you do write.

    I think it’s a balance personally, since you have to create SOMETHING, but at the same time, not everything we create is equal. There are hit songs, stories, books, or whatever that have been created (or at least developed) in minutes. while we all know writers who agonize for years over something and never make impact with it, because it never sees the light of day.

    Anyway… I was just thinking about this stuff a couple of weeks ago and have more thoughts at https://bigboldimpact.com/what-a-heroin-addict-taught-me-about-writing/ if you’re interested.

  62. To tell stories, I think, they have to have a skeleton of truth. If you make up the entire story people can smell the bs. Even the most far fetched stories (fantasy or scifi) really boil down to character interaction. What you do inside a true story – the descriptive language – brings thte tale to life. I think the longer you live and the fuller your life the more you have to pull from. Your experiences color a story and interject reality. I have a friend who told my of her family’s experience as Russian Jews in Germany during WW2. That became the kernel of a book I wrote later. Listening. SO important. I talked a little about this in a recent post. https://www.robwrites.com/blaze-motors-some-secrets-dont-stay-buried/
    thanks for the post Jeff. I try to get up at 520 every day and sometimes I beat myself up for not meeting or exceeding my own expectations… nice to know I’m not alone..

  63. I find that my blogs that get the most hits are right from my heart. I’ve been messing around with blogging the past few months, hoping to dive in more. I wake up really early to spend the first hour with coffee and a laptop. Found this through a “top ten” blog list, can’t wait to read more. Helleren.blogspot.com

  64. Hi Jeff,

    Here I thought something was wrong with me. 🙂 I’ve gone through similar bouts of not writing. An artist friend said, “It’s normal. You just need to relax and marinate in the Spirit.”

    Right now, I’m overtired from implementing a forum on my blog. I was looking for a place to talk about it and get feedback. Yes, I did send you an email.

  65. So how about if you are not sure if your life is that interesting, but you still would love to share it with the world? what would make it amazingly awesome?

    1. If it inspired one other person. The most amazing stories aren’t necessarily the ones jam packed with action. They’re the thoughtful, meaningful journeys we can all relate to.

  66. This kind of post is why I started reading your blog in the first place. Writing is an experience, not just a job

  67. jeff – Love your work. Love the quote from Joseph Campbell. Here’s another quote for you in case you missed it: “Stories are masks of God.

    That’s a story, too, of course. I made
    it up, in collaborations with Joseph Campbell and Scheherazade, Jesus
    and the Buddha and the Brother’s Grimm.

    Stories show us how to
    bear the unbearable, approach the unapproachable, conceive the
    inconceivable. Stories provide meaning, texture, layers and layers of

    Stories can also trivialize. Offered indelicately, taken
    too literally, stories become reductionist tools, rendering things neat
    and therefore false. Even as we must revere and cherish the masks we
    variously create, Campbell reminds us, we must not mistake the masks of
    God for God.

    So it seems to me that one of the most vital things
    we can teach our children is how to be storytellers. How to tell
    stories that are rigorously, insistently, beautifully true. And how to
    believe them.”

    Melanie Tem,

    The Man on the Ceiling

  68. I have been struggling with my productivity and know that it is because am not doing enough to motivate me to write. Too much work and not enough leisure leads to dullness. thank you for confirming my instincts.

  69. Jeff, I’ve been in a slump with my writing project. Then after reading this article, I realized that the reason I went back to school for creative writing instead of going to graduate school in mathematics was because writing makes me feel alive. You’ve successfully reminded me of that through this post.

  70. Dear Jeff,
    I love your voice. I have tried to do everything but write in my short lifetime, yet I keep coming back to it. I struggle to find my feet and do not possess great skill. I know writing is uncertain, most people fail, yet I can’t get this path out of my head. I found your blog while trying to figure out where to start.
    Thank you for your honesty and your encouragement. Your words meant a lot.

  71. Wow! There’s something magical in your words Jeff. You inspire better than others. You are really setting an example…for me at least.


  72. I thought that this piece was inspiring. I am in the beginnings of establishing myself as a possible writer or thinking about writing. I think that writing a tool to use for the purposes of expressing thought and feeling through words. This can be anything that is of interest or linking together things you learn yourself having taken consideration from ideas people you have heard of wrote or said. This can be incorporated into any ideas that you come up with as there are many worth making a point about.

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