Telling Stories To An Empty Room

Happy Birthday, my little blog! Two years ago I started posting here, largely out of a realization that Facebook Notes were never going to catch on the way that I had hoped and looking for somewhere to share my words.

And here I am, still writing on here but sometimes wondering what the point is. I declared myself a writer last fall, but I certainly don’t always feel that way, especially now that I have a job that takes up 40 hours of my week, and as I still try to figure it all out, it takes up seemingly many more hours of mental energy. When I get home, I usually want to remove my brain, set it on a shelf, go to bed, and put it back in the next morning–not use it some more to write words I often doubt the value of.

Where does the value of writing really come from anyway? Is it the reading? If so, I might be in trouble.

Sometimes it feels as though I’m telling stories to an empty room.

In her book Cold Tangerines, Shauna Niequist writes of a conversation she had with a middle schooler.

“I write, too.” She said it like it was a confession or a secret. She leaned toward me and opened a notebook and showed me page after page after page of precise cursive. “Do you have any advice for me?” she asked.
“Thank you, and keep going,” I said. “Thank you for writing, because I love to read, and I’m so thankful to writers like you, for writing things for me to read. And keep going, even when people make you feel like it’s not important. It might be the most important thing you do. Keep going.” –Cold Tangerines, p. 229


I love those words, the encouragement they gave to that girl and to me. But it’s hard to believe sometimes.

WordPress has a nifty, horrible, convenient, torturous function called “Site Stats.” I discovered it within the first few days of creating this blog, but I sort of wish I never had, or that I could disable it. (Though truthfully, the sick part of me that feels the need to check it compulsively would balk at that) It can be disheartening to see how many people haven’t read a post I feel passionate about, that I have invested time and energy in and, perhaps courageously so, clicked the “Publish” button. Really though, I wonder if there’s a number of readers I would ever deem “enough,” or if more readers would only result in me desiring…more readers.

There’s another side of writing though–the writer. And that is where I remind myself there is always value. Admittedly some of these posts are less polished than others, a little haphazardly thrown together, perhaps less worthy of being on display. There are others though, ones I have molded carefully, painstakingly, combing over time after time for words that don’t belong and tweaking so they convey exactly what and how I need them to.

And those posts–those are why I write.

There is a piece of me in those posts that won’t, can’t, find expression elsewhere, and to keep it to myself feels almost selfish, as though I might be clutching a precious gift to myself.

So I hit “Publish.” I let those words out, even when it feels like they are floating into an empty room, because to do otherwise would be a misuse of what I have been entrusted with.

And so for every time you join me here, to sit and listen and give these stories an audience, I thank you. Let’s hang out a few more years.

Til next time…


p.s. Does writing ever feel pointless for you? How do you get past it?


6 thoughts on “Telling Stories To An Empty Room

  1. The Site Stats are torturous indeed! I think it’s only natural to doubt the point of writing at some time or other. I have gone through major periods of doubting its usefulness, and have at times tried earnestly to drop the “habit” altogether. I’ve discovered, though, that try as I may to convince myself otherwise, writing is as essential to me as eating and breathing. Even if no one is listening, I have to keep writing. I’m glad you’re persevering, regardless of what the Stats say.

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