Owe No Man

The guilt of having the ability to do something, and not doing it.

I see an opportunity to write something new.  But I don’t want to write it right now.  I know that other people will not write it either; they are as unmotivated as I am.  I know that therefore I should try to write it, so that it gets written, instead of being lost to the ravages of time and apathy.  Or, I know that I should write it so that it is written well, instead of being butchered by another who does not care and has not the skill.

…So that it gets written?  So that it’s not butchered?

Who do I owe it to to write about this?  Why do I believe that the universe deserves a version of this new thing to be written?  Do I have a loyalty to the source material, or the source idea?  The fact is that at this point in my life I owe it to only one person to write about anything:  myself.  I enjoy many different genres, many different series, and many different styles, but enjoyment does not mean I am required to create material for it, and in my opinion the requirement to do so would remove some of the enjoyment.  If I want to write something, it should be because I want to write it.  Now there is something to be said about forcing myself to start something, and then enjoying it and finishing it based on its own merits.  But even when I force it, there is always at the core a small piece of me saying, “This is a fun idea and you’ll have fun writing it”; that push into the pool by a friend when you’re too uncommitted to jump in yourself.  “New” by itself is ultimately meaningless; it must be new and good, or new and fun.

And to say that I should write something because someone else won’t do it justice is the height of insolence.  Who am I to say that, to even think it?  I have no standing to say I am a better writer than anyone else, or that my version of events is better than anyone else’s.  Have I been published?  Have I been critically acclaimed?  So I’ve received small accolades and praise throughout the years from my peers; this does not a good author indicate.  I will let other people tell me my work is better than the work of others, but I cannot let myself tell them that.

I an not a professional author; I do not need to write anything.  And my free time is limited; I do not want to write just anything.  So why should I feel guilty for not writing anything other than the very best and most enjoyable of things that come to my mind?


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