You really should be sleeping right now. You look at the time on your glowing iPhone screen, think about when your first class is, and somehow calculate how many hours you can squeeze in so that it counts as a “healthy” night sleep. There’s nothing to watch on Netflix - there’s only so much "Parks and Recreation" one can watch before metamorphosing into Leslie Knope.
The posts on Facebook and Instagram are growing stale as you think about becoming violently ill at the sight of another spring break photo. Yet, after exercising all those technological options under the battery thirsty string lights in your room, you still need something to do besides sleep. Sounds like the perfect opportunity to write.
I have often struggled with pinpointing the exact reason why I love to write.
I was always told throughout grade school and into high school that I was a strong writer, but I never could tell if that was because I was actually good at crafting words on paper or just good at following directions. Perhaps the second part was true. Starting sophomore year, I was force-fed templates to follow, complete with specific keywords, in order to craft the perfect rhetorical analysis or research paper.
As boring as a paper littered with words like “thus,” “moreover,” and “exemplifying” sounds, I would take that cookie-cutter process any day over calculus. That’s how my relationship with writing began: a series of speed dates filled with the same margins and line spacing every time.
It wasn’t until my freshman year of college, that my relationship with writing began to take form. I started to carry a journal around with me to jot down little things here and there every day. I had no intention for it to serve any huge importance for me. Soon, my leather-bound journal has turned into a place not only to write down quick thoughts but to pour my heart out.
To talk about every heartbreak, bump in the road, triumph, and defeat.
I never really experienced true heartbreak or the reality of my emotions until I got to college and instead of normally turning to the nearest pair of open arms, I turned towards my pen and paper. Writing then became a way for me to express every emotion I have that I don’t necessarily want to or cannot articulate in the air. Putting thought onto paper also became my way of visually putting things into paper.
By the end of my first semester, nearly half of my journal was filled up.
Many of my friends do not like to write. They find it to be a chore instead of something enjoyable. If anything, the relationship my friends have with writing is like an old couple that now sleeps in different beds. That shouldn’t be the case.
Writing should be something that is passionate and exciting; it should make you feel good about yourself in the end. We should write not only because we have to do it- for an essay, lab report, whatever- but because it allows us to break barriers we could not do with words in the air. It is unapologetically personal, cathartic, and empowering to be able to write freely at your own expense.
Hours of scrolling through Twitter could not even compare to that. So, with that said, I challenge you to write something every day. It doesn’t have to be anything substantial at first, maybe a couple of sentences tops. If you can allow yourself the freedom and time to start those sentences with whatever words you like and see where it takes you, I can guarantee there will be a spark that has been long overdue. All you need is a pen, paper, and yourself. No screen necessary.