Why We Do Not Write

by Esther Elizabeth Suson

My readers will (I frankly hope) notice I have not been writing much recently. This is my apology-of-sorts, and also a reflection.

To begin with, just writing under this title amuses me because I have an earlier blog called “Why We Write.” It was about my recognition of the fact that good writing, designed to communicate something, must above all other things engage the reader.

why_we_do_not_write_-_fountain_pen_and_paperHowever, sometimes, even knowing that one can engage the reader is not enough to keep us writing to be read. After all, writing is a medium of expression. When we stop writing, we are trying to hide something of ourselves.

Why I Stopped Writing

New Environment, New (Potential) Audience

In my latest blog on Faith Is a Martial Art, I mentioned that I had just joined an “international non-profit religious organization” (according to my office-mate) as a copy editor and proofreader. Suddenly the Facebook Friend requests started to trickle in. As I usually share my blog posts on FB, the mini panic attacks started.

why_we_do_not_write_-_panic_buttonWhat if my writing is not “Christian enough” for them? What if I misrepresent us? What if I thought I was being neutral but accidentally set off a chain of events that ends in the apocalypse and walking dead and winter arriving?

To avoid such a catastrophic ending to Earth 1, I subconsciously and then deliberately avoided drafting any blogs on this site. Sure I wrote them down: my diary has pages of blog drafts just sitting there. But until this blog, I have been religiously avoiding uploading anything that might betray my inner mind.

I Made the Mistake of Scrolling Down FB

It is election season in the United States, and the election season in the Philippines culminated in, well, the elections on May 9. Social media has not been the friendliest place on earth, to massively understate the fact.

why_we_do_not_write_-_social_mediaScrolling down one’s Newsfeed, at the height of the bloodiest FB battles, does not give one encouragement to write one’s opinion where it can be read. This is very relevant to this blog because I began the Disinterested Interpreter to dare myself to place my opinions somewhere they could be seen and even challenged.

To put it simply, I let the fiery, bloody comments and debates get to me. I subconsciously and then deliberately decided not to write, since unthinking words could be slung back at me without rhyme or reason.

My Job Has Made Me Paranoid

One does not hold the position “Copy Editor and Proofreader” without acquiring the fear that he or she might post something with a typo or grammatical error in it. My favorite comment to be scared of is: “And you call yourself an editor?”

why_we_do_not_write_-_proofreadingEvery time I considered drafting a blog, ghost-like threats began to flit through my mind. Remember you could not spell restaurant until you were thirteen. Remember you sucked at finding direct objects in English grammar. Remember when you put the glottal stop of “Qur’an” in the wrong place. Remember–

And I happily found other pastimes. Like writing in my diary about how much I wanted to write a blog. Basically, I suddenly stopped forgiving myself for my mistakes.

Why I Am Writing Again

I am definitely writing again because I want to share something. For many or most of the other articles on this blog, I wrote them because certain realizations or observations struck my heart in such a way that I wanted to share them.

I am also definitely writing again because I am kicking myself forward on purpose. Since writing is my primary medium of expression, not writing is the way I withdraw from my environment. We (God and I (with less-than-subtle-hints from my supervisor)) have decided it is time I stopped hiding behind fear and pride.

It is time to write again.


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