You should write

Should is one of those words that isn’t a very nice word: no matter how it is couched, when someone say it to you, underlying it is a judgment, a belief that there is something else to do.

Should is also often one of those words that is well represented in our internal self-talk: I should do this I should do that. It’s a soft, but persistent and negative word, and as writers, I think it’s important to be aware of the words we use on ourself.

Should is also quite subjective, by the way.  What I should do and what others think I should can at times be different things. What should I do when that happens? I should be me. That’s what I should do. See how insidious the term is in our language?

You know the saying: “I will not should on myself today”?  I have a practice of not shoulding on myself, a practice much like yoga, much like meditation, much like breath awareness. When I am writing and I catch myself thinking should in my internal self-talk, I stop. Get up. Break the pathway. Take a breath. Then get back to work.

I’ll never get perfect at it but it is a thing I do to remind myself that the internal critic can be interrupted, that I don’t need to sit in judgment of me as often as I might want to and particularly when I’m writing. Better during editing.

And then:  I ran across a thing by a writer I admire and it included the word should. Okay so yes, I am semantically sensitive. And yes, generally, I think people could pay better attention to what they say as well as what they write. And yes, some things should be judged and other things should not.

But I do like this perspective about writing and reading even though it contains that awful word should, and so, I am sharing it…

“You should write because you love the shape of stories and sentences and the creation of different words on a page. Writing comes from reading, and reading is the finest teacher of how to write.”

~ Annie Proulx


About FS

Toronto, Canada. Writing about slices of life, the moments and minor details of which come into awareness or out of imagination and the spaces inbetween.
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One Response to You should write

  1. Gday Ludivina Cabotaje right here, that appeared to be strange. I just wrote a very lengthy statement in but after I clicked submit my comment don’t display. Arghh… well I’m not composing all that written text once more. Anyway, I would like to mention good blog site!

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