October 18th, 2013 / 8:03 am
Mean & Snippets

You don’t have to write. You don’t need it like the air. You do have a choice. You could stop at any time. In all likelihood, no one would be sorry if you did. It would be fine. It might even make you happier. And isn’t that all for the best? Wouldn’t you rather choose how to spend your only life than have it chosen for you?

The one semester I was lucky enough to teach creative writing, the last project I gave my students was to make the most beautiful thing they could imagine. Practically no one wrote a story or a poem. Someone is giving you the same assignment.


  1. davidpeak


      Or, you know, you could just keep doing it because it gives you joy and some modicum of control in your life.

  2. sam salvador

      what did they make instead?

  3. Mike Meginnis

      You could and should! Assuming that it does give you joy of any kind. Certainly the most beautiful thing I can imagine is a novel; that’s why I write them. But I’m very grateful I don’t feel that I have to, and quite irritated by people who depend on that sort of rhetoric to justify their life decisions. Writing should be something you want to do.

  4. Mike Meginnis

      I remember a song, a screenplay, a stuffed animal, an apron, a slideshow/tribute to a younger sibling who died very early, a paper craft, and, yes, a few poems.

      For the record, I would have written a book, or as much of one as I could manage.

  5. Richard Thomas

      amen, brother

  6. Jackson Nieuwland

      That’s a great assignment

  7. Mike Meginnis

      Not sure what this means. Please feel free to expand/clarify. The point I was making about the students is that a lot of people, when freed from the expectation that they will write, seem to very happily stop writing. Not that great writers with great bodies of work should stop writing? And would do so if I told them to? Or something? Confusing.

  8. Mike Meginnis