Have you ever looked at something either in your own life or that of someone else and said, “that would make a great story”? Do you play (or have you ever played) Dungeons & Dragons, Pathfinder, or any other role-playing game?

If the answer to either of these questions is yes, then why aren’t you writing these stories down? Or if you have tried and then given up, maybe it’s time for you try again.

There are probably thousands of people who have written the beginning of a story and then stopped. Why? Did they get tired of the story? Did they not have the time to write? Did they not know how to go on? Or perhaps, they just felt overwhelmed by the idea of writing a book.

The thing is, anyone can write a story—and it doesn’t even need to turn into a book. There is absolutely nothing wrong with simply writing for the joy of it or because there’s a story in your head that just won’t leave you alone. There is no hard and fast rule that says that just because you write a story you have to publish it.

Dorothy Parker once said “I hate writing, but I love having written.” A lot of people feel that way. I have many times. But that doesn’t mean that I don’t also find it a joy to write to sometimes.

Writing not only allows you to tell a story, it gives you the opportunity to create fascinating characters. That, in itself, can help you understand other—real—people. Taking the opportunity to look at the world through someone else’s eyes just may open you up to considering the real world from a new perspective. So, when you write your story, perhaps try writing it from a first person point of view. Even if you eventually want the story to be told from third person, writing it in first person allows you to experience the story much more intimately. You become the character who is telling the story and in doing so tell the story in a more immersive way. And it’s always easy to change pronouns later.

Another benefit of writing a story truly hit home to me at the start of the plague (COVID). The world was retreating back into a shell. We were terrified of human contact for fear of contagion. People were dying by the hundreds. And being a liberal American, I wasn’t thrilled with what was going on in the WhiteHouse either. I needed to escape—and not just to another country (I happened to be living abroad at the time), but to another world.

The world of my stories.

Writing is a fabulous way to retreat from the real world. If events outside your door are too much for you to handle, the best place to go is deep into a story of your own creation. When life all around you is out of your control, writing and creating your own world where you are god gives you back your sense control. You decide who lives and who dies. You decide if they are living in a desert or the tropics, or perhaps a different planet all together. Everything and anything is possible in your world. And there is nothing wrong with indulging in a little fantasizing every now and then. (Again, you don’t need to show this to anybody.) This is why I write romance—because I (and my readers) are guaranteed a ‘happily ever after’. Sadly, this isn’t true of the real world.

Now, if you do decide to show your work to someone, or want to toy with the idea of sharing your work with the world, then I highly recommend you study writing craft. There is more to writing a story that just writing down a series of events. And there are hundreds of excellent writing books to help you get started—including ones that specialize in a particular genre: how to write fantasy, how to write romance, how to write a compelling mystery, etc. (note: those are affiliate links.). There are also plenty of courses on how to write or if you’d rather a one-on-one experience you might consider hiring a writing coach (to learn more about my coaching click here).

But the point here is that you can just write for the pleasure of it. For the joy of creation.