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I don’t think I realized until recently how important it is to write for yourself. Let’s face it—writing and publishing can feel like work. You close your day job laptop and open your personal laptop to reply to an editor’s email and post to your author social media accounts. Then there’s writing a new manuscript or editing an existing draft. It’s all part of a dream coming true, but it’s still work.

What doesn’t feel so much like work? Giving yourself a place to play. To be cheesy, even cringey. To ramble to an extent that would bore anyone but yourself. The kind of writing for yourself that I’m talking about here is like singing in the shower. No one’s listening, and that is a beautiful thing.

When I write with the intention to publish, I want to write a story that I’d like to read, but publishing means keeping my audience in mind. And when I write for an external audience, voices of doubt can so easily creep in. “What if a publisher doesn’t want this? What if people don’t like it? What if this is just a waste of time?”

Writing for myself takes off the pressure of approval from others. When I write for myself, I don’t need to concern myself with submission guidelines, market trends, or reader reviews. The plot doesn’t even have to make sense.

Maybe some just-for-fun projects will be polished and see publication, but publication need not be their highest goal. To everyone who has such a project, whether penned in a fancy journal or sitting in an obscure computer file, maybe these stories won’t change the world, but maybe they’ll help us come to terms with it, and that’s important, too.