I have a warped sense about this, but standing at my desk I thought, "I haven't written anything today." Egad.
Actually I filled my usual three Morning Pages, typed my morning email to my wife, wrote three pages in my notebook here at school, and annotated an essay to share with students. I have written this morning but it feels as if I haven't.
Aside from the email and annotations all my writing has been for my eyes only. It's not private, it's just unlikely to interest anyone much. I wrote to think. Most of my writing is for thinking rather than sharing. Even the stuff I share, such as this, begins as just thinking. However started this with expressed intent to take it beyond myself. Morning Pages and notebook writing don't always have that intent behind them though I'm always open to them becoming more.
In schools the idea of writing without the submitting is almost laughable. Without submission, how can students be held accountable? I have them write in a packet and then count pages for a Writing Practice grade. It works for us. Daily writing practice without fear of submission helps us think. Thinking, it turns, is a good way to learn.
I wonder how professional writers do this. I imagine that if I was making money writing I'd still write more to think than to publish. That's okay because I write a lot of pages and enjoy doing it. I can afford not to publish most of my writing because there's so much of it. Every so often in that process I remind myself that I haven't written anything to share and I move in that direction.
I know why I write thinking pages no one will see. I understand that better than why I publish. Does vanity drive me to create? No one's asking for it. And while I like to think it does some good, no one really needs it. Still, it feels worthwhile.
There was a time when I didn't understand why I wrote just for myself, but I kept going and figured it out. I'll keep going with putting writing out into the world. In time I might understand what's going on. Until then the best idea is to write on.