Rethinking How I Look At Writing in the Age of AI

Photo by Dim Hou on Unsplash

I won’t lie. I felt my confidence shake and a growing identity crisis burning in my heart as I read various articles about ChatGPT back in December. From speculation to observations, some of the messages that rocked me were how writing appears to become obsolete. Let me reframe: writing was being made more “efficient” with the likes of ChatGPT and having writers was a lot less important because there was a machine to do the work.

I didn’t like how that made me feel. It made me feel expendable and easily replaced. While I don’t write as my sole income and for much of my life it has been an outlet, I felt like something was being taken from me. What chance did I have if there was a machine to regurgitate text at a more efficient rate than an ordinary human like myself? Stories like this one from Forbes or an earlier article from February 2023 where Clarksworld had to shut down submissions after an influx of AI-generated submissions don’t bode well either. As a result, I’m forcing myself to rethink my relationship with writing. Again.

I have written in the past about how writing has been an important part of my life. In fact, for the past few years, I’ve been struggling to reconnect to that original spark that made me love writing to begin with. There was some emotional disconnect in addition to some things I needed to work through, but this past year, I was able to reconnect to that original inspiration.

I don’t have the money to go back and pursue a degree in writing, but there’s a wonderful local nonprofit that offers writing classes throughout the year. I had taken classes in the past, but in 2021, things just became too much with life and work balance. I decided to sign up for a science fiction and writing class this spring. Science fiction and fantasy were what made me write to begin with. For the first time in two years, I found myself writing. I managed an opening chapter to a longer work I hope to continue to work on. I also managed to start a short story I need to finish. This was more writing I had done myself in the past few years. During this time, I was also easing myself out of freelancing. I wasn’t applying to freelance jobs as much, because, towards the end of 2022, life had switched up priorities. But, I still wanted to find myself writing.

If you have the opportunity to take writing classes for fun (in an environment where you aren’t graded and it is more to learn for fun rather than a requirement), I encourage you to take it if you would like to grow in the craft. Being able to write for fun and for my own benefit allowed me to regain some of the love I had for writing. Instead, writing wasn’t a means just to make money, it reaffirmed one of the original premises why I fell in love with writing when I was 11. Writing itself is the actual act of doing it, not the end product. It is about trying to illustrate emotions and the complexities of life. It is about celebrating all aspects of life, good and bad. And with that notion, I was able to reconnect to one of the reasons why I love writing: it is a way for me to express myself when I feel incapable of actually expressing myself (if that makes sense). I’ve always had issues being able to express myself. I have difficulties being social. I consider myself an introvert, and I am not the most eloquent speaker in terms of articulating myself. Writing is one of the few ways I felt like I could communicate and I could express myself clearly. Learning to just write to write, it made things simpler and I was able to regain some passion and outlet again.

So now, halfway through 2023, I am choosing to write because I can. I may not get rich quickly or have a flourishing online business of writing, but I can at least enjoy it again. It certainly helps ease up on the pressures I’ve been putting on myself. I can continue to take community writing classes to grow. I can work on my original story ideas because it makes me happy, and maybe one day, have a short story that could be submitted and maybe even published somewhere. At least I’ll be doing something I enjoy and it makes me happy. As 2023 pushes beyond the halfway point, I’m going to focus more on poetry and fiction. I’ll still apply and be open to freelance writing gigs, but I’m not going to kill myself over trying to get rich on it.

I still view ChatGPT as a real and existential threat, but it has also made me value what I have and root myself more firmly in things that bring joy. I want to better my writing and my understanding of the craft; I think it is critical in a world that is becoming more saturated with AI-generated content. But I also think it important to remember why I write, and that is I do it for myself.

Published by Kelly

An aspiring writer, blogger, and scholar. Very much a geek.

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