Radius News

Publishing Note: Now Is the Time To Write


Today is September 11, 2023, the twenty-second anniversary of the attacks on America. On a day like this, we remember, reflect, and wonder. Some find it cathartic to write down their thoughts and feelings to help process the grief and anger. These jottings can turn into memoirs or poetry or narrative nonfiction that help others understand what it was like. Others dive into researching the historical, philosophical, religious, social, and economic reasons for such a tragedy, then write a history or social commentary on these events. Whatever works best for you, now is the time to put pen to paper, or fingertips to keyboard as the case may be, and write.

Occasions like September 11 remind us that we only have the present. What happened then is the past, the memories of which we reconstruct and carry around in our hearts and minds. What might happen tomorrow is anyone’s guess, and we can plan for, dream, and imagine all sorts of futures. None of us, though, is guaranteed another day of life. A new exhibit opening October 15, 2023, at the Museum of Jewish Heritage in New York City, reminds us of how precious the present is. The exhibit commemorates the acts of courage exhibited to save Jews from the Nazis occupying Denmark in 1942. Jews across Europe were arrested, tortured, sent to concentration camps, and executed. In Denmark, they and their neighbors sprang into action to avoid those ends, because everyone involved knew they only had the present.

Latching onto the present is an act of hope, just as is writing a book. In doing so, you purposefully engage in meaningful activities right now, fully aware of the paradox that behavior presents. On the one hand, you are choosing to be wholly present to what is going on right now, not paying attention to what may have happened in the past or might yet happen tomorrow. On the other hand, the effort to focus on the present itself creates a meaningful future, one whose present will be occupied by its own intentional activity. The very act of writing a book, therefore, can give meaning to the present, while drawing on the past, and leaving a legacy of value to those who might encounter your book in the future.

If you are thinking about writing a book, are in the process of doing just that right now, or have recently completed the writing journey, I encourage you to keep going today. Don’t wait for tomorrow.