Another excerpt from A Day with Merton, this one expressing exactly the way I feel when my writing gets pedantic or preachy.
“The work of writing can be for me, or very close to, the simple job of being: by creative reflection and awareness to help life itself live in me, to give its esse an existent, or to find a place, rather, in esse by action, intelligence, and love. For to write is to love: it is to inquire and to praise, to confess and to appeal. This testimony of love remains necessary. Not to reassure myself that I am (‘I write, therefore I am’), but simply to pay me debt to life, to the world, to other men. To speak out with an open heart and say what seems to me to have meaning. The bad writing I have done has all been authoritarian, the declaration of musts, and the announcement of punishments. Bad because it implies a lack of love, good insofar as there may yet have been some love in it. The best stuff has been more straight confession and witness.”