Thursday, May 17, 2012

We All Have A Writing Story

Earlier this year, I wrote a Guest post and wanted to share that post here {in case you missed it.}

As I thought about what I wanted to write, the thing that kept coming to me was I wanted to talk about writing. Specifically my writing story.

I used to journal writing intermittently in my adolescence.  I struggled with being “real” in my personal writing. I really wanted to avoid the angst filled teenage diary.  Not sure what that was about. Perhaps I was self censoring because of the thought that one day my diary would be discovered.

Also, there was a period of time that was so deeply sad that to write about it felt like a betrayal. And to write about anything else felt like a different betrayal.   –You know in sitcoms when a girlfriend tells the boyfriend something sad (like a couple of their friends broke up). The girlfriend is clearly upset and wants to commiserate.  The boyfriend? Not so much. He’s like, are you gonna finish your pie? And she’s like: how can you think about food at a time like this?  It was like that.

Many years ago, I went to see Anne Lamott speak about writing. [Side note: If you get the chance to see her speak, take it! ] I fell in love with her when I read “Operating Instructions” a story about the first year of her son’s life. I absolutely loved this book. It captured the sweetness and the raw emotions that are mothering. Anyway...I remember her saying that we should do two things in life:  1) Always eat dessert.  (Because life is short). And 2) write as though your family is already dead. –That seems a little harsh. I really wanted to paraphrase that to say “family will never read this”, but she really said “dead”. I suppose the writing would be different if you wrote as if they were dead. To be honest, I have not been able to do that. I can’t.  –So okay, although I’m a writer, I’m not an Anne Lamott writer.

Natalie Goldberg, in "Writing Down the Bones" says, “Go for the jugular”. Write about the thing that hurts.  And go all the way. Eeek. I don’t like this advice either.

So,  I say, “Write what you want to write”. And, if you don’t want to write about sad things...don’t. If you do want to write about sad

Many “how to write” writers say “if you can talk, you can write”. Everyone has the right to create. There are no special skills and no secret society that decides if you are worthy to be a writer. If you want to write and you write, then you are a writer.

My day job (career) is not writing but writing has helped me in everything I do. Writing has helped me formulate my ideas and be able to articulate them to others. {I write out my thoughts before a meeting so that I feel prepared.  –I don’t have to take the notes into the is the writing that makes me confident that I understand the issues and can present my thoughts.}

Away from work, I always wrote letters (epic)! I wrote Newsletters: (Christmas Newsletters, Church News Letters, Book Club Newsletters). If I was participating in something I was always happy to be the scribe.

Then one day, someone asked me point blank: “Are you a writer”. Wow! That question was a turning point. Was I going to go public with it? “Yes”, I said, “yes I am”.

Since then I began to take my writing more seriously. I write more often and take advantage of more writing opportunities.  I even wrote for my employer's magazine. {That was exhilarating and scary at the same time. It was a slick magazine shared through out the entire company.}

I participated in the National Novel Writing Month. Yes, I completed a work of fiction. It is something I wouldn't share with anyone in its current state.  But I actually challenged myself and now have an IDEA {only an idea} of what it takes to write the first draft of a novel.  

Someone I knew once said, "If something is worth doing, it's worth doing badly." I thought I had misheard until he went on to explain: Many of us are frozen, afraid to do something poorly.  When, if it is really worth doing, it is worth doing regardless of the end result. First attempts are not supposed to be perfect. We miss a lot of life {and a lot of writing} by holding ourselves to high standards before we even begin. 

So I say to you:  Write Often and Write On!  What's more, I say: ENJOY the process.


  1. Thanks for mentioning my blog. I love reading writing advice but sometimes you just have to follow your heart in writing even if no one else likes it.

    1. I agree with you. Writing is very personal and so is style. :) Glad you stopped by. :)

  2. As a fellow "writer" I loved this!
    Thank you!

    1. I'm so glad you liked this. :) I'm loving having an outlet for writing and reading other people's thoughts as well.


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