I have been told that I should consider becoming a writer ALL my life. Besides the fact that I tend to doubt myself as “good enough” to do so in the first place, I never really had the strong desire to do so. Well…at least not in the way I felt I should.
I wrote poems, songs and stories as a kid and it was fun. When it came to school assignments, it was a chore, though. I always did OK with books reports, essays and papers and I flew through English with straight A’s but writing for school was like a job I hated and didn’t get paid for. Maybe if I got paid for it, it would have been more enjoyable? Nah. I suppose not. You see, the problem was in school, you are told WHAT to write about. Sometimes they have a number of topics to choose from but for the most part, it was usually not anything I was remotely interested in researching or writing about.
I considered double majoring in college so I could add English because I do love it but the idea was quickly knocked down when I considered even more assignments that would be on topics that had no interest for me. When it’s something I WANT to write about, I feel like the words just flow easily. If it’s something I am not interested in, I have to work really hard for it to come out sounding like I want it to. And I was one of those kids you hate in school, except for math class….the ones that never study and always get good grades. Yep, those kids. I was just able to memorize a lot of information and retain it. Apparently, that ability decreases as you age because now I seem to forget where my sunglasses are when they are on top of my head. Lord, help me!
Anyways, I still didn’t get away without writing papers. College seems to love to incorporate writing in every single place it can find to fit it in. So…in piano and voice lessons as a Music Major, I did papers. Papers on the songs and the composers. Sometimes it was kind of boring, because it was still an “assignment” but some parts of it were interesting. I was told by both my piano and Voice teachers that I was a good writer, though. That kind of floored me because I thought my papers were mediocre. I did what I needed to do for the class. It wasn’t a writing or English class so I didn’t work as hard as I would naturally. Yet I was still told I was a good writer.
Since I left college, I have had family members encourage me to write. Some of my nieces remember these stories I would make up on the spot when they were little and how I was a good storyteller. I’ve had friends that have told me I should write a book. So what’s stopping me?
I used to use the excuse of how I hated writing…which is not the truth, really. I hate writing with a pen or pencil, yes, because my hand gets tired but since I started using a computer as a teenager, I have been drawn to write more and more. I LOVE to type, I could do it all day. This is one of the reasons why I have considered a job doing data entry or as a secretary; something along those lines. I just really have fun typing ANYTHING. Seriously…I know it’s sounds strange, but it’s true! So along with loving to type, writing becomes easier for me to do.
So now I guess I must confess the truths. 1) I’m a procrastinator! Most everyone who reads my blog knows this. The idea of writing a book and it actually being good means having deadlines in the future. Me and deadlines are not even mere enemies…we are mortal enemies. Let’s pretend I’m an angel…and family members of mine, take that smirk away right now! Well…deadlines are like the Devil and he’s sitting on my back telling me over and over again that I’m going to fail. Part of doing this blog was to help with the procrastination devil and while I have been able to overcome it for this blog….it’s still there on my shoulder. I fear it will never completely leave me so I guess I will have to learn to live with it or let it conquer me…
2) I said this earlier but it still remains true. That little voice inside me that says you’re not “good enough”. That tells me that people are just being nice and I could never be good enough to be a writer. Besides, I was born to be a performer, right? And a mother….That’s what I have always told myself, at least. I love to perform and I have always wanted to be a mother. There couldn’t possibly be a place in my life to be a writer, too, right?
3) Last but not least, fear of content in a book. Yes, I know, you are probably incredibly confused as to what I mean right now. Last night, I watched an episode of “Parenthood” with the hubby in which a woman on the show wrote part of a play. This older famous playwright wanted to look at it and see what he thought and she was very wary about letting him. She goes on to state that she was going to take out “all the personal stuff first”. He says, “You were going to take out all the personal stuff? And leave what? The boring stuff?…Do you WANT to be a writer?”
That part really stuck in my head. To be a good writer, you can’t be afraid to go there. You have to be able to talk about the “personal” stuff, the hard stuff. I’ve noticed that since I started this 2011 challenge, I have talked about a lot of things from my past that have been really personal and really difficult to talk about. After writing about them and putting them out there to the world, I have then thought back and wondered if that was the best thing to do. For me, personally, it was a very cathartic feeling to write about my past. Each time I deal with a hard subject, it feels like I am counseling myself. Like I am taking this weight that I bear off my own back and throwing it off. Like I am saying, Here’s this tough stuff I’ve been through and I’m done with it. I am not going to deal with it anymore on my own. I’m putting it out to the world, laying myself bare, here I am, world! This is the real me, love me or hate me. It’s really helping me but then I have wondered if it was a selfish thing and people really are bored by it.
After that episode last night, I realized that maybe me being able to let my personal stuff be laid out there means that I am ready to actually TRY to be a writer. When I think back on some books I have read…not just biographies but stories that feel like I am also a stalker into someone’s life behind closed doors; those books were some of the best I have ever read. I enjoy reading things that feel REAL to me. Who wants to read a book where all the emotions and stories behind it are completely fake? I think you can almost tell when there’s no real emotions behind the words and when there is.
When I write blogs about my life, there is completely 100% real emotion behind every word. It’s all heart, no fake…and I think that’s what real writing is all about. What do you think?
P.S. Sorry about the length of this blog. I will try to make tomorrow’s shorter…but no promises.