My computer desk sits in a back room at a long bank of windows facing my back yard. It's where I come to write this blog. It might, to an observer, look like I'm doing nothing more than staring out the window; my laptop being to be open and on only coincidental. Or, I'm writing something with such monumental impact that every word is a psychic battle. Nope, it's this blog. I sit here and I think for a while, often a long while, about the words, the purpose, the story...what do I want to say? Sometimes there is a story clear in my head, something I've been thinking about. I can write a beginning, a middle and an end. Sometimes it's not as clear but I really, really, really want to write. That's when the staring commences.
It would be fine to write random thoughts or a to do list or a detailed description of what my back yard looks like on this particular day if I didn't intend to publish it. After all, if my hope is to have readers, I need to write something more coherent than my random thoughts, more organized than my chore list, and more complete than a description of how the neighbor's evil Siamese cat not only just peed in a garden box with tiny spinach seedlings, but proceeded to scratch clear a fifteen inch circle around said pee spot, which now will need re-seeding. There's really only so much I can say about that. Still, this is a day I want to write, but the what-to-write is less obvious.
"One day I will find the right words, and they will be simple." Jack Kerouac
I wonder where it comes from, this desire to write? I usually credit my newspaper photographer father and teacher mother for providing a love for words. There was frequent conversation in my house about words...how to use them, how to spell them, how to speak them. Growing up I thought of writing mostly as something I did primarily for school and sometimes for "dear diary". When I thought about words, I thought about them mostly in the context of how to speak them well. I won't suggest that speaking well comes before writing well for everyone, but I will say that was the progression for me. In graduate school a professor told me he was shocked by the mediocrity of my first paper because I spoke so much better. Ouch! The obvious lesson was to read a paper out loud and edit, edit, edit before turning it in. It worked. Fast forward to now, being reasonably competent at speaking and writing, I'd rather write.
There are so many ways to write...actual physical ways and styles of writing...
Writing on paper with a pen. This is my favorite actual physical way to write. But honestly, is it really the writing or just the way to justify indulging my adoration of pens and papers? I have collected an embarrassing number of marker sets and kinds of papers. It's not a stretch to say that simply knowing all those pens and papers exist in my house makes me smile. I like medium tip bic pens and roller ball pens and fine and medium tip markers and soft lead pencils. I like smooth paper, textured paper, heavy paper, handmade paper, lined paper, and unlined paper. Bound. Or not. So I wonder if pen and paper writing is about the writing or about the pen and paper. And then I wonder if it matters.
Journal writing is a particular style of writing I practice nearly every morning. The rare morning that I don't write, I make up for the next day. The journal appeals to the diarist in me. I document events of the day before, random reflections I had about things that happened and log what I did at the gym.
Professional writing. The writing I do at work is far less creative and often less interesting than any other way I use the written word. It's not technical writing exactly. My work is with people, not things or technology and so writing is usually policy related, program operations related, management or problem solving related. Occasionally idea related which is more fun. This past week I got to write short speeches for myself. One for an breakfast event and one for Senate committee testimony. Yikes.
Blog writing. Even though day after day can get away from me without having or taking time to ponder my back yard from the window while I think about words, this is my favorite writing. It's much more personal than a piece of professional writing or a chore list...both of which I find differently satisfying. It's more challenging than a speech because the audience is broad (hopefully) and the ideas, the choice of content is mine alone. I'm still not certain where the desire to write has come from or why it's grown over time. Perhaps I have more to say as life grows longer that is relevant or funny or curious enough to share. Perhaps it's because I've realized the human experience gives each of us so many stories; every one of us has at least one or two that should be told every day. I wonder how many times we could learn something useful or fascinating, laugh or cry, or be simply amazed, if we wrote our stories and left them somewhere we could all read them?
Hi, I'm Donna. Long time artisan/creative. Full time work in nonprofit world. Mother of two adult sons. Currently, also mother of two cats.
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