I began thinking about this around 5 am this morning. I have always known that I enjoy the process of writing since my first “essays” written around age 7. Back then I was fascinated with Native Americans and their ponies. What I would give to still possess those short, but well-illustrated stories I wrote! I also loved to read. My favorite memory from grade school is the day my teacher Miss Miller had me stay after class, so I could visit the sixth grade library to pick out my books. I was only in third grade! It helps to have parents who are teachers.
For as far back as I can remember, I have been reinforced for my writing. Everyone said I was good at it. And I have read probably a million books in my sixty-five years on this planet. I picked up a lot of vocabulary that way. Often I knew the words and how to spell them, just not how to pronounce them. Writing always felt like a freeing experience for me, a place where I could express myself without any outside reaction or response. That’s why I began keeping a journal around eighth grade. I still have all those journals. I value them greatly. Perhaps because of that early experience I now find that:
Writing gives me access to my deepest thoughts and feelings…
When I feel the need to understand myself, my intentions and my deeper emotions around a certain topic, I find that if I write about it, new insights present themselves. I do understand how others find this type of personal expression through painting or other forms of art, but for me the solution is always writing.
I fell into writing professionally around age 50 when I was forced to abandon my chosen career in librarianship. Strange as it may seem, I had to be coerced into writing as a career, even though I loved everything about it. When I lost my livelihood, I hired an excellent career coach in Fort Collins who challenged me to just try writing for others. I was soon hooked. I worked as a freelance writer for a few years, selling my work and enjoying the process. However, I found a deep contradiction. In writing, it seemed like everyone was telling me I need to “Find my own voice.” How does one do that when the editors of the magazines I was writing for took away “my voice” when they edited and sometimes even messed up the articles I was writing? When I was totally ripped-off my “American History” magazine, with no kill fee or anything for the article they had requested from me, I gave up on freelance work entirely.
Luckily at that time I learned about blogging from a woman at my writing group. It was a pretty new concept back in 2006, but this woman had found great success, so I dug in and learned everything I could about WordPress.
From my blog “Midlife Crisis Queen” (now removed from the Internet) I built quite a nice platform and a great following, which led to nice book sales and some notoriety. But when I moved down south and we began building our solar home out in the country, I felt the need to diverge into new endeavors.
For one thing, I had chosen to change lifestyles. For another, midlife had passed me by!
Living away from cities is exactly what I needed. I have expanded my voice to include photographs of sunrises and sunsets as well as life close to nature. I like to call it “getting off the grid, mentally.” I learn everyday the lessons we can only learn by leaving “the chatter of the speed-and-greed world” behind.
Now I no longer write for others, I write for myself, and if others find it useful, so be it…