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 in 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 write for myself, and if others find it useful, so be it…
6 thoughts on “Why am I a writer?”
Life changes us, doesn’t it? I remember your old blog!
I remember you from way back too Carol… Now I find I only write because I need to,
Lots of nuggets. I’d quoted them all and then lost them because I had trouble signing into my WP account. I feel the same way as you write here. Thank you.
Yes Leisa, it’s true. We write because we must…
I can relate to so much of why you write. I thought this morning (writing in my journal! – I came late to writing daily and only have 5 years of journals that I’ve contemplating whether to keep or not…. where do you store years worth!?! ) that my blog writing could very much be me talking to myself … as I am never really sure anyone is on the other end. Yes, I get some likes and comments each post to make that thinking a falsehood, but every time I post, I think I’m just sending my thoughts into the wind. Writing helps me solidify my own thinking… and as you say, if that then helps someone else, so be it!
Hey Pat! Pls. keep your journals! You never know when you might want to remember what you were thinking years ago, for future writing projects, etc. LLC