My Dance with Words
Every writer I know has a different story. Some were practically born with a pencil and paper in their hands. Others discover the joys of the written word somewhere along the way during their schooling. Others come to writing later in life, when they can look back and draw on their won journey's to enrich their craft.
I've walked my own path, and danced around my love of writing until I came to the point where I am now.
Growing up I was always an imaginative child. I'd get lost in my day dreams, I had more than one imaginary friend, and being the bossy big sister, I often set the scenario when the boys and I would play make believe.
Mom taught me early to appreciate a good story, and I was reading books like "The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe," in first grade. I'd pretty much devour anything in print you'd put in front of me. Well, except maybe my text books. I've always been drawn more towards the imaginative than the literal!
While this hunger for books only broadened my imagination, it also held me back some when I first started trying to write. I'm a perfectionist, and every time I tried to write down a story I'd find myself frustrated as I compared my feeble attempts to the books I loved. It vexed me that I could have these vivid stories in my head that would turn flat and dull when I put them to paper.
Unfortunately my lack of patience with myself led me to give up writing for a long time. I would still write for school or write letters to my grandparents, but I was never very happy with what I'd written. On very rare occasions I'd write something for myself, but I was convinced that I could only write when "inspired." Any other time I tried to write it was simply "junk."
By the time I reached high school I had some outlets for my desire to write that I actually had the courage to use. It started with keeping some journals. I don't have them anymore, but if I did I'm sure I'd be amused by the things in life I chose to record, and by the things I chose to rant about. I've always been able to rant at the drop of hat, something I think/blame my Dad's family for; it certainly didn't come from my Mom's much tamer family! But those are stories for another day.
At some point I grew frustrated with writing simply for myself, so I began to write letters to my closest friends. These letters were often very similar to the journals i had kept before. The big difference was that I now had an audience to pour out my heart and dreams to. This provided more purpose and definition to my writing than there had ever been previously.
Two things I learned about myself through this process is that I find writing to be very therapeutic and it is often easier for me to express my deepest emotions on paper.
Leaving my high school years behind and starting my slow journey through college I was finally willing to admit that I had a talent for writing. Most of my writing continued to be for school, but I now had much more confidence in my ability to work with words. When I did write outside of school it tended to be either true stories or something else that was still realistic.
I also discovered and fell in love with blogging during this time. I loved the concept of being able to "journal" and share it with my friends. I quickly learned the downsides that can go along with blogging and to be careful what I chose to share.
Blogging became my main writing outlet, and remained so for several busy years while I worked instead of going to school. Most of what I wrote was simply sharing the highs and lows of my days, but sometimes I'd go one step farther and truly tell a story. So, in this haphazard way, in the midst of my busy life, I continued to improve my writing.
Ever since my first frustrated attempts at writing I've dreamed of having the power to touch other people's lives through my words. Letter writing and blogging has allowed me to do that to a certain degree, but I've always dreamed of more. As long as I can remember I've wanted to write a book.
I've started to write books several different times, but always given up when I realized that my stories didn't have the scope to fill the pages of a book. It never occurred to me that shorter stories had value as well - I was too focused on the concept of a book! It took me a long time to realize that writing out the stories in my head, short or long, will grow my abilities as a writer. Plus, you never know when a short sketch might prove useful in the future, and I've recently discovered that I enjoy publishing these pieces on my blog!
When I got sick around 2 years ago I found myself with more time on my hands than I'd had in a long time. I decided it was time to reach for my dream once again, and I began to write my first book, Jemnath, a fantasy adventure.
There have been a lot of ups and downs since then, and I had to stop writing for awhile due to migraines, but I think I've come a long way. Recently, as we've finally gotten the migraines under some sort of control, I've set about to be more purposeful in my writing. I don't know if I'll ever realize my dreams of being a published author, but I do know it will never happen unless I pursue writing with a passion.
So I write. I continue to work on my book, but I write other things as well. Short stories that pop into my head. Character sketches. True stories about life as it is right now as I'm living it. Memoir pieces. Opinion pieces. I dance with the words in the hopes that one day I will reach my dreams.