Some of you may be wondering what’s the point of writing a post if there’s nothing really to write about ? And believe me, I asked myself the same question. I considered a myriad of topics and urged each one of them to take the shape of words in my mind. I considered writing my response to the school dress code issue that was all over the news tonight – I considered writing about my dreams of one day owning a cottage (inspired by my current favourite Pinterest board, aptly named “Cottage Love”) – I considered telling you about an interesting poll a colleague of mine did today that showed half of her primary students show up to school hungry and tired – and while I will still likely write future posts on any or all of these topics, instead I choose to ramble.
Because I need to. As ironic as it may seem for a writer to be lost for words, I am not exactly sure how to explain the feeling that overcomes me – the urgent need and desire to write. To be creative. To express myself. My laptop beckons me from it’s place in our living room and taunts me. Write, write, write it calls. And I want to. But what can I write about? Who am I writing to? For which purpose am I writing? To simply do something I enjoy? Or to attract a variety of readers and entice more people to follow my blog? And what if it’s not good enough? Not poetic enough? What if my word choice is not strong enough?
So many times I have written and erased, written and erased. I read over my own work – sometimes as I go, sometimes at the end. Erase. Tweak. Edit. Revise. That could be said better. This is not what I meant. This is a stronger word. Copy and paste. Cut. Delete. Chop, chop, chop and arrange. Are all writers this judgemental of their own work?
When I was a child, I loved to write stories. Make-believe, fictional stories that I spent hours writing. While the words poured out of me and my pencil furiously scribbled them on paper, I delighted in my story. I was proud of my words. Excited. Eager to share the ideas forming in my mind. After, my teachers and parents would praise me and tell me how good my writing was but by then I always doubted it. I’d always question it. I was my own worst critic. I’d re-read it and find phrases I didn’t like, doubt my plot, question if my vocabulary was right.
Even now when I write blog posts, the words come pouring out of me like blood gushing out of a deep wound. My husband says I type so fast that my keyboard is going to catch fire. But I am trying to keep up. In my mind, the next sentence is forming in my mind, as I am writing the former. Sometimes my fingers can’t find the keys fast enough.
I remember when I was a kid our teacher would always make us write a “plan” before we were allowed to write a story. I hated the “plan”. The ideas were already taking shape in my mind, the characters were speaking to me, and the setting was painting a picture. I wanted to write it down as fast as I could. I wanted to get my ideas on paper before they were gone. But my teacher insisted that I had to do the “plan”. I will never make my students write a “plan” if they don’t need one.
Even this very blog was born out of my need/desire to write. I had this urge to be creative (as I often do). I’m not a painter, I don’t do crafts or play a musical instrument, and although I tried scrapbooking, it was never my thing. What’s my art? I am a writer. To be a writer, is simply to write. I am not professional. I am not published (not recently anyway). I don’t write books. But I can write. I can take my inspirations and experiences and put them into words that form a piece of writing.
More importantly, by writing I can quiet my mind. I can take all the thoughts that swirl in my mind all day – that exhaust me, overwhelm me, and consume me, and release them. I let go of the words and I find quiet, calmness, and peace. I find honesty, curiosity, creativity, self-doubt. I find joy, pride, courage, and uncertainty.
But most of all, when I write, I find myself.