Evolution? Creation? Writing is Both

Lots of blogging and Tweeting traffic of late on the use of blogs by authors – which, of course, causes me to ponder:  Why do I blog?  What is my goal? Who do I write for and why? Am I evolving into a writer or was I created as a writer?  Perhaps the truth is part evolution and part creation.  My writing identity was created by many forces, but I believe I am evolving into a writer as well.

And now the backstory.  Within a short time of attending my first college class, I began to think of myself in terms of “analytical writer” only.  This mindset was solidified by the B+ I earned in Creative Writing.  To receive anything but an “A” in my major…well, I hung my head in shame and then decided my professor must be right; I just wasn’t the kind of writer folks wanted to read for pleasure.  (Amazing how the memory still hurts all these years later.)  So I meandered through life and lots of undergrad and graduate classes fairly content with my “role” as the class clown whose writing strength was the analytical essay.

But in my heart, I loved being a storyteller.  As a high school English teacher, I abused this love more than once as I just had fun in class, telling stories until I heard the call of the lesson plan.  On more than one occasion, students told me to actualize my dream of trying stand-up comedy “just once.”  But I’d just smile and turn on the overhead projector or some such diversionary tactic.  The risk of being officially creative was more than I could envision.

And then I chose to leave the classroom.  Ten years and bazillions of papers later, I stepped away from the chalkboard for the last time.  I like to say I am a retired English teacher because being a stay-at-home-mom makes me way more tired than teaching did, but the truth looks more like a “leave of absence” turned into “resignation.”  I was just too exhausted trying to be all things to all people and so I foolishly thought I’d stay at home and have a stress-free life parenting.

It didn’t take long for me to absolutely need an intellectual and creative outlet.  A girl like me is excited to make pancakes in the shape of critters for only so long.  So I started writing about my life on Myspace.  Only my siblings typically read me, but they would laugh and remark back, and a new passion was born. What started on a social media site morphed into first one blog and now this one.

And like Pandora’s Box, the unleashed hopeful voice grew.  First I was trying to make my brother and sisters laugh, then I was hoping for the stray comment from a random reader – cheering as my page views increased.   I began writing not for me, but for my readers.  I started mining my daily experiences for things that would make others laugh.    And in the process, I found being a creative writer is just as much a part of who I am as that whiz-bang at analysis.

Today I blog frequently, perform stand-up comedy regularly, and write slowly my first YA novel.  (Poor sentence structure, I know.  But my youngest is yelling for something…parenting calls.)

Was I created as a writer?  Maybe just a bit; after all, my father is quite the storyteller and all 3 of my siblings write in one form or another.  But I believe I have definitely evolved as a writer – mostly because I started to see myself as a writer. I found joy in the writing so I kept at it.  Perhaps my writing is a version of therapy in order to keep sane.

The more my writing changes, the more I change – I am evolving into the writer I want to be and not just the one I was pigeon-holed as so many years ago.

How about you?  Do you write and if so, who do you hope reads that writing?  If you’ve never tried writing, I say this:  we all have at least one story within us, the trick is giving it a voice.  Oh, and writing should be a process, not an event.

ps.  I have 2 funny blogs in the works – come visit again and hopefully find a giggle or two.

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10 thoughts on “Evolution? Creation? Writing is Both

  1. Every time I read your posts, I smile. And in this one in particular, I chuckled as soon as I got to a specific line: “This mindset was solidified by the B+ I earned in Creative Writing. To receive anything but an “A” in my major…well, I hung my head in shame and then decided my professor must be right” because it reminded me of my own experience.

    However, mine was the opposite. I have always considered myself more of a creative writer. I have been a poet since a young age being able to carefully describe the world around me. I always excelled in the English classroom, but was not until my first class of World Literature in 11th grade when I got back my summer paper with an “F” on it. While just about everyone got a similar grade (gosh I don’t even remember what those dang assignments were called) it was still like a stab to my heart. How could I have possibly failed at a paper?!? Who does this teacher think she is?

    And now I laugh even more so. Because by the spring in that same class, I had succeeded. After assignment after assignment of B’s across the tops, I finally nailed it with the book “Hunger” by Knut Hamsun. I didn’t even like that book that much but as my paper was passed back to me I saw the letter “A+” on it. And at that point, I knew that if I could go from an “F” to an “A+” in Mrs. Martin’s class, then I could tackle any paper. So I decided to major in English literature in college, with an emphasis in African American studies. In fact, my favorite books came from your class.

    So while it pangs me a little to know my favorite teacher is no longer in the classroom helping others discover their passions in life, I am most happy to read your wisdom in a blog. Besides it does provide comic relief at times, but most of all lets me to understand you better outside the classroom. Besides, what you have to say now is far more relevant in my life today. Keep writing because it is a blessing to read.

    I don’t necessarily write for an audience. To me, it a sort of relief. Though, I have been told I should write a blog about all the best bargains I find. Perhaps that would provide more of an audience…

    • Hang on, hang on. I have never written the letter “F” on anyone’s paper ever. I may have written a number that you then translated into a not so very successful grade….

      I hate the whole assessment element of teaching – the sub-lesson is that we live in a black/white world when in reality it is often just shades of grey. So, sorry that I “hurt” you via the rubric. The worst part of teaching is knowing just how many folks you’ve done that to along the road. Oy.

      That grade probably didn’t go very far in dispelling my image as a hard-a@s, did it? I was so shocked when I had a student once tell me that he was frightened of me. ME? I’m 5’2″ and sound like Minnie Mouse. But, it really all comes down to feeling judged and then growing from that experience.

      Funny-ish post tomorrow; I promise! 🙂

    • DUDE! (In honor of Mr. Bridges’ win last night.) I have only 2 things to say…
      1. When a person is looking for free images on line but have a few criteria, let’s just say, “beggars can’t be chosers” and leave it at that.
      2. I love writing on graph paper. All my journals are in quadrile books – all those little boxes make me feel safe.

      So there. ;p

  2. Funny how long it sometimes takes to go from “class clown who likes to write stuff that makes people laugh” to actually composing a book that builds on those skills. I was in the same boat. Worked as a newspaper reporter and a marketing copywriter for years, which doesn’t make too many people chuckle. Even after I started attempting to write fiction, it wasn’t until I had several books under my belt that it dawned on me that romantic suspense wasn’t my thing (and romantic comedy WAS my thing). Making an agent and an editor laugh is a bit more fulfilling than just making my mom laugh 🙂

    Good luck with your YA title. Sounds fun!

    Tawna

    • I love funny women…in a perfectly platonic way since I’m married and all that. 🙂 In fact, I love them some much, I perform with an all funny women group. More women need to unleash their funny selves – or perhaps feel it is okay for women to be funny. Thanks for stopping by – I’ll be popping over your way now. 🙂

  3. You know, I’m pretty certain creative writing classes kill more good story-tellers than create them. It’s damn hard to teach STORY. It’s easy to teach polishing and surface perfectionism. I have a feeling your creative writing teacher (remember, I had the same prof!) better understood beautiful language than the solid construction of a good tale.

    I’m glad that you’re finding your way as a writer and tapping into the stories inside of you. This book will be a great learning experience!!

  4. Okay okay okay so maybe it wasn’t an “F” but you missed the whole point of the comment. It was more about the achievement that satisfied me and in turn taught me a better lesson – hard work and determination.

    Oh as far as free images are concerned, have you tried any of these sites below? Like I said, I am all about the free/ bargains. The sxc.hu is the best by far.

    http://www.sxc.hu/
    http://www.morguefile.com/
    http://www.dreamstime.com/free-submit.php

  5. Oh forgot to add… yes people were afraid of you. You were/are a spitfire. Size and stature had nothing to do with it! You definitely had those motherly eyes behind your head way before you had any kids. Suppose you had to teaching a bunch of high school know it alls.

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