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.