I've pulled back the reigns a little bit. I'm reflecting, pondering, musing. I'm trying to figure out where I'm headed with this writing bug that's bitten me. In the end, what do I really want to do with it? I'm not sure, and I realize it could be a while 'til I know (and that's just fine with me).
I am thoroughly convinced that if I simply write for myself through journaling, devotional type pieces and here on my blog, I'll be happy. I have recognized that I love the physical act and exercise of writing- there's something about putting pen to paper, feeling it glide across the surface and watching words form that is satisfying. There's also something gratifying about typing on the keyboard. I have always wanted to play the piano proficiently- I don't, but I think keyboarding helps fill that need. Like piano playing, I'm pounding on keys and making beautiful music that just happens to come out in letters on a screen rather than notes in a song. Works for me.
That being said...
What am I writing? I have a goal that I will pursue until I feel the call to do otherwise. 500 words a day in my journal or on my blog. Where that will lead I do not know, nor do I have to know. It may seem like a small, insignificant goal, but it is a challenge for me as the daily demands of life tend to crowd out any writing time I may desire if I'm not careful. It is enough for now that I am writing, and when it's time for that writing to take on more direction, it will.
What am I reading? "On Writing Well; The Classic Guide to Writing Nonfiction" by William Zinsser, and only a few pages into it I am in love with it. He writes in a way that tells it like it is, and I find I'm reading some of my own thoughts on the pages of his book. I catch myself laughing out loud at more than a few parts - not that he's writing with so much humor, but he captures human nature so easily that I readily chuckle in agreement. It's well worth the read- buy it or check it out from your local library as I did.
I had the opportunity this past weekend to catch up after a very long time- too long- with my brother who lives in Laos, half a world away from Pennsylvania. He was 17 when I was born; when I was beginning kindergarten, he was donning a uniform and heading off to fight the Vietnam war. Presently he is a writer and has spent the past 23 years over in Asia immersing himself in the continent and the culture in order to better write his manuscript. It is that same war and the soldier that he was that he writes about now - he is and has been living out the writer's cardinal rule of "Write What You Know" in every sense of the phrase. His manuscript is now nearing completion and publication, and he is seeing the proverbial light at the end of the tunnel.
I am in awe of what he's accomplished, and the years he has put his heart and soul into his passion. He mentioned to me last night that he doesn't think of himself as a writer; just someone with a story to tell. He told me that the best piece of advice he could give me was that when one is writing, one must have confidence in him/herself to believe that they can do it; they can tell their story, and it's worth telling. Confidence is key.
Today in Zinsser's book I read, "(When it comes to writing)...a fundamental rule is: be yourself. No rule, however, is harder to follow. It requires writers to do two things that by their metabolism are impossible. They must relax, and they must have confidence."
So there we have it. An intangible, immeasurable, yet crucial part to any story. Confidence. Not grammar, structure, point of view, imagery....of course those things are important and necessary, but your story- my story- won't go anywhere unless we are confident that the world needs to know what we have to share. I do believe that each of us, somewhere in our life's experience, has been given a story that only we can tell. Have you ever thought of confidently writing down yours?
Posted by Beth Coulton