When I'm angry or sad or happy or proud, invariably one of the first things I have to do is talk it out. I will sometimes share thoughts with a friend or two on the phone, but one of my best friends and I have more of an emailing relationship. There have been times that I have picked up the phone to call her if something seems very important to me, but writing it down and sending it and then reading her thoughtful responses seems to work for both of us. I am just now realizing that perhaps in many ways it even works better for me--that perhaps as much as seeking her encouragement or council, I am fulfilling a necessary urge to get the words out of me and into print.
When Amanda was diagnosed with a minor birth defect when she was a newborn that resulted in her wearing an eye patch and shortly thereafter eyeglasses, I wrote to sort out my feelings.
When a pregnancy ended in miscarriage at sixteen weeks, I had to write about it. I emailed friends and I journaled and I essayed.
It's a hobby, a gift, a pleasure. Like any hobby or passion, if the skills aren't honed, they deteriorate. When they are used and flexed, the muscle grows. My strength as a writer depends on my training, my focus. My skill may or may not improve, but the call and enjoyment of it will strengthen.
I can look back and see that it's always been something I pursued. When I was in junior high school, my friend and I had a journal that we passed back and forth. We were going to write The Great American Novel. When I had a job after college that had a lot of downtime, I sat at the computer and wrote stories. Other times I have set this interest aside for others. That's why I'm enjoying blogging so much. I started writing, and then fed by the feedback and interaction and inspiration from reading other bloggers, I have kept writing. It is a vehicle to participate in my hobby of choice. Just as I enjoyed scrapbooking more (and was more faithful to that pursuit), when I lived two doors down from my Creative Memories consultant and got together monthly with other neighborhood friends to work on our albums, adding the sense of community to writing, which is essentially a solitary pursuit, has enhanced it. Just as someone who begins working out might also become interested in better nutrition, the writing desire has also rekindled the reading desire. Words, in any form, are my leisure activity of choice.
Recently I wonder if blogging is keeping me from other writing that I want to do (for articles or stories), but I don't think that's what matters right now. What matters is feeding the urge and giving myself time to wear the title of writer. We think nothing of claiming names that go along with other hobbies: runner, scrapbooker, book-lover, even artist.
Are you a writer?