“Writing is an exploration. You start from nothing and learn as you go.” — E.L. Doctorow
If someone told me as I first started writing about nine years ago that my writing would be a never ending journey, I’m not sure I would have set out on that particular path. Granted, most people start writing for a reason, which usually includes the buzzing of character voices and ideas that won’t shut up. That was my case, and even with that warning I probably wouldn’t have had a choice in the matter. I find writing to be the only way to get the voices to shut the hell up (yeah, that makes me sound pretty certifiable huh?). But it’s the idea of the never ending that might make most people bulk, though I have learned since then that never ending can be a good thing.
When I started writing, I didn’t even know how to put a decent sentence together. Of course back then, I thought I could do at least that much, but I was young, delusional, and a little stupid. I don’t even dare look back at my writing from the very beginning because I’d cringe way too much. It was embarrassing. Really it was.
Since then, I have actually learned how to use proper punctuation and grammar. I’ve also gotten better at spelling and vocabulary. And I’m damn better at telling a story. Oh and when I first started my dialogue totally and completely sucked. It was a disaster, consisting of such awkwardness and cliches that would make a first grader laugh. But hey, you have to start somewhere right? And while grade school sort of failed me in the writing department (whether by lack of proper instruction or my lacking of paying attention––the jury is still out on that one), I made up for in my own determination to teach myself better writing skills.
I also learned a lot about myself as I wrote. This wasn’t an obvious thing at first. In fact, many of my first writings were pretty shallow or so deep you’d need boots to wade through all the gunk. I just sort of threw stuff on paper just to get the wheels turning (and believe me there was a lot of gunk to break loose). I didn’t actually see writing as a learning experience for myself until about three or four years into it. But the changes came. I became more confident in myself, more disciplined about my time, and more focused with my thoughts.
As time wore on, I even noticed my writing making me more social (I know hard to imagine a solitary activity doing such a thing but it did). I sought out others who liked writing like I did and in turn discovered new fabulous friends I’d never would have met otherwise. I also became more active online because of my writing, which included starting up this blog, a twitter account, and a Linked In profile. I’ve learned the benefit of doing lots of research not only in my writing but for my personal life as well.
But the most important change has been my change of mind. I am soooooo much more open minded about things than I used to be. Issues that would have bothered me a few years ago don’t bother me now. Things I would not have stood up for before are things I now don’t mind stepping out and saying, “Hey, this is right or that is wrong”. I have been able to solidify my own beliefs instead of relying on others to tell me what to believe. I don’t feel like one of a pack. I am my own person and I am who I am for better or worse. And I love myself, all the good and the bad.
My writing has been a lifeline for me. It’s proven to be the backbone of not only learning to write better but to live my life better as well. Writing has become an exploration of thoughts and ideas, and of the human condition. It’s become a way for me to question everything around me and to try out different expressions of myself. Over the last nine years, writing has morphed into more than a hobby or pastime, writing to me is a way of life. And now I realize that I am thankful that the writing journey never ends. I am thankful for the exploration of all of life, including my own.