Friday, December 4, 2009

My Life As a Writer!

Growing up I NEVER thought of myself as a writer, especially not a good writer. My childhood friend Catherine was the writer - and exceptional at it! I was never confident about it and actually found it to be a painful experience. I wasn't always the best student. I was a major procrastinator and daydreamed way too much to ever actually get any thoughts down on paper.

Looking back I'm not even sure I knew how to write, at least not until high school when I landed in the classrooms of two very special English teachers, Mrs. Hedgepath's 9th grade Honors and Mrs. Gobbel's 12th grade AP. Mrs. Hedgepath taught me to write from the heart and express my feelings about the topic at hand. I loved her, her class and every writing assignment she gave me. Headed into that AP class in 12th grade I never, ever imagined I would pass the end exam - after all, you had to write a 5 paragraph essay on some obsure literary topic in 30 minutes or less. Hardly anybody ever passed the essay portion and I didn't even consider it a possibility. But, Mrs. Gobbel taught me to think critically, organize my thoughts and succinctly put it all down. She was confident in my ability, and guess what, I got the essay done and PASSED. I was one of only a few that year, out of group of peers I considered much more talented than me. It was HUGE for me.

So much of my job over the years has required me to write, a lot, and in many different ways. And even though I find myself complaining about the volume from time to time I actually really enjoy it and the thoughts and ideas flow fairly easily once I'm started. That is, until the last few weeks. I have had the worst case of writer's block EVER! I've started and stopped many blog posts, fought through the technical writing my job requires and basically avoided the creative process because it had truly become painful. It hasn't happened but a time or two in the last twenty years, and I have really resisted struggling through it this time, and it has really bothered me. Ignoring the issue was easy since everyone had very carefully avoided asking me why I wasn't writing until my mother in law, whom I adore :), asked me last week if I had just quit my weekly blog. Ugh - you gotta love those mothers in law for holding you accountable just when you need it the most.

So, I committed myself to pushing through it and getting back on the communication bandwagon again. Forgive me if its rough at first but there is a lot of stuff rattling around upstairs and it will take me some time to sort through it and get it all out. Being able to share through the written word is a huge part of who I am and I've missed the creative expression. When I'm writing I am focused and when I'm focused, I am productive. When I'm productive, WATCH OUT! Thank goodness I had two teachers along the way who brought my inner writer to life, writing has shaped who I've become, how I feel about myself and how I relate to every single part of life.

Even though this post has taken way longer than it should've, I'm already starting to feel better...


Dorry Lopez said...

Thanks, mother-in-law! I was wondering the same thing, as each week I look forward to reading your blog, Susan. Whenever I would go to your blog, anticipating to read and learn something new, I felt a little disappointed to find that nothing new had been posted in awhile. It made me wonder if anyone (like my students or parents)looked forward to reading new posts from our own 4-Corners blog. "Do they miss it when we don't write?" I have learned so much about you by reading what you creatively express. In fact, I agree that writing does shape who one becomes because this is the way that I have gotten to know so many of our faculty, by reading their written words. I just love the way that you share your life with all of us so candidly! So know that there are people out there in cyberland who are reading and enjoying your "voice."

Mrs. Metzger and Mrs. Morris said...

I've missed your posts as well. You write with such voice. I'm in awe!
Lori M.

Jenny said...

I was so happy to read to my children last week that Cynthia Rylant does not write everyday. There's something so...intimidating about that. I feel like a failure when I don't write daily - that's what we teach our kids. But, the reality is - I write daily for many many weeks, then I don't write much at all. And, as she said, "When the time is write, I write again." You have to have something to say. Sometimes, for me, it's mostly in the thinking. Prompt writing, for instance - often I remember not being able to get "fired up" about a report or a prompt. But, if I turned it around - and looked at it from a different angle - I might be able to find my voice.

I love to write, and really do consider myself a writer at heart...and I can totally relate to every word you wrote in this post.

If we aren't honest in our writing it's all a bunch of fluff. And, like I tell my kids - cut out the fluff and get to the good stuff! :)

Welcome back!

Suzanne said...

Like you, I never considered myself a writer. Unlike you, I did not have one writing teacher along the way that taught me how. I became a teacher myself and was expected to write for a variety of purposes. Though, I'm still not comfortable with it all of the time, I make myself do it, and secretly admire those that bring a voice to their writing that I do not have, like you. :) I am teaching myself along the way by reading posts produced by others, and feel like it is coming a little easier than it used to.

Mr. Lauer said...

Enjoyed your post... We are all writers, some more accomplished than others, but writers none the less... It is what we do... we need to encourage this in all of our students.. kind of like breathing...

Wanda Lankford said...

So often we don't like to share about something that could be received as a weakness. You have no idea how powerful your testimonies about your life are to others. Thank you for sharing!
Love, Wanda

Anonymous said...

I have missed your blog as well. I look forward to reading each one. You write with wit and importance. I also know that doing the above sincerely really cannot be done on a schedule. So, I'll take what I can get:-}

Growing up, I thought I was great writer, but my dad bluntly told me just how bad I was when I hit junior college. I am so glad he did! I learned a bunch from his honesty, and now I write pretty well, but only if I am truly inspired to write. I write two things really well. I do sarcasm really well, and I also can scribe for causes of inequality or injustice. So, now you know.

By the way, and I hate to ask, but have you finished that T.O.Y. reccomendation? :-}!


Anonymous said...

A 92 year old dear man once told me after reflecting on his life, "If you don't write it down, no one will remember you."
Pretty smart man!
Writing is a form of expression that must be tapped in all of us. Some I believe are natural writers, some like you and me have to be taught how to write. I am thankful I had an experiece my first couple of years of teaching that showed me how to write and to engage children in writing. I love teaching writing to my students. I enjoy most genres, but poetry is my favorite. It is amazing what you can learn about a child through poetry.

CB and the Sunshine Band said...

writing a blog, has be enjoyable.. and sometimes we just need a breath of fresh air for our creativity :) Thank you for sparking newness to our work everyday! You are inspiring :),rachel b

Mrs.Mallon & Mrs. Dillard said...

My Susan,
So glad your writer's block has go have some fun...and then write about it! :) YM

Moena said...

This post touched my heart, because being transparent is difficult. However, you seem to have this very magical way of making it look easy. Thanks for sharing again, you inspire me to be better!