Friday, December 3, 2010

The Blogging Challenge - My Life as a Writer

 by Olivander on flickr
I've gotten behind on the challenge, which fits perfectly with how I'd describe my life as a writer.  I also dug back into an old blog post I wrote on this very topic almost a year ago when I was struggling with the exact same things.  As I read the old post I realized that it still summizes this part of my life perfectly...

Originally posted on December 4, 2009
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...

During the last three weeks I haven't exactly had writer's block but I have certainly allowed other things to distract me from putting ink to paper.  Or maybe being distracted is just an excuse for covering up writer's block - anyway.  I was forced today to write something to meet a seriously quick deadline so I put my headphones on, closed the door and got it done in record time.  It was actually pretty good and the sense of accomplishment I had at completing it and pleasing the person I was writing it for made me feel great.  I think writing for others makes the difference. So...whether it's writer's block or distraction I'm getting back on track!


Maria Mallon & Cheryl Dillard said...

Don't worry little llama -
you had Llama, Llama writer's drama. It is known to come and go - sometimes words don't simply flow.

So next time you put those headphones on,
Little llama will write till dawn.
Keep that writer's block at bay -
And little llama will have lots to say!!! MM

Anonymous said...

I think that you should allow yourself some latitude when it comes to writing your blog. When you do post, you always post something of significance and something that promotes thought.

I know that we are trying to all meet some self-imposed frequency criteria, but I would much rather read what you write when you are ready and inspired to write.

By the way, sparking llama drama, as M&M mentioned, is probably just a stone's throw away from a Pulitzer! Good on ya!