I have been really looking at reviving the passion for writing I had. I passed up developing that passion for a practical career in the sciences that I could really support myself with when I was younger. My mom drilled it into me that I needed to be independent from any man, and I needed to stop daydreaming all the time. I think she helped kill that creative side to me and the trust I had in my abilities.
I had come across an email I sent to a friend of mine in 1999 that included my dream of becoming a writer.
It’s here in case you wish to read it.
I realize that I have judged myself throughout my life regarding my own writing. I was a really harsh critic of myself, and even with regards to my own penmanship. I would get so hung up on my uneven handwriting and making mistakes, that I would re-write things needlessly rather than letting them go. Thank God for personal computers and the fast way to edit.
Yet, even though I have lost some of the finer details of the mechanics of writing, I still realize I have a passion for expressing myself. I have been blogging since March of this year, and I realize that while most of my writing is far from perfect, I realize that I can get into these phases where I just. must. write. Something. Anything.
I’m always writing long posts on message boards. I’m always writing my friends long and well thought out emails, I even write out carefully constructed letters to my daughter’s teachers that are usually more than 1 page long. Occasionally I just have to stay up late to compose a blog entry before I forget what I wanted to say.
I think of trying to cultivate that aspect of myself again. But I realize I still have some hang-ups. Every time I think of writing (and I mean seriously, not just blogging), it’s with the self-doubt that I can’t say anything that hasn’t been written before and better than I ever could. And I certainly couldn’t make a career out of it.
And yet, I can’t stop writing. I can’t stop wanting to express myself. I have this need to write. The more I write, the more I find myself liking to write. And yet, I feel like I’m writing in a vacuum. That nobody cares about what I have to say except me.
I read a book called Schuyler’s (pronounced Sky-ler) Monster recently. I knew of this title instantly because once upon a time I came across her father’s blog while blogging, read it for a while, then had lost the irl and forgot about it again. It was written from the perspective of Schulyer’s father about his daughter’s condition of Polymicrogyria – a very rare brain disorder. Three things shocked me tremendously about it.
The first was the very articulate, honest and loving way he used his words to describe his experience with his daughter’s condition and the immense love that his words conveyed.
The second was that my genetics laboratory was affiliated with the research laboratory and neuorologist who reviewed his daughter’s MRI and helped diagnose his daughter’s condition. I was working at the clinical laboratory at the same time he paid a visit to the neurologist to get some more truth than just what they were initially told. I didn’t know it at the time, of course. But it stunned me to read that I was there just doing my work when he was handed some devastating news about the real prognosis of his daughter’s condition.
The third is that my own daughter is also afflicted with an inability to speak as well, only that the huge difference is that in my daughter condition, selective mutism, her inability to speak is reversible through a very gradual process of reducing her anxieties so that she feels safe enough to speak; with Schuyler, hers is irreversible and is a permanent brain condition that simple therapy will not improve. It broke my heart to read about that, and yet, his father manages to transcend through the limitations of his daughter’s condition and sees that she has much to teach him. She has a strong and beautiful spirit despite the silence she lives in.
I realized something really really important as I was reading through my tears.
Writing has the potential of connecting people who otherwise might have no reason to be connected. The gift of expressing oneself through writing can have unexpected but very positive consequences for another.
Even though I have a rule that when I go to the bookstore, I only read books while I’m there and save myself the expense of buying the books, I actually bought his book, and hoped my little contribution helps his little girl in some way.
I used to think if I could just reach one person with something I wrote, it would be worth it. I have this phenomenal need to express myself…
Only, I also have this equally large need to feel like what I have to say is worthwhile.
But sometimes I think it’s selfish. I should be cleaning my house right now, and getting ready to go to a wake later on tonight. But I can’t turn off my thoughts, can’t turn away from posting at the moment because I need to think this thing through and ask some questions.
How do you make time for writing and family?
How do you quiet the voices in your head that tell you your writing isn’t that good, and what you have to say doesn’t really matter?
From a practical standpoint, once you do decide to ignore them, how do you get started? It’s been years since I had writing classes and knew how to write properly.
I took a creative writing workshop many years ago. One of the best pieces of advice I got was, “write about what you know”. I didn’t know a lot back then, but I think I do know a few things now.
I don’t think I want to write non-fiction works, but I like writing about my life, and I think I would also like to write some non-fiction children’s science books, or possibly writing articles for science magazines for children, but I have no idea what kind of qualifications they require and if it’s something I could do from home.
Someone from a mothering website once approached me on my blog about possibly publishing one of my writings for an online article. I was so excited, told my husband and was getting really thrilled at the idea. But I think I responded too late because I never heard back from the girl. That made me think that maybe I wasn’t all that great of a writer.
Still, I don’t want to let that deter me. I’ve always been able to go after what I wanted, only I’m really not sure how to make that happen and keep up the belief in myself I can do it.