I want to write about my writing life. Or writing that is my life. Constantly present in many different forms.
I may not be a published author and not many people have ever seen my writing. But I am a writer.
I have submitted a few of my stories for publishing. I have written a few guest blog posts. But other than that, my writing has been completely private.
But it was not sporadic. In my private life, I am a prolific writer.
I usually start my day with three pages of freehand Morning Pages (yes, like all writers I also read The Artist’s Way).
If I don’t wake up early enough to do the Morning Pages and avoid my kids interrupting my flow process, I just put together three pages of a regular stream of thought journaling whenever I can. While my stream mainly consists of ‘to do’ items and organizing items and who I need to call and when, it sometimes generates gems of profound personal exploration.
Occasionally I will write pages on topics such as “Why didn’t I travel more in my twenties” or “I waited for years to wear a miniskirt hoping that I would be skinnier sometime in the future and now I realize that my time to ever wear a miniskirt is definitely over.”
Then there is my fiction writing. It started as a form of escapism.
I was ten when I realized that I can put pen to paper (it was 1987 so pen and paper was all there was) and create anything I want.
That realization alone gave the little girl in me unprecedented freedom. I wrote all the time. In notebooks and on loose pages of paper. In my bed at night under a dim light, whenever I was alone or lonely, and in the school library when the introvert in me needed a moment.
Mainly, I delved into characters. My heroine could have everything I didn’t have, such as curly, red hair, a voluptuous figure that she carried well, a dreamlike voice she used to impress unaware strangers at a karaoke bar and amazing cooking skills. In fact, she is one of those people who watches cooking shows, creates her own meals, cooks for friends out of pleasure and has her own Lifestyle blog that somehow, through no effort of her own, has thousands of kind and friendly followers.
She was not as sophisticated in 1987, of course. Her life changed as mine changed. She learned the lessons I learned and when shit happened to me, it also happened to her, in an exaggerated form. But she handled it so much better. And eight hundred (just a bit over) pages later, she is still there for me to whip out whenever I need to escape for a while.
It goes hand in hand with Toni Morrison’s advice:
“If there’s a book that you want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.”
I certainly did. And I read back through it often.
Ever since I discovered Scrivener a few years ago, I have these pages neatly lined up as scenes in one of the many projects I am currently working on.
Social Media Before Social Media
My first job as a ticketing agent for an airline in 1996 involved making a daily update to our local weather page on the company’s intranet. At first, I just added projected temperatures and the actual weather of the moment. But that quickly got too boring. So I started adding small stories to the page. Things that had happened to me on the way to work, or the night before, loosely weather-related.
I was nineteen years old at the time. Many dramatic things happened on a daily basis. I wasn’t aware that anyone was even reading it until I went on vacation and came back two weeks later to find dozens of messages from the airline’s Stations all over the world in my private queue all inquiring about what had happened to the stories they had all been following.
(This was before the Internet was on every workstation, before any social networking or smartphones, life was different back then)
That unexpected feedback got me to keep on tweeting (hey, yes, that is what it was!) until I moved on to another job a few years later.
Before Social Media, I used to write long, daily emails to one particular friend describing my life in detail. I still like to imagine that all those emails, hers, and mine will be of some interest to someone someday. Our kids perhaps. I kept them all because I am one of those people who keeps all her writing.
They represent years of daily entries that explore politics, opinions, events, heartbreaks, and whatever else was going on at the beginning of the century.
I am a memory keeper. I make photo books for each of our family’s travels, and one for capturing our life events over every year.
I capture our stories in photographs, mementos, and in writing. I keep them printed out and stored and I like knowing that they are there for posterity. Well, at least for as long as I am around. I usually store these little glimpses and notes that I write on a daily basis in Evernote while they are waiting for a copy-paste into a photobook.
I also write occasional book reports on Amazon and Goodreads. As a reader, I am impatient, especially with fiction, and I easily abandon books.
Kindle made this easier for me than ever before. I always read the sample first. It’s easy, clean and time saving. You can delete the sample from ‘cloud and all devices’ as if it never happened. Keeps me organized.
As is the case for most writers, I am a prolific reader and to be that in the 21 century, you have to be in control of your time. I read anything, from literary fiction, sci-fi, fantasy, an occasional thriller to free Kindle books by indie writers to non-fiction on topics such as religion and atheism, social theory and law of attraction, rich and poor dad, minimalism, feminism, organizing, tiny house and sustainability, veganism and animal rights.
I log it all on Goodreads.
And Everything Else
Over the years, I wrote opinion pieces for newspapers, a few guest blog posts, essays for school, the final thesis for my Degree and countless memos and persuasive work letters, policies, and user guides at work.
And all of it combined is my writing life.
It is a part of me that will never be cast aside, as many of my hobbies get cast aside once I play with them for a while.
My writing life isn’t a hobby. It is what allows me to self-explore and make sense of my overly complicated, overly sensitive mind, one that needs constant grounding.
My writing grounds me.