Friday, March 22, 2013

The why

Writing is my escape.

I’ve been writing for over twenty-five years now and it has never occurred to me that I might need to explain my need and/or desire to write.

I was on Twitter this morning and there are several fellow writers that I follow, including one guy who dove into detail about why he writes. He’s been writing since May and is considered an avid blogger. As he poured it out on the page, his reasoning was sound and his methodology was solid. This is a guy who writes because it truly makes him happy, but even more than that, it is quite literally who he is.

So I sat there, sipping my coffee, considering for a moment why I write. I started thinking about the years I have spent putting my thoughts down. For a long time, I kept those words very private and then slowly I started sharing my thoughts.

That release of words from my brain onto paper was nothing short of miraculous for me. It kept me sane when all I really wanted to do was scream. For the last several years I have posted most of my writings online, with the idea that maybe others could relate or possibly benefit from anything my rambling heart might say.

To some degree, writing is visceral. Instinctually I will grab a pen and paper and write based on something I heard or read. I do it because I feel it’s the right response to the questions and statements in my head. Sometimes all I really need is an opportunity to let those words get out of my brain and onto paper.

What’s always fascinated me is, once I get the words out they become more alive, like they could give life or take it away depending on who was reading them. Words are like that, in so much as they have the ability to create or destroy. We build up or tear down with our words and it makes no difference whether those words are spoken or written, they can have the same impact. Once I get them out of my head and onto paper I reveal their intent. This fact has helped me shape a lot of my most current works because I have become much more reflective of what I have to say.

Not once have I given any serious thought to a book, though. It seems I have enough content built up of a few choice topics that would allow me to consider such a venture, but I’m not sure I was built for such scrutiny. Once I post something online, I can advertise it’s there if I think the post was good, or I can leave it for others to find, knowing in my own sheepish way that the article may be offensive to some, or that it may be too specific for a broad range or readers.

It’s odd how writing can be so freeing at one moment, then create a certain amount of anxiety the next. It’s like my right hand has the pen but my left is chained to the desk. Regardless, I pray that when you read this you can envision the colloquial nature with which it was intended, knowing that I could very well have just told you all of this. At the end of the day, I am thankful for the chance, however, to share what’s been on my mind. It is truly, my escape.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Blog away

Blogging is many things to many people and over the years, it has become an exceptional tool aside from what it means specifically to each writer. As a writer, I have enjoyed blogging for many of those many reasons, including the opportunity to clear my head some days. Posting to my blog can be very refreshing, like finishing something productive and looking back on your work knowing the task is done and you won't have to do that again. So much of my motivation for writing over the years has been to get my thoughts onto paper, just to free up hard disk space in my brain, allowing me to think freely about other important, or inane, topics.

Lately I have found that I am writing less, taking notes less, journaling not at all and therefore not getting thoughts out of my head. This has created an issue, not unlike packing 40,000 people into a 30,000 seat stadium and expecting to pack in another 20,000. I attribute this latest writing block to the busy-ness of life, but ultimately it is just an excuse. It's certainly not for lack of desire, or for lack of content with which to write about. I have 2 kids after all and my blog could write itself with just the drama of a middle school girl. But what I need most is simply to sit and write. I know it's therapeutic and I understand the stress relief that accompanies writing, but those are not motivating factors. I have also written from the perspective of being angry and using my blog as a platform to vent my frustrations, which is in itself a form of stress relief but again, even with all that is going on in the world, even with the plethora of things to write about, I still lack the motivation to sit down on a regular basis.

So much has changed in the last several years and just the other day it caused me to pause and reflect. Ten years ago I was truly a different individual. I was married and was about to be a dad but I lacked any real maturity that age and experience brings. This last ten years has seen such monumental change that I'm not sure I could have predicted where I would be or what I am considering as I look just 5 years into the future.

When people talk about the formative years of a child they refer to a time when there is major growth in areas of physical, mental and emotional states. But not much is said regarding the formative years of an adult mind. The reason for that to me seems simple because as we grow we mature and as we age we hopefully become wise with time and experience. But the transition into adulthood seems to happen at age 18 and then magically we become adults. This is simply not true. Most 18 year-olds I know are hardly prepared to live on their own nor do they comprehend the world as a whole beyond their own street. I know there are exceptions but this is the rule. Most men and women spend 10-15 years transitioning into adulthood after they turn 18, which means that the formative years for an adult are between 18 and 33.

Instead of conquering that fact, we as a society expect our 18 year-olds to do things they are truly not ready for, like live on their own, fight for our country, become parents, manage the stresses of a job, pay bills and so on. I personally find it appalling that we as a society expect so much but help to prepare so little. Home Economics classes in high school are wonderful but they are merely a drop in a very large bucket. If every one of us had the opportunity to move away from home and attend college following high school, we might have learned independence, self government, discipline and many other traits necessary for life in this world. But sadly, the cost of higher education has kept many kids from having an experience like that.

As I reflect on my life during that time it was a tremendous opportunity for growth that I failed to grasp and manage. Looking back, those formative years of my adult life were laced with a rebellion of sorts. I didn't want to grow up but I wanted all the responsibility and respect I thought I deserved. My body may have graduated high school at 17 but my brain put the transmission in park for a few years. Only now do I feel as if I have come some sort of distance, able to track maturity as if on a graph, comprehending what it means to be an adult. It's not to say that up until now I wasn't an adult, but I certainly have struggled with moving past some sophomoric perspective in my mind.

I love to write. I love that I can come here and free these thoughts onto this space and then walk away. I can return anytime and revisit these thoughts and even add to them if I choose. Part of these past 10 years has been the ability to reflect on what is necessary for rational thought on a daily basis. Much of my faith has been grounded in the idea that I sit here and rationally believe that Jesus is my savior. I don't question that. But 10 years ago I had no idea what that meant. Age has made a difference, as has experience, but nothing can replace the simple truth that the brain needs to proceed through formative times of learning and I have certainly enjoyed that last 10 years more than any other time in my life.