Friday, September 16, 2011

I'm No Ernest Hemingway but...

When I started my blog several years ago it was mainly a way to keep family and friends connected with our lives since we didn't live near most of them anymore. I was never very consistent in blogging until recently when the theme of my blog became more about my journey to lose weight and be healthier. The number of followers picked up and I'm nearing the 5,000 page views mark. I get excited over the little things so that sort of gets me pumped! :) But the truth is, I've always liked to write. I was never much into keeping a diary or a journal although that never kept me from starting one or two but putting words together on a page just came natural to me. Maybe it's because my mom cultivated a love for the written word in me from a young age or maybe it's just a talent, I'm not really sure, but what I do know, is that I love it. Most of my friends complained when we had to write essays in high school but I relished it. I actually loved doing research papers but that didn't stop me from procrastinating. I'm not sure what it is about coming up on a deadline but the night before a paper was due the words flowed like milk and honey for me. The worst paper I ever wrote in college, I wrote two weeks before it was due. Call me crazy but that adrenaline rush that came from trying to beat the clock helped me write some pretty good stuff. I had one college professor tell me I should send in some of the papers I wrote for his class to try and be published. I had another professor keep one of my papers to use as an example in future classes. But for me, writing has always been an outlet. I was never one to voice my opinion in class unless it was something I was extremely passionate. I really couldn't stand those people who always had an opinion about everything and they thought it was important enough to express in class. I wasn't paying all this money for a college education to hear some persons opinion. Let the professor do his job, please. Save it for your paper dude.

Blogging has offered me the outlet that I needed since I've been done with college for six years. There are days when I pull up my Blogger account knowing that I have no clue what I'm going to write about but that I just need to write. Sometimes the words come and sometimes they don't. I've been working on a different post off and on today. It's about something that I feel passionate about but it's also a subject that is making me think so I'm not ready to publish it until I'm confident in what I've written and that I've not only offered my opinion but backed up what I say I believe with the cold hard facts. However, I still needed that release today. I still needed to put some words down and clear my head. Today was one of those days where after I put aside the other post I was working on and pulled up a new one, I had no idea what I was going to write about. I just started typing and the words came to me. But apparently, I needed to tell you why I write.

I had a conversation with a girl in the church parking lot a couple of weeks ago. She asked me if I liked to write or if I had a degree in English or something. I'm assuming she's read my blog a time or two because she said I was good at it. I've had family members or close friends tell me that they enjoy my writing but never someone I didn't really know. Yes, I go to church with this girl and she seems totally cool (I love her style) but we've never hung out or had more than a few sentences conversation. She seems lovely though. We chatted a bit and I told her that I'd been writing a novel...for several years. I don't usually tell people I don't know well that sort of information and to be honest every time I hear myself say those words out loud it just seems weird coming out of my mouth but it's true. I've started and stopped several stories over the years but this one has really become more than just a page or two. At one point, I had typed over 70 pages worth but then I got stuck. Call it writers block, call it whatever you want but the fact is that in the last two years I had barely written two pages. I thought I'd be finished with it by now but I'm not. The world of fiction is a very different world. Just like there are days when I feel the overwhelming desire to write there are times when the story just comes to you and you have to get it out of your head.

That's how this novel really began. Like I said, I had started and stopped several different stories over the years. I had a desire to write a book and it was something I knew that I could do and be good at but nothing I wrote ever felt right until this idea for a story came to me. It was actually something that I heard on the news that gave me the idea so I went with it but 70 something pages later, I was stuck. Now, these 70 plus pages didn't come all at once but over the course of a couple of years. I would write for a while, leave it for a while, come back to it, etc. Over the last year, I have had this burning desire to get back to it, to finish it but my characters, my story line wasn't going anywhere. It needed something but I couldn't figure out what. I even printed it out, read it, made changes, outlined the whole book so I could start again, and still it just didn't feel right. But a day or so after I talked to the girl in the parking lot it came to me. I was actually out for a run when it happened. Since my conversation with her I had been thinking about the novel and wondering what to do with it but near the end of my jog, inspiration hit. I mulled over the new ideas, the new characters and subplot, and the next day I couldn't wait to put it down on paper. The more I have written, the more the story has come to life for me. I go to bed at night dreaming about the characters and where they are headed and what's going to happen next. There is still a long way to go with it but for the first time in a long time, I'm excited and ready to see it through to completion. I have no idea where to go or what to do when I'm done with it but I'll cross that bridge when I get there. For the time being, I'm going to enjoy the ride.

You may have read this whole post and wonder, OK, so what's the point? The point is that I felt the need to write something today and this is where that led me. I feel refreshed and excited when I write. This is why I write. What refreshes and excites you? If you are a writer, why do you write?

"My aim is to put down on paper what I see and what I feel in the best and simplest way." - Ernest Hemingway

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