The Writer in Me

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I have always preferred the written word. My head often processes thoughts as articles or stories. I remember wanting to write ever since I first learned the magic of pen to paper. My first story was to be about my grandfather. My last story was about love gone wrong. I have lost, not necessarily the ability, but the urge to write. My head has not stopped writing, but I stopped putting the thoughts to paper.

I do not know the exact moment writing ceased to be an extension of myself. I wrote prose more than stories. I wrote of what was happening in my life. A diary filled with more than the daily goings and more with how the soul observed it. I wrote without thinking someone might read it. I wrote knowing that one day my children might read it. There are very few writings I have tossed. Whether they were good or bad I kept them.

I had librarians and teachers in grade school who encouraged my need to write. They shared books with me that other kids my age had written. I had a high school teacher who didn’t believe kids could write who changed his mind with me and gave me projects that were reserved for students with a higher grade point average then me. I had several college professors with who I had to share my writing, who told me not to give this up. Despite all of this support, I never believed my writing was something that someone would like to read. I never believed it was good and so, with little exceptions, I kept it to myself.

I have family who are very talented. My sister, her husband, and her son are all great at art. They work in all different kind of mediums. I am not only amazed at their work. I am amazed at their confidence in sharing it. They should share it because it is fabulous. I’m just amazed that they can. Being someone who has almost always lacked confidence about her abilities, I watch in awe as they display a new piece of art. My husband is a musician. He plays music for others and does not keep it to himself. He has the ability to hear music and play it simply from that. I know he has some nervousness when he performs, but he is still confident enough to display his talent for others. I just want to know how someone reaches that point.

Everyone has a talent, something they are good at or better at, then someone else. It comes natural. That doesn’t mean you don’t have to work at it, it just means it is a part of you. I have always believed this. I also believe that you should take that talent and use it. Not using it is letting yourself, and, really, others down. I have encouraged other’s that I seen as talented, not just in artistic abilities but other types as well. What I have rarely done is applied that to myself. Why should it be so difficult to encourage one’s self?

Though I do not remember the exact moment I stopped writing, I believe it was around the time of my second pregnancy. With my first son, I wrote to him while he was in utero. My second son did not get that. Probably because my hands were busy with my first child. I think it was more than that. Around the time of my second son my illness became worse and my depression, after a slight reprieve, also kicked in. I noticed. I would take my writings out of the box I keep them in and read them from time to time over the last thirteen years, but I did not write. I tried, but the words refused to come. I would still lay down at night with the writings in my head, but they never made it to paper. My thoughts would be empty the next day. The words escaped me. There was no one to blame but me.

Almost two years after my grandmother’s death, and right before my mom’s, I started to find the courage to start again. I didn’t start, at first, with writing, but with art. When I was a child, my grandmother would take me around to art studios and tell the curators that, someday, her granddaughter’s art would be there. She wanted me to go to art school. I wanted to write. I never thought I was that great at art, though I had moments where I didn’t do too badly. So, last year, I started back with art. I tried a new medium, paint, and practiced. I had started a piece when my mom became ill. It was my second attempt at painting a shore scene and it was for her. I had, finally, completed the picture to my satisfaction. The next morning, without ever seeing or knowing about the painting, she died. My husband hangs it in his office, but I have never painted again.

The confidence I had started feeling before my mom’s death did not end with her death. At first I was still oriented to start-up with writing. I had been thinking of all the faith my mom and grandmother had in me and what strong women they were. I thought of all they had endured in their life time and what they accomplished. I was fortunate to witness that. It brought me to think of what I was teaching my children by not writing or following my dreams. I felt I should at least try. The new year started and I gathered my writings. I sorted through them, filtering out the bad from what I thought was good. I put them on my desk. I entered three onto my computer. Another sad event occurred and my depression hit with devastating force, and my writings sat. They are still there, waiting for me.

It has been months. I started this blog to write and share what I felt I couldn’t. There are huge gaps in the posts I have made. They reflect my lack of confidence, my depression. I find it odd that therapists have encouraged me to write to lessen the depression. I know it helps most people. I know it once helped me. I am not sure I am ready for it. Like breathing, it is an extension of myself. I do not know if I am ready to be that vulnerable. Do I have enough faith in myself? One thing about talent is that you must have the courage to go forward with it. It is more than putting pen to paper for me. It sets me up for criticism, do I have the strength?

I still prefer the written word. There is nothing quite like setting something to paper or seeing it in print. Even if I never write again, my head will still process life as writings. I need to find the strong woman in me, like the women before me, and find the words. I need my last story to never be my last. I need to get back to writing.

8 responses »

  1. I have found that I work best when I am at home in Nigeria. But one learns to work in other places. I am most comfortable in the surroundings, the kind of environment about which I am writing. The time of day doesn’t matter, really. I am not an early-morning person; I don’t like to get out of bed, and so I don’t begin writing at five A.M., though some people, I hear, do. I write once my day has started. And I can work late into the night, also. Generally, I don’t attempt to produce a certain number of words a day. The discipline is to work whether you are producing a lot or not, because the day you produce a lot is not necessarily the day you do your best work. So it’s trying to do it as regularly as you can without making it—without imposing too rigid a timetable on your self. That would be my ideal.

    • That is a very dedicated way of writing. I only write when the mood strikes, but I am trying to write more often. Thank you for sharing your process of writing.

  2. I’ve spent the last little bit now looking at your blog. I’m amazed at how similar our paths have been. I, too have always preferred the written word. I found my love of writing in fifth grade at about age 9. Since then most of my deepest thoughts have gone on paper (or, more recently into my computer). I’ve also suffered with depression for years. So, I can relate to most of what you have to say here and in other posts. I’m so glad to have found your blog tonight. The last three days have been a terrible cascade of disappointments and I needed to find some inspiration to keep going and not give up. Thank you for being sensitive to what is within you! ~Jason

    • Jason, thank you for your kind words. I think the only time I didn’t write was before I knew the alphabet. I didn’t do it for a number of years and it always felt like something was missing. I am slowly, but intently, getting back into it. I’m glad that you found some inspiration in my posts. I know all to well how the darkness and loss of hope can feel. I wouldn’t wish that on anyone. Thank you, again, for your words. It mean’s a lot to me, from one writer to another. ~Britt

      • I certainly did find that inspiration. I will continue to read and look forward to learning more. My best to you!

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