Monday, November 21, 2011
Why I Write
The other day I was explaining something which had happened to me and which was related to the topic under consideration and after a bit the person I was talking to just got up and walked out of the room. I followed, but when the person started talking to someone else I obviously stopped my story.
This happens to me a lot. I know I tend to ramble on. My father always said I had logorrhea. The other week I was in a class where I'd been asked a question and another student interrupted me in the middle of my response, which probably was longer winded than it needed to be, to say that I was off topic and then she proceeded to get things going as she felt they should be. Of course, it was not her place to do this. If I were off topic it was the instructor who needed to bring the focus back but so be it.
If people aren't this obvious then they tend to go glassy eyed or antsy. After all these years I've learned to pick up on the signs and I stop rambling. Then I've noticed that I have students with similar afflictions, so to speak, and I make sure, no matter what, that I hear them out and listen attentively to them, knowing what the alternative feels like, and knowing that many of them don't have many people in their lives whom they feel safe rambling on to. And whether or not their current conversation is of great interest to me or not, the student is. I care deeply for my students and so giving them some time to talk and letting them know that they are truly being heard seems a very good thing.
Anyway, these latest incidents have made me realize one reason writing is so important to me. I live alone and don't necessarily have anyone to share stories with, which I know contributes a lot to my tendency to ramble on. But with my writing, I can keep rambling as much as I like. The computer doesn't walk away or limit my words and if it is for a blog post, I will never know if my readers stop reading. True, my pets can get demanding if I write for too long, and it is always interesting to write with cats blocking the screen, but it can be done.
As I've been writing my novel, an endeavor by the way that only my fellow writers on Twitter or Facebook or my blogs seem to understand, I've written a lot more each day. In fact, over this past weekend I wrote 7500 words on Saturday and 7100 words on Sunday! That was a record for me and it felt really really good. I've discovered just how much writing means to me, how important it is for me to be able to create, whether it is fiction, poetry, a diary entry, or a blog post. It is a way to communicate with myself and hopefully with others as well.
Whether I'm writing creatively, something I have just starting to do and have a lot to learn about, or writing blog posts such as this or even writing my end of the day Tanka diary, I find that it is like talking to someone. Of course that someone is mainly me, but I can process my thoughts, see how the day went, or experience the adrenalin rush of figuring out a plot twist. And I do feel as if I am also writing to my readers, some of whom I'm getting to meet through their blogs and their comments on mine, and some of whom I don't know at all, but they are still very important in my thinking. As a result, I have learned a lot about myself from my writing and that is helping in my ongoing healing process.
Nearly a year ago (it will be a year on November 26th) I started writing on a wonderful fun free website, 750 words.com, and I have written at least 750 words each and every day since and I plan to continue that discipline. It helps me to get my words out, to speak my mind, to tell my stories, and to figure out my world. Daily writing has benefits which I never before even imagined. Sure I've written all my life, but always as the result of an assignment. There would be a paper due, or chapter questions to answer or lecture notes to write up. Some of that was really fun. I learned the art of picking paper topics which I enjoyed because at the end, no matter how good the topic, I would be tired of it. But that enabled me to write a doctoral dissertation on Scottish medieval historians views of King Arthur or my thesis for my BA in Latin on modern translations into Latin of Winnie the Pooh, Dr. Seuss, and the Wizard of Oz.
But now I'm writing not for an assignment or a class but for me. I realized a long held dream when I finished the first draft of my first novel. I am not sure where I will go with it, whether I will revise it and eventually self-publish it, or whether I'll move on to writing something else. Regardless of where I might now go, the very act of completing the novel was a major achievement for me and I learned a lot while having a really good time. It showed me, among many other things, just how important writing is for me, and I'm sure that those people whom I do run into during the day will appreciate it also since maybe I won't ramble on at them quite so much. Have a great day wherever your are and thanks for reading!