This morning I read a post on Lynn Palermo’s blog The Armchair Genealogist that really spoke to me. It was “Blog to Book:Finding Your Writing Routine.” At times it was like she was reading my mind. I found myself talking back to the computer screen and nodding in acknowledgment. Luckily no one saw me, so there were no mom-has-gone-crazy-again stares.
Lynn shared her story of becoming a writer in this post, and I found it encouraging. Until the last few months I would only tell my closest friends that I had really started to love writing. A few weeks ago I told a complete stranger that I was a writer. It was liberating. It was scary. It was so unexpected! I just blurted it out when I was asked what I do. “oh, you know. I am a stay-at-home mom and I write a family history blog.” Where in the world did that answer come from?
As a child I had been told several times by teachers that I couldn’t write. Which, as with my artist streak (another story about how I believe all I am told) I subconsciously took to heart. I couldn’t diagram a sentence and still don’t understand how to use punctuation correctly. Verbs, nouns, pronouns, adjectives… make it stop! Just let me put the words onto the paper.
I struggled with writing prompts through school, drug my heels on papers, and cringed at the thought of having to share my thoughts or ideas with the class. My one bright spot seemed to be creative writing. I earned repeated praise for my poetry, fictional short stories, and other creative writing assignments. When I was in 4th grade I sat down at the family computer (an apple IIe) and wrote a 10 chapter novel about a girl in colonial Maryland. To be fair, 4th grade was the year I studied Maryland State History. But, I wasn’t a good writer. Nope, not me; just ask all my teachers. Well, except one. When I was a junior in high school my honors English teacher was great. This was the year for creative writing and all of the sudden I was an A student for the first time ever. That should have told someone, anyone, something about me.
Twenty years later and here I sit struggling with the thought that maybe, just maybe, I could be a good writer. Maybe, just maybe, someone would be interested in hearing what I have to say. Could it be true? I know that I type so fast words get lost from my brain to the keys. I know I still struggle with the proper usage of the comma (just ask the poor soul who reads my FTF blogs before I send them off). However I have learned to love the written word again. I now write on a daily basis, and I have found that I could spend hours at my computer putting thoughts to paper if I could.
Does that make me a writer?
Well, besides swallow that knot in my throat and take a plunge… any plunge… into the world of free-lance.
I have wonderful friends and family who have been encouraging me to take this leap. Why don’t I write I book? Why don’t I write some articles? Why don’t I do some more research and really write an in depth history of X family? Well… why shouldn’t I?
First… I just have to kick this fear of failure to the curb. Yes, I have to get over the fact that I may fail. On the other hand I could be a sucess. Just need to throw that doubt out, like I somehow did when I started this blog.photo credit: Joel Bedford via photopin cc and Dave Dugdale via photopin cc