Not all authors can say they’ve been writing their whole life, including me.
My relationship with the “ink and quill” didn’t formally kick off until I was 10 years old. Half bribed, half dragged into a chair by my 5th-grade teacher, I had a piece of paper and a pencil and the promise that I could skip lunch, recess, art, and music so that I would have time to finish a poem on “Backgrounds” for some arbitrary elementary school competition. Why was I so lucky that I had the opportunity to skip all of my FAVORITE out-of-class activities? Well, my teacher waited until the last day for submissions to tell me that there was a contest. I was excited about rising to the occasion (although I silently resented missing lunch with my friends and eating with her in the classroom). Besides, I knew I wouldn’t need that many hours to complete the task. As a matter of fact, I set a goal to be finished before the music class ended with enough time to sing a few bars before art. I reached that goal and then some. My piece that was barely submitted on time ranked #1 in the Clayton County School District and continued on to place in the top 10 in the state of Georgia.
That went a long way to boost the confidence of a kid who’d just hit double digits and felt like it was time to start making something of herself. Great grades just weren’t as exciting or challenging for me by that time (to be honest, that trend would become a problem for me in college, but that’s a story for another day!), so I needed an outlet. Writing seemed like an interesting venture.
I had a lot of pent-up words to share…even if I just shared them with me.
So, I started with notes and poems and thoughts. Suddenly, everyone knew about my award-winning debut as a poet. There were spare journals, diaries, notebooks and all manner of floral, sparkly, pastel stationery in my room. They seemed to be taking root and sprouting out of the walls, under the covers, inside the drawers, and behind the closed doors of the closet. Every birthday, Christmas, moving day, spring cleaning, or “just because it’s Wednesday” gift featured something to write with or on. The expectation was obvious (yet mostly unspoken)…so was the pressure.
I put away the pen almost as quickly as I’d picked him up. It began to seem more like extra homework to me than free and fun. Of course, I didn’t know it back then, but while writing is my love and my passion, it would always dominate me as well, cracking the whip and taking no prisoners. To be good at writing, it would cost me more energy than video games, and to be great, it would cost me all the negative habits and mindsets that I didn’t want to lose. There was no love lost though. I was just a kid, and it was “just” a hobby.
I was about 16 when I met up with my former love again, and that’s when I really wanted to show him a good time. Except I wasn’t the same girl he’d fallen for back in elementary school. I wasn’t the same girl I’D fallen for back in elementary school. By that point, I’d met new people, had new experiences, and found new loves. I wasn’t as forthcoming anymore. Some parts of me were no longer available to
discuss or even acknowledge. The mutual trust and honesty I shared with a pen and a blank sheet of paper was long broken by unshed tears and forbidden secrets. Whatever I wrote down sounded rehearsed and forced; frankly, my writing during my teenage years just sucked. Unlike my friends who had dedicated journals and diaries, my teen time did not feature good years for me as a writer…mostly because they were just so confused for me as a person.
Luckily, my love and I would be given another chance to rekindle. They say if you love something let it go, and it if comes back…
For me, writing shows me who I am. I can read what I’m saying, and more importantly…what I’m not saying…and get a great picture of what I’m experiencing in life at that moment. Growing as a writer has helped me to grow as a person. The times when I’ve been my most loquacious were the periods of extreme personal and emotional growth, self-love, and a deeper understanding of my mind and my needs. Many times when I’ve gone months or even a year without a new word on the page were times of great turmoil or upheaval for me. Usually, if I can’t write, it’s because there’s a truth that I’m running away from and haven’t come to terms with. Yet.
But the great thing about my relationship with writing [and this is the point I’ve wanted to share with you!] is that my love is always here. Ready to pick me back up and take me to the next level of self-discovery on my journey. To now have an opportunity to monetize my passion is AMAZING…but being in a place where my passion allows me to mentor others on their own transformative journies is more than priceless…
Let me know in the comments or shoot me an email about what makes you write and why writing matters in your life.
Remember: I can’t wait to read what you’re writing.
Reprinted from www.meshellefae.com with permission of the author.