I Need To Write

I started blogging in 2004.

Which I think in dog blogging years that makes me a grandma.

A Blogma?

Aaaanywho…

Prior to starting Jenny On the Spot I had not been much of what one would call a “writer”.

However, I’ve loved the act and art of writing since I won my first writing contest sometime in my elementary career.

Nothing like winning $2 and second place from the Soroptimists to make a kid feel like she’s got talent… I would say as far as “lightbulb moments” go.. this was where I found the light bulb.

Later in life I had the most INCREDIBLE English teacher a kid could have in high school… not that I mastered English under his instruction, but the pivot for me and my relationship with writing came under his influence and confidence in my ability. It was at this point the light bulb turned on.

Then I took this really great creative writing class in college… and my little writing light bulb grew brighter. Eventhough I could never get better than a B-.

EVER.

“You are too wordy, Jennifer.”

It’s true. And today… anytime I cut, cut, cut I always think of Helen Huntley and tell myself she would be giving me a better grade for each cut.

An aside (sorry, Mrs. Huntley)… I think my lightbulb is like one of those 3-ways, except more. Maybe I have TWO 3-way lightbulbs glowing at different intensities.

Hmmm…

I digress.

After college I taught high school history for a year then moved, had babies, etc… and whathaveyou OH HEY! WHERE DID YOU COME FROM 2004!

I had never considered writing a book, but… but this “blogging“? *leans forward… listening ears on… chin on softly folded fist*

It took awhile to fall into the practice of writing.

Especially for a flighty girl like me.

Discipline?

Practice?

FOOLISHNESS!

But in 2008 I I joined my dear friend Jen and countless others in the popular Blog 365 phenomenon.

And I did it. I posted every-blasted-stinkin-day in 2008.

On December 31, 2007 I made a list of over 30 things to write about in hopes to at least write every day in January.

By December 31, 2008, after 365 days of posts, I still had over half of that list yet to complete.

And there were days I wanted to post two, even THREE times.

WRITING BEGETS MORE WRITING.

Enter 2012.

I don’t write everyday anymore.

But I do write MOST days.

And I find that if I go too long without writing I start feeling a little crazy.

No.

A LOT crazy.

To be honest… when I am not able to write I feel like I want to crawl out of my skin.

{I am a little strange, and I am OK with that.}

It’s worse when I have writer’s block or have been feeding my negative self… because when I am blocked I STILL need to write, I just am blank.

And then the negative… as much as I do “keep it real”, I just don’t regularly bring the burden of bills and life to the table so much… especially when the effect of those things are beyond my own story.

And I don’t gossip. One can eliminate TONS of negativity when one eliminates gossip.

OH BUT IT’S NOT EASY.

Other people’s stories can be veeeeery entertaining, no?

This is life. And life is hard. Every day. And it’s beautiful. Every day. My writing has been a blessing to me because I have used it as a way for me to look for the joy… where is the joy?

Of course there’s the to-do list that overshadows my need. Getting the kids to school and paying the bills and being a mom-in-general and laundry and dishes and … when do I write?

I have to write.

I. HAVE. TO.

It’s my creative outlet.

I used to craft more.

And scrapbook.

But that is not my season of life right now.

I like writing because I don’t need a bunch of stuff… glue sticks and cute paper.

I don’t have shop for supplies or plan.

I can just sit and “go”.

Or sit and get up and sit and get up and sit and get up because it’s summer and the kids are home and I write in short paragraphs and choppy because that is how I live.

{I overuse elipsis… and I am OK with that…}

I went to the Evo Conference last week and went to a session on creating your life list lead by Karen Walrond (@chookoolooonks). She gave us a journal and had us write. A lot.

journaling

I made a Love List (things you love) and a Life List – which I will soon be sharing (wheee!)… But that journal. She shared that she free writes for 2 pages every morning and then makes her to-do list. And then she uses it for everything else – notes and phone numbers… receipts. She prints out Instagram pics and tapes them in.

My handwriting has become an embarrassement, but GOSH I love writing on paper with a good pen!

I looked at her journal from across the room and that lightbulb, again, got brighter.

I have been “free writing” for 3 mornings in a row now. FAR from a habit, but it’s the first thing my mind thinks of when I wake up. The act of emptying the puddle/waterfall in my brain when I first wake up has been, frankly wildly freeing.

The to-do list… we are going to need to work on our relationship and my expectation of what I am capable of doing in one day.

I am a realist, but painfully hopeful.

How about you? Do you need to write? If your passion isn’t writing… what is?

And/or do you overuse elipsis too?

********

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18 Responses to “I Need To Write”

  1. Nikki says:

    I love this post because it’s exactly how I have been feeling lately only until you said it, I didn’t realize that that’s how I was feeling. Skin crawling, stir crazy, can’t sit still… I’m pretty sure that the reasons my legs have been so restless at night lately (often keeping me up) is because my hands aren’t writing (go with me on this, K?) but yet, my head feels so empty. Yes, I could talk about school supply shopping, the medical bills pouring in and daily day to day but it’s not going to satisfy me and so my blog, my journal has sat empty. I’m going to re-visit both tonight.

    • Oh Nikki… I know, I know, I know! As I read your words I am nodding wildly… after I’ve “gotten it all out” I feel a lot like I do after I run… clean from the inside and my head just feels so much more settled! Good luck tonight!!! :)

  2. Amiyrah says:

    I do over-use ellipsis too….like, a lot. In tweets, in texts, and anywhere else I can over-use them.

    On the subject of writing, I couldn’t agree with you more. I just did a vlog on my series “closet talks” about childhood dreams, and shared that mine was to be a writer. The older I got, the more distant I became from that dream. Even being an English major wasn’t enough to convince me that I needed to write. I thought that I was meant to just teach. Blogging has helped me realize that writing is what I need to do. Writing is what keeps me grounded and keeps me…ME. What I feel like I can’t say in verbal conversation, I’m always comfortable saying in my writing.

    I do love the idea of free writing, as well. I just finished a book where you had to do a bit of it every morning as an exercise (as well at list 10 things you are grateful for) and it has changed my outlook on my abilities as a person, not just a writer.

    • :) I defintiely feel like I can get a full thought out when writing… not so much in conversation. I have even noticed me choosing to stay home so I can write over an opportunity to get away. Perhaps it’s my heart’s way of helping my slow down?

      You’ll have to keep me posted about that free writing… do you think you will keep it up?

      • Amiyrah says:

        I do think that I’ll keep it up. Or I’ll at least try to. It’s become such a great outlet that I don’t really want to give it up. I know you understand that :)

  3. I love ellipses … love, love, love them … I do! Jenny, this was my favorite post of yours … ever. Thanks for the advice. I too love to write but often I don’t because what I write comes to me “in short paragraphs, choppy” but now I know that’s okay, “because that’s how I live” (I love that you said that!) I say “Go Blogma … write that book” … I’d buy it! Thanks for sharing! :)

    • Thank you Kimberly :) *slips dentures back in* Personally, I prefer to read short paragraphs… I get lost in long ones and find I skim and hop to the end… But most of all, the writing I am most drawn to is the conversational… how that person lives :) I guess maybe I WILL write a book someday… with short paragraphs.

  4. Karen is all kinds of amazing. Her journals – they are works of art and inspiration.

    I LOVE THIS POST>

    Asha had a wonderful natural moleskin notebook at EVO and I went right out and bought myself one..

    Writing. JUST WRITING to engage my brain, to free my soul, to just express…. that is my goal, my desire…

    Love. You…. blogma :-) Laughed out loud and scared the dog

  5. Love this. Yes indeed. Must write always. Compelled. Short and choppy. Long and wordy. I don’t know what I really think about something until I write it out. Backs of receipts. Kids math notebooks. Any time the flash of brilliance crosses my mind. Working on keeping it all — thoughts, lists, etc. — to one notebook, though. Good for my scattered brain.

    • Yes… the scattered brain… so good. If my brain is anything it’s scattered ;) I’ve already taped a couple “sub” notes to my to-do list and it felt good to know I wasn’t going to lose that important “scrap” :)

  6. Jen says:

    My 10th grade English teacher drilled into my head, “Cut the deadwood.” It’s what I remember as I realize my sentences are dragging on and on…

  7. Andrea says:

    Oh yes this is me. I was trying to explain why I post 5 days a week to someone and I was just like I have to! I even used the word addiction but that was the wrong word. I just need it. And I love the phrase writing begets writing. So true!!!

  8. First, I use ellipses now because of you and your blog. I love how it brings something interesting to the writing voice, so I am now officially an over-user on my blog. I’m totally a copy cat in that sense. :-)

    Second, I adore you and I love the idea of having a journal where you free-write, put your daily to-do lists, past pictures, receipts and everything of your everyday life. It will become a scrapbook in it’s own right. See, you’ll be scrapbooking after all! I may have to try to do this myself – it could be very freeing I think.

    Looking forward to seeing your life list! AND, I’m totally putting EVO on my list next year. You go every year right? Will I see you?

  9. Lu says:

    My Jenny, I do need to get back in my writing habit. I admit the challenges and changes I have gone through since 2008 have heavily affected my writing. In fact, it is and has always been an outlet for me, but I still struggle believing I can safely put my words and thoughts on paper.

    I am so glad you took Karen’s class. I took it online and it was awesome! I have this wonderful bunch of information I need to revisit. It is time.

  10. Jo says:

    I need to get back in the habit of ‘putting things down on paper’ it makes my life so much less hectic. It’s like everything is inside my head just swirling around and around and I can’t make sense of it. I need to slowly take inventory and file it in the pages of my blog where I can make sense of it…..

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