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Yep. It’s come to this. I am going to write about writing. You could blame my writer’s block for this desperate attempt, but I thought I’d share what it feels like to be a writer at heart. To be passionate about writing.
I am not a professional writer (that’s been more my talented brother’s job). I have no real qualifications in writing (other than the fact that I pumped out essay after essay at uni haha). I just love to do it. So I call myself a ‘writer at heart’ because it best describes my passion.
For as long as I can remember, I’ve been a writer at heart. Even before I could actually write! While other little kids were busy drawing and crafting, I was busy scribbling on pieces of paper, hoping that I was somehow accidentally writing real words that meant something. I would ask my gran if I’d written something, if what I had done was ‘writing’, and I don’t know how she answered (I imagine truthfully but lovingly) but I suspect I was not quite the genius I’d hoped haha. Knowing Gran, she was probably her usual lovely, polite self so my feelings were never hurt.
I was the kid who took creative writing seriously enough in primary school to win little awards (a huge deal at the time which involved a fancy sticker from the principal stuck on my work). I would get a creative writing project and go home, scribbling a draft for ages, completely absorbed in a story. It didn’t even feel like homework. For a kid who was always scared of making mistakes or being seen as putting the wrong thing on paper (sometimes sitting at my desk almost paralysed with fear of what people would think if I wrote the wrong thing), creating fictional short stories was so liberating! They were my stories (so they couldn’t be the wrong stories) and they came naturally.
I read a lot too. I was given full run of the school library at the age of six because picture books just weren’t enough. I was devouring Anne of Green Gables novels and exploring different writing styles by authors a little kid has never heard of. My parents knew that the biggest treat of all was a visit to the best book shops in the city, whenever we were there on a day trip. I’d spend forever picking just the right novel and be almost finished by the time we got home (who knows how I read in the car for over an hour without getting motion sickness), asking for another book! Occasionally I’d be told I couldn’t read until I got home!
I loved the Babysitter’s Club series, Sweet Valley High, Goosebumps books and all of those 90s gems. I loved Roald Dahl. But as I got older I also loved Tim Winton, Glyn Parry, John Marsden (you MUST look them up) and a host of other amazing Australian young adult authors. Meeting my favourite authors at school visits was like a dream come true. I was so excited. Almost as excited as I imagine some kids get when they meet their sporting heroes. I still have autographs!
I was the kid who voluntarily read on school holidays, only to return to class to find out those books were going to be studied for the next term! It was awesome because by then I had already fallen in love with the characters and the stories on my own terms.
What a nerd, right?
I never thought so (denial haha), because as I entered young adulthood I read ‘edgy’ books. I liked stories about surfer kids and misbehaving teens. Characters with “issues”. Realistic stuff. It kind of became my favourite style.
As a moody teen, I wrote song lyrics and poems. Terrible, self absorbed stuff about the woes of being an adolescent. I wrote journals that were private and I wrote in journals that my friends and I passed around. I always wrote the longest messages in birthday cards. Everything was an essay, just because I liked an opportunity to write. What a wanker haha.
I think what makes me a writer at heart is that I can’t NOT write. It kills me when I can’t. I actually feel like I’m suffering until I am able to put pen to paper on a certain issue or express myself by tapping away on my computer. It’s how I communicate when words are hard to say, it’s how I sort out my feelings, how I record my memories captured at a certain time. It is my life.
I discovered blogging as I entered adulthood and it was perfect. I could be a ‘published’ writer without being a ‘published’ writer. I could put my thoughts right out there. I could tell the story of my life or discuss an issue close to me. I could share with like minded people or educate those who weren’t. It was all up to me what I put out into the world (and when).
Even social media interests me because it involves the written word. I have no problem with talking in person (trust me), but writing? That’s special to me. Even in 140 characters or less. I like crafting my words. Creating sentences.
It was scary to me ‘coming out’ as a mostly non-anonymous blogger a couple of years ago, asking my real life friends and family if they’d like to have a read every now and then. I thought I’d be dismissed as a time waster who spends too much time on the computer (um…) or seen as a bit of a sad person who needed something else to do (not everyone understands the joy of blogging). While there may be those who quietly have their opinions, the response I have had has been so positive. Maybe some of the people in my life just recognise it’s my passion. Just like there are sports fanatics, car enthusiasts, artists and photographers, fitness addicts. I am a writing freak.
This is one of the reasons I blog.
Does anyone else feel like I do? What is your passion? x