Writing: A Love-Hate Relationship
Please don't misunderstand, I absolutely love writing this blog. The only problem has been my feelings about writing in general. I've never been one for words and writing...at least in the formal sense. Sure I kept journals in high school (never diaries, those were for girly girls...most decidedly not me). I even wrote poetry, albeit angsty teenage poetry. But I never liked writing for school. It had too many rules, too much structure, and absolutely too much thinking and anxiety. Reading, that was more my jam, I will unashamedly admit to reading in many of my high school classes...blatantly, especially when the topic was extremely boring (probably happened more than I should admit).
I had every intentions of writing well, and the correct way. Meaning collecting ideas, writing a draft...or two or three...possibly having someone else look it over, and finally writing up a final draft to be turned in. Unfortunately, this was far from how it actually went down. I know my writer friends and my author husband often cringe at my retelling of my writing habits from high school and throughout college, and honestly, I think, I do understand, now. But I was also severely impatient and unable to contend with moving from what felt like right brain activities (graphic design classes) to such a left brain one (writing papers). The only time I did write a paper per the normal was when I had to show my work, as it were, and the only occasion, I remember, for that was in the two Composition classes I took as a freshman in college.
So, you may wonder, how did I write papers? Well, it was simple, really. I procrastinated, often until the night before (sometimes the night before that), then I would sit down in a panic, complaining that I didn't like writing, I wasn't too great at it, and many other defeatist things. Then I would write in one sitting, in one go, start to finish, no looking back. You heard me, I would write the paper beginning to end without many edits and call it done. Almost never looking at it or reading it again. Probably because it wasn't the best writing but it also wasn't the worst either. When I had the time and inclination I would have my husband look it over and make the edits needed. I wouldn't even check his edits, as soon as I was done, I was DONE! I was free!
Writing now, for this blog, has been wonderfully edifying. I am finding I have a lot more patience for it and I enjoy not having the constraints of minimum or maximum word or page count. I've always been a bit concise, saying what I needed to say about a subject in far less space than I was required to use. I still remember writing a paper where the constraint was words and I was 5-10 words short; you read that right, WORDS. I was so worked up over the stress and other things that surrounded my writing during that time that I couldn't and wouldn't add those needed words. And that stressed me out even more. Now, I write what I want and how much I feel fits the subject at hand.
Somehow, without me realizing, I've moved from loathing writing to actually enjoying it. Papers and school-related writing aside, I actually find I look forward to writing for my blog. I now, more often, find myself up late, writing, and not wanting to stop to get some sleep. I'm actually getting enough enjoyment out of writing that I'd put off sleep! Old habits die hard, though, because I still find myself procrastinating, stressing out and telling myself negative things about my writing skills. I still want to write everything from start to finish and never read it again. I resist these things as best I can, but they can still get the better of me. The true edification comes from learning how to move forward even when your old habits, thoughts and processes try to override your growth.
You, too, can change your thoughts and improve your life. Okay, I've got to be completely honest here, recently I've been listening to a great podcast called Changeability (Kathryn Bryant and Julian Illman are wonderfully witty, funny and very British). They talk about changing your mind to change your life. I've started from the beginning (they started in 2014) and currently, where I am, they are talking about our negative thoughts and how they can keep us from ever stepping out of our comfort zone or embarking on an adventure of change. They keep us locked up tight, but if we examine our negative thoughts and beliefs to see which ones are really valid, we can discover that there is no good reason for ideas like: I'm a terrible writer (to keep it thematically appropriate). This to me seems to get at the underlying problem rather than just treat the side effects thereof.
So, there you have it, my love-hate relationship with writing that has, really, turned into a pretty steady, loving relationship. I've still got trust issues because of school papers, but we're working on it. Anyone can do this with whatever you've got on your mind as something you keep shutting down for one reason or other. Examine the underlying thoughts; are they true? Take a journey of your own, enjoy a change adventure. Coming from someone who is a self-proclaimed change disliker, it has generally been a good ride, as long as I am actively trying to learn, grow and improve myself.
One Last Note
Creativity covers so many fields and skills. I've long had trouble freeing myself to that truth. In writing this blog, I've found a creativity that I never thought I'd tap, and that is helping me build up my artistic creativity again. Creativity produces more creativity.