Part of me has always wanted to be a writer. From a very young age, I loved reading. I could sit with my mom reading a book for hours on end and never get bored. By my mom’s account, I came home from school one day excited, exclaiming, “Momma, I can read!” Apparently we had been reading three letter words in school and I knew all of the words already from reading with my mom. Reading has always come easily to me.
It’s no surprise, with how much of a bookworm I am, that English class and writing have always come easily to me as well. While everyone else hated reading books and giving book reports, I enjoyed it; I also actually liked working with sentence structure and diagramming sentences. Learning in general has always been a top priority for me and being a strong reader and writer only made learning easier. Of course, the somewhat photographic memory doesn’t hurt either, but that’s a post for another time.
Through my life, I’ve kept a journal off and on, played around with writing song lyrics and poems and even wrote stories with my friends. I remember in high school, a few friends and I started writing a story, in which one person would start by writing a few pages, then pass to the next person to write the next few pages and so on. We filled multiple notebooks that year. The story itself wasn’t anything special, but it kept us entertained and our writing improved through the suggestions of the others involved. The three of us involved had a blast and it will always be one of my fondest memories of those two friends.
In high school, I was convinced I wanted to be a journalist. The idea of traveling and writing for a living intrigued me, so I signed up for all of the available writing classes and English classes I could. I loved the quite time of sitting in the writing classes, just thinking and writing. The only downside were the times where a writer’s block intervened with a writing deadline, but that’s just part of writing for everyone.
It took less than a semester for me to realize I didn’t want to be a journalist. I had no desire to travel to dangerous locales and I feared that if I took that career path, I may be expected to do just that. However, I did have a poem published in the school literary magazine once; though it’s cheesy now, I was pretty proud of it at the time. I never fell out of love with reading and writing and continued taking all of the literary classes I could (except Sci-Fi studies) because they were highly interesting.
In college, we were given an assignment to write an argumentative piece on schooling practices. I wrote about how schools don’t teach students enough practical life skills such as balancing a checkbook or changing a car tire; things I think everyone would benefit from. The professor gave me a D but his comments stated the writing was flawless, he just didn’t agree with me, which wasn’t the objective of the assignment. I’m guessing he didn’t agree because the classes he taught really had little to do with necessity. I argued my grade with him and ended up getting an A.
The following year, I was attending a business college where business writing courses were required; I thought this was a fantastic idea. They covered proper email etiquette, writing memos, technical writing and business to business correspondence; this was a class I still believe everyone should take. The lack of proper grammar and spelling in the correspondence my co-workers send out to customers appalls me almost daily.
Fast forward to my life now and blogging has taken the place of most of my writing. I still sometimes physically put pen to paper in my journal because the act of doing so does something that can’t be replaced for me. I can’t explain it; it’s just different and entirely therapeutic. I still also write all of my goals on paper because I feel it makes them more concrete and permanent.
Last night, I wrote out a few Christmas cards to friends. Sitting at Caribou Coffee with my medium vanilla Northern Lite latte, a stack of Christmas cards, a pen and a notebook was relaxing. Obviously, I need to write more letters and cards to those I care about. It’s something that can’t be replaced, as much as we try to do so in the technological age. A Facebook message just isn’t the same as receiving a hand written letter in the mail. I hope mailing cards and letters is something that never goes away, though with the current state of the Post Office, it seems it may.
Because I love to end my posts this way, I challenge you to sit down and write a note to a loved one. Whether you deliver it via email or mail, or even not at all, just give it a try. You might be surprised how good it feels. Even receiving just a few short sentences in the mail can make someone’s day.