I’ve always loved words.
I was one of those children who read everything.
I’d read the words on the cereal boxes and whisper them so I could sense how they felt. Riboflavin. Thiamin. Magnesium. I wondered a little about what they meant, and I loved the familiarity of seeing them every day.
I’d make little rhythms out of things written on the side of toys – “Safe, Non-Toxic, Colours Blend” on the edge of the play-dough tub became a little chant for me every time we played with it.
(I know. I was a strange child).
I’d read roadsigns and make words from car number plates.
I’d get caught up in the romantic poetry of Rogers and Hammerstein’s showtunes, and I’d sing them over and over.
I have two early memories of writing.
One is sitting with my grandad as he taught me to write my name pretty much as I still write it today.
The other is a story I wrote when I was about 9. I remember very little of it, other than that I wrote it out longhand on sheets of lined paper. And that it had a rabbit in it, although I don’t think it was actually about the rabbit. I remember a bit of a fuss about it being good, and I remember a bit of me wanting it to be my thing and not something that other people got excited about.
Writing was my place to disappear to.
I’ve written throughout my life, whether it’s been to remember an experience, or to express something and persuade others. I’ve written privately in diaries and found having that space to write hugely therapeutic when things have been really tough. That kind of writing comes really easily to me because I don’t have to worry about anyone else viewing it and judging it.
When I write knowing that my words will be read by someone else, though, I feel that I have to be more careful. I want to craft things properly, and sometimes I know that I over-craft things so much that they become stilted.
I’ve been writing this blog for almost a year now, and I’ve learned so much about writing. I still feel that I’m at the beginning, though.
I guess that one year in marks a good time to set out some writing challenges for the next 12 months:
- Writing more regularly and focusing on practice rather than perfection.
- Following along with more challenges – including word limits – to help me focus on different aspects of writing.
- Attempting to pull a more natural voice through to my writing, so that I’m putting more of me into each post.
- Learning more about writing for speaking. I’ve just done my first prepared speech at Toastmasters, and I’ve really noticed how different my spoken voice is to my written one. I’m guessing that writing for speaking will help with bringing a more natural style to all of my writing.
I want to continue to enjoy it too. More than ever before, the writing I’ve done over the past year has given me huge enjoyment and a great sense of accomplishment. It’s helped me to express parts of me that I don’t normally share, and I’ve started to connect with other people who I admire hugely. I’ve also had some lovely feedback and lots of encouragement.
I’m so very grateful for the privilege of an education that taught me to love words in so many ways.
I wrote this piece for the Dare to Share linkup about Relationships with Writing over at The Lightning and The Lightning Bug.