Sunday Scribblings #76 — Writing

Standard

It would be nice to say that I have been writing since the first day that I could hold a pencil. It would be even nicer to say that words just pour out of me on demand. And, of course, neither statement would be true.

I have read other blogs and the writing is so much more evolved that what I do. It’s really intimidating to read blogs written by college graduates and lawyers and editors and the ideas and beliefs that they abide by. I’m a country girl from the foothills of the Adirondacks — when I graduated from high school, college was for the well off kids, not so much my lower middle class group. Not that I’m having a pity party — I like my life just fine, in spite of the screaming lefts and rights it’s taken with me in tow.

When I was in high school, one of my classes was a creative writing and public speaking class. The teacher was a young woman, maybe all of 25 or 26 years old. Having always been a ravenous reader, I thought that to be a good writer, you had to write stories like the books that I had read. I would pattern my stories and articles after what I believed constituted good writing, parroting the writing styles of other authors. I had all of the grammar and punctuation correct, wrote everything very neatly (no computers back then!!) but still couldn’t seem to pull the grades that I thought I should be getting. I would feedback from the teacher “too trite”, “too dry”, “lacks animation”, “no imagination” — I couldn’t figure out what I was doing wrong for the life of me.

Then we were assigned a story that we were to write in outline form and speak in front of the class. We were to take questions and answer them as well as we could. I must have been channeling Stephen King, because this was 1970 or so, and he hadn’t hit it big yet. My recital would be about vampires.

And I aced it. I talked about vampires and sunlight and silver bullets and coffins and the earth from their graves. Elaborated on holy water and non-reflections in a mirror and garlic. Still using my outline, I embellished and enhanced and shot the bull in general. Being more than three decades ago, I don’t remember everything I said but I remember that it kind of took on a life of it’s own and instead of a stiff, dry report, it turned into a story, complete with the rambling that I still do today when I write. Imagine my surprise when I finally got the A that I wanted! Apparently what I was doing wrong was not writing in my own voice. Once I started writing what my head was saying instead of emulating other writers, everything fell into place.

Long story short (something I’m not really able to do very well) I look at what I do as story telling that I write down on my computer. I don’t have any deep and abstract thoughts to impart to others, just stuff that happens in my life. If that makes me a writer, then I’m a writer!!

For more thoughts on writing, check out Sunday Scribblings

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13 thoughts on “Sunday Scribblings #76 — Writing

  1. Write about whatever comes in your mind. After a while it starts flowing. I was scared of structured poetry. Now I do it better than free verse. I taught myself to. Unless we overcome our fear, we can do nothing.

  2. I loved what you wrote and how you wrote it – the kind of storytelling gift you have can’t be taught, no matter how many years at University. To my mind the thing that makes a good writer is the courage to write in your own style, whatever that may be, and to trust yourself in that. And if one reads enough the ‘rules’ become intuitive, so that there’s choice to break them or not.
    Once again – I really loved reading your piece… thanks.

  3. Olsum

    Stuff that happen in your life is precious to the readers. This post is a good example of your sincerity in communicating with bloggers. You’ve written from personal experience and it is an excellent post!

  4. Marcy

    Thanks Gautami — and I have to say, I envy your poetry writing. I can’t seem to get my head around it enough to try it myself. Perhaps someday I will post something but til then, I’ll just be content read yours and enjoy!!

    ********************************************

    Thank you for your kind words danae and Olsum — it can be a bit scary writing down bits of your life and then flinging it out there for everybody in the blogosphere to read — and hopefully not judge — but reading compliments like yours encourages me to continue blogging. Thanks again!!

  5. Yes, you are a writer, pure and simple. I enjoyed that story of your story. The wonderful thing about writing is that there is room for all styles. If everybody copied everybody else’s style, everything would be the same, and dull, dull, dull. There is life in what you write. Write on!

  6. You are definately a writer. I tell my writing students (of all ages) to “write what you know”. It is also common for you to have copied those other writers and that wasn’t a bad thing. What that did was give you good models so when you were ready to branch out you had that structure. The joy in this story is your found your voice. I love that moment when my students find their voice. It doesn’t happen with all of them. It doesn’t even always happen with adult writers. When you write about what you care about, whether is is your grandbaby, a trip to the beach, or making socks; you have voice in your writing. Keep it up. I wish I could help you with the new name . I will think on it.

  7. Marcy

    Thanks C — your compliments mean a lot to me. I can remember being told in school that I needed to find my “voice” — wasn’t quite sure what that was until I started writing like I spoke to people. For me, that was it.

  8. That certainly makes you a writer ~ writing is story telling, and sharing our stories is one of the greatest apsects of writing, and this whole bloggins business. The best and truest writing comes from the heart, and you do that extremely well!

  9. lisrobbe

    Yes, you are a writer. Some of a writer’s best material comes from the things that happen in their lives. This post was great and really touched me.

  10. “I don’t have any deep and abstract thoughts to impart to others, just stuff that happens in my life.” Much of that “stuff” is what makes us come back for more. Yeah, you’re a writer.

  11. All writing, no matter the length, no matter the form, is simply human expression. A constant diet of ‘deep writing’ will make a reader insane. We need lighter personal stuff… just stuff about being human.

    I enjoyed reading your post here… so I guess you are a writer! 😉

  12. Gautami, I greatly appreciate this post. I grew up in a family of “reading machines”! All four of my siblings, as well as my mother, could read read read. I, on the other hand, wasn’t quite so skilled. I had a difficult time comprehending words as I read them and was a slow reader. I so much wanted to be like the rest of my family! Now I am. It took years of work and determination and it was worth it. I’ve also penned my first book and am working on a second one. As a fellow ‘Dacker, let me just say, we don’t give up too easy, eh? LOL, take care.

  13. Hello, Marcy. I am so glad you found a way to your own voice. Some years back I found a book for someone I worked with called “If You Can Talk, You Can Write.” I don’t remember now if it helped her a lot, but the sentiment was certainly something I was behind. If people can just think of writing as talking with a pen or a keyboard – at least as a place to start…

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