Thursday, August 15, 2013

Learning to Write Again

When I was younger, I used to write.  Like, Write.  With good grammar and clever words and everything.  I wanted to be a fiction writer.  I went to a week-long writer's camp for several summers and did extra work to pay my way.  I wrote creatively for as many school projects as I could.  Inventive stories bubbled out of me, inspired by everything I saw.  I interned for the local paper.  I participated in my high school literary arts magazine and was head editor my senior year.  In the evenings I wrote long emails and snail mail letters to friends and family on a daily basis. I scribbled in every spare moment in my journals.  I had so many handwritten journals I had my own private library of Ondrea's Innermost Thoughts and Angst. Buying new journals was the Best. Feeling. Ever.

Then I got to college and I slowed down.  I was required to write with a more academic slant.  I was no longer enrolled in classes that prescribed my kind of creative fiction because I was taking classes that would give me Practical Skills for the real world.  Trying to build a career of freelance writing (or anything artsy) worried me because it didn't come with steady benefits like a 401(k) or health insurance.  Plus, science!  I am from several generations of scientists and heard the lab coats beckoning.  My story well stopped bubbling and dried completely.  I stopped reading fiction because I had a hard time finding adult authors I liked, so when I started reading mostly non-fiction.  My emails got sloppy with punctuation and run-on sentences. I switched to knitting instead of scribbling non-stop.  When journaling, it was simply to-do lists and things I needed to remember and bits of inspiration.  I bought no journals.


Suddenly, I am ready to write again.  My story well is bubbling with new prompts, only this time they are mostly non-fiction.  Except it is harder than I anticipated to get my groove back.  I re-read things I write and think I need to be whacked with the Grammar Nazi Stick.  I have an awesome idea but when I sit down at my computer I stare at the blank screen and shuffle words around like puzzle pieces that you suspect don't quite fit but you have to hold them up to the light to see if any shines through the cracks to be sure.

But sometimes, when I hit that sweet spot?  The judgement stops and words flow and they are exactly what I need them to be, grammatically perfect or not.  I don't feel the need to delete.  I look up and realize it's hours and paragraphs later.  I feel my intuition thawing, wiggling, waking up to a writer who the same but different than the writer it left several years ago.  And I think Yes. Welcome back and it's good to be home.  

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