Sunday, May 2, 2010

You Write Best What You Know Best

Far too many years ago than I care to admit, I enrolled in a college writing course that was more challenging than I wanted to be challenged. To that point in my life, writing had always been easy, words seemed to flow in a way that allowed me to do quite well in school. However, this course was different. Each writing assignment I completed was returned with a less than stellar grade that not only bruised my ego but threatened to cancel my scholarship. Sensing my frustration, the professor wrote something at the bottom of my essay that would change my life forever.  Her hand written words were quite simple: "You write best what you know best."

As I contemplated her words, they seemed to give me a sense of empowerment, an inner confidence that I could do this. From those simple words I found the direction that I had lacked: Write what I know best. So I began to write... I wrote about what was important to me, what I had experienced, what I could visualize, what I could feel. In essence, I began to write what I knew best. My passion was reflected in my words and my grades soon reflected my passion. My inner desire to write was fueled by this great professor (did I ever thank her?)

I finished the course, kept my scholarship and eventually graduated from college. Three weeks after I graduated, I married my sweetheart, had eight children and lived happily ever after.

I remember that experience as though it were yesterday and have often paused to reflect on it, most often when one of my children needed help with their own writer's block.  There have been a handful of times throughout the past many years, that I, myself, have actually put pen to paper for something other than journaling or notes to my children. (Oh but they were always the finest of notes!) I would often remark to my sweetheart that my greatest work is my children and that certainly holds true to all that I have ever written. I delight in the fact that each of my children have become excellent writers and wonderful human beings, contributors to this world, compassionate and caring. They have been my life's greatest work and will always be my life's greatest joy.

There is that one aspect of my life, however, that seems virtually unfulfilled. Until perhaps now. It's time to rekindle the flame! I have tales in my head that long to be put to paper, and now when most of my children are off creating their own families, seems like just the right time for me to finally develop this talent. 

So I begin today! I am enrolled in a Creativity Workshop hosted by Merilee.

My goals for this course:
  1. Manage my time well to allow writing to be an important portion of my life.
  2. Develop the ability to paint with words, to allow the reader to see what I see.
  3. Capture the ideas that are the most meaningful to me.
  4. Focus on Me. (This one will be my challenge, a mother rarely finds time for this.)
This is a good beginning, perhaps I will think of more as we get underway.  I am excited to take this course and delighted to begin this new phase of my life.


Unknown said...

I hear you about the "focus on me". Mothers never get time to themselves!

I like your goals (and I'll pinch a couple, thanks!) but I would also like to see you drill down to some specific topics, areas you would like to explore with your writing. Different styles, characters, settings, genres?

Anonymous said...

I hope that you are able to focus on yourself - after raising eight children I think you definitely deserve to! It's so wonderful to hear how your own passion for words has been passed on to your children. It's something I hope I can do for mine as well.

Anonymous said...

I love that your teacher said, "Write what you know BEST." So often, the advice stops one word short of that, which is stultifying. What we know best can be applied in many story settings.

Thank you for commenting on my portrait.

KellyAnne said...

Looking forward to great things... :)
Although the "focus on me" part seems a bit counterintuitive... because as you know our greatest joy comes from putting others first! I know what you mean though-- we have to care for ourselves as well or we have nothing left to give!

Rosalind Adam said...

I love the way you want to paint with words and as for No. 4. As a mother/wife/daughter it's my biggest challenge too.

Ona Cruise said...

I took a writing class last fall and LOVED IT! Having a deadline helps me so much - it would appear. Enjoy!

Diana Studer said...

I am sorry I have only just found this Second blog now. Will enjoy rolling forward to see what you have been writing here. Blogging has certainly made me respect journalists and authors. When I see how it takes me most of a day to put together photos and words - for a blog post read in moments. Minutes at the very most!