Me, Passionate? About Writing?
My mom or sisters may correct me on this if I’m mistaken, but I’m fairly certain the above picture is the model of typewriter that was thisclose to being the bane of my existence in grade 12. That was when I had signed up for a typing course by correspondence as I had realized polishing my skills on the QWERTY keyboard would help me in my post-secondary education. The only problem was I did not realize this meant I could not be at home and within a forty-foot radius of the typewriter without hearing Mom ask:
“Are you working on your typing course?”
It’s not like she didn’t know when I wasn’t – not with that typewriter. It’s electric drone easily filled the basement where my makeshift typing station was set up on the old kitchen table. Add in the clacking of the keys, and someone upstairs at the opposite end of the house could tell when I was working on the typing course. In hindsight, I know Mom’s question was a roundabout way of telling me to work on it. And it worked quite well, I might add, for I completed the course early and went on to typing glory not only in my two-years-and-a-bit university stint, but also in the office jobs I have had since then.
But at the time it drove me nuts.
There’s a segue I would like to smoothly move into here, but right now it’s not coming to mind, so I’ll jump right in: An unanticipated benefit of my mad typing skills (Ha!) has been in my writing. It was not even a blip on the radar – writing for anything other than school assignments, that is – when plunking myself down in front of the green machine in the basement to run through another typing drill. I did not foresee taking a writing aptitude test I had received in the mail to see if I did, indeed, have any sort of writing-related skills. Sure, I had always enjoyed language arts/English in school. But writing stories, even for fun, was at that point (1998/99) a relatively new thing, thanks to the discovery of fan fiction based on the short-lived TV series Christy, which in turn led to a few short-short stories written for family. And all that led to taking two writing courses, a few run-throughs with blogs before settling on the one you’re reading today, more fan fiction, and numerous NaNoWriMo stories.
It turns out I am passionate about writing. At least according to a friend who asked via Twitter, “. . . what it is about writing that you love so much/makes you want to work so hard on it/motivates you to keep working on it, etc.?” Because, according to this friend, it’s clearly something I’m passionate about.
And I was all like, “Me? Passionate? About writing?”
“Me” and “passionate” is not a common association – at least by, well, me. Sure, I have things I like and enjoy, such as coffee and Doctor Who and reading and learning about God and the like. But passionate?
Though, I suppose, when I take a step back, I am. A good story – fictional or real – excites me. I’ve often gotten lost in a good book or TV show or movie. And I can’t quite pin down “why”, but it somehow got into my head that I had stories worth sharing, too. And so I wrote stories – some silly and some serious, many poorly constructed. But I kept writing, and the story construction keeps improving.
Money has not been my motivation for writing. I would have petered out a long time ago if it that had been the case, as to date I have received payment for exactly one thing I have penned. Not that I don’t want to earn money as a writer. But is it my motivation?
What motivates me is this: The love of how a good story can connect with me as a reader and as a writer. For a well-turned phrase or line has the power to spark a new idea, or clarify a thought, or lead to a new (and better and clearer) way of seeing something, considering something. Stories – real and imagined – help me process things, help me to clarify my thoughts. It’s why I’ve filled journals. It’s why I clack away on keyboards. It’s why I write – writing and reading help me understand. I suppose that’s why I started sharing my stories – maybe they will do the same thing for someone else.
Though there are times, too, when a story’s main purpose is to offer a break from one’s reality, from the ‘every day’. I read and write those types of stories because I believe they have a place and an importance, too. There are times we need to give our brains and our souls a respite from whatever we’re facing on a particular day. One shouldn’t avoid reality indefinitely, but sometimes one does need to take a breather from it.
So … yes, my dear Minnesotan friend, you are right: I am passionate about writing. And these are a few of my ponderings as to why.