About 25 years ago, when I was a young mother at home with a toddler, I felt the urge to sharpen my pencils and start writing -essays about parenthood, articles about childcare, stories and poems for children, writing that emerged from the core of my life at that time. Inevitably, I found myself entertaining the idea of publishing, and I started devouring magazines like Writer’s Digest, and studying Writer’s Market. I stocked up on manila enevelopes and stamps, bought good quality typing paper (this was back in the olden days before computers, remember?) and created little charts to track the progress of my submissions. I actually published quite a few little pieces, here and there, and I proudly filed my complimentary copies in a special file box, where they’re growing yellowed and moldy somewhere in the bowels of my basement.
I don’t remember why I stopped, but stop I did. Perhaps I became exhausted with the whole merry-go-round of trying to tailor your pieces to fit the market. My son grew older and was no longer interested in being the guinea pig audience for my efforts. Parenthood and childcare became less the center of my life, and I began branching out into other creative efforts that didn’t lend themselves to writing.
Last year the urge to write came back to me, a small, insistent voice whispering in my ear, nudging me toward the page, putting words into my head that were begging to be used somewhere, words like redolent, serendiptious, undulating, mesmerizing. The world started to appear differently, as if someone had drawn bold accenting lines around it, calling attention to even the most homely of objects and events. There were things I felt the need to say about my perception of life and my place in the world.
So I started writing here, and in morning pages, and it’s been an amazing process of discovery. “Writing, the creative effort, the use of the imagination, should come first – at least for some part of every day of your life,” writes Brenda Ueland in If You Want to Write. “It is a wonderful blessing if you will use it. You will become happier, more enlightened, alive, impassioned, light-hearted and generous to everybody else.” I have reaped all these benefits, and more, as I’ve become highly attuned to the ever changing beauty of nature, finely observant of the precious uniqueness of the people I know and those I simply observe, surprised and delighted at my own inner life and the ability to expand my creative horizons at this stage in my journey.
But this time, I’ve felt no impulse toward “publishing,” at least not in the conventional sense. Maybe this little corner of cyberspace is enough, a place to lay my small offerings about life in general for the gentle perusal of anyone who cares to accept them. The reward is in the process, in searching my heart for feelings I need to share, in probing my mind for the oh-so-perfect way to express them, in offering this truth within me as a gift to myself and to you.
So, how about you? How does writing reward you?