Writing About Writing

writingaboutwritingNow that it is summer, my writing schedule has been dropping off some and that’s okay. I rather need a break and right now life is sort of forcing me into these breaks. I feel at loss most days I don’t get to write as writing has always been an important part of my life even if it is just writing about writing which is the case here.

When I was 15, I first learned that I had a penchant for writing. I had written a story (a true account) about getting lost in the woods for my sophomore English class. My teacher loved it and showed to all of the OTHER English teachers, including the junior year teacher who was also in charge of the school newspaper. At that point the matter of and the decision IF I would be taking Journalism I & II my junior and senior years had been taken out of my hands. I enjoyed journalism but once I found out that most journalist did not make that much money, usually less than teachers, I figured that I had better look at other options.

However, about the same time I started keeping a journal and wrote in it daily if not more so. I journaled all through high school, all through my military career, and later in life. Without that outlet I may had gone mad, exploded, or something worse. As an outlet is was irreplaceable and invaluable. A funny quote that I read last week and really hit home was by Joseph Hergesheimer… “Nobody writes if he or she has had a happy childhood.” Yeah… that about sums it up.

To be honest though, all of my old journals, which I kept, have proven to be a virtual goldmine of material to extract writing ideas from, especially when I was writing while being in difficult relationships, post divorce or just struggling in life in general. Most of my first book, The Little Book of Happiness – Breaking Through the Abundance Threshold, was taken directly from ideas and concepts that I had journaled about between 2007 and 2009.

If I had one wish or one expectation or even a requirement for each of my clients is that they journal themselves. Some do, some try, but in the end most don’t but I believe if they did it for long enough and creating that habit, they could truly feel the cathartic release that comes from writing everyday. And if they don’t write for any other reason, it’s a hell of a way to have an exact record of where you were compared to where you are now.

As a life coach, and part of my business, I write nearly every day with the goal to help people primarily. But there is more than that because I don’t consider myself a guru or some highly esteemed know-it-all thought leader or anything like that. Trust me folks, there are still plenty of things in life that I am still figuring out. A lot of my writing and the thoughts that I write about are just me working things out and solidifying ideas and concepts not just for my audience but for me as well. I learn through my writings too!

I do not sit down at my desk to put into verse something that is already clear in my mind. If it were clear in my mind, I should have no incentive or need to write about it… We do not write in order to be understood; we write in order to understand. – C. Day Lewis – The Poetic Image

In the end, I just love to write, be it fiction, something that helps someone, or an article like this, which is just writing about writing itself. I appreciate the written word not only to read it but also as a means to express myself. Anyone who ever corresponds with me via email will attest to my lengthy and verbose emails. I cannot write a short email or letter to save my life.

The ideas that I write about… some come easy, some are more of a challenge but most do come easy and I keep a running list of ideas either in a text file or in my head of what subjects I wish to write about for the next few days. However, once I have an idea figured out and settle on it, this is when my “giftedness” comes in. I just write… I don’t think too much during my writing process or try to formulate too much structure in a piece… the writing just comes out… the words flow. I have always just called it “stream of consciousness writing.” I just let go and out it comes.

Writing is as much art as it is craft and I admit to still having to work on and hold the intention of perfecting my craft. I don’t consider myself a great writer, but I think that I can and do write well enough to get my points across. To be honest, I have always wanted to be known as a writer and as one of my greatest advisors in life told me a long time ago, “if you want to be a writer, then you have to write!” So part of my drive for writing so much is to improve my craft but also to honor his memory. With my blog, I set out with the idea that I wanted to write 365 articles in a year just to build content on my site and to drive traffic. But more so than that, in the end I also figured that if those two things did not work out then at least (hopefully) in year of writing, I would be a better writer for it all.

And I think that I am getting better… The greatest compliment that I have received lately on my writing was from a friend a few days ago who told me that when she reads some of my articles in my blog that she feels like I am writing directly to her. That made me feel pretty good as I hope that anyone who reads what I write are touched and connect to my writing that very same way. I want what I write to always feel personal, sincere, honest, and truly from me when someone reads it. That is another goal in my writings too.

Writing every day is also a part of my personal plan for what makes up a great day. As long as I write something that I know will help someone (anyone), and if I get to work with a client and help them, as well as get a good run in that same day then my day is golden. I mean, if it is as important as my run is… then YOU know it’s important to me!

If you are a writer, or just learning how to write, keep at it! You never know what you will end up creating. If you don’t write or journal, give it a shot. Just take a few quiet minutes each day to write out your thoughts. Do it on your laptop, or put pen to paper which is my favorite as it seems more organic and has a certain physical connectedness to the process as you physically transfer thought into solid form. As for me, I prefer spiral notebooks myself and I have boxes of them saved from over the years.

Write about anything and everything… write a story, write about your life… and if you get stuck… write about writing!

Andy Wooten M.A. Counseling – Certified Life Coach – Aspen, Colorado

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