Back to Basics: An Ode to Writing
So I’ve been thinking a lot about writing…
It seems like I’ve been explaining myself an exponential amount of times in these past few weeks. What is my major? What do I want to do when I graduate? What are you studying as a part of your senior research project? Golden grahams or Rice Krispies? [I think we all know the most stressful of these…]
With all this time to reflect, and with each day being another day closer to December’s graduation, I can’t help but think about the future.
“Ideally, I want to write.” I’ve heard myself say time and time again when I talk about where I see myself being in a year or so. I brush it off quickly; almost as though it were something I could just slide under the rug or continue as a hobby.
And perhaps I’m a dreamer… but as I said, I’ve been thinking.
One thing that I’ve noticed in my senior research project [I told you I would be mentioning it a lot], is the idea that there is a distinct difference between a job, a career, and a calling.
Jobs are those things we have little to no attachment to. It pays the bills or perhaps adds supplemental income, but the second things get rocky, we have no trouble jumping ship.
Careers hold a little more weight—usually undertaken for money and status but if either starts to run out, we won’t hesitate looking for a new career. There’s some interest but not much, which makes benefits very important in this case.
Lastly a calling is what we all aspire for. Work doesn’t feel like work because it’s what we want to be doing. Everything has a purpose and our lives take on a whole new meaning that we didn’t even realize was possible. Simply put: a calling is fulfilling.
I’ve read so many stories of people who have started in the workforce doing what they felt was by the books, thinking maybe down the road, they would go back to that one thing they’ve always wanted to do.
But what if that one thing was what you did?
One of the other interesting things that I’ve noticed from my research is the idea that to learn what we are genuinely passionate about and to tap into some underutilized creativity, all we have to do is think about what we enjoyed when we were younger.
When I was in elementary school, the greatest thing my mom could get me was a blank book from the craft store. I would fill it with an imaginative story—and occasionally some lively illustrations. When I didn’t have a book, I would write on everything else. Notebooks became filled with characters and loose leaf papers were soon in paper clip bunches as chapters of my newest novel endeavor.
When I sat down at my computer to write this blog, I—as I often do when I’m looking for a spark of encouragement—clicked on my “sticky note” tab on the desktop. Up popped two dozen [Yes, I just counted] sticky notes of things that I want to write. Some of them are quotes that strike inspiration or ideas that I want to expand upon. Some of them are brief scenes while others are simply a line of dialogue or even a title of a future short story.
I could have written about any of them, and in fact, I need to start writing them more often seeing as the vast number of them is starting to overwhelm me.
“Why haven’t I written that yet?” “Why can’t you carve out 10 minutes every night to work on that story?” “If you want to be a writer why aren’t you writing?” “Seriously, ma’am you’re going to need to decide; it’s just cereal and there’s a line forming.”
I read the first quote I came to:
“Everybody walks past a thousand story ideas every day. The good writers are the ones who see five or six of them. Most people don’t see any.”
It’s a good quote. It’s a very good quote. In fact, it’s such a good quote, that it was added to the infamous sticky note brigade. But then I noticed a green sticky note sticking [no pun intended] out from behind it. I click on it with interest.
Only this time it wasn’t from a famous American novelist. It was just something I had jotted down one night from the back of my mind:
“The thing that is fascinating about writing is that anybody can fall in love with written word. Third grade Liz wrote stories and tenth grade Liz, poetry. Now, in college, I dabble with everything. But somewhere out there is an 80 year old man finishing his latest script. And that to me is beautiful.”
I read it, thoughtfully and carefully. Now before you say anything, I know that you can substitute your favorite hobby in for the seventh word and have a similar meaning. But this was a personal love letter to me about one of the things that has mattered most to me throughout my life.
I love to write. And I was 100% correct above in saying that if I want to tangibly work with this, I will have to work at it. But that’s okay… because when you have a calling, “work” isn’t really work.
So cheers to writing. Thanks for always being there for me.
And by the way, the Golden Grahams were delicious.