Monday, November 24, 2008
Writing About Writing
The picture above has nothing to do with this blog post, I just thought it was funny.
We are on DAY 24 of NaBloPoMo! Only 6 more days & posts to go! It has been fun & challenging for me & I hope to keep it up at least every other day if I can. My dream used to be about becoming a newspaper columnist. I went to a writers mini conference & heard a professional columnist describe his job. He wrote one article a week & it was sent out to 20 different newspapers & they all paid him!
Money was not really my main motivation though. I just loved writing but never imagined my name on a book cover or movie script. I loved the idea of putting fresh words out there every week & having an audience with feedback & some kind of relationship going on. Like Dave Barry or Erma Bombeck. I used to clip her columns out all the time. (You younger ones may not recognize her name, but she was hilarious & very real.)
As it turned out I was able to realize this fantasy for several years but not in the way you may expect. I was a pastors wife for 10 years in a very small California town. The local newspaper had a once a week Church Page for the pastors to write about their Sunday sermons & make church announcements. I did not ask permission of anyone at the paper but I just grabbed that little chance & ran with it! I sent in a weekly column about life's' turns & funny experiences & seeing God in all kinds of situations.
After taking my two sons to school in the mornings I would sit in front of my computer & type away. I loved the deadline of it, the column had to be in the editors hands before 2pm on Tuesday each week. I was a very busy mom & church leader. I organized the ladies activities, taught the children's church, ran a local ministerial wives group, typed the weekly bulletin, went to an exercise class, drove a carpool, met with a small group in my home each week, etc.. But I managed to fit the writing in for nearly 8 years.
People in the community would comment on the column when we met & I loved the attention it gave me. One lady even told me that she cut it out & put it on her fridge!! Woo-hoo! I now have a binder of those articles, both the originals on regular paper & a copy of the newspaper printouts.
The other day I was thinking about how so many of my friends are seriously going after their life-long dreams & wondered what happened to my dream. I really love my job a lot but it is not my dream job. My dream job would be to write short snippets of words that cheer someone up or brighten their day or make them at least chuckle a little bit. I don't want a book with my name on it that will gather dust on someones shelf. I want my words to be fresh & real & honest & living. And then I realized that blogging is the new column writing! We are all sending our fresh words out into cyberspace to be loved or ignored, saved or deleted by strangers who we may never see face to face. I would love to think my words made a difference in the life of a reader but that again is not my motivation. I write because I have to, because the words are swirling around in my head & heart & they need to be released. NaBloPoMo has forced me to write everyday & put my words out there for all to see. And I am enjoying the process very much, even as I catch myself daydreaming about what to write next, or thinking about how something will work for my blog even as I am living it! At least cyberspace doesn't get thrown into the trash the next day!