It was Christmas 1980, and the Sears in my town had a huge window display featuring an elaborate train set, giant teddy bears, a wondrous assortment of dolls, and many other toys. In the center of this marvelous tableau was a little yellow typewriter.
I was only 5 and could barely read, but I wanted that typewriter with every fiber of my being. When I visited Santa, the only thing I asked for was the typewriter. And on Christmas morning, it was sitting under the tree. It was like something out of the movies. A dream realized. A wish granted.
When adults asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up, I would say engineer or doctor because that’s what my parents hoped, but I really wanted to be a writer.
I wrote my first book in first grade, “Mrs. Stine Goes Bonkers.” (Mrs. Stine was my teacher.) I won my first prize for writing in third grade. In fourth grade, I wrote another book and went to the Young Writer’s conference. I was first published professionally in my local paper when I was 16, and I wrote for the teen section of the paper called, “Attitudes.”
In college, I majored in communications, minored in English, and trained as a journalist. I won some awards at school for my essays and published poetry. I wrote for my school paper. After graduating, I did a brief stint at The Seattle Times before I realized that journalism wasn’t for me.
I went into marketing and wrote communication plans, strategy papers, speeches, newsletters, memos, creative briefs, profiles, fundraising appeals, press releases, radio spots, talking points, scripts, training manuals, annual reports, website copy, presentations, pitches, and many, many emails.
At night, I wrote poetry. I’d go to open mics and admire the other poets. I was shy and intimidated and read my work only a handful of times. But I still kept writing.
As I had since I was 9, I kept a daily journal. However, after I got married, a curious thing happened. I stopped writing in my journal. I was happy, and I finally felt like I didn’t have to constantly analyze my life.
I still wrote for work, but I was always writing in someone else’s voice.
I thought I would start journaling again when I got pregnant, but I was far more interested in sleeping. After I had my son, I focused on caring for him. Eventually I realized that I needed to reconnect to myself. And so I started this blog.
I’ve been blogging for nearly 6 years, but I’ve never blogged on any kind of regular basis. I viewed National Blog Posting Month (NaBloPoMo) as a fun challenge. But other than more blog posts, I wasn’t sure what I would get out of it.
Julie Ross Godar, the executive editor at BlogHer, wrote, “Blogging daily is not just a test of endurance: it’s also an opportunity to learn a lot about yourself: How you write, what your blog means to you, and where you should focus.”
Through writing 30 posts in 30 days, the biggest lesson I’ve learned is that at my core, I am a writer. I don’t want to be a full-time blogger, but I do want spend time writing creatively for me every day.
The other big takeaway from NaBloPoMo is that I don’t want to write alone. I could not have completed NaBloPoMo without my community of fellow NaBloPoMo writers Laura Kimball, Harmony Hasbrook, Berrak Sarikaya, and Kelly Clay. Writing can be a lonely enterprise. It was encouraging to talk with others going through the NaBloPoMo experience, to read their posts, and to be inspired by them.
I’m not quite sure what will happen after NaBloPoMo, but I do know this: I will keep writing.