I could talk about how therapeutic writing is, how many different styles and possibilities there are, and how it’s such a better creative outlet than math, but let’s cut write (tehe, wordplay) to the chase – I’m awesome at it. Ever since I learned I was good at writing, I’ve loved it. (It’s not bragging if you can back it up, right?) I had an un-metered, un-rhyming poem published when I was in fifth grade, so obviously my natural talent shone early. My fourth grade teacher praised my research paper on Harriet Tubman. (Never before has there been a paper written on the Underground Railroad with such flair.) And my mommy always tells me my writing is awesome. Clearly I’m a champ.
It’s no secret that I love words. A teacher once told me that after you learn the rules then you can break them. It took writing through college before I fully understood what this means. I break the writing “rules” from time to time, over-hyphenating, abbreviating and shortening sentences or words, all to reach a desired effect. I’m sure the best writers can reach this effect without ever breaking the rules, but what fun would that be?
I’m not fantastic at every genre, and of course I have my favorites within my strengths, but no matter what the direction, seeing my voice come alive in black and white has always been a little bit magical. Creative nonfiction, i.e. blog-type, diary-centric, real-life accounts, is my favorite to write and where I believe my voice really shines.
Now, you may not be a fan of this voice, or my writing style (in which case, there’s the door), but you can be damn well sure all of my commas are in the right places. I don’t needlessly switch tenses, vocabulary is not used incorrectly, there aren’t any sporadic extra spaces between sentences. Long story short, I know my shit. I would like to thank my daddy’s genes and hours spent on my high school and college newspaper staffs for some of my more refined skills. But I also do the work. I look up everything, and if I can’t be sure I’m using a word correctly, I don’t use it. I’ll never understand why some bloggers write disclaimers such as “Please excuse the typos, I write from the heart, not the head.” I write from the heart, too, but I like to proof my stuff before sending it out into the universe.
Grammar and “rules” aside, writing in its most basic form is a release. It’s a prose amalgamation of to-do lists, pro/con lists, a physical sorting of our mental catch-all. Maybe whatever you’re feeling doesn’t make sense in your thought bubble, but on paper it does. It has to. The laws of diction and syntax demand it. But the words don’t wear us, we wear the words.
When I think, I think in images, emotions, and impulses. When I dream, I dream without faces or names. When I write, all the uncertainty, all the theoretical, all the abstract dissolves. Sometimes my words slip gracefully unassuming from my fingertips, other times I throw them on the page and wipe up the mess later. I’m very particular. I read and re-read, type and re-type, because while my proverbial thought bubble is finally where I can see it, that doesn’t mean I get it right the first time (or the second, or the ninth). The flow, the pacing, the sound the words make when strung together, everything has to be just right. But like I said, I’m awesome, so it always is.