On Writing

I have always loved to write.  Back in the day, I used to write letters to penpals and friends that had moved away.  I would write pages and pages and then get back…a paragraph.  It didn’t matter.  Undeterred, the next time it was my turn I’d do it all again.  I just loved putting the words on the paper.  Telling my friends all about my day to day life and conjuring pictures in their minds.  Staying connected.

Blogging before there was blogging. 

Well, I was blogging.  They were tweeting.

I took a slew of English courses in college (it should have been my major but…well…whatever) and decided that I should take both a journalism class and a creative writing class.

To say I royally sucked ass in both classes would be kind.  I was that bad.

The journalism class had too many rules.  Too many “don’ts”.  It didn’t give me enough room to really say what I wanted to say.  Duh Sherry – that’s what journalism IS you idiot!  I really did know that but it took that once class to let me know that the reporters at the Washington Post had nothing to worry about.  Their jobs were safe.  So were those on the Editor’s desk.

The creative writing class was even worse.  I discovered that I have no imagination.  None, zero, nada, zilch.  I’m way too practical and pragmatic to think up stories and plotlines.  I’m not even kidding.  You know how you look up a the puffy white clouds and call out what you see?

My kids, “Look mommy!  I see a duck!”  “I see a horse!”  “I see a table!”

Me, “Um…I see a…um…a…cotton ball?”

Yep…that bad.  It’s actually a running joke in our house.  “Hey mom look!  There’s a Q-tip!”  Yeah…my kids are hi-LAR-ious!

I go back and read my short stories and poems from that class and cringe.  I actually feel sorry for the teacher.  Poor woman had to read that crap and then give it a grade without crushing my spirit.  I’m glad she didn’t crush my spirit – I was doing enough of that all by myself.

Still I love to write.  This blog has been a way for me to take the written word, crunch it, craft it and play with it until I put it on the page and then, hopefully, it touches someone else.  It’s perfect for me.  There are no rules (except my self imposed ones) and since I write about things that happen in my world, I don’t have to make any shit up…thank God.

Not being able to make shit up means I don’t dream well either.  Not the snoozing kind of dreaming, I’m extremely proficient at that, but the kind were you wonder what and who you’ll be when you grow up.  You know that question people ask, “If you could be anything you wanted to be and there were absolutely no barriers, what would you do?”  Or, “What would you do if you knew you couldn’t fail?”  Yeah, I usually end up stumped.  Uh…duh….I don’t know.

Except when it comes to writing.  That part is easy.  If there were no barriers (including a lack of talent), I would write for a living.  Not novels – again…I’d need an imagination for that – but blogs or non-fiction or articles or cookbooks or diet and fitness books or self-help/sobriety kind of books or all of the above.  THAT is my dream.  To make a living sitting at a computer, researching, writing, editing, re-writing and submitting…full time.

I think that’s why I got so excited about the Florida Rehab article.  Someone thought my work was good enough to be used on another website.  I’ve written another for another site on which I’m waiting to get approval.  It’s a long shot but I’m taking it.

One day, when I grow up, I think I’ll be a writer.



21 thoughts on “On Writing

  1. I’m not sure if I ever congratulated you on the published article, but you just summed up my life as a writer perfectly (which is probably why I love your blog). This is an awesome post, and I hope our dreams both come true one day 🙂

    Oh, and, in case I didn’t…. CONGRATULATIONS ON PUBLISHING!!!!

  2. You are a writer!

    I hear you. I have an English degree, but I am also an engineer. A very practical engineer. My English profs used to comment that my essays were nicely structured. Perhaps that was kind code for unoriginal. Whatever. It always got me a B.

    I have a creative side, but I’ve always held it in and been embarrassed by it. I’ve finally found that in yoga I am able to move towards self expression and being more free with my thoughts and feelings. It’s very difficult, but liberating.

    My blog also gives me a place to try to capture some of the immense world of emotions sobriety has opened up for me.

    Keep writing I really liked your article!


    1. Maybe that’s why journalism never clicked for me…you can’t have any emotions.

      I also used to squelch my creative side. Then I started selling Mary Kay (I don’t any longer). Meeting those wonderful women and being a part of that world, even for a little while, made me tap into my creative side and I haven’t let go since! It would have been perfect for me except that I hate customers. 😉

      Thanks for the kind words,

  3. Atta girl!
    Don’t play small, Sherry, there’s a market for every voice. I think sobriety memoir may very well be your market. 😉
    Write on, writer.
    Err, I mean, write on, freshly pressed AND published writer.

  4. Hey you never know, maybe your dream will come true. The blogging is putting you out there, a few more articles on sobriety, a few knowledgeable facts interspersed with your personal style of writing, you may be on your way. I feel like I know you from reading your blog. You have made me laugh, cry, commiserate and have some aha moments.
    Thanks for sharing your dream.

  5. I hear you about the rules… I have a degree in Communications but have never worked in that field because I can’t be bothered with rules and grammar and such silly things 😉 Talk about taking the fun out of it!
    And you know what I think, is that it doesn’t matter the end result of what we do- what matters is that you do what you enjoy. If you love writing- write often and as much as you can. Do it for the pure fulfillment it gives you, not for the pay check (although that would be nice too). And you already have a lot of fans!

    1. I like to think I’m a kind of the grammar police but in reality, and when I’m writing, I could really care less. I think it’s more important to make people see and feel what you’re saying rather than worry if all the participles are properly hung. (Wouldn’t want to leave them hanging right? I still don’t know what they are.)

      There’s no doubt I’ll keep writing. I just need to FOCUS.

      Thanks for the lovely comment,

  6. Funny how we all see you as a writer and a good writer. You touched on some great points. I remember having my work edited and being horrified at what came back. I felt that if anymore red was on the page it was going to look like it was bleeding. Being able to take constructive criticism was a big leap for me. I’m not a writer, per se, but I love writing. And like you, I’m going to keep on writing even if the punctuation and syntax is wrong.

    Keep up the excellent work. We love you and we need you. Lisa

    1. Coming from you I am honored to take that compliment…thank you.

      It’s funny, I have always had a hard time taking feedback EXCEPT in my writing. That’s the one place that I savor and soak up any of the red marks. I approach it as a learning experience and when I’m writing I want to learn as much as possible.

      In all other areas of my life, the words “feedback” or “constructive criticism” just translate in my head to “criticism”. My stomach does flip-flops just saying the words.

      I’ll take that as a sign from the Universe that writing is what I should be doing.

      Thanks again Lisa,

      1. Please believe this. I learn more from reading you than you can imagine. I often read the post via email and don’t comment, but you are beautiful. Know it. xoxox

  7. Look at the comments here… you are a writer. That is the thing about the modern paradigm of the internet. You write and people read (or not) and comment (or not)…. people comment shows their engagement with you – that is so cool… you write, we read, we comment, we engage – you therefore are a great writer. If you had a blog with zero comments that would then beg the question about your writing (but content vs style maybe … ) but you get comments ergo you are a good writer

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