Tuesday Talk: Why I love writing…even if no one pays me for it

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I’ll admit I’m feeling rather scatterbrained today. We just got back from a week off of work, which we spent backpacking, exploring, hot springing, visiting friends and generally gallivanting about in Utah, New Mexico, and Colorado. It was glorious, and I am so grateful to have a job that allows me the time to gallivant. Now we are back into the day to day routine, and I’m suddenly remembering that it always takes a few days to get the brain to focus again. I was just sitting here, staring at the empty text box for this post, looking around, thinking about Peace Corps, and marketing my book, and how blue the sky is, and what’s for dinner tonight, and what I should bring to Easter brunch, and my sisters’ baby shower, and how good my caramel vanilla tea smells, and that guy outside walking his dog, and what kind of dog I want someday, and what I should write about. It’s enough to make me want to meditate..or self-induce a short coma so my brain will just quiet down a bit. Meanwhile, the cursor continued to blink at me. We all know the feeling, right? Then it hit me: the fact that my brain felt like it was running so fast it was trying to escape my head made it that much more important that I write today. Here are a few reasons why:

Because writing forces me to focus:

We all know that life moves by at super speed sometimes. As if the fast pace isn’t enough to overstimulate our brains, we are constantly inundated with media, information, advertisements, and interactions of all sorts. So it almost seems natural that my brain would think about all those things I listed above in the matter of…45 seconds. But it feels so much better when my brain doesn’t act that way. Reading is one way to get it focus in on what’s in front of me. Writing is another. It might take a few minutes, but once I get writing all the sounds and stimuli around me disappear, and my brain automatically focuses on finding the next word or developing the idea as I go. Over time, this seems to build up my attention span and my ability to focus on whatever I need to focus on.

Because writing fosters my curiosity: 

Guess what? I was a journalism student, but I don’t work in journalism. What a surprise right?…ahem…Anyways, does that mean that I regret getting a journalism degree? Not for a second. If nothing else, journalism school made my lifelong habit of asking people a million questions socially acceptable. Score! I no longer feel like a nosy wierdo. Well, sometimes I do…but now I know I’m not the only one. I now feel that I can interact and explore the world with a curious, journalistic eye, and even if I am not writing up and printing everything I find I still feel like I gain a lot of knowledge this way. In addition to projecting my insatiable curiosity onto anyone who will listen, I also constantly ask myself questions, wonder about this and that and, subsequently, read and research to find information. Sometimes, Alex says I’m mulling. Sometimes I agree. Sometimes I tell him to stop squashing my inquisitive nature 🙂 It’s what makes me me, I tell him.

Because writing today teaches tomorrow’s history lessons

Writing, obviously, is documentation. Written words are something solid that can potentially be around for a long time, as the world changes and starts to forget the way things were. The fact that today’s books, magazines, and newspapers will one day be a window into a different era is pretty awesome. The fact that my journals will someday be my children’s window into my youth is super duper awesome!

Because writing is free, doesn’t require much gear, and can be done anywhere

I grew up writing short stories about circus horses and pioneer girls. I wrote them at my older sisters’ volleyball games. I wrote them while we drove cross-country in our family RV. I probably wrote them in school when I was supposed to be doing other things. Still, I write and scribble at odd times of day and will often pull out my Iphone to type in a quick note about something that popped into my head while at work. As long as I have a pen and paper ( or Iphone 🙂 ) I am pretty well set.

And the end all of this ode to writing is that

writing preserves my sanity and I don’t really know why

If I go more than three days without writing something creative down somewhere, my brain feels like it’s going to explode. I don’t know why this is. For some reason, just putting a pen to paper or typing out a blog post resets me mentally. Oftentimes, in my private journals, writing is a way to follow the string of a thought about a problem and, somehow by doing this, find some kind of solution. Sometimes it’s just a way to vent without having to dump on another person. Sometimes, like with blogging, it’s just fun and easy. And I’ve found that one of the best feelings in the world is after I’ve just spent an hour or more totally immersed in a big writing project,  thinking deeply, struggling a little, completely focused. Ahhhh so refreshing… That probably makes me a big nerd.

But that’s why I love it.

Now it’s back into the always-moving world..but maybe my brain has slowed down a little 🙂

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