Let’s talk about writing! Hey guys and welcome to the Winter Of My Discontent: Unplanned Post Version! As in, I was literally just sitting here letting my mind wander a bit and I decided to write it out. If this goes badly, I’m sorry, but please hang in there. My mind started to wander to writing and what it means to me. If you’re here to learn technical skills, this is probably not the place for you. If you want to hear a love story then, please stay.
Writing Comes Naturally
Since becoming a part of the writing community on Twitter, I’ve seen a question asked a lot (or some iteration of it), “When did you decide to become a writer?” Sometimes I see, “What book did you read to make you become a writer?” I can never answer this question. I think my answer would sound pretentious and ridiculous, so I just stay out of it.
The truth is, I didn’t choose to be a writer. There was no moment when I said, “I’m going to be this thing.” It’s just always been, almost for as long as I can remember. I wrote and illustrated my first poetry books when I was in the 3rd grade when I joined The Young Authors Of America. I wrote and illustrated my first book of short stories in the 5th grade. I started pouring my soul into diaries by the time I was 12.
In high school and college, my teachers were all impressed that their otherwise mediocre student could write well thought out and well-written research papers. I always enjoyed it myself, the research, and the writing. It came easy to me, so I could wait until the last minute and still produce an A product. The only time I ever got any praise from any teacher was because of my writing and reading comprehension. Basically, I’m naturally good at English-related things.
Writing, reading, literature…it’s all subjective. Math and science have rules and if you don’t follow those rules it leads to chaos and danger. It’s too rigid; my mind doesn’t grasp it. But literature and writing were different. They were full of abstracts and metaphors. It is often beautiful or terrifying.
Writing As An Adult
When I started college, it was only natural that my major would be Journalism. In hindsight, it would have been the perfect career for me and I think I would have made a pretty compelling journalist. Sadly, I couldn’t get through all the Math and Science courses required to get a degree and I never made it past year two. I had a professor there, we called him Jason and he taught Research and Argumentative Writing.
Jason was a very supportive influence and he changed something about me; although I already thought of myself as a writer and always had, I started seeing writing as a viable career. He thought I made good points and was always impressed with even my first draft papers. He encouraged me to pursue a career in writing, any career in writing. That’s all he knew, he said, was that I needed to be writing. I agreed. Around that time was the first time I started writing my first fiction novel.
Unfortunately, I have ADHD, and it’s an idea that never got beyond the first five chapters. It’s an idea that I still hold close to my heart, though, and I haven’t given up on it. After college, I got paid sometimes to write other people’s papers. It was unethical, in hindsight, but I was a 20-something who was desperate for money and college students will pay almost anything to get an A. I enjoyed it, anyway.
During all of this time, I also kept journals. Always. I poured my heart and soul into those books. Waxed poetic about the latest boy to break my heart, complained about my parents, poured my depression and hurt onto the page. I also took some poetry classes. Essays, journals, poetry…it’s a template for my writing style now.
In my mid-20s, I discovered blogging and had easy access to it, thanks to my MySpace page (I’m old). The posts on my page were often odes to my family and friends or passive-aggressive prose about people that hurt me or my latest crush. And I wrote a lot about depression. Dark, sad pieces. I wish I still had access to some of that writing because some of it was good. Alas, it is lost to MySpace forever.
An Unintended Break
Then, sometime in my late 20s…I stopped writing. Not even in a journal. There are a lot of reasons why they stopped and they’re all bad ones, but that’s what happened. Now and then I’d try, but I just couldn’t seem to get in the mind space. This went on for several years. I rarely wrote and when I did it was broken drivel.
One day I woke up and my life was aflame. Through no fault of my own, my life blew up in my face in an instant and it broke me. A therapist at the time told me to start writing it down and I realized…my soul craved it. Just getting it all out on paper. So I started writing. I wrote and I wrote and I wrote. But I always wrote about the same thing. I was a broken record. No matter how hard I pushed, I couldn’t get past the block.
I never gave up. I kept writing, even if not regularly, and only in my journals. I think once or twice I gave a half-hearted attempt at a Blogger account. The truth is, I was too broken to write publicly then. It wouldn’t have been good and probably not well-received. Eventually, I felt that old passion come back and I decided to start writing publicly again.
The Winter Of My Discontent was born! I’ve been writing here, with you since then. For the last four months, I have poured my heart into this blog and I hope to be able to continue doing just that. I’ve even shared some of my poetry and flash fiction over on Buy Me A Coffee. So now, I write essays on the internet; part informative, part personal…with a little splash of poetic prose. Honestly, I haven’t been this happy with writing in many years and it feels like coming home.
All of this is a long-winded way of saying that I did not choose to be a writer. I just am. There wasn’t a book that changed everything or a decision that I made consciously. The only time in my whole life that I wasn’t writing, I was miserable without it. I thought about it all the time, for almost a decade. Always trying to figure out how to get it back. I wasn’t a whole person when I wasn’t writing.
I recently found out that my grandma wrote poems and my dad, too. Writing is ingrained in my soul somehow. Even my therapists encourage me to write. Not only journaling, which is extremely therapeutic, but also this blog. They love what I’m doing here and they can see that it’s helping me heal. It gives me confidence and supercharges me to be working so hard on something that I love and that I am proficient with. Something that I have a true passion for.
Basically, if someone told me that I could only have one coping skill for alllllll of this brain activity inside my head…I would pick writing, hands down. It’s a hobby, a craft, a coping mechanism, an escape, an old friend, a comfort blanket…and hopefully, someday, a career.
It’s important to me to write from the bottom of my heart, which is why I think I have such a hard time with writer’s block sometimes. I’m trying too hard to make my writing into something that it doesn’t want to be. I work best when I have no plan and I can just speak to you from within myself about the things that I know and love. My deepest hope is that you leave The Winter Of My Discontent having learned something new and feeling like you just left an old friend.
The truth is, I am madly in love with writing. It has held me and sustained me. It has dried my tears and fueled my dreams. It builds my self-esteem and it helps me deal with the tough parts of life. It helps me get to know myself better and to understand my thoughts. It helps me to communicate with you, my lovelies.
I told you this was a love story.
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Love and light! Keep fighting the good fight! 💜💜
Writing about living with ADHD and mental illness and my journey down a thriving path forward. Breaking stigmas and creating community, one post at a time.