It's IWSG Day. The goal of this blog hop is to share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds. IWSG is the brainchild of the amazing and generous Alex Cavanaugh. Thank you to this month’s co-hosts: Erika Beebe, Olga Godim, Sandra Cox, Sarah Foster, and Chemist Ken!
Optional question for January: What's the one thing about your writing career you regret the most? Were you able to overcome it?
As I’ve stated here before, writing brings out my truest self—so I’m not sure that I can associate the word “regret” with the process at all. That said, in the spirit of this month’s question, I’ll admit to a certain wistfulness that I’d started writing in earnest sooner—but try not to give it much counter space. My focus on writing arose out of a specific need when it was most welcomed. Since then, it’s never subsided.
Looking back, it's easy to recognize words have always lurked inside me. As a sixth grader I lay on my bedroom floor for hours, working on a writing assignment for Miss Markey’s English class because I was having too much fun to finish it. The A+ I received triggered the realization that if you love what you are doing, it feels easy.
As I grew older, I kept diaries and wrote long-winded letters to distant friends (admittedly never receiving anything comparable in response). In college I took journalism and poetry classes. I submitted my works to the campus newspaper and literary magazine. As an English major, I wrote paper after paper. Clearly, reading and writing were my gig. But when it came time to find employment, it didn’t dawn on me to seek a position in my “field.” Who made money as a writer? Rent was rent. A job was a job. I took the first one I was offered which put me on an HR path —a good fit, I suppose, as I wrote employment ads, policy and procedure documents, emails, and memos as a matter of course. Looking back, the “not-in-my-job-description” newsletters, relocation manuals and training documents I wrote while at my "helping-to-pay-the-mortgage" job were enough to keep the blinders on, to stop me from seeing what I really wanted to do. But finally, cracks appeared in my facade. I began writing and submitting essays for publication. I won a little contest and had a couple of pieces published.
Not long after, my job was unexpectedly eliminated and less than twenty-four hours later, I wrote my first blog post. After that, I was all in. Committed. It was as if someone yanked up a room darkening shade one afternoon and I could view what had been circling me all along. Whatever the heck I did next, I’d write. Since then, I’ve tailored things such that, one way or another, writing has a firm place and priority.
So now, seemingly a lifetime since that first blog post, perhaps I’m wistful, but mainly, I’m pleased and aware. For a huge portion of my life, I let words sneak in unobserved because I figured I didn't have the wherewithal to be a writer. These days, I understand I’ve always been one.
What are your regrets about your writing career? How have you overcome them?