Today, my homework assignment was to find a chapter in our text book, One Continuous Mistake by Gail Sher and write a one page opinion of the chapter and how it relates to our world as new writers.
Although I have been writing for a living in the marketing, online content space, I am very new when it comes to creative writing. I am very much enjoying this class; the energy from the students and the fresh perspective from the professor. Not to mention the chance to get out of the house….
So I selected the chapter entitled A Writing Habit in which the author talks of the importance of writing everyday. She sites several famous author’s thoughts on the subject including Emerson, Thoreau and Woolfe. Here are my thoughts:
A Writing Habit
As a wannabe writer, a desire that dates back to creating stories out of my weekly vocabulary words in fourth grade, I understand the premise that writers write. And it is with good intentions that I purchase beautiful lined journals for the soul purpose of capturing my random thoughts. However, like with any other “should” in life, I allow distractions to keep me from my focus.
As I skimmed the Table of Contents of One Continuous Mistake, the chapter The Writing Habit captured my attention. I understand the need to create a habit. I believe in the importance of writing every day and in fact have managed to journal most days for the past thirty years of my life. Some weeks I am more faithful to my writing responsibility than others. I imagine that if I examine the pattern, I would find that I write most when stress levels are off the charts.
I have quite a number of journals that chronicle the rise and fall of both of my marriages, the decision to leave the companionable comfort of the corporate world for the unknown life as an entrepreneur and the ultimate decision to chuck my entire life and move across country. However, there is one key element that I have missed according to Gail Sher and other famous writers.
I have never reread anything I have written.
I love the blank page. My fingers itch to fill the white canvas with my self-proclaimed brilliance; either in journal form or marketing content for customers. However, I never review my words. This omission does not stem from a belief that my ideas, once cast in typeface, are too perfect for revision, but rather from a fear of what has been revealed. The thought of driving to the U-Haul storage unit in Fountain Hills, using my key and opening the Pandora’s Box of my memories fills me with enough angst to bring on a tsunami of liquid fire from my posterior.
I am beginning to realize that although creating a habit of writing each day helps with the flow of ideas, sentence structure and word choice, it may be in the rereading of our words that we actually become better writers.