I have loved words and written in one form or another most of my life. What felt like a small, isolated world became rich and full of grand adventures on the page.
My early experiences were in making up stories for the lives of my dolls and the make-believe places that they lived. I would take inspiration from the books I read and create an entirely new story.
Somehow, putting those words down on paper made them feel more real.
I was in Junior High when my English teacher asked if I wanted to write a short article for our school newspaper. Even though I was writing in my diary almost daily, it never occurred to me to write something that someone else would read. The thought terrified me.
With a lot of help and encouragement I wrote about some of the civil rights events that were going on at the time. What I realized was that writing it down and sharing it helped me release some of the anxiety I was feeling.
Over the years, I continued to write – diaries, journals, short stories and even the beginning of what I thought might turn into a book someday. I didn’t want to share any of that, those were my deepest thoughts and feelings.
Writing gave me the confidence to express my true self without worrying about criticism or praise. I was able to let my feelings flow from the pen to the paper, and it always felt like a relief to let it out.
Over time, I found that writing had become my pleasure as well as my personal therapy. Everything I was feeling – happy or sad, went on the page. Sometimes it was just a scribbled note while I was sitting at the doctor’s office. Anything to just get it out of my head.
As I began to share some of my writing with my family and friends, I received a mixed response. Some offered support and others were very critical. Neither felt satisfying. Going through that made me think about why I was really doing this. Did I want acceptance and acknowledgement? Or did I just want the outlet?
Like anything else, I needed to try some things on to see what felt right. For me, writing was a very personal expression and I learned that if I would just do what made me happy, that was all I needed.
I didn’t want to write for a living, or be a famous novelist – I just wanted to write whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted.
Ten years ago, my daughter suggested that I start a blog. It sounded interesting but I had a lot of apprehension about sharing anything publicly on the internet.
I was such a private person that I wasn’t even using social media yet. After giving it some thought, I decided to dip my toes in to see what it felt like.
Blogger.com offered a free, easy way to get started, so I decided to give it a try. If I didn’t like it, I could just stop and take the blog down.
At first, I published very short, generic thoughts and comments. I had always written long-hand, so I was pleasantly surprised at how much I liked this new electronic format.
I liked that I could see what posts people were reading and where they were from. It fascinated me that I could connect with people all over the world through my simple blog.
As I became more comfortable with this new medium, I explored some of the avenues that were available. I could write reviews of products and services, articles for magazines, even eBooks if I wanted to. The internet provided so many resources, the options were endless.
Then I saw a post asking for guest bloggers with Sixty and Me. I wondered if this was something I could do. It was an opportunity for me to write about issues that mattered to me and share it with a community of people my own age.
I appreciated the different topics and viewpoints on the website and decided this was something I wanted to do. That was six years ago, and it has been such a wonderful experience.
What was important to me was to continue to stay true to myself. I found my voice in the world, and now it’s all about enjoying the journey.
Do you like to write? What is your favorite medium? Do you want to be published or are you happy just doing it for yourself? Share your stories and join the conversation.